Sunday, July 18, 2010

Of Cherating and Tourism...

Cherating has much potential to attract tourists from near and afar for it has much likeness to places like Bali, Hawaii; where million visit every year. I have travel the world and know for sure that tourists go to a place because of its uniqueness and with Cherating the beach is the asset. The beaches all along the coast from Teluk Sisek right up to Gebeng where the port is now is by itself an attraction for tourist who want to enjoy the sea. I know these stretches of beaches very well for during my childhood growing up in Kuantan we would hike along the beaches from Tanjung Api up to Gabeng, walking along the beaches, climbing over the rock at the cape and when dark we would camp along the riverbank near the beach. The beaches all along the stretches are covered with clean golden sand. This beach would be a heaven to tourists who wants to spend their time enjoying the sea like wading, boating, sailing or just for swimming and basking in the sun. What should be done is not to allow any formal building be built there since as it is there are already many buildings like shops, chalets that are enough to cater for the tourists. What is needed is to upgrade these places and kept it clean all the time. Folks should be allow to operate entertainments centers for after sunset entertainment and relaxation and if possible the whole area be covered with Wifi.

Last year when I visited Cherating I saw a large building there which someone say is a sort of a Cultural Center. Why would they build such a building in Cherating? I wonder! It is a concrete building and it look out of place in that enchanting beach environment. Had they build a traditional house it would made lots of difference. The architectural of a traditional building built of Malaysian timber with intricate carving would by itself be an attraction to the tourist. The space in the house could be an office space for the tourist officer in charge of the resort area. It could also house exhibitions of local interest that are of significant to the state of Pahang. But a large concrete building to me is not a good idea and besides the building by itself hardly attracts attention. Well that is my thought and I still wonder what's in the mind of the planner when they embark on such a project.

And on my latest visit to Cherating two weeks ago I saw the building again and someone quip that it's hardly been used. Well, what could I say. The money could better be used to improve the resort area, like landscaping the area with more trees, flowers etc. as well paying for the maintenance crew to clean the beach everyday, so that it remain pleasing to the eyes of the visitors both local and foreign. Remember tourist visit a place not to come to see a modern concrete building but to find a place which is unique and interesting. A wooden structure made of timber from the Pahang forest would surely make the difference. It would put the timber of the forest of Pahang into an exclusive display where visitors could see the timber as well learn about the type of trees it came from. Remember that the forest of the mountain range of Pahang including the National Park is millions of years old and an exhibition of a living species of those trees would be a tourist draw by itself.

A proper Bus Stand should be build near the roadside at the entrance of the resort area. It should be made of timber and the architecture should be just a simple one. At this Bus Stand there should be amenities like washroom and a cafeteria to cater for the tourist who wait for the bus or for those who had just arrived and waiting for their accommodations arrangment. It could also house the local authority officer supervising the resort area. A section should be set aside to sell real souvenir to the tourists. Anyway there is a stand alone Bus Stand there now but an integrated concept as suggested above would be ideal for the convenient of the visitors.

Another important concern to tourist is the atmosphere of the peace of mind and from what I saw this place do provides that atmosphere. Folks come to such place because they want peace and tranquility. Some comes just to enjoy the sea and may stay a few days but some may come to stay for a longer period, perhaps to write books and at the same time enjoy the environment. Tourist would spend money to enjoy good foods as well enjoying themselves at entertaining places after sunset. All these activities would surely bring money to the local and a boost to the local economy.

What tourists both the local and foreign ask for is simple; a clean environment and an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity for them to enjoy themselves. And of course the accommodations with clean wash-room as well hygienic eating places are a must. Otherwise they would come once and would not come again or it would be a bad publicity to the place. Proper management of tourist spot would bring prosperity to the local. So with such potential, Cherating could be another Bali for its uniqueness especially its golden beaches, turquoise blue sea, blue sky with plenty of sunshine. Its paradise already!

For those adventurous folks out there do come for a visit to this enchanting place under the sun call Cherating. It is just three hours drive from KL or about four hours by bus. You would surely be surprised by what it had to offer.

The images here were taken on my visits to the place. Enjoy it.

Have a nice day.


Pak Zawi said...

Pak idrus,
They will never learn. The new building is not really needed but just because they want to spend the budget just to show they are doing some work, they build it. The traditional buildings seems to have more soul and more suited to the place. Will be visiting Cherating by end of this year and hopefully could still enjoy the place like I used to enjoy them in the 70s.

Pak Idrus said...

Pak Zawi, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Yes agreed, there is no need of such building there and now it's made worse in that it has not be put to maximum use. If at all they wanted to put an administrative building there they should put up a building as part of the Bus Stand as I had suggested in this posting. A simple A shape structure made of the finest Pahang hardwood would last a long time. And it would also be a show piece of the uses of quality timber in buildings. At the same time it would an added attraction to tourist as well as student who studies architecture.

Well, you may be right there, they just want to spend the money.

Anyway do have a nice day.

Martin Lee said...

Cherating is near to Chendor beach, further up north would be the De Monica Bay (Name changed to Pantai Mak Nik). Resort hotels such as Club Med, Impian and Legend etc are nearby. Beautiful beaches indeed but rubbish all over. Kuala Kemaman river mouth brings in Rubbish, plastic bags and bottles from inland that spill over to the border land of Cherating. Pahang state needs to work closely with Trengganu government to have those rubbish clean up along the entire stretch of beaches perhaps all the way to Balok and Beserah.

From the perspective of tourism and ecology, for the same reason the INTAN concrete building simply should not be there as it does not fit well into that scenic Monica Bay beach no matter how good this place had contributed to the training of our civil servants. A major portion of the landscape is being cordoned off!

Cherating provided a haven for relaxation, night entertainment or "relief" for expatriates and employees of the oil and gas industry all the way from the more conservative Kerteh, Paka and perhaps even as far as Kuala Trengganu.

The recent big news about the canning of a model caught drinking in public took place in one of these Cherating resort hotels!

louis said...

Hi Idrus,

That unacceptable phenomenon you described, that large concrete building that is totally out of place in such an idyllic Tropical setting, is one that is common in places that have been colonized or economically and socially dominated by a foreign power. Imprinted on the local populace is the mindset that nothing indigenous, nothing local, whether it be in architecture, dress, religion, politics, cultural observances, is of value, is inherently inferior to the foreign version.

That mindset continues to exist after independence, and not much effort is put into evolving the local architecture, etc to keep pace with increased expectations of comfort, convenience, or to incorporate the best of current technology.

That mindset has to be changed for any progress to be made along the lines you suggest.

There are exceptions where local values have triumphed. For example farther up the East coast from Cherating is the magnificent Tanjong Jara least it was magnificent many years ago when I visited it. I will always recall those wooden villas. There is no reason why that approach cannot also be used for less expensive projects. Not only would the local character attract the foreigner but more importantly it would be a source of pride in their own culture for the citizens.

Al-Manar said...

Pak Idrus,
Banyak sangat yang tak kena dinegeri ini. Bukan pantai dan bangunan saja. Muda mudi pun banyak sangat yang bermasaalah. This is a state called darul imam with lots and lots of slogans. I live here and I am sad to see what goes on around me.

Anonymous said...

Salam Pak Idrus,

I couldn't comment on the entry before this for some technical glitches.

Anyway just want to tell you that I love the way you have redesigned your living area. But what I love most about the house is the patio. It is cooling at night and shady during the day.

Love that red sofa too!

Pat said...

Hi Pak Idrus,

You and Zawi make good points about that 'building' - and I agree with Louis as well. For some reason, we practise 'think local last' and are proud of it :(

Something else that mars the place? These signboards all over that say (not quoting, because I can't remember the exact words): that this is a place to enjoy, and bukan untuk bermaksiat!

My BM didn't extend to such words, and I had to ask my Chuan what it meant. OMG I couldn't believe my ears!

Why does everything need to be about that?

(Pak Idrus, you'll have to tackle explaining that to your non-Malaysian visitors ;)

louis said...

Thanks to my iPad translation App I was able to translate Pat's BM. I was reminded of my visit to Kuantan where I read with fascination a large illustrated poster at a kiosk at the beach that illustrated each one of the many immoral acts to be avoided and the punishment for each. I sorely wanted to take it as a souvenir but I thought of those lashes!

xplorer said...

pak idrus - i agree with you . you don't need to built a shopping mall to get the tourist coming . What the tourist mostly want is just a clean basic facility , with that you just lets cherating natural beauty run its course. Cherating used to have its WOW factor but now no more

Pak Idrus said...

Martin Lee, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Yes you are right the state on the east coast must put their act together to exploit the natural beauty of the shoreline, which is comparable to any of the best in the world. It is nothing difficult about managing the beaches. What is need a policy and a management team of folks who love nature especially the beaches. The local folk who live along Cherating and other place along the coast should be given proper leadership and perhaps the Pengulu if trained could do the job without much expenses.

Yes, the INTAN building is no Intan [Diamond] at all, like you said, had it been made of timber, it would not only be lasting but became a part of the landscape as well. An added attraction to the tourists.

The east coast need to provide folks who works there a place to relax and enjoy life, what better place that the clean environment of the Hotel and resort. At present the limited five star hotel is doing the job but place like Cherating could also get the business if only it is kept clean and there are no interference from overzealous enforce of rules.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

louis, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting especially of the mindset of some people who seem not be able to change to a new thinking.

Agreed with you that the colonialist did done damage to those in power who seem to think that the ordinary folks are in the mindset like them. That is one reason the people who decide on such project, like that building I mentioned in this posting think whatever they think best would be loved by the people, which is not.

They most of the time think of making money first from the projects and I believe never take a serious look of what the building would be used for in the long run, thus the white elephant one see in many places including at Cherating. To me the project was just a mean not an end. It is about making a quick buck and careless of what it after that.

Like you I simple could not agree with building a concrete building in the rural part of the county where there are plenty of space available with a relatively low cost unlike in the cities. A tradition building would by itself be an attraction even it it is not used to the maximum but a concrete building would just rot away by the process of nature.

The Tanjung Jara in Terengganu was build in the mid seventies and the concept was traditional. Because it is so the place attract tourists and is now still a five star resort love by the locals as well the foreigners. The reason is obvious in that it blends well with the culture of the folks who live there, as well it has been managed professionally from day one. It is now own by the YTL group who also own Vistana in Kuantan. It is for its professionalism in managing the hotel that I love that hotel in Kuantan and kept going back whenever I am there.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

Al-Manar, thanks for the visit and sharing your thought on the subject of this posting. Yes, Banyak sanggat yang tak kena di Pantain Timor and I believe it is because of poor leadership in the managing of the states at most level.

The local council should play a more positive role in creating a more enjoyable activities and environment so that the youth would not waste their time in anti social activities like Mat Rempit and Drug.

They kept talking about religion day and night but did not seem to practice the true value of what religion teaches. Sad indeed. Talk and slogan does not solved problems but good activities and good recreation area does. But what could we do when the authority seem more interested to put up building instead of creating greens for recreational purpose.

I hope they would change their mindset and start thinking of giving our youth more places to enjoy creative activities in a better environment, like playground, football fields and the like.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

Wiz, thanks for the visit and the good words on my home.

I love interior deco and because the space is limited I had to do what I could to get maximum use of space, thus the Serambi and Patio that I had added to my abode.

I love this house, though small is my own, the first house I had ever own and it is in this house that all our kids was raised. Now they have grown up and are on their own. So Nenek and I are making full use of the space to enjoy life in our golden year.

As for my living area, it is my personal space, thus I did it my way and enjoying it.

Have a nice day.

Temuk said...

Pak Idrus
As said by Pak Zawi, and the others too, we never learn. We never want to learn. We never want to learn to learn! We never want to believe that in order to attract tourists, projects that are small can be beautiful, and those which potray traditional & indigenous culture can be very enticing. And we must believe that in whatever we do, we must ascertain cleanliness - physically & spiritually. I just wonder what is happending to the other toursim projects in Terengganu, including the crystal mosque.

Pak Idrus said...

Pat, thanks for the visit and the good words on the subject of this posting. As well sharing your thoughts on what the authority think about enjoyment in resorts area.

Folks goes to such places to enjoy life and like I had pointed out they want to enjoy the peace and tranquility of such places. In another words leave them alone to enjoy life the way they like best. Those people who put up those signage 'maksiat' does not really know what they are talking about or their minds are full of weird thinking and that includes thinking of Maksiat [evil and sinful] all the time. They seem to envy of others happiness and since they does not know of how to enjoy life they wanted other not to enjoy it as well. What a mindset that is.

No amount of such signage could solved the anti social problems of our youth especially those who are into drug and the Mat Rempit craze. It is because those youth have no place to enjoy and everything has been viewed as Maksiat that they had resort to other means of enjoying themselves like doing drug and the Mat Rempit [Motorcycle crazy race] activities which not only endangered themselves but other people as well.

To me those people who put up those signage have nothing else in their mind but thinking of Maksiat. That is the reason that they always think of the negativeness of others enjoyment rather than the positiveness of such enjoyment. Remember enjoyment is always about love and they seem not to want others to enjoy love. That is to me a rather naive thinking.

Well, that is our world and at time we have to live with it. In the meantime do enjoy life and just careless of what others think.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

louis, thanks for the return visit and sharing your new knowledge of what those singage means.

Thanks to technology you could easily got the translation of what Pat said and that saved me the trouble of explaining it.

To me it does not made any sense to put such signage for it does not do any good to anyone except to those folks with such weird thinking as well those who are paid to produce those signage.

So just forget about that and go on and enjoy life. Leave them in their world of their 'Maksiat' since they seem to enjoy it in their minds.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

xplorer, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting. Yes what the tourist need is simple. Provides Cleanliness and natural beauty and they would come to enjoy. At the same time it would help the local to prosper for tourists always spend money.

Putting huge building does not help at all. In fact it create more problem since such building need professional management and without it, it would be go to waste and eventually became an eyesore.

On my last visit I saw many buildings left to rots along the old road from Beserah up to Cherating. The reasons I think they never thought of proper management in the first place. It is not just about putting up a building but most of all is of how to manage it. Without professional management tourist would not come and eventually the place like what I had seen closed down.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

Temuk, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Well, it look like those in the authority made decision without really thinking much of what such project would do to the rakyaat. Like PakZawi said their interest is more in getting the project on, careless of whether it would benefit the rakyaat or not.

As for the millions of Ringgit spend on the Crystal Mosque project in Terenggannu that you mentioned, to me in the first instance Mosque should be build only for a religious purpose rather than for tourism. I think it is wrong to build mosque for tourism. What should be done is build mosque for it original purpose, for its religious need and if the mosque became an attraction to the tourists, then it is OK since it not only attract folks to do their religious obligation but it also attract others to the uniqueness of the religious institution. And not the other way around.

I am told that the Crystal mosque and the other mosque constructed on an island off Kuala Terenggganu does not get much attraction from tourists and it look like these project would be left to the elements and if not maintained would eventually left to rots.

To me the mindset of the planner must be change if we were to get better benefit from our tax ringgit. When are they going to learn I am still wondering.

Anyway do have a nice day.