So, we were very much looking forward to our first real vacation of the year! With a handful of big changes happening in the household this year, we were hoping to save up a little and thus only planned on visiting nearby countries for the time being. Yet, we still wanted to go somewhere where we knew the kids would have a blast and the four of us could enjoy some quality bonding time as a family before the baby comes along.
Now, how does an all-inclusive holiday in a kampong-style beach resort sound? The only word I could think of was heavenly. Can you guess where I am referring to? Yes, we were going to visit Club Med Cherating Beach! After our fantastic experience in Club Med Bintan last year, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit Club Med again and couldn't wait to set off right away!
According to Google Maps, the shortest route would be to drive via E2 towards Kuala Lumpur and then through Lebuhraya Segamat along Route 12. To guide you along the way, you can download the Sygic app on your mobile which will enable offline GPS navigation.
So despite not getting off to a great start, we heaved a sigh of relief and were too happy beyond words when we finally arrived at Club Med Cherating Beach at 6:30pm. Woohoo! It's definitely better to be late than never and we were thankful that the holiday could go on as planned. For the record, I do think that driving up here is a good option if you wish to save up on air tickets and don't mind a bit of a ride. Just make sure that the car is in good condition, set off early and have some breaks along the way especially if you have young kids.
About Club Med Cherating Beach
Cherating is a beach town in Pahang, Malaysia, located about 47 km north of Kuantan. It has a cultural village, a turtle sanctuary and is one of the wettest places in Malaysia with heavy rainfall all year round. If you are flying to Club Med Cherating Beach, the nearest airport would be Kuantan Airport and it would take you a 45-minute shuttle to get to the resort.
Club Med Cherating Beach is said to be a tropical Eden in a protected jungle area by the South China Sea. For those who don't know, it is Asia's first Club Med and is now a 5-star all-inclusive beach resort since its reopening in 2004. As Club Med's first eco-nature resort, it includes 80 hectares of tropical forest and four kilometres of pristine beach. If you and your family are nature lovers, then this can be considered as a holiday paradise.
What struck me first about the resort was how the bungalows were built of timber and perched on wooden stilts, how traditional in style, right? Although the resort goes under refurbishment nearly every year, I am glad that they still retain the kampong look and feel though I can imagine how much time and effort go into maintenance alone. The corridors also seem to be never-ending and I found out with fascination that Club Med Cherating Beach boasts the longest building on stilts with a 850-metre long corridor in the Guinness World Records.
The Gentil Organisateurs (GOs) who welcomed us told us that we had to keep our room doors locked, not just shut, at all times because we would be surrounded by macaques and these monkeys had mastered the art of opening doors, climbing up balconies and getting into rooms. Sounds frightening? Well, we thought it was more amusing but then again, we never did see any near our room though we saw a few in the main building. Nonetheless, we did spot several monitor lizards right below where we stayed, which thrilled the kids every time. Abundant wildlife, tranquil natural surroundings, peace and quiet relaxation coupled with fun-filled, exciting activities - these are just some reasons that make Club Med Cherating Beach such an appealing destination filled with the wonders of nature.
- Bathroom & Shower
- In-room safe
- Iron and ironing-board
- U.S. electrical plugs / 220 Volts
- Separate toilets
Sports and Outdoor Activities
-> Flying trapeze and bungee bounce
We signed Angel up for the Mini Club, which is included in the stay package, and children aged 4 to 10 can join in activities including sports, cooking, art and craft, dance, show performance, and even have lunch and dinner with newfound friends and GOs.
I was really looking forward to letting her try out new experiences like kayaking and treetop adventure but was informed by the GOs that these activities were meant for children aged 6 and above, and even though she was only two months short of turning 6, she would not be allowed to take part. Oh well, I guess that's just a reason for us to come back again next time, right?
Did she pluck up enough courage to go on the trapeze again (remember she went on her first try in Bintan last year and had a meltdown just before that)? Well, yes she did, and not just once but twice this time round. No tears, no fear, no meltdown, no tantrums. Just confidence, faith and perseverance. Mummy is proud of you and you did a most awesome job, my dear! I dare say that tall ladder was enough to make many kids pee in their pants and psssst, even I might not be as brave as you when I was your age. (I'll be sharing a video clip in the second post, so do look out for that.)
Yay! The big girl managed to hook her legs onto the trapeze and let go of her hands, even if was just for a few seconds!
In addition, the girls were also excited that they got to go on the bungee bounce and have some bouncy fun! Angel went really, really high up! As for Ariel, well she could only jump on the trampoline since she was too small to fit into the harness but in spite of that and the fact that they had to take turns, both of them couldn't stop laughing whenever they went on it!
The swimming pool and hot tub are ideally located in the centre of the resort and come equipped with deckchairs and parasols. The deep pool is 1.2m and there are also shallow pools to cater to the needs of the little ones. Even though there are no slides or play structures, you can let the kids bring along their own beach toys and have a ball of a time here.
There is also a Zen Pool located at Pantai Beach which overlooks the South China Sea but alas that is strictly for guests aged 18 and above, so we had to give that a pass this time round.
I kind of like sports which require a good aim, which was why I became the softball pitcher and darts captain back in university. So, I was naturally interested in archery too and was glad that the hubby and I managed to shoot some arrows together. Oh yeah, since being 24 weeks pregnant meant I had to give up on the flying trapeze (which I really wanted to try) and other strenuous sports, so archery seemed like the next best option for me.
Kids aged 6 and above will be able to learn about the sport during the Mini Club activities but if your kid is not signed up, you can also find out about the archery timings and determine which 'kid' or 'family' session you can attend. The GOs were kind enough to let Angel have a go too, with guidance and help from the hubby, which was a first experience for the big girl.
Though the little one could not participate, she was happy to help with the picking up of the arrows! Do note that no one is to pass the yellow line and enter the shooting arena before the GOs give permission and since this sport can be a little dangerous with the heavy bows and sharp arrows, always keep a lookout and make sure your child does not wander off on his/her own.
-> Jungle Walk
When we read that there was a jungle walk which we could explore, my little nature lovers were thrilled and we knew that there was no way we were going to miss out on this. So on the second day morning after breakfast, we armed ourselves with caps, sunscreen and mosquito repellent and were all set for the adventure.
It was a bright, sunny day and I loved how we were the only ones exploring the trail and we stopped to admire everything we saw, including grasshoppers, fishes, dragonflies, squirrels and monitor lizards.
I have to say that there were indeed plenty of mosquitoes here and we had to constantly flap our arms and legs in an attempt to chase them away, which did not succeed by the way. Eventually, all of us got bitten and Ariel even had a bite at the side of her eye which swelled up the next day. Yes, makes me wonder if the repellent serves any purpose. Nonetheless, we still enjoyed every bit of the walk and I'm just glad that these two didn't complain about the itch, heat or creepy crawlies but kept a curious, open mind throughout.
-> Indoor activities
If the weather is not good or if you just don't feel like being under the sun, rest assured that there are many indoor activities to choose from too. These include sports like squash, badminton and table tennis or leisure activities like mahjong and karaoke. If you have the extra money to spare, you can also indulge in a luxurious spa session at the wellness centre.
Moving on, it's time for us to tuck in and show you one of the highlights of a Club Med holiday - the glorious food! By now, you do know that one of the most enjoyable parts of a stay in Club Med is how you can feast like kings and queens, enjoy widespread buffets and sumptuous à la carte meals which are all included in your package, right?
-> The Mutiara
The main dining restaurant is The Mutiara which is conveniently located around the pool. It has a cosy interior and is fully air-conditioned with tables to sit two to right people. High chairs and booster seats are available and there is also a baby corner where parents can prepare meals for the little ones.
There is a wide range of cuisine to choose from, including Chinese, Indian, Western, Korean and Japanese. At every station, there will be a staff to assist you should you need any help. The Mutiara was where where we had most of our meals, including our daily breakfasts and dinners on most days. Sometimes, the friendly GOs would also join in and sit with us, and we loved making new friends and learning about more the Club Med culture too.
The hubby was happy to see that congee was served and so he would pick his own condiments and make a bowl of congee for the kids every time. For breakfast, you get most of the usual offerings like hash browns, eggs, pancakes, sausages, bacon, pastry and so on.
Dinner was a tad more exciting and we would be interested to find out what dishes were being served every night. The hubby liked the freshly fried tenggiri fish while one of my favourites was the duck confit served with chutney and red cabbage. We have to frankly say that although we did enjoy the spread of food, it would not be true to say that they can match up to the cuisine you find in a Michelin starred restaurant. So, you learn to appreciate the variety more than the taste and we were just thankful to know that there was always something to eat somewhere in Club Med.
And what delighted the kids most? Why, desserts of course! Actually, I really mean ice cream. If you have a sweet tooth, you will be happy to know that there is a wide selection of desserts for you to choose from and for the more health conscious, there's always the fresh fruits section too.
-> The Rembulan
The Noodle Bar is an addition to the main restaurant and welcomes guests from 2.45-6.00 pm and from 9.45-11.30pm. Yes, even at these odd timings, you would still be able to enjoy a hot bowl of noodles. Initially, we did not plan to eat at the noodle bar but on one evening, we had to be out for a tour by 6:45pm and the GOs advised us to have an early dinner at the Noodle Bar since the Mutiara was not yet opened. And boy, we were so glad we came!
Nonetheless, we were very pleased with what we ordered and I particularly liked my curry udon! Oh, you can choose the type of noodles you desire for your dish, including yellow noodles, kuay teow, rice noodles and udon. The girls were also delighted with their fishball noodles and gobbled up every bit of it. As for the hubby, he said the spicy prawn noodles were really very spicy but nonetheless ate it all up. In fact, he requested for a second bowl without the chilli oil so it was less spicy and between the two of us, we finished everything! Yummy!
GIVING OUR FAMILY ALL THESE HAPPY, PRECIOUS MEMORIES!
29th miles, Jalan Kuantan-Kemamam
26080 Kuantan Pahang Darul Makmur
Phone: 1800 2582633
To find out more about Club Med Cherating Beach, visit their website or Facebook page. Parents with little ones can also sign them up for the Baby Club Med (4 to 23 months) or Petit Club Med (2 to 3), however these are optional and come at extra cost. Advance booking is advised. For more information, go here.
Disclosure: This is Part I of a two-part series of conversations between Club Med and A Happy Mum. We were sponsored a 4D3N resort stay in Club Med Cherating Beach in writing this review. All opinions are our own.