It was a much awaited break. Even the kids were aching for a holiday.
We left hazy, cloudy PJ on Friday. Caylee says, we left the cloud behind. In Kuantan, it was warm enough to assure her a swim was forthcoming. Weather was great - no rain and not too hot. Hot enough to warm the pool, yet not hot enough to make us sun burnt (much to hubby's chagrin). The kids had 100+ whenever they could. The best cooler when it comes to holiday sun and fun.
We stayed in Swiss Garden. The hotel was old, but I can say the service superceeded my expectation. We arriced at the hotel slightly over 2 pm thinking the room would be ready. After all it was supposed to be low peak being the puasa month. However, when I checked it which was a breeze, I heard the reception requesting house keeping to check on our room. She did all the paperwork and requested my handphone number. She also gave me 4 coupons for welcome drinks while we wait.
I was surprised when my phone rang some 20 minutes later. It was the front desk telling me that my room was ready. We went to collect the room cards and were told that the extra bed was on the way.
Point #1 for service beyond expectation. How often has front desk called you to tell you your room is ready?
Point #2 of service was the next morning when we left for breakfast. When we returned the room was already tidied up. And mind you, there was a 900+ church congregation staying in the hotel as well as other foreign guests. So, it was not really low peak. I discovered then that we were short of 1 towel. So told hubby to call house keeping. And they told us that they were aware of it and will give us the towel shortly. By the time we came back from our swim, the 3rd towel was already in the room.
Point #3 of service was during breakfast time. Apart from the 900+ congregation, given it was the weekend, more guests seemed to have arrived at the hotel. It was hard to find a place to sit for breakfast. In the end we managed to find a 2 person table and squeezed with the kids for breakfast. Hubby went to get some food. And as we were settling down, one of the captains came over and told us they found another table for us and proceeded to help us move everything to a proper 4 person table.
I think they really did their best. I am not sure though if during a PEAK PEAK time they would be able to satisfy, as much as they try.
Going on to Kuantan town itself - we didn't even venture there apart from trying to visit East Coast Mall for lunch. We wanted the kids a longer nap time too so moved around looking for parking. Not sure if coz it was going to be Raya but the mall was PACKED with shoppers. Not worth going at all. But Caylee was running out of clothes and she wanted a dress for dinner tonight. In the end ALL of us decided shopping sucks in Kuantan, best to spend time in the pool.
We hardly saw much of Kemaman town. I can only say that during the breaking of fast time the streets were seriously EMPTY! You could walk in the middle of the street and be fine.
I googled places to eat before going to Kuantan. In the end there were some places we did not get to try. We had to usual:
Hoi Yin Curry Mee/Kicap Mee/Sup Mee at Teluk Cempedak. Hubby said the curry gravy was thick. General taste OK. Strange they had no vege. Only chicken and fish cake. The kids and I had mee hoon soup. I loved it. The soup was flavourful without any thirsty feeling after. The shop people were also rather patient. I know this coz my son spilled his drink and my girl got wet. And the drink person straightaway took out a cloth and a mop to clean up while still fussing over my daughter and calming down my son. My daughter got a pencil to quieten her down as a result. Talk about being loud getting your way!
Dinner we went to Terminal Satay Zul, Jalan Teluk Sisek. It is at the traffic lights along the road, corner shop. I can say it was the best I have tasted to date! It had large chunks of meat, juicy and tender. Not too fatty or oily. Totally worth the visit. The kids had lots too. We had chicken, beef and mutton satay. That and some ketupat and we were done with dinner.
We went to Teluk Cempedak after that for some sea breeze and ice cream.
Next day lunch was at East Coast Mall - KFC.
In the evening we drove up to Kemaman to visit my aunt and uncle. Had Hai Peng coffee before going to their house. I bought Hai Peng coffee to take back as well for a friend and parents. They only have 2 in 1 or black coffee without sugar. The 2in1 cost RM25.90 while the only coffee cost RM28.90 for 25 packets. It mentions for the black coffee that you have to leave the bag int he cup for the entire duration of drinking to get the FULL ORIGINAL taste!!! The coffee tasted different. Something like Nescafe Gold - with the roasted flavour. I found out later that my tar pau coffee was free! :)
For dinner we had the famous stuffed crab and fish balls in Tong Juan Restaurant. It is along the same road as Hai Peng by the river. It was a simple dinner and rice for the kids with vege at last.
Next to Tong Juan, there is this shop selling crackers and all kinds of sea food. My aunty recommended the place. She knows the owner and thus vouches for the quality of the stuff being sold there. We bought crackers and dried salted fish. The ikan bilis looked good too but I still has alot at home.
We were also looking for keropok lekor but never got the timing right since it was puasa. In the end we managed to locate a shop on the way to Kuantan from our hotel which was open and had lekor for sale. According to my aunty the shops outside Kemaman town on the way to Kuantan called Delima is quite good.
Our last lunch in Kuantan was in Jess Cafe at Jalan Seri Kuantan 80. Famous for their Hakka yong tau fu. We also had their ice kacang and coffee. The yong tau fu was indeed quite good and very huge. The kids had pizza.
Christopher had a break through this holiday. He has conquered his fear of the beach at last. We managed to play and jump and kick at the water edge while in Teluk Cempedak. And the next day we built sand castles at the beach outside the hotel. I was so proud and happy for him. I also thought him how to blow bubbles when his head is under water. And he is able to kick while on the float and keep his head under water comfortably for a longer time. His confidence in the water has increased so much so I feel very strongly it is time for him to learn swimming.
Caylee has no fear for the beach. But what struck me as comical for this girl was that while we were at the beach, she would refuse to sit on the sand. She would dust her shoes and sit on them or on the bag that I used to put their sand castle toys. When nearing the water edge, she would automatailly hold up her shorts so that it wouldn't get wet. I never taught her all these things. And I did not do it while I was at the beach. I just sat on the sand and let my shorts get wet. But this girl.....
All in all, I would say that, for me, this holiday was the most relaxing I had since I had kids. I felt like I was in a totally different mind set. My whole body felt at ease. It must have been the pace of life or the great time we had with family there or the sea breeze or the lack of jams. But to me, there is something almost soothing being in Kuantan. I lived here for 2 years - Std 6 and Form 1 and can understand again why Kuantan holds a special place in my memory. We will definitely be back for more....