"The city is so named due to its location near the mouth of the Kemaman River, where taxes and charges were imposed on river traffic, especially during the British colonial period. Cukai is the largest city in southern Terengganu and its location between the capital cities of Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu and its proximity to the oil city of Kerteh have made Cukai an important commercial center for the region."
In Malaysia you regularly see a city / village in different ways
written. So you can't literally find the city you're looking for on your roadmap, don't despair, one or two print difference doesn't matter in Malaysia.
Chukai is written with “h” on one road sign and without. That Cukai is also called Kemaman is because it used to be two small villages, which have now grown together into one town.
Malaysia is divided into provinces, each with its own government and those provinces are divided into districts. Cukai is located in the Kemaman district, which is probably why the locals always talk about Kemaman and not about Cukai.
Cukai is a 15-minute drive from Cherating and an hour from Kuantan. We think it is a nice town and for us, from Paka, it is a 45 minute drive, so a very nice alternative to the “big” city of Kuantan. A whole street with new shops opened in Cukai last year. You can browse around in all those shops. For the less adventurous eaters, you also have a Pizza Hut and a KFC here.
There is still a lot of construction going on, so I wonder what more stores will come.
Cukai has a "megamall" called Center Point, which is called The Store. This one
retail chain can be found all over Malaysia. The megamall is not very special. There are many shops in the complex empty, but there is one shop, which we visit every time. That's the “Kemaman Music Center”, the shop is on the right at the official entrance. If you can't find him, just go with the sound! This store is known throughout the area for the good quality of illegal DVDs. You pay a little more than on the street, but the quality is always good.
Down in the basement of the megamall you have shops with sarongs and batik slaps. Here they also sell the original Malaysian batik cloths of the brand “Noor Arfa”.
When we are in Cukai, we always have a coffee first at “Hai Peng Kopitiam”. Hai Peng Kopitiam is “the” coffee house of Cukai. Here you can drink the most delicious coffee and also have a bite to eat. The “Pasta Vongole” is “pedas”, but very tasty. Pedas is the Malay word for "hot".
This street, Jalan Sulaimani, has many shops. Only when you enter such a store do you see what they have there. That is often a lot !! Just down that street, you have the only shop in Cukai where you can buy alcohol.
Just past this shop you have the wetmarket of Cukai, nice to walk over. They also sell wicker baskets there, at least when we were there once. Next to the wetmarket is the taxi rank.
Still further down that street you have “Restoran Tong Juan”, when I type that name I already get water in my mouth. The Chinese restaurant is known for its “Stuffed Crab”, but the other dishes they serve here are also fine. Just have a look at their website
The bus terminal
But Cukai has more to offer. You can walk along the river behind the bus station. Nice view over the river with all those boats on the water. There behind the bus station you can eat at the “foodstalls”. We always buy our food from stalls where it is busy. We assume that the locals know where they are going to eat. And you know that the food is never there for long. Usually, your food is prepared while you wait.
We have not yet been ill in Malaysia, so I still have the Kruidvat “Diarrhea Inhibitor” in the cupboard unused.
We were always asked: “Have you seen the giant fish behind the Chinese temple? They are in a concrete container and are 2 meters long !! ”
We got very curious, so we started looking for these giant fish. Hard to find, but very special !!
After a lot of searching we suddenly saw, in a very small street, the Chinese Temple. We go inside, nothing special in the temple. A Chinese man who was working in the temple said to us, "Fish, fish?"
Every "white" who walks here comes for those fish, because there is really nothing else. The “fish” turned out to be behind the temple in an old shed. We went inside and indeed two huge fish “swam” into a huge concrete tank with a piece of mesh over it. They didn't have much room to move, so actually very pathetic. We had never seen such huge fish.
At Christmas we were at the Kuala Lumpur Zoo and there we saw those fish again. They are “Arapaima Gigas” and they can hold 4! meters long. Cukai is located in Terengganu province, one of two provinces in Malaysia, where Muslims from the conservative PAS party sit in the local government. The weekend in this province is on Friday and Saturday. Many shops and restaurants are closed on Fridays, so not a good day to explore Cukai.
Kemaman Music Store
Hai Peng Kopitiam, the Coffee House
Shop, where you can buy alcohol drinks
Restaurant Tong Juan
Walking path along the river
Chinese temple with interesting fish
Street with new shops
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