While the capital of Pahang is of less historical interest than many of Malaysia's state capitals, Kuantan is the entry point for many of Pahang's peerless beach resorts.
Twenty-five kilometers northwest of Kuantan, the Charah caves are the site of a revered Buddhist sanctuary. The caves continue to serve as solitary meditation retreats for Buddhist monks and nuns. Visitors may explore some of the caves and gorges, including one that houses an impressive stone sculpture of the reclining Buddha. Along the road that leads to Gua Cherah is the Panching Cave, a limestone cavern that contains an enormous (9-meter) statue of the reclining Buddha. Just before noon, sunlight streaks from an aperture in the cave's roof and floods the statue.
A hundred kilometers south of Kuantan is Tasik Chini. The thirteen fresh-water lakes that make up Tasik Chini are steeped in myths and mysteries, from the requisite stories of monsters in the lakes to legends of an ancient Khmer city on the site. Local stories assert that the mythical city would escape attack by sinking into the lake. The latter tale has attracted archaeologists to Tasik Chimi, and structures have indeed been located on the bottom of the lake. Even if such evocations of Loch Ness and Atlantis leave you cold, the region's natural beauty is more than sufficient reason to visit. Between August and September, pink and white lotus flowers cover the surface of the water.