It is the beautiful sandy beaches, the simple contented Kampung life and the view of coconut trees along the coastal line that attract me to the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia again and again. It gives me a sense of peace, serenity and relax. I used to enjoy driving along the coastal road there many years ago as back then there were not many cars on the mostly straight road which is a stark contrast to what I see today.
One of the places that I have been to is Kijal, which is a small town in southern Terengganu Malaysia. Most people would probably know this place because of the Awana Kijal Golf & Beach Resort, the only luxury resort in this place and a stop over point for Star Cruise.
Three things I enjoyed doing here: (1) wake up early in the morning and stroll along the beach (2) lie down on the beach listening to the wave of the sea and (3) hunt for local food.
As Kijal is a very small town, there are not many choices in term of food around the area. There are a few shops at the entrance of the Awana Kijal Resort where one could find KFC and a couple of restaurants there.
The nearest town, which is also a better place to eat, is Chukai in Kemaman. The place is well known for its coffee and stuffed baked crab.
If you are traveling from Kuala Lumpur via the Karak Highway, you will pass by Chukai before reaching Kijal and I suggest that you take a coffee break there at Chukai for a good refresh. There is one coffee shop in the middle of the town that is always crowded during the afternoon tea break. It serves local coffee, Vietnam coffee and several other types of coffee and tea, as well as the traditional kaya and butter toast and other local delicacies. This is a must try if you are in this area. The address of the coffee shop is: Kedai Kopi Hai Peng, Jalan Sulaimani, Kemaman, Terengganu
Chukai is also well known for stuffed baked crab but I didn't find it that great maybe because of an unpleasant customer service and inflated pricing in my opinion. There is a couple of restaurants on the same row of shops that sell stuffed baked crab; the one that I've been to is Restoran Tong Juan at K-117 Jalan Sulaimani, Kemaman, Terengganu. The next time I am here, I would probably try the restaurant next door which is Restoran Malaysia at K-115, Jalan Sulaimani, Kemaman, Terengganu to confirm my opinion about the food.
Besides the above, one must also try the Keropok Lekor, Satar and Nasi Dagang that are sold at roadside stalls.