Taman Esplanade (or "Esplanade Park") is located at Jalan Besar, beside the Kuantan River, and near the MPK ("Majlis Perbandaran Kuantan" or "Kuantan Municipal Council") headquarters building.
Across the road is the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, the big government hospital named after the late queen of Pahang.
In fact the esplanade or paved walkway ("Benteng" the Malays and Kuantan folks call them) along the Kuantan River is about a kilometer long, stretching from the Shahbandar Jetty, close to the MPK headquarters, across the new Laman Teruntum Park and ending at about the Megaview Hotel.
The Kuantan River from Taman Esplanade is about a kilometer or two away from the estuary to the South China Sea. Fishing boats can be seen to ply up and down the river at this point on their way to or way back from the Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan ("LKIM") facility just upriver.
This new Jalan Besar esplanade was renovated and built at a cost of more than RM3 million including the jetty. With lush palm trees and decorative lamp-posts lining the walkway, it makes for a very pleasant and relaxing walk, whether in the day-time or at night, especially with the delightfully cool and gentle breeze from the sea.
After the demolition of Medan Pelancong and its food stalls and retail shops, MPK has built a new landscaped park known as "Laman Teruntum" in its Place.
Here you will find another playground for children, and a dome shaped resting place as shade in case of rain or hot sun.
Taman Esplanade, being rather smack in town, is a popular playground for children, where playing facilities, like swings, see-saw, slides, and other climbing and exercise structures are available for children to release their boundless energies.
Adults and parents can sit and relax at the benches in the park or just take a slow walk along the esplanade and take in the cool sea and river breeze. (Of course, I did see old guys on the swings! Perhaps just to relive their younger days.)
This place is vibrant especially in the evenings and week-ends, when families and friends gather and enjoy the settings, some picnicking on the grass along the esplanade.
The esplanade adjoining this park is a great place to try your fishing skills, the river being deep enough for many kinds of fishes to congregate at the banks.
Memories of My Fishing Days
I remember well this place, because about thirty years ago, before the esplanade was renovated and upgraded, my uncle has a food-stall in the old Medan Pelancung food-court, where, as a bachelor working in Kuantan, I sometimes take my lunch and dinner.
My cousins (still young then) used to fish at the banks of the River using just fishing strings rolled around a tin can. I never fished before, and when I saw them catching the fishes, it looked rather exciting. And I initially joined them in the fishing, they letting me hold their fishing lines.
But, alas, for the good number of times I held the lines, I never caught a fish. So I bought a fishing rod to get better luck. I bought a cheap fishing rod at first, but when my fishing catches still came to nought, I bought more expensive ones.
I not only tried fishing at that riverbank, but, other "easy fishing spots" in Kuantan, like ponds and small rivers, but amazingly, with no luck.
In fact, I brought my fishing rods ( I had by then bought 3 expensive ones with the latest gears and special artificial baits) when I went to Taman Negara, paid for the fishing licence, but still never got a fish!
Well, after a few years of ill luck with fishing, I gave away my fishing rods and gears to my house-mate friends.
I have enough of the fishes being more intelligent than me!
And I’m sure I’d be fired by the third day if ever I’m employed as a fisherman!
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Although you can see people fishing during the day, this Kuantan River esplanade turns into a popular fishing spot at night, and you can see scores of people (including children ) lining the banks with their rods (and tin cans).
And the MPK frequently organizes and arrange fishing competitions on Saturday nights, as a leisurely and sporting pursuit for the Kuantan folks.
There is an old Muslim cemetery just beside Taman Esplanade, called the Cik Timah cemetery. There are about thirty old graves mostly located at a small corner of the wooden-fenced, but always opened, cemetery area.
Of course this Cik Timah cemetery is no more in use since decades ago, and other new Muslim burial grounds for Kuantan folks are located further inland.
This well-kept and serene cemetery is actually of historical importance to Kuantan and Pahang. The graves here are evidence that Kampung Teruntum, or Teruntum Village, the old name for Kuantan, existed.
Haji Senik, the founder of Kampung Teruntum, and his followers settled in the area near the estuary of the Teruntum river in the 1850’s and, besides fishing and trading, cultivated the marshes then existing at the current hospital site.
Munshi Abdullah, in his voyages, confirmed the early existence of Kuantan when he mentioned Kuantan in his writings in 1851.
Kuantan actually got its name from Kampung Kuantan in Sumatera, Indonesia, when Malays from there led by a Tuan Besar, opened a settlement at the upper part of Kampung Teruntum in 1854.
The place where they settled was called Kampung Kuantan, and it was eventually shortened to "Kuantan".
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From Taman Esplanade, you can go to the Shahbandar Jetty and take a fascinating river-cruise on the Kuantan River.
The day cruise is offered three times a day, and takes you to the Kuantan River estuary, then back up-river to the mangrove walkways and other attractive spots.
On Friday and Saturday nights, the special river-cruise will take you to the Kuantan River estuary and back, where you can watch the glittering night scene of Kuantan town, and feel the gentle breeze of the night.
Read more here on the fascinating river-cruise and mangroves.
There is a food court (Gerai Esplanade MPK) with various food stalls and eateries in the middle area of the esplanade, located just behind the retail stalls selling keropok, dodol, turtle eggs and other favorite local snacks.
The food court with its many stalls there offer a variety of local dishes, drinks, snacks and fried food. Nasi ayam, mee and kueh tiaw goreng and other fast cooking hot fried food can be had there.
Try the place anytime you’re hungry or thirsty, or when you wish to try a local dish, or after your river-cruise, or after your exhausting walk along the Kuantan river-bank.
Well, Taman Esplanade is a good location to relax and feel the breeze, with family and friends. Just watch the flow of the Kuantan River to its river-mouth, and the fishing boats plying the river.
So whenever you’re in Kuantan, and desire to calm your mind, come to Taman Esplanade by the Kuantan River, and relax.
Visit this Pahang Hotels and Resorts Directory for the list of hotels and resorts in Pahang.
As always, from me...