Words and photos by Lynn Zubir
Pekan, the royal town of Pahang Darul Makmur, is a place that I fell in love with when I first step foot on it recently. I arrived to take up a new job after a 45-minute flight from Kuala Lumpur and another 30-minute drive by car from Kuantan airport.
AnCasa Royale Pekan is the only 4-star hotel sitting along the Pekan – Kuantan highway. You can’t miss this seven-storey hotel that stands like a landmark that beacons anyone to come in.
It is quite a surprise to imagine a small town like Pekan having a luxury 4-star hotel waiting to greet you; the attractive interior deco with its light, hip touches and socially conscious theme throughout. Well, here’s my first impression of Pekan that I like to share.
According to the local folklore, Pekan got its name from a flower of the same name that used to grow wild on the banks of Pahang River. The flower is said to be white as Jasmine.
Pekan is rich in history, being the oldest town in Pahang that existed since the 17th century. The villagers at Kampong Mengkasar, about one kilometre from Pekan, are direct descendants of Tok Tuan from Makassar in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Among its well-known son was the late Tun Abdul Razak, the second Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Whilst settling down at my new nest, I cannot help but to explore this unique and serene town that reminded me of my childhood days where I grew up with my family in a small village. Being me, I have always loved historical and cultural artefacts for they all have an interesting story of its own.
The Sultan Abu Bakar Museum serves as a repository of well-documented exhibits with detailed information on the rich history of Pahang. The museum is situated in the town centre. The white building housing the museum was imposing and majestic, with a distinctive British colonial architecture. It used to be the official residence of a British Resident in the late 1920s and later was the official palace of Sultan Abu Bakar. I would give a thumbs-up as a must-visit place as it is one of the best museums I have visited so far.
Another favourite attraction is definitely the Royal Pahang Silk Weaving Centre in Kampong Pulau Keladi, a small fishing village. Silk weaving is a traditional skill handed down several generations in the past 200 years. I had a great time watching the lady folks weaving and eventually bought several silk-framed handicraft to bring home.
Next to the centre is the Watercraft Gallery. It is worth a visit to get to know the various water crafts that were used as mode of transport in the past along Pahang River.
The Tun Razak Memorial Hall is yet another interesting historical site to visit. The house where the late Tun Razak was born was rebuilt on its original site in the exact style. The house, measuring a petite 8.5 metres by 14.15 metres, offers a mesmerizing insight into a typical Malay village house at the turn of the century. It took my breath away and suddenly I felt like missing my childhood days staying in my little grandmother’s house.
While in Pekan, do not miss the famous delicacy Puding Raja or Royal Pudding that is only available here. True to its acclaim, I went round looking for it and tasted it on the very first day in Pekan. Another famous and most talked about snack is Murtabak. It is not like any ordinary murtabak that we had in any other mamak shops or pasar malam. The taste and the ingredients used are different. I have to admit folks.. now I am addicted to it. You would too if you try, mark my word!