Cherating is the only real backpacker hub at the east coast of the peninsula on the mainland. Offering plenty of affordable chalets and a relaxed atmosphere, it is good place to stop for a night or two on the way up or down the east coast. The beach itself is not that spectacular and misses the palm directly at the beach. But it has a good vibe and few things you can do like taking a tour or renting a kayak up the river into the mangroves. There is also an active surfer scene when the waves are right. Cherating is located about 30km or 1h by local bus north of Kuantan.
Kuantan is the largest city of the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia with a population of about half a million. It is also the capital of the state of Pahang.
Kuantan is located about halfway between Singapore (to the south) and Kota Bahru (to the north). The city is situated at the coast of the South China Sea near the mouth of the Kuantan River. The city is not a major tourist destination, rather a stopover point for island destinations (Tioman, Redang, Perhentians, etc.) along the East Coast. From Kuantan you can also also reach the popular beach in Cherating in less than an hour with the local Bus.