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Have you ever considered a solo Kayaking adventure as a Muslimah in Cherating River, Malaysia?
A location known as Malaysia’s surfing capital, this article by Muslimah Solo Traveler Farihah will share with you what to expect, what to prepare (mentally and physically), and more on a solo day trip to Cherating!
- Why Solo Kayaking in Cherating, Kuantan?
- Long Paddle To The Rescue!
- Benefits and Drawbacks of Solo Kayaking in Cherating River – Review as a Muslimah Solo Traveler:
- River Kayaking Essentials for the Muslimah Solo Travelers
Why Solo Kayaking in Cherating, Kuantan?
Initially, I wanted to do a stand-up paddle board at Cherating Beach, but the sun was way up in my face when I arrived at 9:30 a.m. (so late!)
So I changed my mind and explored the nearby shops along the stretch of Cherating Beach until I figured self-adventure Kayaking was offered!
After asking the receptionist (also a fellow Muslimah) if the activity was available, she said, “Yes, but without a guide.” I went in for a Solo Kayaking adventure as a Muslimah in Cherating, Kuantan.
P/s: This was located at the back of Cherating Beach.
As it was my first time kayaking solo in a flowing river, the guide, Mizi, told me how to move the paddles – to the front, back, reverse, and recenter.
But… I failed twice!
That was even after my instructor sat in the front seat of my kayak as a real-life demonstration to help me succeed in my self-adventure kayaking in Cherating River.
Failures because of the current
I failed mainly because I was moving up against the current, which was super strong, considering it was in the morning, when the tide was the highest, flowing from the river towards the sea.
The short paddles didn’t help either. My kayak was already the best of its kind — according to the villager I met 2 km ahead from the jetty I embarked from.
Long Paddle To The Rescue!
Concerned, my local instructor gave me a long paddle, seeing how much I struggled with the shorter ones.
He even gave me more tips:
- Not to be right in the center, as that’s where the current is the strongest.
- Kayak at the sides, but not too near to the mangroves as that’s where the wildlife is (spoiler alert: more in the coming paragraphs!)
Benefits and Drawbacks of Solo Kayaking in Cherating River – Review as a Muslimah Solo Traveler:
There are a couple of pros and cons when you try to go on a Solo Kayaking adventure in Cherating River Kuantan
Watch Nature Up Close
One of the Hidden gems in Cherating is the pristine white beaches and the wildlife calling the nature system their sanctuary.
Because of the kayaking experience, I managed to encounter the mangrove forest system and saw a monitor lizard (two actually) swimming! One was climbing up to the muddly soil, so that was a sight that was just unexplainable. You have to see it in real life.
Thrilling Expedition in the Wild Mangroves
The reward of spontaneous animal spotting makes it truly one of the Best Solo Kayaking in Cherating River.
But another unique find when cruising along the mangrove river system was the notices of “Dilarang Masuk” (Do not Enter) signages.
The guides did warn me that I might see snakes or monitor lizards or otter (memerang in Malay) if I were too close to the mangrove roots, so I was advised to stay as much to the middle but still nearby to the right as the current’s far too strong in the middle.
Experience a Different Way To Enjoy The River
The usual way people would naturally enjoy the river is via a boat, but when you kayak, you experience the river in a different view.
That is what I felt when I tried Solo Kayaking in Cherating River Kuantan. When you kayak, you get to stop whenever, for as long as you want, and you can enjoy the pace that feels natural to immerse in the river journey.
Unlike a boat ride, sometimes you don’t have enough time to look at something as a boat has already passed through what caught your eye in a blink.
Test Your Solo Adventure Abilities & Get Over Your Solo Fearful Abilities
Nothing is scarier than going on an adventure, especially in the wildlife, on your own!
But River Kayaking in Cherating is a great way to test your solo adventure abilities, especially if you’re the kind of traveler who is drawn to wildlife and what’s off the grid and wants to try something else besides the usual water sports in Cherating, like surfing and stand up paddle board by the beach.
Before the kayaking adventure, I even asked my guide if my phone would have no signal – they assured me the river is a route they’re familiar with, and going off the grid (signal-wise) was never the case before.
While initially you would be clouded with a large loom of fear, the fear immediately disappears once you slowly pick up the courage to paddle more.
Another example of a fearful moment to overcome was when approaching a large body of water; I could feel that I needed extra arm strength (which was my weakest) as I would have to paddle against the current because, truly, you don’t want to be swept away to the sea.
In contrast to stand-up paddle board, kayaking requires upper body strength. Stand up paddle board requires lower body strength, so if you have muscular calves, the latter might suit you.
But as I followed the instructions of my instructors of (1) not going too close to the middle of the sea and (2) exchanging my paddle with a longer one, I managed to overcome the challenge – which presents fear altogether!
Post-kayaking – Nature-ly fulfilled but Cramps Legs and sore Arms!
Post-Solo Kayaking in Cherating River Kuantan, there were two things that I felt:
- Cramped thighs from sitting in the kayak too long
- Arms hurting like crazy (my arms are my weakest core; this might not be the case for you if you have strong hands)
- Sunburnt at my wrists and my ankles! Because these areas weren’t thoroughly protected. Although the weather was said to be 30 degrees, with the humidity and all, it felt like 37!
⭐️ MST Tip: Ready your upper body strength for lots of paddling.
To help you prep for your solo River Kayaking in Cherating or anywhere in sunny climates, here are some kayaking essentials we recommend for Muslimah Solo Travelers.
River Kayaking Essentials for the Muslimah Solo Travelers
- Dry Bag – for all your essentials on Amazon or Shopee
- Waterproof Cover for your Phone (because we need to take selfies in the middle of the river) on Amazon or Shopee
- Strap for your glasses on Amazon or Shopee
- Bucket Hat (this is our favorite one!) on Amazon or Shopee
- Wet Shoes (must-have for Water Sports Lovers) on Amazon or Shopee
- UV Wet Suit (to protect your skin from UV ray penetration) on Amazon or Shopee
- Sunscreen (we love this brand – it’s award-winning for a reason!) on Amazon or Shopee
- Aloe Vera (in case some parts of your body were burnt, like the palms of your hands) on Amazon or Shopee
Wrap-Up: Solo Kayaking in Cherating River – Review as a Muslimah Solo Traveler
There you have it, our review of what it’s like to go on a Muslim-friendly Solo Kayaking Adventure in Cherating River, Kuantan, Malaysia.
If you are thinking about visiting Malaysia anytime soon, check out this complete guide of Muslim-friendly Malaysia: Perfect Destination for First-Timer and Seasoned Muslimah Solo Travelers!