When I first search for places to go during this year end Christmas long weekend holiday, I was looking at some beaches along the East Coast. However due to year end monsoon where most beaches are closed for public, I then searched for what were the things to do in Kuantan as I was actually looking along Club Med which was popular for its kids friendly family holiday. However, due to our limited budget for the holiday, the searches somehow led me to Sungai Lembing.
Though it's called Sungai Lembing "river", however, what was popular there was actually a hill called Panorama Hill or Bukit Panorama. I was mesmerized with the images posted on TripAdvisor and Google pages on the beautiful views captured from the Panorama Hill.
It was after the visit to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, about another 2 hours' drive without traffic (182km), we moved on to Sungai Lembing.
If you don't want to wake up too early for the journey to the Panorama Hill, I would recommend staying near the hill. We stayed at a local friendly resort called Pollock Hill Resort, located just a few streets right next to the Panorama Hill. The resort has a few family rooms with double-decker beds and queen size bed, which are suitable for family stay. They also provide 24-hour free flow of white bread, butter, kaya and coffee. They also serve barbecue dinner with additional charges if you prefer a little barbecue party by the hill.
We started our journey at 5:30am the next morning in hope to catch the sunrise from the top. There were many others who started around the same time or earlier. There were steps of staircases, probably around 1000+ of them, however, were some resting huts and benches for those who needed to catch their breaths. It took us roughly 60 - 75 minutes to reach the top, including resting time along the way. It was about 10 minutes to sunrise (sun was expected to rise at 7:09am that day) when we finally reached to the hilltop.
The view from the hilltop was simply spectacular. By the last few steps before reaching the hilltop, we could hear people cheering with joy as if they made it to the heaven!! It was indeed a great once-in-a-lifetime experience that you would want to try at least once before you die : )