|Terengganu is one of the Malaysian states which is endowed with a wealth of charming and refreshing natural landscapes. She has beaches, exotic islands, lush virgin tropical jungle, quaint fishing villages, dazzling waterfalls and many, many more. Her miles and miles of white, sandy beaches and crystal clear water stretches throughout its 225 km coastline, extending from Besut in the north to Kemaman in the south. Her islands are among the most picturesque and fascinating in the country. From its myriad of colourful pastimes which include batik printing and songket weaving to the rapturous celebration of its many generations of cultural and traditional heritage, Terengganu is indeed a very blessed state.
Terengganu's population,which stands at approximately 1 million people, consists of 90% Malays, with the rest being made up of Chinese and Indians. The pace of life in Kuala Terengganu, its state capital, and all the towns and villages in Terengganu is unhurried and unaffected by the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Terengganu's history goes back to as far as the 1st century and has long been an important area of Malay settlement. Throughout the time up to the present day, Terengganu has been ruled by 16 Sultans.
|In and around Kuala Terengganu|
Visitors to the Waterfront of Kuala Terengganu will be in awe of and fascinated by the hustle and bustle of activities taking place there. Stroll down the waterfront and watch fishmongers haggling for the price of fish and other seafood, or take a boat ride to one of the many beautiful surrounding islands. Another appealing alternative is to take a passenger boat to Seberang Takir, where the most incredible view of the South China Sea can be seen.
Batik painting is an exquisite and delicate art which requires skill, patience and meticulousness. In batik painting, brightly coloured floral motifs are painted in stages onto dyed cloths. Songket, a piece of dyed silk material weaved with gold and silver threads, is the clothing for royalties, and Malay brides and grooms at their weddings. It is also often worn during special ceremonies and occasions such as on Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (The celebration which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month). There are many Batik and Songket Centres in and around Kuala Terengganu which produce and sell batik and songket.
Bukit Puteri is a 200 m high historical hill, situated next to Istana Maziah. It was used as a fortress between the years of 1831 to 1876 to defend the state from enemy attacks. Some of the historical remains which can be seen on Bukit Puteri are cannons, a flagpole, a large bell and a fort. Today, as it is the highest point in Kuala Terengganu, visitors standing on top of Bukit Puteri can witness the magnificent view of the areas sur-rounding it.
Istana Maziah is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. It was built in 1897 to replace the Istana HijalJ which was burned down during World War II. Located next to Bukit Puteri, it is the venue for royal birthdays, weddings, conferment of titles and receptions for local and foreign dignitaries. A product of the blend between splendid modern and traditional architecture, it is also well-known as one of Malaysia's cultural attractions.
The Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah, located outside Kuala Terengganu is just 4.5km away. This is no ordinary mosque but said to be the only one of its kind in Malaysia. Combining modern and traditional architectural desighs, the mosque creates an illusion of itself as floating on water.
The Central Market, or locally known as Pasar Payang which is located by the Terengganu River is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kuala Terengganu. Housed in a modern building complete with a shopping arcade and a car park, it offers visitors a variety of traditional handicrafts such as batik, silk, songket, brocade and brassware, other fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and 'Keropok Lekor', which is a special local delicacy made from a mixture of fish and sago. Visitors to this market will have a delightful experi-ence shopping in local fares at reasonable prices.
Desa Craft, formerly known as Usaha Desa, is an interes-ting handicraft centre which showcases songket, brassware, batik, souvenir items and also fashion wear of current batik designs. This centre was developed by the Terengganu State Economic Develop-ment Corporation (SEDC) as part of its effort to promote Kuala Terengganu as a popular tourist destination.
Pulau Duyung is the most well-known boat building ground in Terengganu. There, you can see boats being made by skilled boat builders who implement skills which have been passed down from generation to generation. Boat building is an art form therefore the boat builders take pride in their skill. The boat builders are unique, for they work entirely from their memory and experience, and without any set plans. Pulau Duyung is also renowned for its dried and salted fish, and fish crackers industries. It is easily accessible by the Sultan Mahmud Bridge, or for those who enjoy using sea transportation, take a boat from the Kuala Terengganu waterfront.
Chendering, located approximately 6 km from Kuala Terengganu, is the site of the Malaysian Handicraft Centre. The centre offers visitors a wide variety of Malaysian handicraft and also an insight into handicraft making. Some of the exquisite items which can be found here are songket, batik, vases, and mats, hats, wallets and bags made from pandanus leaves. Visitors will also get a chance to witness first hand the skills of local artisans in songket weaving, batik painting, basket weaving, etc.
Located approximately 55 km from Kuala Terengganu, the Kenyir Lake is reputed to be one of the largest and most fascinating man-made lake in the world. Covering an area of 369 sq km, it is also Malaysia's largest rock-filled hydroelectric dam. When the area was inundated by water, most of the hills were above the water level, thus creating about 340 man-made islands. Surrounded by a lush tropical jungle, the Kenyir Lake is a popular and ideal retreat for nature lovers, anglers, photo enthusiasts and fun seekers. Some of the activities which could be carried out here are fishing, swimming, canoeing, boating and jungle trekking. Due to the cleanliness of the lake and abundance of food supply, the Kenyir Lake has a wide variety of fresh water fish such as Baung, Toman, Kelisa and Lampam. Accommodation such as houseboats, floating chalets and lakeside resorts are also available to visitors.
A highly exciting destination for nature lovers and the adventurous, Pasir Raja is blessed with clean, fresh air, countless wildlife, magnificent flora and fauna, numerous winding streams, rapids and a waterfall. It is a perfect setting for jungle trekking, swimming and relaxing.
The sight of water gushing and falling from a high altitude and the sound of rushing water is a very pleasurable experience. A favourite retreat for visitors and locals alike, the Sekayu Waterfalls with its seven cascades are surrounded by its natural landscape of lush jungle-clad hills, a fruit orchard, a mini zoo, a bird park, a flower garden and countless species of flora and fauna. Various facilities such as shelters, changing rooms, chalets and a resthouse have also been provided for the visitors' convenience. Located within the Sekayu Recreational Forest in Kuala Berang, it is only a 56 km drive from Kuala Terengganu, and about 45 minutes drive through unspoiled country scenery. There is a minimal charge of RM1.00 for each entry into the recreational forest.
There are two waterfalls collectively called the Sungai Ceralak Waterfalls. The first, Sckayll Watcifalls known as Jeram Solo, is about 12 m high with a pool of about 250 sq m in area while the second, at 24 m with a 190 sq m pool, is called Jeram Padang. The area has some attractive trees and plants including various species of pretty wild flowers. The surrounding hills also provide a scenic backdrop for photographers. Getting to the site is an adventure in itself, involving a boat ride from Kuala Jengai to Kuala Sungai Ceralak, a jungle hike and river crossing across the Sungai Ceralak itself. The other alternative route involves logging trails and jungle tracks.
Another area which offers similar nature activities for a healthy mind and body is the Lata Tembakah Waterfalls. It is located in the Pelagat Forest Reserve in Besut .The sprawling 300 sq hectares is blessed with a beautiful seven-tiered cascading waterfall with its highest point reaching 50 metres. The park is a haven for those who are health conscious and love adventure retreats such as swimming, camping, jungle-trekking and nature walks. The park provides basic amenities such as changing rooms and rest areas.
Seven kilometres from Bandar Permaisuri is the popular Setiu Recreation Park which has been conceived with the noble agrotourism concept in mind. This is the state government's efforts to preserve the environment and at the same time offer healthy recreational activities while providing camping facilities and basic amenities for visitors. The park is a natural laboratory for the study of nature with the names of trees and plants labeled accordingly. It promotes the importance of care and concern for the environment and enhances civic consciousness among the state's populace and visitors.
There is a hot spring in Besut which is known as the LA Hot Springs with its water temperature ranging from 45 -49 degrees Celcius. The water contains natural sulphur which is said to have healing properties. Visitors flock to this spring especially so, when afflicted with skin ailments.
Another place that should be on every visitor's itinerary is Rantau Abang, 60 km south of Kuala Terengganu. There, visitors lay in wait quietly from midnight to dawn to watch giant leatherback turtles laying eggs. The turtles lumbering slowly on the white sandy beaches to lay eggs is a memorable sight. These giant turtles, up to 2.5 m in length and sometimes weighing more than 375 kg is indeed a phenomenal sight to behold. Rantau Abang is one of only six places in the world visited by these turtles, from the months of May to September.
Gently sloping sands and fairly shallow, sparkling water give Penarik the ideal ambience and make it the perfect setting for sunbathers and fun seekers who want a quiet, serene vacation spot to while away the hours in uninterrupted bliss.
Approximately 140 km north of Kuala Terengganu and a few kilometres from Besut, lies Bukit Keluang. The view in this area is one of the most breathtaking and magnificent in Malaysia. It is also an ideal site for swimming, snorkelling and wind surfing. Its distinctive features are caves which are easily reached by walkways. Try to conjure up an image of a very peaceful village with beautiful wooden houses, innocent looking children playing games such as hopscotch or marbles, cows grazing in the field, swaying coconut trees, fresh cool breeze and a spectacular curve of white, sandy beach. This description describes Merang to a tee.