The Malaysia we know comprises many things, from the delicious cuisines that dwell in Penang’s streets to the back-breaking climb to Mount Kinabalu, and even to the mysterious Kuching, Sarawak. It is almost as though there is a state that reflects every character of our personality. But have we truly explored it all?
Lying on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Terengganu lingers as one of the lesser-known states in Malaysia. While seemingly small in size, Terengganu has many surprises that have its travelers excited in wonder.
A Breathtaking Ride On The Terengganu River With A Mosque Made Of Glass And Steel
One of the best ways to see the sights along the scenic Terengganu river is to get on the TTI River Cruise and start a 45-minute sightseeing tour. Savor in the gentle breeze and the glow of the sun as the cruise sails down the water, where you get to see the diversity of the old and new architecture and other landmarks and attractions established in Kuala Terengganu.
Amidst the attractions along the river, one stands out. A majestic structure made of glass and steel, the Masjid Krystal, also known as the Crystal Mosque. The mosque sits on a man-made island, Pulau Wan Man on the edge of the Terengganu River. At noon or sunset, you will be able to take in the glory and lustre of the mosque as its reflection irradiates off the water.
A Mesmerizing ‘Almost-extinct’ Gamelan Show At Warisan Sari
A traditional band performance of Indonesian origin, comprising mostly percussive instruments, the Gamelan show is often joined with beautiful and elegant dance performers, captivating the crowd with their fluid moves paired with gentle beats.
The Malay Gamelan, however, is different from its Indonesian counterpart and was almost left extinct.
Here’s the rundown of what happened: Once an exclusive form of royal entertainment in Pahang and Terengganu in the early-1900s, the Malay Gamelan met the passing of its patrons as with the approaching World War II. As a result, the fine art was forgotten until someone discovered the abandoned instruments in the 1960s, which created an encouragement of events which reunited musicians, re-established dancers, and ultimately its first-ever public performance.
Address: Warisan SaRi, No 1 Lorong Warisan, Jalan Tok Jembal, 21300 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
The Lang Tengah Island: A Quiet Hiatus Amongst The Summer Bay Lang Island Resort
With a KTV lounge, massage salon, swimming pool, a cosy bar that serves affordable meals and snacks, and a kickass team of hospitable staff to boot, Summer Bay Lang Island Resort is far from anything colourless.
*Pro-tip: The island is closed to visitors during the Monsoon season (from November to March), and the best time to visit would be from May to August when the water is the clearest and the weather ideal.
The Delightful Fishes And Gorgeous Corals You Get To Snorkel With Near Lang Tengah Island
As you approach Lang Tengah Island, you would probably notice that the seawater near the island is pristine with turquoise (or teal) hue. It goes without saying that Lang Tengah Island is also home to some gorgeous snorkeling spots.
A stay at Summer Bay Lang Island Resort comes with daily complimentary snorkelling trips (or diving trip), where you get to swim alongside with adorable fishes or view the gorgeous corals.
Prior to setting off, a meticulous safety brief will be conducted by the guide, who will elaborate on the dos and don’ts while you are amid the sea’s embrace. Throughout the snorkeling session, you will be placed under close supervision as well.
And if you are lucky enough, you will be able to swim alongside baby sharks or turtles too.
The Bewitching Sunset By The Beach On Lang Tengah Island
The sandy white beach situated right outside Summer Bay Lang Island Resort on Lang Tengah Island is dotted with several beach benches, making it the perfect chilling spot to catch the spectacular sunset.
Alternatively, you could reminisce childhood days by the beach and build sandcastles, or bask in the gorgeous sunset hues and snap a picture or two for memory sake.
Island Hop On Lake Kenyir, Southeast Asia’s Largest Man-made Lake
Also recognised as Southeast Asia’s largest human-made lake, Lake Kenyir or Tasik Kenyir was builtin 1985, boasting plenty of freshwater fishes, exotic wildlife, and over 340 small islands with some containing beautiful waterfalls, mysterious caves and resorts.
The resorts usually arrange tours near the area. You can still consider hopping onto one guided by one of the local fishermen on their boat at a more affordable and negotiable price. Keep in mind that, if you do not meet the minimum required persons, the tour will not leave and you may end up paying for more.
The Striking Murals And Art Installations In Chinatown’s Inconspicuous Alleys
You will need no direction-finding Chinatown, or as the locals call it Teng Lang Po or Kampung Cina. One significant giveaway would be the vast entrance arch embellished with a pair of Chinese dragons at the top. Another would be the rows of red lanterns strung across parallel shophouses.
An eyeshot away from Terengganu river’s mouth and the Chinatown‘s trading port today was where the earliest Chinese settlements gather. But gone are the days of crumbly shophouses, foul streets filled with dangerous alleys. The Chinatown today is far from that.
Although minuscule in size, the street now exudes a youthful ebullience vibe, quite evident from the riot of colours stemming from impressive murals, repainted shophouses, and cool art installations that dwell in the inconspicuous alleys.
One of which is the Lover’s Lane where lovers can write their names onto padlocks and having them fixed onto the walls as a remembrance.
Walking down these alleys, one cannot help but lookup. At the Payang Memory Lane, a cluster of colourful umbrellas hangs above, expressing the grand notion of unity in differences. While the legendary wau bulan kites, symbolic to Malaysia’s east coast, hover over at the Malay-themed Haji Awang Besar Lane.
Address: Jalan Bandar, Kuala Terengganu 20100, Malaysia
*Pro-tip: Avoid heading to Chinatown in the evening as most shops would have already closed.
The Wide Collection Of Keropok Lekor You Get To Haggle At The Pasar Payang Central Market
Located just a stone’s throw away from Terengganu’s Chinatown, the Pasar Payang Central Market is a favourite tourist spot offering various handicrafts, such as batik or silk, brasswares, fresh produce, and more importantly, Keropok.
You will be spoilt for choices with the extensive array of Keropok Lekor readily available and at affordable prices too at each vendor in the central market. These popular Malay fish fritter snacks have their origin right in Terengganu and are made from fish paste, sago flour and seasonings. You are needed to deep-fry them before pairing it with spicy Terengganu sauce.
Try Nasi Dagang, A Rice Speciality Of Terengganu
Nasi Dagang, or Trader’s Rice, is a typical breakfast dish containing white rice steamed with glutinous rice, with the subsequent addition of coconut milk (for that added aromatic Lemak kick and flavour), fried shallots, ginger and other spices before being wrapped in banana leaf.
It is then paired with the specially prepared gulai ikan tongkol (tuna fish curry) and served with pickled cucumbers as aside. Like the Nasi Lemak in Singapore, the famous rice dish can be found in most eateries in Terengganu and Kelantan. One of the famous ones includes Mak Ngah Nasi Dagang.
The Historical And Gorgeous Terrapuri Heritage Village
Drawing inspiration from the 17th century Terengganu Palace, the Terrapuri Heritage Village is a restoration and conservation project-cum-villa, boasting 29 restored antique Malay houses that span between 100 to 250 years old.
Each of these ancient houses has been meticulously refurbished to emulate the village into its former glory, even details pertaining to Malay Feng-shui were not forgotten as well. Besides the enriching Malay architecture, the luxurious villas come with indoor air-conditioning, rain showerhead, wooden bathtubs and more.
An outdoor pool sits at the back of the villa, where you can head in for a quick dip. Right at the entrance of the villa, a scenic beachfront facing the South China Sea awaits.
Address: Kg.Mangkuk, 22120 Setiu, Terengganu, Malaysia