Gaya Travel Magazine team will never get tired of Terengganu due to its bucolic, laid-back, fishing village vibe. In conjunction with Visit Terengganu Year 2017, why not travellers take the opportunity to visit and engage in activities that can only be experienced in Terengganu?
1. Combing and basking on Terengganu’s legendary beaches
With a coastline that runs for 244 km, Terengganu’s beaches are some of the best. Along the way from the south, Teluk Bidara in Dungun is a bay near Tanjong Jara Resort where one can explore the cave and lighthouse on Tanjung Api Hill at low tide. Kuala Abang and Kemasik beaches have some interesting sea-side rock formations on which to perch and enjoy the miles of blue, while Penarik tears you in two with the river wetlands on one side and gorgeous beach on the other, and the shade of casuarinas and coconut palms in between the two.
The beaches on the islands off-coast Terengganu outside monsoon season like Perhentian, Redang and Kapas are also among the most pristine in Malaysia, with inviting crystal clear water to match.
2. Participate in squid jigging from March until early June
Squid jigging is one of the must-try activities. Travellers can arrange with the local fishermen to take them on a boat-ride to a squid jigging location, around one hour from the jetty. Once at the location, the fisherman can guide you on how to do squid jigging using the gears that they prepared. The sense of achievement in catching live squids on your own is precious. Travellers can even cook the caught squid on the boat and enjoy them fresh from the sea!
Tip: Take medication like motion sickness pills if you are prone to sea or motion sickness.
3. Gawking over fireflies
Kampung Mak Chili, a village in Kemaman, offers an amazing experience to those who admire the flickers of fireflies under the moonlight. A thirty-minute boat ride along Yak Yah River covering 0.5 km takes travellers into a world of flickering yellowish lights on trees like Christmas lights. This light is generated during mating – fireflies flicker their lights to attract the opposite gender for mating. The best time to watch these bugs is around 7 p.m. because this is the hour when fireflies actively mate.
4. Watching turtles lay eggs or releasing turtle hatchlings
Since Teluk Mak Nik Beach is recorded to have the highest number of turtles coming in to lay eggs, the Turtle Conservation Program has been set up to make sure that every egg laid at Teluk Mak Nik Beach has higher chance of survival. At Teluk Mak Nik Beach, travellers can join in releasing baby turtles into the sea or even watch the turtles come to shore at night to lay eggs. However, prior arrangements need to be done with Pok Su, the humble guide who takes care of the turtles at this beach.
Telephone: +6 013 906 4828
5. Deepening knowledge about marine life at Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC)
Another place for animal and nature lovers to visit is the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC) to learn more about turtles and marine life. If travellers ever wondered how turtle eggs look like in the sand and how they hatch, TUMEC offers such education. Replete with interesting information, TUMEC is definitely a worthwhile place to visit, especially among children and youths so as to inculcate awareness towards the need for us to preserve turtles and the marine ecosystem.
Telephone: +6 06 845 8169
6. Learning about songket at Tuanku Nur Zahirah Complex
Tuanku Nur Zahirah Complex was established to help maintain the heritage of songket, the exquisite fabric consisting of intricate hand-woven patterns using mainly gold and silver threads, which is difficult to make because it takes about two to three months to finish and cult fetch up to RM40,000 a piece. At Tuanku Nur Zahirah Complex, travellers can buy and even learn the art of songket-weaving.
Telephone: +6 09 615 3399
7. Visiting the Islamic world landmarks at Taman Tamadun Islam
Taman Tamadun Islam (TTI or the Islamic Civilisation Park) offers an immersive experience regarding Islamic civilisation through the replicas of 22 significant monuments that contribute greatly towards the advancement of Islam such as
The Sacred Mosque (Masjidil Haram) in Saudi Arabia, Al-Hambra Citadel in Spain, Kalyan Minaret in Uzbekistan, and Lutfallah Mosque in Iran. One of Terengganu’s icons, the dazzling Crystal Mosque, is just a five-minute walk away from TTI, which cam be visited right after completing the tour around TTI. Taman Tamadun Islam opens daily except Tuesday.
Telephone: +6 09 627 8888
8. Eating and shopping local delicacies at Pasar Payang
Before leaving Terengganu, Pasar Payang (Payang Market) is a must-visit because it is a gastronomic and shopping havens rolled into one because it is filled with sweet delicacies, delectable local food, beautiful batik, songket, crafts, home accessories and more! Situated in the city centre, Pasar Payang has been the shopping hub not only for locals but also travellers.
Remember that Pasar Payang closes at 5:00 p.m., so be there early.
9. Admiring the splendour of ancient Langkasuka Kingdom at Terrapuri Heritage Village
Terrapuri Heritage Village is home to a collection of 29 antique and majestic-looking Malay houses that have been converted into accommodation units with modern conveniences and facilities to ensure guests’ comfort like air conditioning, en suite bathroom, swimming pool and spa. Located on Penarik Beach, this place is blessed with generous amount of sea breeze and surrounded by lush rural-like landscape.
Telephone: +6 09 624 5020
10. Kenyir Elephant Village
Built on a 256-hectare land, Kenyir Elephant Village (KEV) is a well-constructed conservation place for elephants, located 10 minutes’ bus ride away from Kenyir Water Theme Park. KEV takes good care of the elephants as each one of them has its own mahout (person who works and tends the elephant) who cares and loves them like their own child.
The elephants are trained to understand simple instructions from the mahouts, which evidently comes in handy when communicating and conducting educational shows. Travellers are welcome to bathe these gentle giants when the mahouts take them down to the river. Just remember to bring extra clothes because you will surely get drenched.