By Muhammad Hasif Mohd Jelani on November 11, 2019
From outstanding local culture to amazing natural wonders, Terengganu continuously brims with exciting offerings for travellers. Compared to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia, Terengganu is less crowded and its rural areas are almost unperturbed and sleepy, which explains how local culture and traditions remain intact. Travellers can expect a truly relaxing, local-centric destination that is far away from the deafening cacophony of the metropolises.
With Visit Malaysia Year 2020 approaching, this state that claims itself as Darul Iman (‘Abode of Faith’) goes full throttle to welcome more travellers. In this regard, Terengganu Tourism, in collaboration with Gaya Travel Magazine, recently organised a familiarisation trip for members of the media and influencers to explore Terengganu, specifically the regions of Setiu, Marang and Kuala Terengganu.
This beach in Kampung Mangkuk, Setiu is famous after it served as a filming location for several local movies. With many swaying coconut trees, the beach offers a quaint, serene atmosphere. From here, travellers can get a glimpse of Redang and Bidong Island beyond. If you are lucky, you might even come across fishermen going to or returning from fishing, which will definitely be an eye-opening experience.
Feeling obliged to keep the beach clean from dangerous garbage, Tengku Mohd Ali @ Tengku Enduk Tengku Mansur has been consistently collecting bottles since 2005 until now. Hence, ‘Rumah Botol’ or Bottle House is fully dedicated to his one-of-a-kind hobby, housing over 4,000 bottles, each carrying its own significance and meaning. Some of the bottles also originated from as far as Mexico, France, United States and the Philippines.
This 20-acre farm produces many different kinds of local fruits such as durian, mangosteen, rambutan, pulasan, lanzones, jackfruit, pangolin fruit and more. During fruit season (August and September), travellers can devour fruits as much as they want at a cost of MYR50 per person, including going on a guided tour. Off-season, the farm offers different packages such as picnic, barbecue, family day and camping for those who want to spend quality time with friends and loved ones.
The house believed to have been built in 1840 once belonged to a wealthy boat-seller named Haji Su Mohammed Salleh bin Haji Mohammed, simply known as Haji Su. After it was left abandoned since 2008, the state government decided to buy the house and later refurbished it at a cost of MYR3.7 million. The house has been opened to the public since 2017 for people to understand more of about authentic Malay carpentry that is replete in its architecture.
When travellers roam around Kampung Losong Haji Su, be sure to visit a local boat-making workshop and learn how the fishing boats are traditionally meticulously made. We got a chance to meet Azman Mohd, who has 30 years of experience making boats. In fact, he was in the middle of completing another giant boat with the help of his two colleagues. Once finished, the boat that is made from cengal and seraya wood is sold to the tune of MYR1.5 million!
Now owned by Wan Mahadi Wan Ismail, this family business started back in 1948. This workshop, located in Kuala Terengganu, still applies the traditional way of producing high-quality brassware, another icon of Terengganu. According to Wan Mahadi, brassware is usually made as accessories during wedding, home appliances or even souvenirs. Besides brassware, Wanisma Craft & Trading also sells authentic Terengganu batik block-prints.
Since 1968, Pasar Payang has become an institution in Terengganu. More than just a marketplace, it doubles up as a cultural hub by providing various locals products ranging from food to houseware, fabrics and more. Following the decision made by the state government to demolish and rebuild the market, another building has been built to temporarily house the shops at the old Pasar Payang. Expect the new Pasar Payang to be completed in two years’ time.
This is a more secluded beach with hardly many people so travellers can unwind peacefully. There are a few restaurants to be found here like Warung SCT Che Am where travellers can savour a popular Terengganu delicacy simply known with the acronym ICT, which means ‘Ikan Celup Tepung’ (fish fried with flour). Alternatively, you can also try the menu using squid and prawn instead.
This is one of the services provided by TTI (Islamic Civilisations Park). In the course of 45 minutes, travellers are brought on a cosy cruise along Terengganu River to witness charming attractions old and new that lie along its coastline such as fishing villages, mangroves, Crystal Mosque, Terengganu State Museum, Pasar Payang and Terengganu’s latest icon: the Terengganu Drawbridge.
The name is said to be derived from a crooked jambu laut (Syzygium grande) tree. With a population of 1,853 people, the village is popular among locals due to its serene, laid-back surroundings defined by towering coconut trees and white, sandy beach. There are also a few wooden houses on the beach dedicated for travellers seeking a peaceful hideout accompanied by soothing breeze from the sea.
In contrast to the calming atmosphere of Kampung Jambu Bongkok, this newly-discovered hidden gem located near the village offers a more dramatic and surreal ambiance, where travellers can find an otherworldly forest, pretty much along the lines of some dark, fantasy movies, making it an Instagram-worthy spot.
With 15 years of experience, Suri Abdul Ghani has consistently been producing nisan nira (sugar taken from coconut blossom). With a five-acre coconut grove just at her backyard, she can produce up to eight to ten thousand pieces of nisan nira a day. Besides nisan nira, she also sells dodol daun palas (chewy, toffee-like confection made from palm sugar and wrapped in fan palm leaves), coconut candy, coconut vinegar and nira juice, all sourced from the grove.
Designated as a family recreational park, travellers can expect to see families with children flocking this area in droves, especially during weekends. The park is spacious and has various facilities such as toilets, restaurants, playground and more. Lucky travellers could even witness fishing boats by the beach and fishermen coming back from fishing, which make the experience more memorable.
For decades, gasing (traditional giant top spinning) has been the locals’ favourite game. Thus, a tournament is organised annually among teams from various villages to find the longest-standing spinning gasing. Made from penaga wood, a gasing that weighs up to five kilograms can sometimes spin non-stop for over an hour!
Gamelan is believed to have been introduced to Terengganu from Riau-Lingga through Johor and Pahang. It was once performed exclusively in palaces and often regarded as a dance that exudes grace, dignity and beauty. Nowadays, it is performed during state functions, including Sultan’s birthday and cultural events. Warisan Sari is an organisation that fully commits to preserving the tradition in the hope that future generations will get to see and appreciate it as one of Terengganu’s cultural heritages.
Warisan Sari stages on-demand gamelan dance and music performance on Saturdays. For more information, travellers can cont
act +6 013 982 8747.
From the outside, this place looks like a heritage museum, but actually serves more than that. The name means ‘The Land of Dala Flowers’, where travellers can admire various traditional ornaments and designs used in Malay architecture. Travellers can even savour traditional delicacies and snacks, besides purchasing exclusive merchandises.
This food court is uniquely located under the Chendering Bridge. It has been a locals’ favourite haunt for quite sometime due to the lip-smacking dishes served with the view of the river. Seafood menu is especially popular here, thus travellers are recommended to try the grilled fish, sweet sour fish and more.
As its name suggests, this place is made of old, recycled containers that were then refurbished into hipster cafes and bundle shops. Various kinds of food can be found here, ranging from local to international. What makes it more special is its beach-front location!
Singgang is a type of dish popular among the locals. This watery dish is simple to make yet tasty. The ingredients include ginger, garlic, turmeric, galangal, dried tamarind peel and fish. This restaurant in Kuala Terengganu serves among the best singgang in town, besides other equally delectable dishes that make it a perfect stop for lunch.
No trip to Terengganu is complete without tasting its all-time favourite snack, keropok lekor (traditional fish cracker made from fish, flour, salt and sugar and usually served with chilli sauce). This place is said to be among the first to sell it, approximately 40 years ago! Since then, the family business has become successful in attracting not only locals but international travellers too.
Good to know
During the old days, the Malays used beach sand for frying as an alternative to using cooking oil. The sand is first cleaned several times, then dried under the sun before being heated on a frying pan. The method, however, does not work with any other methods of cooking. To witness the demonstration of this type of cooking using sand, travellers can contact Terrapuri Heritage Village.
Living up to its name that means ‘Land of Palaces’, this classic resort has 20 heritage villas, each of them distinct and carries its own story. These villas, believed to be around 100 to 200 years old, were reassembled on this resort from various places across Terengganu. Staying here feels so relaxing, with myriads of activities offered such as cycling around the villages, getting a traditional massage at the spa, visiting firefly sanctuary or suntanning on Penarik Beach, a few minutes away by foot.
Located in Kuala Terengganu, this beach-front property has been operating since 1984 and boasts 248 rooms. Thanks to its strategic location, travellers will find it convenient since many attractions are located nearby. It has a large, family-friendly swimming pool, and those who are active can even play volleyball or football by the beach. The hotel is ideal for business because it provides ample space for meetings, seminars, conferences, conventions and wedding receptions.
Located 15 minutes away from Sultan Mahmud Airport, this hotel has 220 well-equipped rooms, including scenic garden, outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, coffee house and business centre. Be it for leisure or business, the hotel is ideal for both.
This article is included in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 14.3. Read other contents HERE.