Terengganu, a simple and laid-back state located in Malaysia’s eastern peninsula, is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to experience Malaysia the traditional way.
Terengganu is a fusion of tradition and attractions: although tourists who come to this state can go about discovering beaches, heritage sites, nature preserves, and unique culinary masterpieces, they will also notice the strong Malay character ever present in the state’s towns and cities. Whether one chooses to frolic in the waves of Terengganu’s popular beaches or explore the hidden surprises in the city centres and state outskirts, one will discover that Terengganu is one of the best places to visit for a quick getaway from Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Terengganu may already be riddled with skyscrapers, but the state’s city center is worth the visit for its hidden surprises: old palaces and mosques showing how the city was before; the famous market of Pasar Besar Bayang displaying Malay clothing, batiks, songket and souvenir items; the interesting Chinatowns; and the Pulau Wan Man showcasing the grand beauty of the Crystal Mosque. Beach lovers can head over to the 244-kilometre stretch of Eastern Peninsula. This is the longest in the country – fringed with beautiful beaches and islands wherein tourists can relax and walk on the pristine white sand, go for deep sea fishing, and even frolick or dive in the crystal clear waters, as the state is also home to colorful coral formations and diverse sea life. The state also features many reserves like Pasir Raja Forest and Sitiu Wetlands, here, visitors can witness interesting endangered animals and appreciate the rich flora and fauna of Terengganu.
Tourists can visit Terengganu via plane, bus, and ferry. For plane, you can get to the state through the Sultan Mahmud Airport via Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, and Firefly airlines. Fares range from RM 60 to 136 (USD 15 to 33).
If you are coming from cities outside Terengganu, you can take the long-distance bus services. You can catch these buses from Kuala Lumpur (7-hours travel time), Penang (8-hours travel time), Johor Bahru (9-hours travel time), and Kota Bharu (3-hours travel time).
Tourists who want to see Redang Island can take the ferry at Merang’s main jetty. During the months of March to October, Shahbandar Jetty provides two jetties a day specifically for patrons of the Berjaya Redang Resort. Guests who will not be staying in the said resort can also avail of these jetties if space is available.
The currency that is officially accepted in the different establishments in Terengganu is the Malaysian Ringgit, which is available in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Banks and ATM services are available within Kuala Terengganu. Foreign currency exchange can be done inside the malls and in other authorized stores.
The weather around Terengganu is usually hot and humid and does not change much throughout the year. If you are planning to take a trip to Terengganu, it is best to do so between the months of February and October when days are sunny and rainfall is at a minimum. The months of November, December, and January are often filled with rainstorms that can prevent you from visiting different beaches and waterfalls and can cause problems with your flight schedules.
From the airport, you can get to the center of Kuala Terengganu either by taxis or Grab Cars. An attractive heritage bus provides drop-off services to different major attractions in Kuala Terengganu. Another way of getting around is through the city’s colorful trishaws that lets you experience the activities firsthand. Trishaws can only cater to a maximum of two passengers and charges depend on how many attractions you want to see: RM 25 (USD 6.05) for a 20-minute ride to four attractions, RM 35 (USD 8.47) for a 30-minute ride to six attractions, and RM 50 (USD 12.10) for a one-hour ride. Taxis are the most convenient to reach attractions outside the city.
As a state that has delicacies made from the sea’s bounty, a lot of tourists claim that Terengganu is the place to be if you are looking for the freshest seafood. Tourists can taste this for themselves with a visit to the long line of restaurants located in Terengganu’s coastline. Must-try delicacies include C.B Wee’s prawns that are oozing with butter, Warong Pok Nong’s crispy and fatty sotong goreng, and Ocean Restaurant’s different kinds of seafood omelet. Folks who love desserts can try out Terengganu’s unique dishes such as ais kacang – shaved ice with milk and flavourful toppings, or ais batu jagung – shaved ice with corn syrup and ice cream.
The next time you want to explore Malaysia beyond Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu should be on top of your vacation list. Terengganu is for everyone: it boasts of the most beautiful beaches for beach bums, it is filled with rich history and culture, and has gastronomic flavours you should never miss out on. For a complete and unique Malaysian experience, include a stop at Terengganu.