RMCO Travelling Guide: Terengganu
Terengganu is known as Darul Iman, the Abode of Faith. It is more than ten times as large as Penang in terms of landmass but has a population that is about 30% less than the population of Penang. Terengganu is popular for its islands, such as Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Redang, and Pulau Kapas. It has a lot of rustic charm throughout the state.
A quaint and quiet fishing village, Kampung Penarik is perfect for those wishing to enjoy the atmosphere of a seaside village facing the South China Sea. This is a haven for seafood lovers as fresh seafood is caught and sold right here, and they are prepared by the many seafood restaurants here. If you have the aptitude for it, you can even join the hardcore anglers that can be found here and fish for crabs, giant freshwater prawns, and large game fish like giant snakeheads (ikan toman) and cobias a.k.a. black kingfish or black salmon (ikan aruan tasek). You are advised to bring strong rods and even a backup rod, as these fish are very strong. After an evening of fishing, you can also head to nearby Sungai Penarik to watch the mesmerising fireflies.
- Entrance fee: Free
- Opening times: N/A
- Contact: N/A
Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque a.k.a. Floating Mosque
Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah is also known as the Floating Mosque due to its unique construction as Malaysia’s first floating mosque. It is built on floating platforms to give it a unique angle, and it combines modern and Moorish architecture to symbolise Terengganu’s modernisation and urbanisation.
- Entrance fee: Free
- Opening times: Always Open
- Contact: 09-617 4867
There’s a good reason—several, actually—why Pulau Perhentian is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Terengganu. It is composed of two main islands and five uninhabited islands, which make for amazing spots for various activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, island hopping, and squid jigging, a.k.a. squid fishing, with three different species of squid in the area. There is even a sea turtle research and conservation initiative on the two main islands, so do stop by and pay them a visit to support them in their endeavours!
- Ferry from Jetty Kuala Besut to Pulau Perhentian: RM35 one-way.
- Boat departure times: 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM, 4 PM, about 40 minutes.
- Contact: 019-558 4736 (Seven Seas Transportation Services)
- FlyKLIA Exclusive Promo: use the code “7SEASFLYKLIA” on their website https://www.besutjetty.com/ to enjoy a discounted rate for boat transfers and airport shuttle, and WhatsApp for package stay in Perhentian (room + boat + snorkelling).
Chemerong Recreational Forest And Waterfall
The highest vertical waterfall in Terengganu is located in Chemerong Recreational Forest, which is about 100 km from Kuala Terengganu. It is 305 metres tall and it sits amidst an untouched forest of dense foliage. Mountain climbing up Mount Berembun is also another adventure worth considering here. For camping, hiking, overnight stays, etc., you will need to contact Unit Hutan Lipur dan Rekreasi, Ibupejabat, Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Terengganu. You are advised to book your camping permits at least three weeks in advance.
- Entrance fee: RM2
- Opening times: 8 AM–5 PM
- Contact: 09-6274155
La Hot Spring
La Hot Spring is about 140 km from Kuala Terengganu. It has natural hot water shooting out of a hill slope and flowing into a pool. Being natural underground water, it contains sulphur, which is believed to be good for various maladies such as high blood pressure and skin diseases. Man-made hot springs and spa-like pools are also made for the public to enjoy in private, along with many other facilities for visitors’ convenience.
- Entrance fee: Free
- Opening times: Always Open
- Contact: 09-695 6148 (Pejabat Hutan Besut)
While there is a huge variety of local Terengganu delicacies, here are some of the restaurants we would recommend:
Nasi Dagang Atas Tol
One of the many dishes unique to Terengganu is nasi dagang, which literally translates to “trader’s rice”. This dish is made by steaming regular and glutinous rice together in coconut cream over low heat, and eaten with skipjack tuna curry and lightly pickled vegetables. It’s called nasi dagang because the dish can be packed and eaten along a trader’s journey. One of the recommended places in Terengganu for nasi dagang is a restaurant called Nasi Dagang Atas Tol.
- Address: Lot T101, 20050 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
- Opening times: 7:30 AM until all food is sold out, often as early as 11 AM. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
- Contact: 013-984 7846
On The Way Kopitiam
Like all the other northern states, Terengganu has its own variation of laksa called laksa Terengganu, which features white rice noodles paired with either meat gravy or curry gravy, with an assortment of vegetables, shrimp head paste and chilli paste added to adjust the flavours. However, Terengganu also has another variation called laksam, where instead of rice noodles, rice flour is rolled into a flat sausage shape and then sliced into pieces, greatly resembling the rice noodle rolls from Hong Kong. These rice rolls are then boiled and served with pureed fish gravy and coconut milk. One place where you can try an assortment of Terengganu dishes under one roof is On The Way Kopitiam, which also serves all three variations of the state’s famous delicacy, keropok. There’s keropok lekor (boiled and chewy), keropok goreng (fried and chewy), and keropok keping (sliced, dried and fried).
- Address: No. 147, Jalan Bandar, 20100 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
- Opening times: 11 AM–10 PM
- Contact: 012-938 4933
ICT Haji Pok Long (Seafood)
Apparently, Terengganu has a thriving ICT industry. Ikan celup tepung, that is. Fresh fish is fried in flour, and the end result is a crispy exterior with a light crunch covering sweet and juicy fish flesh. ICT Haji Pok Long serves more than just fried fish, as they also have prawns, squid, crabs and others fried the same way. Best of all, they’re all fresh seafood, so the freshness strikes a delicious contrast with the fried batter.
- Address: 21300 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
- Opening times: 2:15 PM–7:30 PM (Wednesday to Monday); 12:30 PM–7:30 PM Fridays. Closed Tuesdays.
- Contact: N/A
You can fly directly to the Sultan Mahmud Airport, which is in Kuala Nerus, about 15-minutes drive away from Kuala Terengganu, and about 1 hour 30 minutes drive from the Kuala Besut Jetty.
Bus is the cheapest option but also one of the longest duration, lasting an average of about 9 hours from Johor to Terengganu. At the moment, the only bus operators that travel between KL and Kuala Besut are Perdana Express and Queen Express, with a journey of about 7 hours. The buses will stop at the Kuala Besut bus station, which is within walking distance from the Kuala Besut Jetty.
It is currently not possible to travel to Terengganu by train, as Terengganu is the only state in Peninsular Malaysia not served by the KTM train route. However, one could take the KTM and stop at the Tanah Merah station which is in Kelantan, and then take a taxi for about 45 minutes to the Kuala Besut Jetty.
MIMPI Perhentian is a resort in Long Beach on Pulau Perhentian Kecil. MIMPI is one of the most popular resorts on Pulau Perhentian because they are the closest to the jetty, with direct access to the beach and providing a wide variety of amenities and activities for their guests. They even have attractive packages that include return boat transfers, three meals a day, and activities such as snorkeling, diving, and even an Open Water Diver Course with training materials and certification.
- Contact: 09-697 7777
Penarik Baru Homestay
Penarik Baru Homestay is one of the most popular choices for staying in Kampung Penarik, as it is a cozy little bungalow facing the sea that can accommodate up to six persons. A grill is provided for those who want to cook their catch of the day, and it is also equipped with a kitchen and fridge. They even offer a paid airport shuttle service, so this is a great deal for anyone looking to spend the night at Kampung Penarik.
- Contact: 013-628 8390
Suite 18 Boutique Hotel
A highly rated boutique hotel, Suite 18 is a rustic property located in a strategic location, within walking distance from Shah Bandar Jetty (pick-up point to Redang Island), Terengganu bus terminal, and the most popular local market, Kedai Besar Payang. The hotel boasts 25 comfortable rooms as part of a converted old English colonial shop annexe building, offering a place to stay with a mix of single, twin, double and triple rooms. They are also well-known for their hidden cafe that serves the best coffee in town, popular pancakes and local delicacies.
- Contact: 09-660 6060; 011-1300 3868
- FlyKLIA Exclusive Promo: Get 25% off every night by quoting “S18KLIA” when you book directly with www.suite18boutiquehotel.com or call them up for direct room booking. Promo is valid until 27 August 2020.
And there we go, those are some of the places in Terengganu that we thought it best to highlight to our readers on where to visit. Are there any other places in Terengganu that you think we should talk about? Let us know in the comments down below!
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