Visit the Terengganu State Museum. The complex is said to be the largest in Malaysia. It showcases the culture and history of Terengganu as well as the petroleum industry which has generated much of the state's wealth. Well worth the visit. Entrance is RM5 for adult and RM2 for children. It is closed on Fridays. The gardens outside also makes a nice place to stroll in the evening. On the way to the museum, you'll pass by many stalls selling keropok lekor (a type of fish cracker). Losong is famous for this crackers which is sometimes called 'kau sai' (dog ***) by the locals because it resembles one! But it's really delicious and you should stop by one and try them!
Floating Mosque - it is called the floating mosque because it gives an illusion that its floating. Actually, its not! The mosque is sorrounded by water but it is elevated with the used of the stilts.
I wasnt able to go inside and see the mosque up close but from a far you can definitely tell its magnificent structure.
Pulau Duyung is located about 20 minutes drive from the hotel were we stayed (Seri Malaysia). Here you can see the locals making huge wooden boats.
As per the workers, they do not use nails to put the wood pieces together but rather they also use woods so the boat won't rust.
One boat costs millions of dollars and so most of the boats that t hey make are either owned by rich businessmen from different countries.
Turtle Museum - This museum needs renovation and fund from the local government. What's inside of it are very informative and useful to whoever will drop by to see the museum.
Most of the exhibits that you can find here are dioramas and photos of the turltle...From the time they mate to laying of eggs .
Although selling and eating turtle eggs are prohibited by the local government for the people to do so....still you can find in the local markets that they still sell fresh and boiled turtle eggs.
Kuala Terangganu Museum showcases the traditional living of the people in Malaysia. They have exhibits, dioramas and several artifacts that would give you an idea on how the people in the East Coast lived date back centuries ago.
It is relatively big with 3 floors and a spacious parking space and complex.
The facade of the museum is a little bit run down and needs renovation but inside part of it is well maintained.
Pasar besar house a number of shops that trade mostly local stuff. In here you may find local batiks which apprantely Terengganu is one of the biggest batik producers. You will find a couple of antique shops, gifts shops, junk food shop and much more. Basically all under one roof.
To my suprise ! with such high muslim population, KT do have a china town. And they do sell pork in some restaurant. And owners of these shops are mostly chinese as well. A real change of enviroment once you are in china town.
If you are curious about the local Malay cultures and traditions, then i suggested you to visit the Terengganu State Muzium. It was once said to be the largest Muzium in South East Asia, but i donn't whether the fact still true nowadays. You can see a lot of the Malay culture and tradition details in the Muzium. There will be a lot of display of the tools, clothes, coins, etc used in the old days. The royal family as well as their tradition are also on display in the Muzium. The ticket is about RM5 - RM20 per person.
Outside the Muzium building, in the Muzium compound, you can visit the boats locally made in Terengganu in the past which is on display to the public. There are 2 big boat and a few small one scattered around the muzium compound. There are also some local style wooden house on display. All these are free to visit.
Masjid = Mosque
Terapung = Floating
Masjid Terapung = Floating Mosque
As the name sound, it is a floating mosque! Do you actually believe it? Actually it is not!!! The mosque is a conrete building and beneath it was a few big supportive trunks. And around the mosque is fill with pool of water which make it seems like a mosque floating on the water. When they first built the mosque, plus with the white lighting effect on the white colored mosque, it is absolutely pretty in the night. The mosque looks like a crystal doom if you look in a hundred of meters away. But after they changed the color of the light, it become something like a disco and the purity of the white mosque has gone! Nowadays visitor normally visit the mosque in the day time because it is clearer compared to the night time.
Istana in English means Palace. And the Maziah is probably the name of the Palace. Istana Maziah is also one of the historic building in Terengganu. It is used in the past by the rural of the state, called Sultan as his palace. Istana Maziah, Pasar Payang, and other surrounding historic building made up the center of the old Terengganu as it is located just beside the Terengganu River. Many locals had their activities nearby and the Sultan can observe from the palace.
Nowaday the Istana Maziah serve no major purpose i think, except for travel attraction from the outside. VIsitor are not allowed to go inside. The palace of the current Sultan was shifted to another places and the last major usage of this Istana Maziah as i can recall was the marriage ceremony of the current Sultan was held here in a full Malay Tradition. A special place was built up to handle the ceremory and it was said that the Sultan did take a bath in the place infront of the Istana Maziah as according to the Malay tradition.
There's no fee to view the Istana Maziah from outside as the gate is a fence made up of steel bar. But you can visit the light house on top of the hill exactly just beside the Istana Maziah and it cost you only a few Rigggit.
Pasar in Malay means market. So it means Payang Market in English, and the Payang might be the name for the market. Pasar Payang already exists even long before i was born. It's located just beside the Sungai Terengganu (Terengganu River), near to the river mouth.
This is the center point where the locals do the trading of all kind of goods from the daily food to the daily clothes. You can see how the locals, mostly malay-sytle trading, where they normally will sit on the ground together with their goods all around them. You can even find them using the old kind of measuring system to weight something like the vegetable or rice.
Besides that, you can also buy some local made products, such as the 'Songkok', hand-made floor mat, etc. Local food, mostly Malay food also available in the market.
If you're finished with the market, you can take a boat trip to the Terengganu River from the jetty just beside the Pasar Payang. This you will be able to follow the locals back and farward from the market while enjoying the scenery along the river. The fare is relatively inexpensive because you are following the local, and not from the touts.
Apart from that, you can also visit the Istana Maziah in a walking distance from the market. See details in the Istana Maziah tip.
Kuala Terengganu's chinese settlement - Kampung Cina or Chinatown - is said to be one of the well preserved Chinatown in the world. In fact, it is included Unesco's heritage listing.
The Chinatown is made up of rows of pre-war chinese shophouses that are still remain intact and are still maintained by the original owners. These buildings are believed to be the residence for the Chinese from China mainland who arrived in Peninsular Malaysia in the 19th century. Most of the houses are 2 stories, with brick or concrete structure and wooden flooring in the second storey. Some still keep its wood carving on the windows and huge heavy wooden front door whereas some were turned into the renewed modern concrete building. Interestingly, the back of some of the shophouses extends out onto the river - an interesting contrast to the street sceene at the front portion of the shophouses.
There is also a Chinese Temple painted in red colour standing at the end of the Chinatown. The local residences believe that ‘Goddess’ of the temple has given them very accurate guidance and ‘protection’ during the hard time, therefore there is always worshipers redeem their vow to the God.
Masjid Abidin (Abidin Mosque) Kuala Terengganu is located on Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin in Kampung Masjid, Kuala Terengganu. It is nicknamed "Masjid Putih' (the white mosque) or "Masjid Besar" (the big mosque) by local folks.
The mosque was originaly a wooden structure build during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin II. However, during the reign of Sultan Umar it was later replaced by a new one made of stone. It was subsequently renovated and painted with white color, hence giving it the nick name of "Masjid Putih' (the white mosque) or "Masjid Besar" (the big mosque).
The mosque's was further enlarged in 1972 during the reign of Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, with addition of its Masjid Negara Masjid Negara like minaret. (I personally feels that the minaret made the mosque lose it unique character and look pretty odd). Currently (August 2005) renovation work is being carried out to further up grade the mosque.
Follow the local folks - take a ride on the passenger boat crossing the Terengganu river to experince life in Kuala Terengganu.
You can chose to go to Pulau Duyung Besar to see the traditional boat-making industry. Alternatively, you can also take the boat ride accross the river to go to Seberang Takir, a throbbing fishing village. Here, you can see the fishermen coming in with their catch in the early afternoons or late evenings. Seberang Takir also offers an interesting view of Kuala Terengganu's skyline and the South China Sea. You can also chose to a boat or ferry ride to one of the many beautiful islands off the coast of Kuala Terengganu for day trip or over nite stay.
As a coastall town, the waterfront of Kuala Terenggau span across almost the entire of the town. Most of the town's activities and main places are also located along the waterfront area, just like in the old days when KT was merely a fishermen village. Kuala Terengganu's main jetties, central market (Pasar Payang), Chinatown, inter state bus station and public park (Taman Shahbandar) are among the town's main places that are located in the waterfront area, making the area full of activities with hustle and bustle during the day.
If you are here early in the morning, you can view fleets of fishing boats passing along the waterfront area leaving for the sea. While in the late afternoon you can see the same fleet of fishing boats returning back home. City folks may find it's really interesting looking at the boats and hearing the sound of the boats' engine moving slowly along the waterfront area - truely different from the fast pace of live in the city. However, this may changed soon as land reclaimation works are currently on going in some part of the waterfront area for its proposed re-development.