Kuala Terengganu or abbreviated as K.T. is the royal capital of the state of Terengganu. The capital is located east-coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 500 kilometres northeast of Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Terengganu is called “Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air” or translated as Coastal Heritage City. The “city” status was awarded in 2008.
There are many incredible attractions available in Kuala Terengganu, if you just open your eyes to see them. Sometimes you can find them at the most narrow lanes possible or in the most eye-glinting building in the district. Have you ever been to Kuala Terengganu?
Pasar Besar Kedai Payang or best known as Pasar Payang to the locals is the Central Market of Kuala Terengganu. This place is huge and if you’re one that can easily lose your bearing, you might even get lost in here – like some of my friends could attest to.
Located by the Terengganu River, there are a variety of things sold at this two-storey building. You can find many types of traditional handicrafts at the second floor, from batik, silk, songket, brocade, brassware and many more. When you’re at the ground floor, you can find fresh produce, dried food and fruits. I love all of them except the part where they sell turtle eggs for consumption. Please don’t eat turtle eggs guys. Love and save our turtles before they go extinct.
Walking under the entrance to Chinatown with dragon crowning at the top or finding red lanterns lighted up above you, there will be no doubt where you are at. It is especially nice to come here at night but, if you’re here in the day, you’ll be able to enjoy the colors of the Laneway Arts.
What’s Laneway Arts?
The narrow lanes along Chinatown is transformed into lanes with murals drawn on the walls and other artistic things around it. You can walk along the Chinatown Green Lane or the Turtle Alley (this alley is created to pay homage to Terengganu’s mascot) or you can walk under colorful umbrellas at Lorong Kenangan Payang. There’s Lorong Haji Awang Besar with many wau bulan on top of you or the Eco Lane where batik is brought to life on the walls and also on top of you. Bottom line is, look up and you’ll be dazzled by the beautiful arts and crafts along these laneways.
But one of the things that attracted my attention when I was in Chinatown KT was this cafe called KitaReka. I didn’t get to try out the drinks in this cafe but even the makeshift seat outside the cafe was already interesting enough to grab my attention. If you ever drop by this place, try the drinks and update me if they’re as good as I think they would be, alright?
Kuala Terengganu State Museum
Located 3 kilometres south of Kuala Terengganu towards district of Losong, the Kuala Terengganu State Museum is acclaimed as the largest museum in Malaysia and one of the largest in South East Asia. The locals calls this Museum Losong, big possibility because of it’s location. The building consists of several complexes with many work of arts, although mostly it features Terengganu’s architecture and design.
The main feature that tourists would like to see for themselves is located just after the main entrance of the museum, none other than the Inscribed Stone or known in Malay as Batu Bersurat. It is a granite stele carrying classical Malay inscription in Jawi that was found in Terengganu more than 700 hundred years ago, proving that Islam influence has been in Terengganu and Tanah Melayu (Malaysia) for far longer than that.
I always love going to museums or art galleries when I travel. I can get lost in all the information for hours on end. You will definitely get lost (and a good lost too) in this State Museum if you ever make your way here.
Islamic Civilisation Park
Opened in 2008, the main attractions at the Islamic Civilisation Park or known locally as Taman Tamadun Islam are these 5 interactive monuments :
- Malaysia’s National Mosque
- Dome of the Rock of Palestine
- Sacred Mosque of Saudi Arabia (Masjidil Haram)
- Al-Hambra Citadel of Spain
- Taj Mahal of India
The park is quite big but you can still visit the monuments and other replicas on foot. However, because of the open concept, it could get slightly hot in the afternoon so do bring umbrellas or wear a hat. If you’re not into walking, you can also cycle around the park. There are bicycles ready for rent at the entrance.
The interactive monuments are really interesting. It really transports you to the real thing, even to the smallest details of carvings on the door or wall paintings.
The Crystal Mosque or Masjid Kristal is located next to the Islamic Civilisation Park, about 10 minutes slow walk, on the island of Wan Man. You cannot miss this majestic architecture and beautiful place of worship or its glinting reflection on the water surface. The mosque is built with a contemporary style with some Moorish and Gothic elements injected into it.
Crystal Mosque is made of steel, glass and crystal. We were told that the crystal is placed at the top of the biggest dome, which gives the brightest twinkle when hit by the sun. But at night, the place is liven up and colored with mesmerizing display of lights that changes the colors of it’s domes and minarets to pink, green, yellow and blue. A heaven for photography enthusiasts. It is a sight to behold.
Best part about the mosque?
Built to be the country’s first “intelligent” mosque, the Crystal Mosque is equipped with built-in IT infrastructure and wifi connection for easy internet access, especially when worshippers need to read the electronic Quran.
Who says places of worship can’t be smart too?