Kuala Terengganu Waterfront Heritage City

Kuala Terengganu Waterfront Heritage City
PHOTO: Tourism Malaysia

State Capital

Kuala Terengganu, the heritage waterfront city, is strategically located on the banks of the Terengganu River.

Administrative Districts

The State of Terengganu consists of seven districts mainly Besut, Dungun, Hulu Teregganu, Kemaman, Marang, Setiu, Kuala Terengganu

Population

Terengganu has a population of approximately 1,094,300 consisting of 95 per cent Malays and the rest comprising of Chinese, Indians and other ethnics.

Working Days

Government offices and banks working days are from Sunday to Thursday and the weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.

GETTING THERE

Air

The newly upgraded Sultan Mahmud Airport is situated approx. 18 km north of Kuala Terengganu city centre. Taxis and car rental desks are available at the arrival hall. The mezzanine level has a variety of souvenir shops and cafes.

Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, Firefly Air and Malindo Air operate daily flights to the Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Low Cost Carrier Terminal and Subang Airport respectively. The daily Firefly, Malindo Air and Berjaya Air flights from Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore's Seletar Airport offer a convenient and time saving way to visit Terengganu. Berjaya Air ply direct route to Pulau Redang both from Subang in Malaysia and Seletar Airport in Singapore.

Road

Terengganu is accessible via intercity expressway networks from all major towns and cities in Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. The new East Coast Highway and the Simpang Pulai Highway via Tasik Kenyir offers a convenient and scenic journey. Driving by car with friends or loved ones can be pretty much an interesting trip. Aside from the greeneries that can be seen throughout your journey, the fresh air and unpolluted countryside can offer a captivating experience. Once you get to Terengganu road, the beautiful beaches and blue waters welcomes you. Travelling from the south through the Segamat Highway offers an exciting trip as well. Luxury double-decker coaches, taxis and rental cars are available from all major cities in Peninsular Malaysia.

KUALA TERENGGANU

As the state and royal capital of Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu is a riverine city bordering Terengganu River. Kuala Terengganu used to be a port of call for barter traders from the neighbouring region as well as from other parts of the world. Local traders barter gold dusts, brass wares and local products in exchange for the much needed salt, rice and other daily commodities. Some traders anchored at the port just to seek shelters from the unpredictable monsoon winds. Admiral Zheng Ho and his armada were believed to have anchored in Kuala Terengganu to get freshwater supplies and other amenities for thousands of his sailors. Visits by Captain Alexander Hamilton in 1720AD, W. Medhurst, a Christian missionary in 1828 AD and George Winsor Earl in 1833AD wrote in their logbooks that the Chinese community traded gold dust and pepper with their Chinese counterparts who sailed in their vessels from the mainland China.

With the restructuring and the proclamation of the township into a waterfront city with a tinge of traditional infrastructures, Kuala Terengganu is set to become a hub for tourism as well as other developments. An East Coast Corridor will be developed in tandem to lure more tourists and investors alike. Kuala Terengganu has an abundance appeals and attractions. There is Pasar Payang Central Market, a bustling centre of activities, the historic Kampung China, the state museum, handicraft centre, the famous 'keropok lekor' in Kampung Losong and the picturesque fishing village in Seberang Takir.

Other attractions are the dotted cottage industries of songket weaving, batik 'chanting' (hand drawn) and block imprints, the traditional boat making, the traditional foods and recreational beaches of Pantai Batu Buruk, Pantai Teluk Ketapang, Pantai Chendering and the famous Monsoon Cup venue of Pulau Duyung.

Each attraction offers glimpses of unique blend of local tradition and rich cultures, heritage and the beauty of nature, plus the warmth of its people, all in its developing capital of Kuala Terengganu.

TAMAN TAMADUN ISLAM (ISLAMIC HERITAGE/CIVILIZATION PARK)

The park is a colourful mosaic marked by 22 exquisite miniatures of famous mosques and monuments showcasing the grandeurs of Islamic arts and architectures. The island is divided into two zones. Zone 1 housed the 22 miniature mosques, monuments, souvenir shops, restaurant and a recreational lake. Audio Visual presentations and signage of the heritage and history provides interesting information for visitors. Zone 2 housed a commercial centre, a convention centre, a main square and an Islamic concept garden. Tucked at the tip of the island is the glittering Crystal Mosque. Majestically constructed with crystal shine glass and steel overlooking the scenic Terengganu River, it is the iconic splendour and pride of Terengganu. The breathtaking view of the park with its colourful lightings of the mosques and monuments seen from the Terengganu Bridge is picture perfect with panoramic background, especially during sunset that add to the lustrous colour of nature at its best.

It only seems natural that the magnificent Crystal Mosque, with its foundation in the water provides a floating illusion. The close proximity to the water provides reflections to the glass walls, minarets and domes, thus creates a prismatic and radiant exterior. The luminescent exterior reflects charm and the vibrant heritage and idyllic nature that surround it.

PUSAT KRAFTANGAN (HANDICRAFT CENTRE)

A must visit for handicraft enthusiast; the Terengganu Handicraft Centre boasts diverse wares that Terengganu is famous for. From hand woven baskets to pandanus (mengkuang) mat weaving, from wood carvings to songket weaving, brassware as well as the exquisite hand drawn and block imprints, everything can be found here. Each creation, unique with the unmistakable feel of Terengganu, are done meticulously with skills passed from one generation to the next thus retaining its originality. The Handicraft centre is situated in Kuala Ibai, 6 km from the town centre.

TENGKU TENGAH ZAHARAH MOSQUE (FLOATING MOSQUE)

An awe-inspiring design with picturesque surroundings, you must not miss the opportunity to visit one of the famous landmark in Kuala Terengganu. The mosque is situated on a 5-acre of reclaimed land in Kuala Ibai, with its foundation built in the lagoon of Ibai river. During high tide, the water rises covering the foundation creates illusions of a floating mosque.

BULATAN BATU BERSURAT (INSCRIPTED STONE ROUNDABOUT)

Syed Hussin Gulam al-Bukhari, who discovered the stone tablet in Kampung Buluh, Kuala Berang in 1903, realised the historical significance of the Romanized Arabic-like text inscriptions on the stone. It is one of the most important historical evidence of an Islamic decree in scripted by a local ruler, dated 1303. The stone is an evidence of one of the earliest Islamic government in the Malay Peninsula. The inscriptions on the stone explain the decree and enforcement of Islamic laws and its punishments. Today, a replica of the stone has been built as a memorial in Kampung Buluh, Kuala Berang and another mammoth replica at a roundabout in Kuala Terengganu. The original is prominently displayed at the State Museum.

DATARAN SHAHBANDAR (SHAHBANDAR CITY SQUARE)

Located in the heart of the city overlooking the scenic Pulau Duyung in the estuary of Terengganu River, it is a place to relax and unwind while watching local fishermen returning from the sea. The famous weekend market every Fridays attracted locals and foreigners alike. Among goods sold are second hand garments, leather goods, bundle shoes, household products, local delicacies and children toys. This City Square is also the main venue for carnival events and performances.

ISTANA MAZIAH (MAZIAH PALACE)

This palace is yet another main attraction of Kuala Terengganu. Unlike other traditional palaces, the design of this palace has a hint of French architecture. Overlooking the vibrant Kuala Terengganu waterfront, the palace was constructed during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III in 1897. Originally called Istana Hijau (the Green Palace), what sets this palace unique is the use of a mixture of limestone and clay, strengthened with coarse salt, egg white and honey as its main building ingredients. This palace was definitely unique in its time, however was partly destroyed by a fire during World War II. The present palace is reconstructed during the post war era.

Today, Istana Maziah is the venue for royal celebrations, royal receptions of local and foreign dignitaries, royal weddings and conferment of titles.

MEDAN MAZIAH (MAZIAH GARDEN)

Medan Maziah was originally a part of the Istana Maziah's compound. A sizeable had been turned into a beautiful landscaped garden. There is a gigantic replica of betel leaves canister or tepak sireh which symbolizes the half-forgotten betel leaves eating era of the yesteryears.

NOOR ARFA CRAFT COMPLEX

Situated in Chendering, Noor Arfa is a pioneer of the much acclaimed batik industry in Malaysia. Their principle to always improvise and striving for the best in batik designs have won the admiration and recognition in Malaysia. With its meticulous design and high quality fabrics, Noor Arfa has achieved the status and rare distinction of being the largest batik producer in the country. Their branches spread to most major cities in Malaysia. Noor Arfa Craft Complex not only focuses on the manufacturing activity. It is one of Malaysia's largest batik showrooms. There are also handicrafts and batik demonstrators which provide opportunity for visitors to learn and watch the meticulous and artistic skills passed from previous generation.

BUKIT PUTERI (PRINCESS HILL)

Bukit Puteri is a 208-metre hill that is rich in history. Situated next to the famous Istana Maziah, the hill's name literally means The Princess Hill. It was formerly a fortress believed to have been built in the 1820's. At present what remains is a large brass bell known as 'Genta'. It was struck during emergencies as well as notification of important festivals and royal events, chimed at different message tone to the surrounding townsfolk. There are also a family of cannons, flagpole, a lighthouse, cemetery and a fort. Bukit Puteri is accessible from the new Waterfront Heritage Bazaar.

BAZAR WARISAN PESISIR AIR (WATERFRONT HERITAGE BAZAAR)

A visit to Terengganu will not be complete without spending time at this well known market. Visitors will find ample parking spaces in the multi-tiered car park. The market offers varieties of traditional handicrafts from souvenirs to songket, batik, handicraft products, keris, brassware, t-shirts, ladies garment and silk.

The Bazaar is opened daily from as early as 7.00 am until 6.00 pm. Please be advised that some of the stalls are closed on Fridays.

KAMPONG CHINA (CHINA TOWN)

Chinatown in Kuala Terengganu has a recorded history dating back a few centuries ago. Seafaring traders from Southern China began to establish settlements here in the late Ming Dynasty or early 1600's. It was once a hub for commercial activities that help shape Kuala Terengganu into what it is today. The Chinese built traditionally designed shop houses according to their place of origin in China. Chinatown's main street is flanked on both sides by colourful double storey shop houses that functions both as a place of business and residence. The buildings have been declared a heritage site by the United Nation's UNESCO World Monument Watch Programme and grants are being given annually to finance preservation of this pre-colonial heritage significant.

The Peranakan Chinese has been living harmoniously with the Malay majorities in the state. They blend in with the local culture and heritage, speak fluent local dialect and share the likings of traditional delicacies while retaining their identity. Retail outlets, tour & hotel operators, traditional Chinese medicine shops, souvenir shops, restaurants, electronic, hawker stalls, and grocery shops lined the colourful buildings. It is also home to two grand temple or toapekongs, the Ho Ann Kiong and the Tien Hou Kong as well as Taoist's Kuan Ti Temple.

Visits to Kg. China are a must when you are in Kuala Terengganu. Try spending time walking along the streets. Other than the prominent Dragon Arch, there are other attractions within the vicinity such as Turtle Alley, Bukit Keledang, Kampung Tiong Market, the Green Lane, The Old Bridge, Teck Soon Heritage House, Tokay Wee Sin Hee Lane, the World Heritage Lane, Payang Memory Lane and the Vertical Garden. It is considered to be the old hub of the town where pre-war heritage buildings by immigrants that help shape Terengganu into what it is today.

TPESISIR AIR JALAN HILIRAN (THE WATERFRONT)

This is one of the recent landmarks in Kuala Terengganu. With a garden concept in mind, the waterfront is beautifully landscaped overlooking the Terengganu River, thus making it the perfect spot to relax while enjoying the cool breeze. Adding to the comfort and convenience are ample parking spaces, food stalls, children playground, toilet facilities and river cruise jetty.

MUZIUM NEGERI (TERENGGANU STATE MUSEUM)

It is acclaimed as the largest of its kind in Malaysia. The Terengganu State Museum houses century old artifacts and artworks of rich and colourful heritage. Located on 27 hectares of land in Bukit Losong, Kuala Terengganu, the complex itself is an impressive architectural feature, based on the designs of the ancient Terengganu palace. The complex's many galleries showcase textiles, historical artifacts, crafts, royal regalia, Islamic arts, contemporary arts, weapons, petroleum development, historical, sea faring trade, fisheries and marine galleries.

Herbs and botanic garden is well-maintained in the vicinity of the museum. At the main entrance, the original Arabic Jawi text inscription of Islamic religious decree Inscripted Stone or "Batu Bersurat" of Terengganu is prominently displayed, which proves the earliest acceptance of Islamic teachings in the Malay Peninsula. The maritime complex, the restored original old palaces and traditional boats used by sea-faring locals are also prominently displayed in the compound.

TRADITIONAL BOAT BUILDING AT PULAU DUYONG

Traditional boat builders of Terengganu are famous for their skills that have withstood the test of time. These craftsmen do not require plans or blueprints. They build boats and yachts from memory passed from generations and yet produce intricate designs with great precision and details. Built with the touch of modern technology and traditional precision, the boat and yacht is sought after by sailors from all over the world due to its sea-worthiness. Today, they continue to be a part of Terengganu's rich and vibrant heritage arts and heritage.

KOTA LAMA DUYONG (DUYONG OLD FORT)

This building of historical significance is located on Pulau Duyong Kecil. It is an architecture wonder built in the 1920's. While most of the local abodes are normal wooden traditional houses, Kota Lama Duyung was constructed with bricks and wood, based largely on the traditional Malay elements, with a hint of British influence, a burgeoning Islamic consideration. The Kota Lama Fort is considered an experimental building, a legacy of its owner, Dato' Biji Sura', a man known for his vision and futuristic ideas. The house was restored by the State as one of the unique attraction and also acts as a live museum to display local artifacts and the historical development of Islam.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDED CONTENT

SPONSORED CONTENT

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.