Malaysia: The colour of Terengganu

How can I start telling you all about this small town? It might be small but it offers so much more than you expect. Kuala Terengganu has fascinated me by its cultural events, its beautiful island, amazing food and incredibly friendly people. A week spent there I got to learn so many things on this Eastern side of Malaysia and got to participate in several cultural activities that I would tell you worth to try. Add Kuala Terengganu on your list because you are going to experience something pretty awesome.

The beautiful Redang Island


I already heard from my Malaysian friends that the island would stunt me because of its beauty. I was very curious to see what would make me so. Well, one fact, I love the sea and it has always wowed me by it natural creation. The moment I stepped out of the boat, I saw a beautiful coast line surrounded by palm trees. The water was so clear and sparkle under the sunlight just as there were glitters floating around. That moment, I couldn’t wait to dip myself in that giant crystal bath.

Sadly, I only had a chance to stay one day on this island but I sure well spent that quality time. Later in the afternoon of that day, I was sailed to the middle of the ocean and witnessed the magical sunset. How many people would have the chance to see that massive egg yolk sunken into the sea while joltily floating in the middle of the ocean? It set the whole blue sky on fire, slowly turned into pink and then got sucked in.

Believe it or not, it was still not the highlight of my day. After dinner, it was already almost midnight. A walk along the beach was cheesy and dreamy enough to do because I wouldn’t have that opportunity often. The sound of waves meeting shore broke the quietness. The humidity kept me sweating and sweating and brought up an idea to me – Why shouldn’t I have a night swim? If you are in the exotic land, you can make that night swim possible. The water was still warm, stars were all over the sky, and I felt tiny in that big ocean.

Cultural and colourful China Town

Tiny Chinatown is the most interesting area to explore and very much photogenic. The town is flanked on both sides by colourful double story shop houses. Those houses carry the touch of culture and heritage of Terengganu. They certainly make this town have a cheerful atmosphere.

The most fascinating thing to me is the people here. They are so friendly and welcoming. Wherever I went, I saw smiles on people’s faces and they sure had no problem to try explaining you what you want to know despite of their limited English.







Just for a head up – if you are a coffee addict like me, the best coffee you can get in town is from Star Anise which is in front of the love-lock alley.

Cultural and water activities

For sure, it was such a great opportunity being there while most cultural events happening. The Squid Jigging Festival was the most popular in town during that time (May-June) and probably one of those events you should head over and take part in. If you are into exploring the culture like me, you would definitely be into this event. Why? As I mentioned in my previous post about Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival, you will not only go out to the ocean catching squids, there are so much more.

Following the programme that Tourism Terengganu set up, I got a chance to do snorkelling in Pulau Redang. For the first time, I saw clearly the life under the water, fish all over the place joining my swim, and was that coral I was looking at? Picking clams is quite popular in The Netherlands but somehow I never went to try. However, there I was in Setiu, we did that the right way. With a group of 5 people and one fisherman, we were all taken on a boat to the middle of the river. The water there was just about lower our knees but they said that it was better to dip the whole body to the water because it made digging clams much easier. Well, and I did.




Besides those water activities, there were some in-land festivals going on at the same time – Setiu Cultural town introducing some local activities like Flying top spin and Fruit decoration; Kenyir Lake Festival dragging me to participate folk games that brought tons of fun and laughter; and the most amazing Paranakan Festival being held in the China Town, celebrating the bit of Chinese culture in this East coast of Malaysia, which wowed me by its dragon dance performance and delicious street food.




It was a lovely week living in the Malaysian culture. There were some new things to learn and I’m glad that I have discovered another part of this country. The food, the culture, the people… gave me a very pleasant stay and I would love to be back to swim in the crystal blue water of Redang island and to cook some freshly jigged squids on the boat again.






Malaysia: International Squid Jigging Festival 2015, Terengganu

First of all, I would like to thank the team of Gaya Travel Magazine and Tourism Terengganu for the opportunity to be in Terengganu and attend this cultural festival. I certainly had an amazing time and learned a lot from the journey. 



After 13 hours in the air, I arrived in Terengganu, Malaysia. The smell of the ocean already hit on my nose directly the moment I walked out of the airplane. I was welcomed with big smiles on people from the group of Gaya Travel and Tourism Terengganu. Joining that trip with me were more than a hundred bloggers and journalists and we were about to experience a full cultural week together. A whole programme was scheduled with full of interesting activities that I guarantee you might have never ever experienced. How exciting!

It was the second time that the Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival was held. This year happened on 2nd – 7th June 2015. The date for the festival is usually not fixed because it depends on the moon.

About Squid Jigging

We experienced two days of squid jigging. The first Squid Jigging Flag-off was held  on the beautiful Redang island. In late afternoon, we were sailed to the middle of the ocean by a traditional fishing boat and guided by skilful fishermen. On that day, we all learned something, for some of us like me, that was some new information. I am Vietnamese, but I have never been on a boat to catch squids in Vietnam but then I learned it in Malaysia.

Squid_JiggingYou will be given a circle reel that is wrapped with few km of twine. The fishing line carries two jiggers and those will bring squids to us. Simply enough, you just have to throw the jiggers to the water and let the weight carry them all the way to the bottom of the ocean. The technique is to pull the string up and down continuously and wait till the squid get jigged.

It requires your patience which not many people of our group had. Our boat managed to catch one squid but we were already very satisfied. However, if you want to train your bicep, it could be a good way.



DSC_4082The sun was going down and there was no better view of the sunset from the deck of the boat. That sunset created a beautiful light that I would die for to see it every single day.

It’s not only about jigging squids

You will be spending 4 to 5 hours on a boat. To be honest, it might get a bit boring if you cannot get any squid. However, the good thing is you are not alone, you will be put on a boat with some people. Let’s spend some time jigging squids and catching some talks with people around you. For me, it was a quality time to know someone better, in my case, I learned a lot from other travel bloggers, listened to their stories and understood better their perspectives of travelling.

The second Squid Jigging day, I was put on another boat, got a chance to know more people. Sooner than I expected, we sang songs on the front deck of the boat, we talked and shared our stories and laughters.







There is more

The programme did not just stop at squid jigging. It was full of interesting and cultural activities. We all got a chance to do snorkelling on Pulau Redang Island, to see the life under the water, to chase fish… The other day, we went to the town called Setiu and joined the local picking clams and that was quite a fun experience for me too. In between, we visited Kenyir lake which is unbelievable to be the biggest man-made lake in South East Asia, and we were introduced and participated in some folk games there. Despite of being under an intensive heat, everyone still enjoyed very much all the activities on that day.

Since we were in Kuala Terengganu, we sure did not miss out a visit to this town. In one night, we were taken to the China town and attended the Peranakan festival. I was blown away by the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, by the street food offered and the colourful street decors.


You might have not heard about Terengganu or the Squid Jigging festival but let me tell you, it is absolutely a life experience if you are in Malaysia. With Tourism Terengganu, you will not only learn about squid jigging, but you will also be taken to the most beautiful island in this country, introduced to the most amazing Malay food and you sure will learn a lot more about the culture of Peninsular state as well as Malaysia. At least, that was my experience and I can assure you that you will have a great time here as well. Maybe, we will see each other next year in Terengganu.

For more information on squid jigging tours in Terengganu, please contact:

Tourism Terengganu
9F Wisma Darul Iman, Kuala Terengganu 20503
Tel.  +60 96262020
Email :

If you are on Instagram, don’t forget to check out the gallery of Squid Jigging Festival 2015 with the hashtag #SquidJiggingTGG

Here are some shots taken from my trip