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.