Anis Ramli takes a road-trip on one of a earliest-built highways in Malaysia to learn a old-world attract of Terengganu…
The low seas off Terengganu might be abounding in oil and gas reserves, creation a easterly seashore state among a region’s leaders in a oil, gas and petrochemical industry, though some disagree that a genuine treasures are all found on a mainland.
With a documented story reaching as distant behind as a 2nd century, Terengganu positively has amassed a resources of birthright shabby by a Langkasuka and Srivijaya kingdoms it was partial of, and a Majapahit, Khmer and Chinese empires it traded with. Despite complicated developments, a aged Terengganu still stays – and a best approach to try it? Via Federal Route 3 – coming a hundred years old, though still one of Malaysia’s many scenic highways.
At 739km long, Route 3 runs alongside a seashore of 4 Malaysian states from Johor Bahru, Johor, in a south of a peninsula, by Pahang and Terengganu before finale in Rantau Panjang, Kelantan. From here, it goes on as partial of a Asian Highway Network that connects Asia to a top reaches of Europe.
It’s mocking that 20 years after it was built by a British for mercantile reasons, Route 3 would move a ultimate tumble of a Allied Forces when, in 1941, Japanese infantry used it to quickly allege south on bicycles during a Battle of Malaya.
Having served for mercantile and domestic functions in a past, it contingency be pronounced that Route 3 currently is best matched for some-more resting pursuits. The comparatively prosaic and true two-lane singular carriageway highway provides an easy, scenic drive.
Traveling northwards, a South China Sea with a festive blue waves in a midday object would be your consistent messenger – and daze – on a east. Some sections of a highway run alongside sensuous pockets of mangrove forests along a coastal estuaries.
There’s no evading a panorama attract of Terengganu, even as a bigger towns try to strew a rural picture with petrify buildings and unfamiliar authorization retailers. Fishing villages only on a hinterland of towns pronounce of a population’s aged source of income; fishermen move their boats ashore on open beaches; chickens and cows ramble about openly along categorical thoroughfares; while many of a wooden homes here are still built on stilts in a devalue of coconut trees.
Even a widen of highway from Kerteh to Paka – where Malaysia’s oil and gas refinery activities are formed – creates for stately night driving. As a object sets, a outrageous formidable of pipes, steel tanks, fume stacks and gas flutes lights adult spectacularly like a space hire about to launch a rocket ship.
A good approach to get to know Terengganu is by a food and what improved place to start than in Chukai (in a district of Kemaman), among a initial towns we confront along a Terengganu territory of Route 3 northwards. Kim Wah (also famous as Kin To Wah) Restaurant is a plain dilemma investiture on Jalan Masjid with an even easier menu, offered zero else though duck rice. It opens daily from 11 am to 2:30 pm, though a plates of fry duck over rice with a side of soy salsa and chili drop mostly run out by 1pm.
One of a fast legacies of a Chinese encampment in Malaysia is a kopitiam. Usually determined in smaller towns, though increasingly franchised in civic centres, these old-style cafés are famous for their Asian coffee (usually thicker and some-more sour than a European version) and charcoal-toasted bread easily slathered with butter and kaya, a coconut cream-based jam. Kemaman’s really possess – Hai Peng Kopitiam on Jalan Sulaimani – has been enjoying a good repute given a 1930s. Besides a toast, their other specialty is a standard Terengganu plate nasi dagang – beautifully steamed rice with a portion of abounding tuna curry wrapped in banana root parcels.
In a evenings, join a locals during Pantai Geliga beach for normal easterly seashore tea-time treats of satar (fish cakes wrapped in banana leaves, skewered in threes, and grilled over impassioned charcoal), keropok lekor (fish crackers) and sotong celup tepung (deep boiled squid). Down it all with uninformed coconut juice, served true from a husk!
About an hour’s expostulate north of Chukai is Kuala Dungun, a city that once enjoyed a resources of a iron ore mining activities. Nothing many of a stately past stays solely for a prosy petrify post in a sea that some contend was partial of a railway line that ecstatic iron from Bukit Besi to Kuala Dungun. About 30 km inland, in Bukit Besi, are a few some-more of these legacies – a save buildings, tunnels and chimneys used during a tin-mining days – left by a Japanese who initial detected a cache within a area.
Seemingly bereft of any traveller attractions, Kuala Dungun is an doubtful stop for those flitting by Terengganu if not for Tanjong Jara Resort. Despite a medium kampung location, a resort, partial of a oppulance YTL skill chain, has gained a worldwide repute for a singular pattern and welcome. Taking a evidence from a easterly seashore residents, Tanjong Jara Resort has adopted a suggestion of peaceful and common Malay use and hospitality. Its “Unmistakably Malay” tagline is reflected around a review – a Malay palace-like architecture, a internal menu that facilities a region’s singular cuisine, and a age-old Malay treatments during a award-winning spa.
The district of Dungun, generally a beaches during Rantau Abang, used to be a job place of hulk leatherback turtles who lapse yearly to a beaches here to lay their eggs. In a 1970s, as many as 1,000 leatherback landings were reported though these nesting giants are a singular steer these days due to complicated developments and tellurian interference; however it is still probable to perspective immature turtle landings in other tools of Dungun. Tanjong Jara Resort has a turtle examination programme exclusively for guest during Kerteh. The oil-refinery city of Terengganu might be an doubtful pier of call for these nesting turtles, though a midnight trips organised with a internal fisheries dialect are rarely recommended. Complement a knowledge previously with a outing to a Turtle Information Centre in Rantau Abang only 15 km north of Tanjong Jara Resort to learn about a supernatural tour done by these peaceful sea creatures to nest and a successive quarrel for presence by their immature hatchlings.
After a willing panoramas of Kemaman, Dungun and Marang, a discord of collateral city Kuala Terengganu takes a while to get used to. Pasar Payang is a executive marketplace where all demeanour of trade is conducted. It’s a place to get your fish and chicken, fruits and veggies, dusty fish crackers, some select wear, souvenirs, even your bullion jewellery. It would roughly be a impiety to leave city though during slightest purchasing a signature easterly seashore fabric, a batik, here. Or indulge in a Terengganu brocade – a weave of stately origins done regulating excellent bullion and silk threads.
Spend a discerning afternoon on a Terengganu River Cruise, from a Islamic Civilisation Park jetty, to learn about a story and growth of a area. Then, bound over to Pulau Duyong to travel within a walls of an aged fortress. Built in a 1920s, Kota Lama Duyong is a normal Terengganu residence with Greek Corinthian elements in a columns and Islamic influences in a musical woodcarvings.
Continue northwards from Kuala Terengganu and we will shortly strech Penarik in a district of Setiu. This relaxed fishing encampment has a singular geographical landscape – a slight isthmus of casuarinas and coconut groves flanked by a Setiu River on a west and a South China Sea on a east. It is a environment of Terrapuri Heritage Village, partial charge project, partial boutique guest house, and persisting 20-year work of adore by internal entrepreneur, Alex Lee, to safety a authentic traditions of a Malay Terengganu house.
Here, guest are accommodated in hundred-year aged dwellings, any one privately sourced by Lee from several tools of Terengganu, dismantled, delicately easy and fabricated again on this square of beach-front land in Kampung Mangkuk. Rich in story and displaying a polished carpentry and pattern skills of highly-respected master craftsmen, any of these 29 houses might be a final legacies of a fast-diminishing Terengganu enlightenment and heritage. The liberality by locals employed from circuitously villages is genuine and unobtrusive – during a finish of your stay, you’ll be behest goodbye to friends and family instead of use staff.
With a seashore that runs for 244 km, Terengganu’s beaches are some of a best and infer to be a good daze to those pushing along Route 3. There’s no indicate facing a allure; spin off from a categorical highway anywhere and delight a serendipitous discoveries not noted in any traveller map.
Teluk Bidara in Dungun is a brook circuitously Tanjong Jara Resort where one can try a cavern and beacon on Tanjung Api Hill during low tide. Kuala Abang and Kemasik beaches have some engaging sea-side stone formations on that to roost and suffer a miles of blue, while Penarik tears we in dual with a stream wetlands on one side and beautiful beach on a other, and a shade of casuarinas and coconut palms in between a two.
The prolonged Terengganu seashore might be mouth-watering though beware of a clever under-currents in certain places. Instead, lift a chair beach-side and taste on keropok lekor as we take in a views of a circuitously islands, listen to a waves violation on a seaside and dream of owning a beach-front skill here.
When to go:
The state of Terengganu observes Sunday to Thursday as operative days while Friday and Saturday are open holidays. Banks, supervision offices and many businesses in Terengganu work from Sunday to Thursday.
Also, it’s value checking out a continue before going. Terengganu practice heavier rainfall and flooding in certain areas during a monsoon deteriorate when a north-east winds blow between Nov and January. Although a notice is that it rains each day during this period, there are ideally balmy days, too, in between soppy spells. Still, trips to a islands are not suggested during this duration due to capricious sea conditions. On a splendid side, a monsoon deteriorate is deliberate low season, and travellers get improved deals on hotels.
Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu (approx. 455 km): Take a Karak Highway, afterwards a East Coast Expressway, and exit during Jabor toll. Continue towards Kuala Terengganu on Federal Route 3 around Chukai city in Kemaman.
Singapore/Johor Bahru to Kuala Terengganu (approx. 562 km): Take Federal Route 3 to Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Kuala Rompin, Pekan, Kuantan and Kuala Terengganu.
Penang to Kuala Terengganu (approx. 460 km): Take Federal Route 4 around Grik to Jertih, afterwards spin into Federal Route 3 to Kuala Terengganu.
Fly to Kuala Terengganu Airport from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) around Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia; or from Subang Airport (Kuala Lumpur) around Firefly.
Check out an online leaflet on Terengganu (and a easterly seashore region) here: http://www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my/intl_en/ebrochure/pdf/8c26ea7d
Enjoy this article?
Consider subscribing to the rss feed!