Kuala Terengganu is located on the east coast of Malaysia and is an important cultural and historical part of Malaysia. For the most modern tourist, Kuala Terengganu is a gateway to some of the best Islands on the east coast of Malaysia including the Perhentian Islands, Radand Island, and Pulau Kapas. Not only this, large lakes and waterfalls mark some unique locations in the region that touches some of the oldest Rainforests in the world (Taman Negara).
My trip to Kuala Teregnnau in 2019 took me on some amazing and memorable adventures into the rich history of Kuala Terengganu. Being predominantly a Muslim state, the city of Kuala Terengganu has several amazing mosques as well as historical buildings. Spending 4 days in this amazing city gives you a chance to explore the rich history of sultans that controlled the region for centuries.
Traveling to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur
Catching a flight from KL to KT is probably the best way to travel. 45 minutes, the flight is a time saver and you can enjoy the whole day to yourself if you catch an early morning flight. I booked a car a the airport. Surprisingly, the airport rental agencies are quite flexible and accommodating and willing to pick up the car from Kuantan in case you plan to travel south to explore some coastal towns.
Driving from Airport to the city area we stopped at a roadside cafe for lunch. People prefer to eat out as food is very cheap across Malaysia and there is a lot more choice of vegetable and seafood dishes. Fish and prawn dishes are quite common and are prepared in several different ways with a spicy mix of sauces and coconut milk. I tried rice with prawns, chicken curry and some vegetables. The restaurants are packed at lunch and dinner time, and it seems eating out is a common practice.
The CBD has several modern buildings, an administrative office a central bus station. Exploring the city on foot is quite enjoyable you will see that KT is a busy coastal town with plenty of trade-in past.
Our first visit after exploring the city area was to Abideen Mosque. The beautiful white structure sits beautifully in the middle of the city and exudes a strange warmth and peaceful ambiance. I offered Zuhr prayers at this amazing mosque. The interior is spacious and well laid out. The ablution area has a beautiful marble fountain.
After the prayers, we decided to explore some other parts of the city. The commercial area is quite large with plenty of shops and it seems this city caters to plenty of small towns around Kuala Terengganu.
There is a huge mix of modern cafes and restaurants. Chinatown is a must-visit location f you want to explore some of the early settlers in the area.
Kuala Terengganu is not a place for partygoers and nightlife lovers as being a predominantly Muslim country.
Driving to the Resort on the outskirts of the Kuala Terengganu City
During our stay, we stayed for two nights at a resort located adjacent to Tengku Zahara Mosque. The locality has several homestays located in this neighbourhood. There are plenty of local cafes, restaurants, and fast-food chains located on the main road connecting the city with Tengky Zahara Mosque. The resort is lately converted into Terrengau Equestrian Resort.
At night we decided to explore the local cuisine of Kuala Terengganu and found a nice restaurant serving plenty of local seafood dishes. Talapia is a common variety of dishes deep fried and cooked with several different sauces. This time, we tasted the deep-fried fish with peanut sauce and mango salad. The taste was unbelievable. We also taste some other deep-fried dishes including prawns and vegetables. The general quality of food in roadside cafes and restaurants is great and quite affordable.
At night-time, Batu Buruk is filled with holidaymakers and people visiting KT city for the surrounding town. The beach is a popular hangout for families as the kids can fly kites and enjoy the rides in the play area. There is a Mcdonald’s near the beach area as well. Batu Buruk is not suitable for swimming due to the deep water and riptides. The location is developed more as a tourist place of attraction.
It is not possible to explore Kuala Terengganu without visiting the famous Kristal Mosque located near the bridge. The Mosque is an important Landmark and is rated as one of the most beautiful mosques in Malaysia.
We decided to explore Kuala Terengganu State Museum and Kristal Mosque on the same as both locations are located close to each other. The Museum is a massive structure with various sections dedicated to the art, history, culture, and crafts of this amazing state. The museum offers a great opportunity to learn about the life and culture of people who lived in KT for the last couple of centuries.
I enjoyed the art and crafts including the art of kite making, puppetry, and batik (printed fabric) which is unique to Kuala Terengganu. KT is home to a unique style of traditional ship making and craftsmen adept at working with wood cutting.
At lunchtime, we decided to explore Chinatown which has several quality restaurants serving a mix of Chinese-Malay dishes. We decided to try the famous chili crab and some local seafood dishes.
Lunch in Chinatown Kuala Terengganu
The Chinatown is connected with the KT River area with a narrow alley called Turtle Alley that commemorates the Turtle conservation efforts in Kuala Terengganu. Bar 45 is a popular hangout for drinking as it stays open till late. We enjoyed a nice lunch at one of the Chinese Restaurants. The food was very spicy and cooked using local ingredients including crabs and fish fillets prepared in sauce.
The river is located within a walking distance from Chinatown and the boat river ride is a popular tourist attraction. The tour boat is a single-engine boat that takes you to Kristal Mosque and stops for 10 minutes to take photographs of this amazing location.
Visiting Kristel Mosque in Kuala Terengganu
I highly recommend visiting the Kristal Mosque for a day tour as there is another very important attraction located next door called “Taman Tamudun Islam” where you can find replicas of many important architectural wonders from across the Muslim world. (https://www.tti.com.my/).
The riverboat ride cost around RM 15 and lasts for 45 minutes. This is a great way to explore some interesting parts of Kuala Terengganu in the daytime.
Visiting Pulau Kapas from Kuala Terengganu
One of the most enjoyable and memorable parts of visiting KT was spending a day at Pulau Kapas or Kapas Island located 10 km south of Kuala Terengganu. The beautiful island is accessible by a boat charter that costs RM 45 for a return ticket.
The boat ride takes about 15 minutes and the pilot drops you around the main beach area of Pulau Kapas. Kapas Island and Jamia Islands are ideal for snorkeling and swimming. The snorkels can be rented for RS 15 at the Marang Jetty area.