Pahang

If you are looking to have an all-encompassing holiday that will take you to world-class islands, hill resorts, miles and miles of sandy beaches and mysterious lakes, look no further than the state of Pahang.

Pahang is Peninsular Malaysia’s largest state and is a treasure chest waiting to be discovered. Every kind of visitor will have the opportunity to enjoy the numerous attractions the state has to offer. Just take you time and soak in the sights and sounds.

GETTING THERE

Kuantan is easily accessible by road. The journey from Kuala Lumpur is 260km while it is about 325km from Johor Baru. If you wish to travel by air, Malaysia Airlines schedules daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan. Flights are also available between Kuantan and Tioman Island. Meanwhile, the railways link Pahang through Mentakab and Kuala Lipis from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bahru. In addition, there are many buses and taxis that provide services from most major towns to Kuantan.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

Beaches Cherating

Cherating is located about 47km north of Kuantan, the capital of Pahang. It’s the perfect place to escape from the busy lifestyle of the city. From luxury five-star hotels to wooden chalets, you will find your kind of accommodation dotted along the beach amidst traditional village environments.

Cherating is also host to Asia’s first Club Med and it promises loads of fun and adventure. After the sunset, fun beach bars come alive and you will not want to miss out on the party.

Teluk Cempedak

Located five kilometres from Kuantan, Teluk Cempedak features various pubs, dining spots and luxury hotels. Water sports like sailing, surfing and skiing are popular activities here. A brief jungle trek through the Teluk Cempedak Forest Reserve brings you to Pelindung Beach, another treasure to be enjoyed.

Berserah

This unique fishing village is a must-visit for arts and crafts lovers. You will be amazed by the handicrafts and exquisite batik masterpieces. It is also the place popular for its mouth-watering salted fish. Berserah also is special because this is where fishermen have trained their buffaloes to transport fish from the shore to the processing area – unlike the usual picture of the animals soaking in padi fields or drawing heavy carts.

Balok Beach

Balok Beach is located 15km north of the capital and is a fantastic spot for fans of windsurfing. In addition, holidaymakers love to retreat to this haven of cooling sea breezes, swaying casuarinas, fine sandy beaches and clear blue seas.

Chendor Beach

Just a few kilometres north of Cherating lies this beach where giant leatherback turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs. The season to witness this event is between July and September.

Lanjut Beach

Located near Kuala Rompin district, this serene beach is very much untouched and secluded. International standard beach hotel Lanjut Golden Beach Resort is situated here. There are also smaller hotels and chalets here and the most popular activity is freshwater prawn fishing.

MARINE PARKS

Pulau Tioman Marine Park

This popular tourist destination comprises nine islands. Pulau Tioman is the largest measuring 32km long and 19km wide. The other islands are Pulau Labas, Pulau Sepoi, Pulau Gut, Pulau Tokong Bahara, Pulau Chebeh, Pulau Tulai, Pulau Sembilang and Pulau Seri Buat. Tioman comprises six settlements namely Salang, Air Batang, Tekek, Paya, Genting and Nipah.

This paradise on earth boasts of sparkling seawater, unending soft white sandy beaches, rows of inviting palm trees, amazing waterfalls and cool sea breezes. Its coral gardens are a myriad of colours and its underwater life simply amazing. It is the place you want to be to get away from the busy city life.

Tioman also features some of the best dive sites in the world. Diving in clear blue waters over fantastic coral reefs teeming with marine life is definitely not to be missed. Cuttlefish, moray eels, blue spotted stingrays, damsel fish, sea anemones, cardinal fish are just some of the friends you will make while exploring this wonderland.

For extra adventure, divers can opt to explore the underwater caves around Pulau Chebah and some of the best reefs near Pulau Sepoi and Pulau Labas. Pulau Tulai and Pulau Renggis are also worth a visit.

These islands can be reached within an hour’s boat ride from Pulau Tioman. The island has accommodation ranging from chalets to luxury resorts. Other facilities include camping sites, a convenience store, a post office, a police station, souvenir stalls, moneychangers and restaurants. Although the island is open all year round, the best season for diving and snorkelling is from April to October.

WATERFALLS

There are quite a number of beautiful waterfalls in Pahang. These spots are perfect for picnics, camping or taking a refreshing dip. Lata Jarum, located about 30km from Raub town, is an established picnic spot with numerous rapids flowing into a pool of crystal clear water. Let the view take your breath away and a dip into its cool waters will surely rejuvenate the tired body and soul. The Lata Lembik Waterfall, also located near Raub town has an interesting rock formation and this waterfall is still very much in the heart of a rainforest. Another waterfall worth visiting is the Bukit Telaga Waterfall, 15km from Fraser’s Hill. Other popular waterfalls include the Sungai Pandan Waterfall, which is about 29km from Kuantan and the Bekelah Waterfall, 60km from the state capital.

LAKES

Lake Chini

This lake is about 125 ha in size and lies among 12,000 acres of lush tropical jungle. It is Malaysia’s second largest natural lake. Located about 100km south of Kuantan, it is actually made up of 12 freshwater lakes. Lake Chini is blessed with tranquil and captivating sceneries and boasts many natural wonders. Its lush wilderness supports more than 130 species of plants and several hundred animal species and its calm, cool water is home to 144 species of freshwater fish.

Myths and legends have drawn curious visitors from all over for years. One of the popular stories is the ‘Chini Monster’, which some say is an ancient dragon-like creature. It is believed that the monster lives in the lake and guards a lost city made up of gold. This city is believed to be an ancient Khmer City that was once situated at the lake.

Fishing is an activity enjoyed by tourists and locals alike due to the abundance of freshwater fish found in the lake. You can also observe the Orang Asli and their interesting way of life at their settlement in Kampung Gumum. Hiking up Chini Mountain or indulging in a river safari would be an experience for the adventurous.

Tasik Bera

Located in southwest Pahang, Tasik Bera is the largest freshwater lake in Peninsular Malaysia. This 35km long and 20km wide lake is home to 328 species of flora, 200 species of birds, 50 mammals and more than 95 species of fish. It is an ideal place for nature enthusiasts as activities include fishing, trekking, boating and kayaking.

NATIONAL PARKS

Taman Negara is one of the oldest rainforest in the world – said to be more than 130 million years old. It is Malaysia’s premier national park and the largest in the country, covering over 4,343 square kilometres (434,300 ha). The park is a sanctuary to countless species of flora and fauna. These species can be observed from many hides, namely Tahan, Tabing and Cegar hides. Visitors can camp at these hides after sunset to observe nocturnal animals. If luck is on your side you may spot fireback pheasants, barking deer, tapirs, sun bears, long-tailed macaques, white-handed gibbons, wild ox and the rare Sumatran rhinoceros.

The park is proud to offer visitors the longest canopy walkway in the world. It measures 25km high and over 400 metres long. Visitors can see rare plants that are only found at the canopy level of the forest.

Gunung Tahan, which rises 2,187 metres above sea level within the park, is the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia. Fans of mountain climbing will certainly find this mountain an exciting challenge.

There are also scenic trails like the Tahan Trenggan trail, Neram trail and the Bukit Teresak loops. All these trails are excellent for jungle trekking and offer wonderful sights of what Mother Nature has to offer. Cave explorers would find Gua Daun Menari and Gua Telinga delightful. Other fun activities are visiting the Orang Asli settlements and going on a boat ride on Tembeling River.

Kenong Rimba Park

Kenong Rimba Park, which spans 121 square kilometres offers breathtaking waterfalls, clear mountain streams, exciting caves and abundant of flora and fauna. Nature and adventure lovers will find this park a haven. Favourite activities here include bird watching, animal spotting, trekking, caving, fishing and swimming.

Gunung Tapis Park

This wonderful nature park is located 16km from Sungai Lembing. It has many waterfalls, rapids, hot springs and wildlife. There are camping sites here too. The picturesque Mount Tapir Waterfall cascades from a height of 15 metres and is the biggest waterfall within the park. If camping is not your cup of tea, the Sungai Lembing Tapis Resort offers comfortable and modern accommodation.

HILL RESORTS

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands is fondly known as the ‘Giant Green Carpet of Malaysia’. It stands at 1,829 metres above sea level and is the largest hill resort in Malaysia. Its cool climate makes it ideal for tea, fruits, vegetables and flower farms. Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Trinkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja are townships within the highland.

This hill resort also features Robinson Falls, the Rose Garden nurseries, vegetable farms, flower, strawberry and honeybee farms as well as the Sungai Palas Tea Estate. Meanwhile, visitors can also visit Ye Olde Smokehouse, which was built in the colonial era and still remains as is today.

Taking long walks and trekking are favourite activities among visitors here. Some unique species of flora and fauna can be spotted along these trails, a must-do in a nature’s lover’s list. Hiking to Gunung Brinchang, Gunung Beremban and Gunung Jasar will add a tinge of adventure to your holiday. There is also an 18-hole golf course here.

Fraser’s Hill

Rising 1,542 metres above sea level, this hill was named after Scottish trader Louis James Fraser. This serene and tranquil hill used to be a weekend retreat for British officers before Independence. More than anything, Fraser’s is famous for bird watching – it has over 260 species of birds.

The fresh mountain air and rich vegetation make walking around the hill pleasurable. Picnicking and swimming are some of the things you can do at the Jeriau Waterfalls. Visitors can also go on pony rides or admire the lovely flowers in nurseries.

Some golfers visit the hill resort on weekends to enjoy a game or two with friends and business partners. There are two golf courses here – a nine-hole and an 18-hole, both designed by Frank Hemmant and Roger Davis respectively. Other facilities include a sports complex, a children’s playground and a roller-skating rink.

AGROTOURISM ATTRACTIONS

Tekam Plantation Resort

This resort spans over 2,000 ha and comprises coffee, fruit, coconut, cocoa, oil palm and rubber fields. Offering educational tours where visitors can visit the plantations and caves, other experiences that can be enjoyed include rubber tapping, cocoa, coffee and tropical-fruit picking and oil palm harvesting. The best season to visit the fruit nurseries is from July to September when durians and rambutans are abundant. Meanwhile, Sungai Tekam is a good area for fishing. Convenient and comfortable lodgings like chalets are available, as are F&B outlets and recreational facilities. The Indera Mahkota Agricultural Park, located about 10km from Kuantan is another agricultural resort worth visiting.

SHOPPING

Berjaya Megamall is the largest shopping centre in the east coast with five levels within the building measuring about 150,000 square feet. Retail outlets that offer a wide variety of choices cover the lower ground floor to the second floor. Entertainment centres are on the third floor while ample parking is available on the fourth and fifth floors.

Pasaraya Hugo is another shopping destination that features 290 retail outlets with a 33-lane bowling alley and an amusement centre. Fast food chains, restaurants and a food court that offer delicious recipes can also be found here.

Terengganu

A drive along the coast of Terengganu will both awe the visitor and calm his tired spirit. Sandy white beaches – lined with coconut trees that complete the picture – do more than just greet the visitor looking to soak in the sun and sea on its coast and islands, which are surrounded by clear blue waters and exotic marine life. Then there is its spectacular underwater world, lush tropical rainforest, dazzling waterfalls and other natural wonders.

GETTING THERE

There are few ways to reach Kuala Terengganu. It is 491km by road from Kuala Lumpur and about 555km from Singapore. Malaysia Airlines offers regular flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu and Kerteh. Domestic budget airline AirAsia also offers regular flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu. Express buses and taxis operate to Kuala Terengganu from different major towns like Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang, Kota Bahru and Johor Bahru. Getting around Kuala Terengganu is also easy as there are taxis and buses. Trishaws are also available and offer fun rides.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

Beaches

Be amazed by Terengganu’s lovely sandy beaches and feel the refreshing sea breeze as you drive along the coastline. The beaches run from Kuala Besut in the north to Kemaman in the south. To begin with, Rantau Abang is a must-visit for fans of turtles. It is situated about 60km south of Kuala Terengganu and is one of only six special beach terrains in the world that the giant leatherback turtles visit to lay eggs. The period to watch these huge turtles swim ashore is between May and September.

Female turtles usually arrive around midnight during this time, and each will dig a deep hole in the sand to lay its eggs. This lasts till about dawn when the turtle then covers the hole and makes it way back to sea.

It is not unusual to see eager locals waiting the whole night to catch a glimpse of these prehistoric creatures. Some chalet operators even offer wake-up calls when turtles come ashore. Torch lights and cameras are prohibited and visitors are not allowed to make too much noise as these turtles get scared easily.

Tanjung Jara is another popular spot for beach lovers. It is about 60km from Kuala Terengganu and just eight kilometres from Rantau Abang. This idyllic beach offers swimming, boating, wind surfing or simply invites you to sit back under the shade of the trees and enjoy the sea breeze.

Other beaches that are equally fascinating in Terengganu are Pantai Air Tawar, Teluk Dalam, Pantai Batu Buruk, Chendering and Pulau Tenggol.

Firefly-watching

After the sun slowly sets, the mangroves on the riverbank come alive with the incandescent glow of thousands of fireflies. For as long as the residents of Kampong Ibok can remember, the fireflies have performed their joyous ritual but no one is certain why. As your sampan gently guides you down Sungai Yakyah, perhaps you will discover the answer to the ancient mystery of nature. Located about 20km from Awana Kijal Golf, Beach & Spa Resort, the best time to see this magnificent display of lights is on a dry evening from 8.00pm to midnight.

ISLANDS AND MARINE PARKS

Exotic and amazing islands like Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Kapas are the precious gems of Terengganu. They are rich in magnificent marine life, corals of rainbow hues and aquamarine seawater. These islands are also gazetted as marine parks. Include these precious tropical islands in your itinerary and be assured of a memorable holiday.

Other small wonders are Pulau Tenggol, Pulau Bedong and Pulau Gemia. Pulau Gemia is a privately owned island, which is reserved especially for guests of Gem Island Resort.

Pulau Redang Marine Park

Off the Terengganu coastline on the northeastern coast is the Redang Archipelago. It is made up of nine islands namely Pulau Redang (the largest), Pulau Pinang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Susu Dara and Pulau Kapas. This area has also been gazetted as a marine park and its brilliant underwater world is one of the best in Malaysia.

Pulau Redang is indeed one of Malaysia’s most idyllic islands. This tropical paradise offers pearly-white sandy beaches, sparkling clear seawater, lovely sunsets and a spectacular marine life. Its marvellous marine fishes, turtles and huge variety of coral reefs make it a wonderful diving spot and its coral species are some of the best in the world. The five famous dive sites in Redang are Tanjung Lang, Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Gua Kawah, Pasir Panjang and Batu Mak Cantek. Apart from diving, beach lovers can also enjoy other activities like swimming, snorkelling, fishing, boating or sunbathing.

Pulau Perhentian is situated about 21km off the coast of Terengganu and comprises two islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, golden sandy beaches, tall swaying palm trees and crystal blue water, it is an ideal swimming, wind surfing, sailing, boating and canoeing destination. It also boasts wonderful underwater treasures.

Coral Bay on Pulau Perhentian Kecil offers a marvellous view of the sunset. It is also a perfect paradise for nature lovers as there are paths available for exploration of the virgin tropical jungle. On the northern shore of Pulau Perhentian Besar lie three coved bays where most tourists visit for some turtle watching. It can be reached easily by speedboat.

Pulau Kapas is situated offshore about 30 minutes by boat from Marang, south of Kuala Terengganu. It is a lovely small island with beautiful, quiet and unspoiled sandy beaches; cool and clear blue waters, swaying coconut trees and caves with swallows’ nests. Its waters are home to beautiful marine life such as fish, turtles, corals and others. It is a great place for swimming, snorkelling, diving, wind surfing, kayaking, boating or just pure relaxation.

Other neighbouring splendours are Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Pinang, Pulau Lima and Pulau Lang Tengah. These charming islands are also rich with marine treasures. Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts will not want to miss these little wonders. Two historic shipwrecks, the H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse were also discovered around the waters off Pulau Redang. It is believed that these ships sank during the early days of World War II.

Apart from sea sports and activities, nature lovers can also participate in jungle trekking or hiking, as most of these islands have interesting forestry treasures to offer. Explore the abundance of flora and fauna within these forests. There are over 100 species of plants that have healing values and a few rare orchid species.

Meanwhile, Pulau Pinang has a visitors’ centre that houses an exhibition room, an audio-visual room, a research lab, turtle touch pools and chalets.

WATERFALLS

The Sekayu Waterfalls offers a magnificent view of seven cascades surrounded a by lush forest. It is a favourite among visitors and locals alike. Facilities like chalets, changing rooms, rest houses and gazebos are available. It is located within the Sekayu Recreation Forest in Kuala Berang and is a 45-minute drive from Kuala Terengganu.

To add some adventure to your holiday, pay a visit to the Sungai Ceralak Waterfalls, which comprises two waterfalls – Jeram Solo and Jeram Padang. The adventure begins as soon as you embark on your journey. It involves a boat ride from Kuala Jengai to Kuala Sungai Ceralak, a jungle hike and crossing Sungai Ceralak itself. Upon arrival at the site, you will be greeted by the scenic view of the waterfalls surrounded by pretty blooms and trees.

RECREATIONAL FORESTS

Sekayu Recreational Forest

Located at Kuala Berang, about 60km southwest of Kuala Terengganu, Sekayu’s attractions are the lush jungle-clad hills, a fruit orchard, a mini zoo, a bird park and a flower garden surrounded by a waterfall. There are also facilities like shelters, a rest house and chalets. It is a must-visit for nature fans. Pelagat Forest Reserve
This forest reserve is located in Besut, 70km northwest of Kuala Terengganu. Adventure lovers can indulge in trekking, canoeing and swimming at the Lata Tembakah Waterfalls area.

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the state capital, which is located on the banks of the Terengganu River. It has a blend of old and new buildings. The town moves in a relaxing pace and stands as a reminder of old times.

The Waterfront

There is a port here where fishermen go to sea and where fish is also traded at a bazaar. Take a boat ride from here and visit the surrounding islands, or board a passenger boat to Seberang Takir where the most beautiful view of the South China Sea can be enjoyed.

Pulau Duyong

Take a ferry ride from the waterfront to Pulau Duyong, the island that is renowned as the home of Malaysia’s best boat builders. Be amazed at the unique craftsmanship these men practice, which, unfortunately, is an art on the verge of extinction. This place is also known for seafood-related products like salted fish and fish crackers.

Bukit Puteri

This 200-metre high historical hill was the state’s fortress against enemy attacks between 1831 and 1876. Today, the only remains of the fort are cannons, a flagpole, a large bell and a lighthouse. Witness a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas from the top of the hill.

Istana Maziah

A palace of splendid architecture that is modern and traditional. It was constructed during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. Located near Bukit Puteri, it is the venue for royal weddings, birthdays, conferment of titles and receptions for local and foreign dignitaries.

Terengganu State Museum Complex

Several museums are housed in this complex situated at the end of Jalan Losong and it is said to be the largest in Southeast Asia. It is home to the Main Museum, a Fisheries Museum, a Maritime Museum, four traditional palaces, and a botanical and herbal garden. The Main Museum was built on 16 stilts and has 10 galleries.

Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque

This mosque was constructed with stilts on an open sandy area with water flowing underneath, which also makes it known as a floating mosque. A fantastic masterpiece incorporating Moorish architecture with a modern touch to it, the mosque is especially a beautiful sight at night.

LA Hot Springs

Located in Besut, the LA Hot Springs is a famous recreational spot. Its sulphur-rich water has healing properties, which is said to be beneficial for those suffering from skin ailments. Even if you do not suffer from any ailment, get in just to feel relaxed and refreshed.

FISHING VILLAGES

Explore some fishing villages not far from Kuala Terengganu, namely Marang, Kampung Marang, Chendering and Kijal. They are located just about 30 minutes’ drive from the town centre. Visitors will be welcomed to the villages by the sight of lovely coconut trees and cool sea breezes.

AGROTOURISM ATTRACTIONS

Setiu Peladang Recreational Area

A tropical rainforest, a river, caves, waterfalls and flora and fauna occupy the natural and serene surroundings here. This is an ideal park to explore nature as the trees and plants are labelled. Juicy fruits such as duku, cempedak, durian, rambai and rambutan can also be found here. The seeds of flowers and fruits can also be bought at affordable prices if you to wish to take some home with you. Others activities here are jungle trekking, mountain climbing, bird watching and fishing. Hostels and chalets are also available.

SHOPPING

The Central Market, or Pasar Payang, as it is known locally, is located by the Terengganu River. It is a favourite destination of tourists as this modern building that comprises a wet market and a shopping arcade sells interesting local handicrafts like batik, brassware, brocade and songket, alongside fresh local produce like fruits, vegetables and fish. Grab a packet or two of the local delicacy Keropok Lekor, crackers made from a mixture of fish and sago.

Sutera Semai Centre (Silk Weaving Centre)

Located about six kilometres from the town centre is Malaysia’s pioneer silk weaving centre. Beautiful, brightly coloured woven silk cloth, brocades and batik are sold here. They make lovely souvenirs for your friends and family or as a purchase to add to your collection. Apart from shopping, visitors can witness the different stages of silk production and the exquisite art of batik painting.

Malaysian Handicraft Centre

Also located about six kilometres from Kuala Terengganu, this centre offers visitors a wide range of Malaysian handicraft to choose from. Some of the famous and exquisite items are songket, batik, vases, mats, hats, wallets and bags made from Pandanus leaves.

Travel along the Terengganu coast and you will surely be awed by the beauty its boasts and the tranquillity it offers. From endless stretches of white sandy beaches with swaying coconut trees to superb diving sites, this east coast gem makes for a memorable holiday destination.

A drive along the coast of Terengganu will both awe the visitor and calm his tired spirit. Sandy white beaches – lined with coconut trees that complete the picture – do more than just greet the visitor looking to soak in the sun and sea on its coast and islands, which are surrounded by clear blue waters and exotic marine life. Then there is its spectacular underwater world, lush tropical rainforest, dazzling waterfalls and other natural wonders.

GETTING THERE

There are few ways to reach Kuala Terengganu. It is 491km by road from Kuala Lumpur and about 555km from Singapore. Malaysia Airlines offers regular flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu and Kerteh. Domestic budget airline AirAsia also offers regular flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu. Express buses and taxis operate to Kuala Terengganu from different major towns like Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang, Kota Bahru and Johor Bahru. Getting around Kuala Terengganu is also easy as there are taxis and buses. Trishaws are also available and offer fun rides.

MAJOR ATTRACTIONS

Beaches

Be amazed by Terengganu’s lovely sandy beaches and feel the refreshing sea breeze as you drive along the coastline. The beaches run from Kuala Besut in the north to Kemaman in the south. To begin with, Rantau Abang is a must-visit for fans of turtles. It is situated about 60km south of Kuala Terengganu and is one of only six special beach terrains in the world that the giant leatherback turtles visit to lay eggs. The period to watch these huge turtles swim ashore is between May and September.

Female turtles usually arrive around midnight during this time, and each will dig a deep hole in the sand to lay its eggs. This lasts till about dawn when the turtle then covers the hole and makes it way back to sea.

It is not unusual to see eager locals waiting the whole night to catch a glimpse of these prehistoric creatures. Some chalet operators even offer wake-up calls when turtles come ashore. Torch lights and cameras are prohibited and visitors are not allowed to make too much noise as these turtles get scared easily.

Tanjung Jara is another popular spot for beach lovers. It is about 60km from Kuala Terengganu and just eight kilometres from Rantau Abang. This idyllic beach offers swimming, boating, wind surfing or simply invites you to sit back under the shade of the trees and enjoy the sea breeze.

Other beaches that are equally fascinating in Terengganu are Pantai Air Tawar, Teluk Dalam, Pantai Batu Buruk, Chendering and Pulau Tenggol.

Firefly-watching

After the sun slowly sets, the mangroves on the riverbank come alive with the incandescent glow of thousands of fireflies. For as long as the residents of Kampong Ibok can remember, the fireflies have performed their joyous ritual but no one is certain why. As your sampan gently guides you down Sungai Yakyah, perhaps you will discover the answer to the ancient mystery of nature. Located about 20km from Awana Kijal Golf, Beach & Spa Resort, the best time to see this magnificent display of lights is on a dry evening from 8.00pm to midnight.

ISLANDS AND MARINE PARKS

Exotic and amazing islands like Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Kapas are the precious gems of Terengganu. They are rich in magnificent marine life, corals of rainbow hues and aquamarine seawater. These islands are also gazetted as marine parks. Include these precious tropical islands in your itinerary and be assured of a memorable holiday.

Other small wonders are Pulau Tenggol, Pulau Bedong and Pulau Gemia. Pulau Gemia is a privately owned island, which is reserved especially for guests of Gem Island Resort.

Pulau Redang Marine Park

Off the Terengganu coastline on the northeastern coast is the Redang Archipelago. It is made up of nine islands namely Pulau Redang (the largest), Pulau Pinang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Perhentian Besar, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Susu Dara and Pulau Kapas. This area has also been gazetted as a marine park and its brilliant underwater world is one of the best in Malaysia.

Pulau Redang is indeed one of Malaysia’s most idyllic islands. This tropical paradise offers pearly-white sandy beaches, sparkling clear seawater, lovely sunsets and a spectacular marine life. Its marvellous marine fishes, turtles and huge variety of coral reefs make it a wonderful diving spot and its coral species are some of the best in the world. The five famous dive sites in Redang are Tanjung Lang, Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Gua Kawah, Pasir Panjang and Batu Mak Cantek. Apart from diving, beach lovers can also enjoy other activities like swimming, snorkelling, fishing, boating or sunbathing.

Pulau Perhentian is situated about 21km off the coast of Terengganu and comprises two islands – Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, golden sandy beaches, tall swaying palm trees and crystal blue water, it is an ideal swimming, wind surfing, sailing, boating and canoeing destination. It also boasts wonderful underwater treasures.

Coral Bay on Pulau Perhentian Kecil offers a marvellous view of the sunset. It is also a perfect paradise for nature lovers as there are paths available for exploration of the virgin tropical jungle. On the northern shore of Pulau Perhentian Besar lie three coved bays where most tourists visit for some turtle watching. It can be reached easily by speedboat.

Pulau Kapas is situated offshore about 30 minutes by boat from Marang, south of Kuala Terengganu. It is a lovely small island with beautiful, quiet and unspoiled sandy beaches; cool and clear blue waters, swaying coconut trees and caves with swallows’ nests. Its waters are home to beautiful marine life such as fish, turtles, corals and others. It is a great place for swimming, snorkelling, diving, wind surfing, kayaking, boating or just pure relaxation.

Other neighbouring splendours are Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Pinang, Pulau Lima and Pulau Lang Tengah. These charming islands are also rich with marine treasures. Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts will not want to miss these little wonders. Two historic shipwrecks, the H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse were also discovered around the waters off Pulau Redang. It is believed that these ships sank during the early days of World War II.

Apart from sea sports and activities, nature lovers can also participate in jungle trekking or hiking, as most of these islands have interesting forestry treasures to offer. Explore the abundance of flora and fauna within these forests. There are over 100 species of plants that have healing values and a few rare orchid species.

Meanwhile, Pulau Pinang has a visitors’ centre that houses an exhibition room, an audio-visual room, a research lab, turtle touch pools and chalets.

WATERFALLS

The Sekayu Waterfalls offers a magnificent view of seven cascades surrounded a by lush forest. It is a favourite among visitors and locals alike. Facilities like chalets, changing rooms, rest houses and gazebos are available. It is located within the Sekayu Recreation Forest in Kuala Berang and is a 45-minute drive from Kuala Terengganu.

To add some adventure to your holiday, pay a visit to the Sungai Ceralak Waterfalls, which comprises two waterfalls – Jeram Solo and Jeram Padang. The adventure begins as soon as you embark on your journey. It involves a boat ride from Kuala Jengai to Kuala Sungai Ceralak, a jungle hike and crossing Sungai Ceralak itself. Upon arrival at the site, you will be greeted by the scenic view of the waterfalls surrounded by pretty blooms and trees.

RECREATIONAL FORESTS

Sekayu Recreational Forest

Located at Kuala Berang, about 60km southwest of Kuala Terengganu, Sekayu’s attractions are the lush jungle-clad hills, a fruit orchard, a mini zoo, a bird park and a flower garden surrounded by a waterfall. There are also facilities like shelters, a rest house and chalets. It is a must-visit for nature fans.

Pelagat Forest Reserve

This forest reserve is located in Besut, 70km northwest of Kuala Terengganu. Adventure lovers can indulge in trekking, canoeing and swimming at the Lata Tembakah Waterfalls area.

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the state capital, which is located on the banks of the Terengganu River. It has a blend of old and new buildings. The town moves in a relaxing pace and stands as a reminder of old times.

The Waterfront

There is a port here where fishermen go to sea and where fish is also traded at a bazaar. Take a boat ride from here and visit the surrounding islands, or board a passenger boat to Seberang Takir where the most beautiful view of the South China Sea can be enjoyed.

Pulau Duyong

Take a ferry ride from the waterfront to Pulau Duyong, the island that is renowned as the home of Malaysia’s best boat builders. Be amazed at the unique craftsmanship these men practice, which, unfortunately, is an art on the verge of extinction. This place is also known for seafood-related products like salted fish and fish crackers.

Bukit Puteri

This 200-metre high historical hill was the state’s fortress against enemy attacks between 1831 and 1876. Today, the only remains of the fort are cannons, a flagpole, a large bell and a lighthouse. Witness a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas from the top of the hill.

Istana Maziah

A palace of splendid architecture that is modern and traditional. It was constructed during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. Located near Bukit Puteri, it is the venue for royal weddings, birthdays, conferment of titles and receptions for local and foreign dignitaries.

Terengganu State Museum Complex

Several museums are housed in this complex situated at the end of Jalan Losong and it is said to be the largest in Southeast Asia. It is home to the Main Museum, a Fisheries Museum, a Maritime Museum, four traditional palaces, and a botanical and herbal garden. The Main Museum was built on 16 stilts and has 10 galleries.

Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque

This mosque was constructed with stilts on an open sandy area with water flowing underneath, which also makes it known as a floating mosque. A fantastic masterpiece incorporating Moorish architecture with a modern touch to it, the mosque is especially a beautiful sight at night.

LA Hot Springs

Located in Besut, the LA Hot Springs is a famous recreational spot. Its sulphur-rich water has healing properties, which is said to be beneficial for those suffering from skin ailments. Even if you do not suffer from any ailment, get in just to feel relaxed and refreshed.

FISHING VILLAGES

Explore some fishing villages not far from Kuala Terengganu, namely Marang, Kampung Marang, Chendering and Kijal. They are located just about 30 minutes’ drive from the town centre. Visitors will be welcomed to the villages by the sight of lovely coconut trees and cool sea breezes.

AGROTOURISM ATTRACTIONS

Setiu Peladang Recreational Area

A tropical rainforest, a river, caves, waterfalls and flora and fauna occupy the natural and serene surroundings here. This is an ideal park to explore nature as the trees and plants are labelled. Juicy fruits such as duku, cempedak, durian, rambai and rambutan can also be found here. The seeds of flowers and fruits can also be bought at affordable prices if you to wish to take some home with you. Others activities here are jungle trekking, mountain climbing, bird watching and fishing. Hostels and chalets are also available.

SHOPPING

The Central Market, or Pasar Payang, as it is known locally, is located by the Terengganu River. It is a favourite destination of tourists as this modern building that comprises a wet market and a shopping arcade sells interesting local handicrafts like batik, brassware, brocade and songket, alongside fresh local produce like fruits, vegetables and fish. Grab a packet or two of the local delicacy Keropok Lekor, crackers made from a mixture of fish and sago.

Sutera Semai Centre (Silk Weaving Centre)

Located about six kilometres from the town centre is Malaysia’s pioneer silk weaving centre. Beautiful, brightly coloured woven silk cloth, brocades and batik are sold here. They make lovely souvenirs for your friends and family or as a purchase to add to your collection. Apart from shopping, visitors can witness the different stages of silk production and the exquisite art of batik painting.

Malaysian Handicraft Centre

Also located about six kilometres from Kuala Terengganu, this centre offers visitors a wide range of Malaysian handicraft to choose from. Some of the famous and exquisite items are songket, batik, vases, mats, hats, wallets and bags made from Pandanus leaves.