Saturday, October 22, 2016

Treasures of Kuala Terengganu

"Dah makang?"
"Dah...makang ikang tadi"
"Bagi kopok lekor se!"
Visit Terengganu 2017 awaits you!
Terengganu, a state that I will always hold close to my heart. I lived here during my tenure as an offshore engineer and have grown to love this place as my second home. To start with, the locals have big hearts and wide smiles that will warm anyone with their camaraderie. Coming back here as a visitor not only made me reminisce the good old times but also unearthed the pride to introduce some beautiful places of Kuala Terengganu that impressed me all over again.

1. Pantai Kemasik
Pantai Kemasik is a beach just next to Kijal. Dwellers are mostly fishermen. Here, you will be exposed to the reality of fishermen's life. Modest wooden houses in a village that lacks amenities and stalls that seem collapsible at a gust of wind. The better houses would most probably be properties of the middle men. Amid the reality, the good news is that you can get fresh fish right from the sea at a much cheaper price. Other than that, a picnic on this pristine beach is another thing you can do...fish and squid BBQ maybe?
Fresh fish brought straight from sea
People come here to get good seafood deals
During monsoon, fishermen will repair nets
Less fishing activity due to the inclement weather Nov-Mar
My Kemaman friends and I used to have picnics on this beach. It is still as beautiful as I remembered it to be.
Pantai Kemasik
24200, Jalan Seberang Kemasik
24210 Kemasik
Terengganu


 2. Noor Arfa Batik Factory
Batik is a traditional technique used by the Malays to design cloth. Batik cloth is a trademark of the East Coast states and Terengganu a famous producer. The technique cleverly uses wax to manipulate the colours and designs on the cloth. In this factory, you will witness the 2 techniques used to decorate a cloth. There is no two exact batik at anytime if the the batik is authentic because they are drawn by hand. The price of batik is justified as once piece can take up to 4 days to make.
Noor Arfa Craft Complex
Traditional tools used for batik printing and some still used till today
Molten wax that has resin and colour
Batik blok/ terup (Block printing) using motives made of iron and aluminium
The patterns can be formed by repeating, mirroring, rotating the motives to the maker's creativity
Batik canting (Free hand drawing)
Usually inspiration from flora, fauna, geometry and abstract art are adopted for patterns
Cloths are soaked in sodium silicate for 8 hours to fixate the colour
Weaving songket
The songket is usually 2 3/4m in length and usually priced up to a minimum of RM1000
Its price is vindicated due to the complexity of this technique. One day, the weaver can only complete 3-4 inches of songket, which makes the songket require up to 1 month to complete!
Usually gold or silver threads are intertwined to give a majestic feel to the cloth.
Weaving with daun mengkuang
The traditional woven baskets that we see in our grandmother's house is a great mesh of art
A myriad of colours and patterns to choose from
My mini batik- before colouring
Customers can also be occupied with DIY activity to get a feel of how colouring a batik is like.
Working intently on my masterpiece
Tadaa! E-Wen's batik
No one piece of batik is the same. This butterfly piece feels breezy and comfortable
Also remember to visit their little petting zoo at Noor Arfa Funland

Noor Arfa Craft Complex
Lot 4153, Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering,
21080 Kuala Terengganu
Terengganu

Tel: 09-617 9700/ 9701


3. Kampung Cina
The visit to Kampung Cina is a colourful affair and have exceeded my expectations as a Chinese settlement. In this state which has 95% of its population being Malay, China Town is well appreciated as a tourist spot and most importantly as a historical treasure. This town is declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations UNESCO. Grants are given to finance the preservation of the pre-colonial heritage. 
Lai lai! Welcome to Kampung Cina Terengganu
Take a close look at the buildings here. It may be what you find in China itself as the settlers from China built in the late 19th century. This area is a labyrinth of little alleys. It is always exciting to find out what the next alley is about. My favourites are the most colourful ones. Also, the murals on the walls near the main road by the Terengganu River are also a really picturesque scene.
Old town that still fascinates
These buildings are built in the late 19th century. The architecture is an authentic heritage of what the settlers have brought from China
Only here can you find such antiquated beauty
Snap away with charming structures like this- the wedding trishaw
Although Chinese, we are still impressed by the Chinese settlement that exists so harmoniously in a state that has a Malay population of 95%
Find this alley which provides lots of shade on a hot afternoon
Alleys with children's art pieces for nature conservation awareness
Find the padlock alley to immortalize your love 
The alley with delightfully painted walls
These are back alleys of actual homes. Extremely lovely and cute with coloured bricks and lots of vegetation
Search for the Turtle Alley to commemorate one of Terengganu's icons- the turtle
On the way out, do look out for creative murals
Shame at the sight of the rubbish though
The Bunga Raya decorated with shattered glass is at the far end
Red havoc that incurs anger..grrrrr
Do not be surprised that this old town is keeping up with social media
"When the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly"-Barbara Howett
My heart's a stereo
A little bit of reggae around the corner...literally
Sponge Bob (very) Square Pants!
I have never seen a more interesting electric hub
Captivated by the charm of Kampung Cina

Kampung Cina
Jalan Kampung Cina
20100 Kuala Terengganu
Terengganu


4. Pasar Payang
Just next to China Town is the famous Pasar Payang (central market). A quick way to get a feel of the local culture is to visit this market where you can get local food, batik, traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. I would recommend buying their keropok (dried crackers) and their chili sauce. The keropok from here is thinner and has more fish. Also, this is the place to stock up on those souvenirs. However, please do remember NOT TO BUY TURTLE EGGS.
Locals selling food
Seafood products like keropok lekor and some Terengganu staples are found here
The upper floor is where you can get batik apparels 

Pasar Payang
Jalan Kampung Daik, Kuala Terengganu
Terengganu
Opening hours: 8:30am-6pm (closed on Fridays)


 5. Crystal Mosque
When in Terengganu, do not miss the chance to immerse in the religion that is the nuts and bolts of its people. The Crystal Mosque is not only a grand structure made from steel, glass and crystal, it is a smart mosque with facilities like wifi connection and electronic Quran. The Mosque is seated with aplomb in the Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Heritage Park) on a man-made island called Pulau Wan Man. Surrounded by water, this place radiates a calm and relaxing feeling. I found myself appreciating the designs of the building that is nuanced by the religion.
A grand structure made of steel, glass and crystal
Appreciation of Islam is not limited to Muslims
To enter, visitors have to be decently dressed, covering the head, hands and legs.
Hijabs, abayas and scarfs are available at the entrance of the building. Having that said, do remember to dress appropriately as a sign of respect to the place
Large crystal chandelier at the main prayer hall
This mosque is also IT savvy with built in IT infrastructure like the wifi connection and the electronic Quran
At night, the mosque will come alive with a colourful display of lights
Such a grandeur is the pride of Terengganu 

Masjid Kristal
Pulau Wan Man, 21000 Kuala Terengganu
Tel: 09-627 1111
Opening hours: Monday- Thursday 10am-7pm, 
Friday- Sunday, school and public holidays 9am-7pm with break time 11.30am-2.30pm

Next, check out where to stay here and what to eat here in Terengganu!