Visitors to the Waterfront of Kuala Terengganu will be in awe of and fascinated by the hustle and bustle of activities taking place there. Stroll down the waterfront and watch fishmongers haggling for the price of fish and other seafood, or take a boat ride to one of the many beautiful surrounding islands. Another appealing alternative is to take a passenger boat to Seberang Takir, where the most incredible view of the South China Sea can be seen.
The Terengganu State Museum Complex consists of a Main Museum, a Maritime Museum, a Fisheries Museum, 4 traditional houses and botanic and herbs gardens. The Main Museum is built on 16 stilts, in accordance with the traditional architecture of Terengganu. Its 4 blocks are adjoined, to represent a big family. There are 10 galleries showcasing textiles, crafts, historical, royal, nature, art, petroleum, Islamic, new generation and contemporary arts.
Approximately 6 km south of Kuala Terengganu is Sutera Semai Centre at Chendering. It is Malaysia's pioneer silk weaving centre, where visitors can witness different stages of silk manufacturing. There, witness the painting of batik designs onto the fabrics, resulting in beautiful batik shirts, kaftans, scarves, handkerchiefs, etc.
Batik painting is an exquisite and delicate art which requires skill, patience and meticulousness. In batik painting, brightly coloured floral motifs are painted in stages onto dyed cloths. Songket, a piece of dyed silk material weaved with gold and silver threads, is the clothing for royalties, and Malay brides and grooms at their weddings. It is also often worn during special ceremonies and occasions such as on Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (The celebration which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month). There are many Batik and Songket Centres in and around Kuala Terengganu which produce and sell batik and songket.
Bukit Puteri is a 200 m high historical hill, situated next to Istana Maziah. It was used as a fortress between the years of 1831 to 1876 to defend the state from enemy attacks. Some of the historical remains which can be seen on Bukit Puteri are cannons, a flagpole, a large bell and a fort. Today, as it is the highest point in Kuala Terengganu, visitors standing on top of Bukit Puteri can witness the magnificent view of the areas sur-rounding it.
Istana Maziah is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. It was built in 1897 to replace the Istana HijalJ which was burned down during World War II. Located next to Bukit Puteri, it is the venue for royal birthdays, weddings, conferment of titles and receptions for local and foreign dignitaries. A product of the blend between splendid modern and traditional architecture, it is also well-known as one of Malaysia's cultural attractions.
The Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah, located outside Kuala Terengganu is just 4.5km away. This is no ordinary mosque but said to be the only one of its kind in Malaysia. Combining modern and traditional architectural desighs, the mosque creates an illusion of itself as floating on water.
The Central Market, or locally known as Pasar Payang which is located by the Terengganu River is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kuala Terengganu. Housed in a modern building complete with a shopping arcade and a car park, it offers visitors a variety of traditional handicrafts such as batik, silk, songket, brocade and brassware, other fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and 'Keropok Lekor', which is a special local delicacy made from a mixture of fish and sago. Visitors to this market will have a delightful experi-ence shopping in local fares at reasonable prices.
Desa Craft, formerly known as Usaha Desa, is an interes-ting handicraft centre which showcases songket, brassware, batik, souvenir items and also fashion wear of current batik designs. This centre was developed by the Terengganu State Economic Develop-ment Corporation (SEDC) as part of its effort to promote Kuala Terengganu as a popular tourist destination.
Pulau Duyung is the most well-known boat building ground in Terengganu. There, you can see boats being made by skilled boat builders who implement skills which have been passed down from generation to generation. Boat building is an art form therefore the boat builders take pride in their skill. The boat builders are unique, for they work entirely from their memory and experience, and without any set plans. Pulau Duyung is also renowned for its dried and salted fish, and fish crackers industries. It is easily accessible by the Sultan Mahmud Bridge, or for those who enjoy using sea transportation, take a boat from the Kuala Terengganu waterfront.
Chendering, located approximately 6 km from Kuala Terengganu, is the site of the Malaysian Handicraft Centre. The centre offers visitors a wide variety of Malaysian handicraft and also an insight into handicraft making. Some of the exquisite items which can be found here are songket, batik, vases, and mats, hats, wallets and bags made from pandanus leaves. Visitors will also get a chance to witness first hand the skills of local artisans in songket weaving, batik painting, basket weaving, etc.