Kuala Terengganu is the administrative capital, royal capital and the main economic centre of Terengganu, on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia. The city is also the main gateway to many of the state's tourist destinations, including Kampung Cina, Pasar Besar Kedai Payang, Terengganu State Museum, and Batu Buruk Beach. Even though the city is not spared from modernity and development, Kuala Terengganu retains strong Malay influences that are intermixed with other cultures from its long history as a port.
Kuala Terengganu is about 440 km northeast of Kuala Lumpur. The city sits at the estuary of Terengganu River, facing the South China Sea.
It had a population of 426,500 in 2020.
- 1 Sultan Mahmud Airport (TGG IATA). It has around half a dozen flights per day to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (1 hour) on Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia. Fares to Kuala Terengganu vary, with Malaysia Airlines offering as low as RM136 (full service) and AirAsia with as low as RM60. Firefly links Kuala Terengganu directly with Subang Airport near Kuala Lumpur.
- 2 Terminal Bas MBKT. The long distance bus station has buses to all main Malaysian cities outside Terengganu : Kuala Lumpur (7 hours Rm43), Penang (7-8 hours), Johor Bahru (8 hours Rm48), Kota Bharu (3 hours Rm17), Malacca, (8 hours), Kuantan (3 hours Rm17). Transnasional also runs buses direct to Singapore (10 hours, 54RM/S$68, to/from Singapore).
- Local bus station. Serves buses to most places in the city and in the rest of the state: Merang (for Redang), Kuala Besut (for the Perhentian Islands), Dungun, etc.
From Kuala Besut the bus timetable is erratic: approximate timetable is 7AM, 8:30AM, 10:30AM, 1PM, 2PM and 4:30PM. The bus stop in Kuala Besut is in the village near the market square (around 1 km from the jetty). The yellow bus (SP Bumi) can actually be picked up along the main road from the jetty. Turn left at the end of the jetty and walk to the end of the main road, bus will stop on the corner just before the bridge. Service is limited on Friday, usually one in the morning and another at lunch time.
Kuala Terengganu is the terminus of the East Coast Expressway from Kuala Lumpur via Kuantan, taking about 5 hours to cover the distance of approximately 450 km. There are plans to extend the East Coast Expressway onward to Kota Bharu, but for now, you must travel by regular country roads with traffic lights and lower speed limits; it should take you approximately 2.5-3 hours to cover the distance of about 160 km.
- 3 Shahbandar Jetty. In season (March-October), there are two ferries a day direct to Redang Island (75 min). These are operated by and intended primarily for guests of the Berjaya Redang Resort, but they'll take non-guests on board (for a price) if there's space. Most travellers to Redang, however, will go via the main jetty at Merang, 45 min north of town.
- The only way you can get to the town from the airport is by taxi
- The local municipality provides buses that roam around the town up to Kuala Ibai , Taman Tamadun Islam and a few other attraction areas.
- The market jetty has ferries to Seberang Takir (70 c) and Pulau Duyung (70 c).
- The Seri Malaysia jetty has a ferry to Pulau Duyung (1RM).
- 1 Terengganu State Museum. The largest museum complex in Malaysia, with detailed exhibits on textiles, the history of the petroleum industry and nature. It contains a park by the river with maritime exhibits. The museum also houses the Batu Bersurat Terengganu (Terengganu Stone), which contains the oldest example of classical Jawi Malay writing. Entrance fee: 5 RM (Malaysian citizens), 15 RM (non-citizens).
- 2 Masjid Kristal (Crystal Mosque). Unique looking mosque for 1500 worshippers.
- 3 Taman Tamadun Islam (Islamic Heritage Park). An Islamic-themed recreational park near the state museum. Models of famous mosques around the world are built here in smaller size. The famous 'Masjid Kristal' is also here. Entrance fee: 30 RM (to the park), free (to Masjid Kristal)
- 4 Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah (Floating Mosque), Jalan Batu Buruk. This beautiful, simple white mosque built on the created lake flowing from the Ibai river attracts locals, especially in the late afternoon and weekends, for family activities.
- 5 Istana Maziah (Maziah Palace). A well known palace, standing strong at the foot of Bukit Puteri. One of few palaces owned by the Terengganu Royal Family, this beautiful palace is now used for royal occasions such as Royal Raya Open House or the installation of a new king.
- 6 Bukit Puteri (Princess Hill). A hill fort behind the Bazar Warisan. It played a key role during the Terengganu civil war between competing sultans (1831-1876). The hilltop contains a bell, several keramat, a 'throne' and cannons facing the sea. Good for a view of the waterfront. Entrance fee: 1 RM (but normally not enforced).
- 7 Pulau Duyung. In the middle of the estuary, has some interesting shipyards and an old wooden mansion (kota lama). This is also a fishing village.
- 8 Seberang Takir. Across from the market jetty, has some interesting cottage industries ranging from keropok lekor to batik.
- 9 Chinatown. Along Jalan Kampung Cina. Look for beautiful rows of old Chinese buildings where you can try tasty local Terengganu and Chinese food in the small, cheap but cozy restaurants scattered around.
- 10 Kuala Terengganu Drawbridge. The first drawbridge built in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. There is an observatory on top.
- Go to the Pasar Payang (Big Bazaar) and the covered open-air market across the street and buy some delicious fresh fruits.
- Ride a special bus called Bas Bandar, beautifully designed mirroring a moving traditional house
- Take a short small boat trip from Kuala Terengganu jetty to the fishing village of Seberang Takir, which will cost you RM1. The jetty is located beside the floating restaurant in front of Terengganu Tourism office at Pasar Besar Payang.
- Catch some local foods in one of the Night Markets in the city:
- At the park near Dataran Shahbandar jetty on weekend nights
- On Pulau Warisan behind Jalan Kapung Cina
- In front of the City Hall (MBKT) along Jalan Sultan Ismail on Friday nights
Malls & supermarkets
- Giant Hypermarket & Kuala Terengganu Mall, JL Padang Hiliran. 9AM-9PM.
- The Store, 218/1-10 JL Bandar, ☏ . 9AM-9PM. Supermarket & department store.
- Mydin Mall, JL Sultan Mohamad. 9AM-21PM. Known in the area as a discount store.
- Keropok lekor, a kind of fish sausage served with sweet chili sauce, is a must-try.
- Many traditionally prepared Malay cakes (kuih) are sold in Kuala Terengganu - among other places, in the Pasar.
- Laksa Terengganu, the state's version of the pan-Malaysian spicy noodle soup
- Nasi dagang, the most famous dish in Terengganu, is often served as breakfast or lunch at small stall and restaurants. This is a dish of delicious sweet and spicy sauce with glutinous rice.
You can find locally popular fruit juice in a big mug known as "air buah gelas besar". Many choices of fresh fruit juice are available. You can find it in Seberang Takir (about 5 km from KT on the road heading to Kuala Terengganu airport). It operates from 5PM to midnight.
You can also buy a variety of different fresh fruit juices, coconut water, etc. from vendors outside the Pasar Besar in Kuala Terengganu.
There are reportedly no more than 10 bars in the city. Kris n Cheng, near the waterfront, has pleasant owners and is good for darts, drinks and light singing.
Locals are mostly made up of Muslims, but you can find alcohol supplies in the most Chinese restaurants around Chinatown. Do not drink publicly as this will often offend locals. You can drink at restaurants or back at your hotel room.
In Kuala Terengganu, you will find all types of hotels from top range to small Chinese basic places.
- Awi Yellow House (or "Rumah kuning") in Pulau Duying. Visitors stay in a wooden bungalow on the river (stilt house) and have a shared kitchen. The place is very quiet, friendly and you live with flowers, boats, etc. There is a night market near the bridge every Friday.
- 1 The Space Inn, 12E 2nd Floor Jalan Engku Pengiran Anom 2 (the bus terminal is a 5-minute walk from the Inn), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 1noon. Air conditioned 13- and 16-bed dorms. security lockers. Free wifi. Self catering facilities. Double room has a shared bathroom. Dorm Rm 30 per person, double room Rm 70.
- DJ Citi Point Hotel, 16 Pusat Niaga Paya Keladi, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Air conditioned double room with own bathroom and cable TV. Free wifi. RM 90.
- Jen's Homestay, Jln Kampung Tiong 8-12 Pangsapuri Kampung Tiong, ☏ . Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. Single/double rooms. Shared lounge. RM 60/80.
- 2 Seri Malaysia Kuala Terengganu Hotel (Hotel Seri Malaysia Kuala Terengganu), Lot 1640, Jalan Hiliran, 20100, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. RM208-258.
- Kota Bharu 3-hour bus ride north.
- Kuantan 3-hour bus ride south.
- Pulau Redang - one of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia and a scuba diver's paradise.
- Pulau Perhentian - cluster of islands known for their excellent scuba-diving, snorkeling and jungle trekking.
- Pulau Kapas - Just an hour's trip from Kuala Terengganu, this is where locals go to relax and unwind. Great place to unwind with few backpackers and no parties.
- Lata Cemerong (Cemerong waterfalls) - Remote, very tall waterfall in a (near) pristine forest at Pasir Raja. Only accessible after an hour's trekking through difficult terrain, the waterfall is located at Hutan Lipur Cemerong (Cemerong Recreation Park). One trail at the park leads to Cemerong; the other leads to the 1108-metre Gunung Berumbun. Park contains shower, camping and lodging facilities. About 100 km (2 hours by car) south of Kuala Terengganu & 40 km (an hour) from Dungun.
|Routes through Kuala Terengganu|
|Kota Bharu ←||N S||→ Marang → Kuantan|