Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, East coast region - Malaysia
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu - Malaysia
Absorb the Malay culture in a historical city while a stone throw away from the most beautiful island and blissful beaches in Malaysia
The charming Kuala Terengganu is the royal and administrative capital of the state Terengganu in Malaysia and home to 400,000 plus inhabitants of all ethnicities and religions. KT faces the gorgeous South China so stunning stretches of beach are in no short supply in this booming tourist destination. Visitors flock to this modern yet historical and cultural city to be close to nature and soak up some sunshine.
KT is 440 km northeast of Kuala Lumpur and sits on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It’s the economic and political centre of the state and was the first city to achieve city status in the East Coast region in 2008. The city is situated on the estuary of the river Terengganu where traditional beautifully-crafted wooden boats called Bangau sail through the waters. KT is located near many impressive rainforests ripe for adventurous explorers.
The city became prosperous due to the discovery of oil and gas off the coast. Its other main industries are agriculture, fishing and tourism due to the tropical paradise islands close to the city.
Real Estate in Kuala Terengganu
The prices for buying and renting property are generally stable. Property investments are expected to remain positive due to the on-going developments in the city centre and the construction of the new bridge connecting the north and south parts of Heritage Waterfront city. Many different types of housing are available in KT.
Living in Kuala Terengganu
Deciding to reside in KT is really for people who have a passion for nature, culture, and history. Although the city has plenty of modern buildings there are still many cultural and historical buildings to be found. There is no shortage of elegant mosques (like Malaysia’s first floating mosque) as 90% of the population are Malay Muslim. Other religions exist in the area such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity so there are many places of worship and freedom of faith is practised in KT. The lingua franca is Malay but you will often here Chinese being spoken and most people speak good English. So getting by in daily life and communicating with the locals is easy.
Living in KT means that you live at the gateway to a whole host of stunning islands and beaches for day trips and vacations. Snorkelling and diving there are real musts which are perfect for adults and children to enjoy.
Hanging around the city in Chinatown, the traditional flea markets and trying tasty treats are also great pastimes. Appreciating the town’s sights and sounds is best enjoyed by motorbike.
Shopping in Kuala Terengganu
For keen shoppers there are a few malls in KT including one of the most famous Malaysian chain mall, Mydin Mall, which contains clothes shops, plenty of eateries and many other types of shops. Mesra Mall is also popular which has a cinema, international brands, and local and Western restaurants.
Although KT is not a shopping haven like Kuala Lumpur, the local central market is one of the city’s main attractions showcasing a whole range of exotic fruits and vegetables, a wide array of unique spices, fresh meat and fish. There are also cute souvenirs and traditional Malay handicrafts to be found around the vibrant market packed with friendly locals, expats and tourists.
Restaurants in Kuala Terengganu
Food lovers will find themselves in their element in KT. A must-try delectable delicacy is the fish dish- Keropok Lekor Losong. Many other dishes include various forms of Nasi like Nasi Danung- a fish curry with sticky rice and there are also many places serving delicious Roti meals.
Some restaurants and food courts to look out for are: Madame Bee's Kitchen which serves many KT specialities, Town City Food Court where you can chose from a variety of vendors and Ocean Restaurant, a popular Chinese place (with a limited British menu) where you can have a cold beer with your meal. As alcohol is not widely sold in shops, Chinese restaurants is a very common spot for people wanting to drink alcoholic beverages.
There are many Chinese mixed with Malaysian cuisines which are very popular and provide an exceptional dining experience. You will not go hungry in this city packed with impressive restaurants and cafes.
Travelling to and around Kuala Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu's Sultan Mahmud Airport (TGG) has many flights to and from Kuala Lumpur daily. The city centre is only accessible by taxi from the airport. There are also long-distance buses going to and from many cities like Kuala Lumpur (7 hours), Kota Bahru (3 hours) and Johor Bahru (9 hours). The trip from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru by bus is strongly recommended due to the stunning scenic road trip going through traditional villages and passing picture-perfect coastlines.
Public transport is available in KT itself. The most common way to go and out about is by the local bus which is uniquely decorated with a traditional Malay roof to celebrate the state’s cultural identity. There are also taxis available and long-distance coaches going to other cities and Singapore. Getting around by trishaws used to be common but recently it has declined in popularity and now is more of a touristic thing to do. However, it’s a very inexpensive way to appreciate the city’s streets. There is an extensive road network in the city and also connecting KT to other cities.
Education in Kuala Terengganu
KT is the main educational hub of the Terengganu state and has two public universities, namely Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin and Universiti Teknologi MARA. There are many higher educational institutions like the Insitut Teknologi Petronas, Kuala Terengganu Community College and a handful of others. There are also 81 primary schools and 34 secondary schools in KT.
Top 7 Things to do in Kuala Terengganu
1.Kampung Cina (Chinatown)- The vividly lit traditional Chinatown was established in the 19th century and have helped shaped the city of KT. It’s jam-packed with delicate Chinese-style shophouses with items, foods, and drinks on offer. The orange and red lanterns look magical against the night’s sky.
2.Pasar Besar Kedai Payang (Central Market)- The lively market is overflowing with many items as mentioned before in the shopping section. Batiks (beautiful tradition fabrics with varied patterns) are very popular in the market.
3.Terengganu State Museum- Considered to be the largest museum of South East Asia, it’s filled with historical artefacts from KT’s colourful past, traditional weapons, traditional textiles, nature, Islamic arts and contemporary arts.
4.The Sultan’s place- Visitors cannot enter as it is still home to the Sultan of Terengganu but the palace is a masterpiece of architecture.
5.Redang Island- Recognised as one of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia, Redang is an absolute must-see due to its pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters and white sands. The Bora-Bora-like island is just one ferry away. There are many more ecotourism trips around KT too.
6.Crystal Mosque- The grand place of worship made out of steel, glass, and crystal is truly a striking place to admire which is located at the Islamic Heritage Park on the island of Wan Tan.
7. Pantai Batu Buruk- The city beach which is not the most beautiful but is nearby the centre and still very pretty. It’s a perfect spot for families. It’s also located near the night market held on Fridays which is ideal for keen foodies and bargain-hunters.