Located near Bukit Puteri in Kuala Terengganu, it is the pride of the Sultanate institution in Terengganu. This palace is still used for official ceremonies such as the inauguration of Sultan Terengganu, circumcision, ear piercing, marriage and welcoming official state guests.
Istana Maziah was built to replace Istana Hijau, which had burnt down. The Istana Hijau was built during the reign of Sultan Omar on 10 March, 1870.
The architect of Istana Maziah is Tengku Chik Abu Bakar bin Tengku Abdul Jalil. He is a relative of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. Others also contributed towards the completion of the blue print and furnishing of Istana Maziah, including Engku Besar Paduka Raja Sayyid Abdullah bin Zin Al-Idrus, Muhammad bin Abdul Rahim (Encik Mat), and Dato Mata-Mata.
Wood supply to build the Istana from Dungun came under the responsibility of Tengku Panglima Besar Tengku Muda Kechik. While bricks and chalk were handled by Tengku Besar Paduka Indera.
The Istana Maziah had its early foundations built from a mixture of chalk, clay, sand salts, egg white and sugars. Almost 20 carpenters of Malay and Chinese descent were involved in the building of Istana Maziah.
Several refurbishments were carried throughout the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah (1920 -1942) and Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah (1945- 1979). Further additions were carried out to the Istana buildings in 1972 and 1998.
Tasik Kenyir is the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia, spanning 260,000 hectares.
It is also Malaysia’s largest rock filled hydroelectric dam. When the area was flooded, most of the hills were above the water level, thus creating about 340 man-made islands.
The rainforest that cradles the area furnishes the lake with an incredible assortment of flora and fauna.
These include rare ferns, exotic orchids, hornbills, elephants, and panthers. It is also home to more than 8,000 species of flowers, 2,500 species of plants and trees, 800 species of orchids, and 300 species of fungus.
It is a popular retreat for nature lovers as it is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest.
It is also an anglers haven as the lake is home to hundreds of species of freshwater fish like Baung, Toman, Kelisa, Lampam and Kelah.
Surounded by a vast tropical jungle, the lake area is a popular spot for angling, boating, canoeing, jungle-trekking, 4WD driving and golfing.
Accommodation varies from a 3 star resort, chalets on the islands, floating resort or houseboats where rooms and meals are provided.
The houseboat travels to waterfalls and fishing sites providing an exhilarating adventure for nature lovers.
Tasik Kenyir is also a gateway to Taman Negara through Tanjung Mentong.
Lang Tengah Island
Pulau Lang Tengah is a very small island located between Perhentian Island and Redang Island. This little island is accessible by a 30-minute boat ride from the Merang jetty. According to locals, Lang Tengah takes its name from ‘Lang’ which comes from helang which means ‘eagle’ in the Malay language, and tengah, meaning ‘middle’. Thus, Lang Tengah means eagles resting on the middle island.
The island is very small indeed. A round-island trip by speed boat takes only 10 minutes. The beach is narrow and land is limited. However, its small size gives it its best advantage – Lang Tengah Island holds only 4 resort operators, ensuring a peaceful visit.
And the winning attraction of this tiny and peaceful island? Some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving in Malaysia!
The Central Market, locally known as Pasar Payang, is located by the Terengganu River and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kuala Terengganu. Housed in a modern building, it offers visitors a variety of traditional handicrafts such as batik, silk, songket, brocade and brassware, as well as fresh produce.
Visitors to this market will have a delightful experience shopping for local products at reasonable prices. It is also a great place to experience the culture as locals do their daily shopping there too.
About 6km off the coast of Marang is Pulau Kapas, an island renowned for its clear waters, sandy white beaches and swaying palms.
Kapas Island is situated offshore about 30 minutes by slow boat or 10 minutes by fast boat from Marang jetty, 20 minutes south of Kuala Terengganu.
Relatively isolated from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, this island is the perfect getaway for those looking for some blissful relaxation.
It is a lovely small island with beautiful, quiet, 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.
Making it a must-visit destination, especially for discerning divers and snorkellers, is the incredible variety of hard and soft corals, seashells, fish and turtles.
The laidback atmosphere gives a perfect excuse to do nothing. Still, if you are feeling restless, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied.
Take your pick: diving, swimming, snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, boating and even fishing.
Accommodation varies from deluxe and budget chalets offering air conditioned or fan.
Pulau Perhentian, meaning ‘stopover island’, is not to be missed. Situated 21km off the coast of Terengganu, it consists of the islands of Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Covered by unspoilt jungle, windswept palms, powdery white beaches and surrounded by sapphire blue waters, Pulau Perhentian is a sanctuary for fishermen, migratory birds and of course, discerning holiday-makers.
Located just off the edge of the Pulau Redang Marine Park, Perhentian’s coral-fringed waters have excellent underwater seascapes for snorkelling and scuba diving.
Arrangements can also be made for island cruises, and boats can be hired to go exploring for private bays and secluded coves. A trip to these tropical islands is also a must for those who enjoy windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and deep-sea fishing.
Of the two islands, Pulau Perhentian Kecil is more geared towards backpackers. Here, you’ll find a wide range of budget options for both food and accommodation.
Pulau Perhentian Besar, on the other hand, is more developed and therefore offers better facilities. Nevertheless, there are chalets, dormitories and campsites on both islands.
Pulau Redang, located 45km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu, is the largest of a group of nine protected islands dotting the South China Sea off the Terengganu coast. The island offers crystal clear waters and numerous dive sites for enthusiasts. Sheltered within the Pulau Redang Marine Park, the waters here are rich in marine life. At midday when sun rays penetrate the sea, brilliant hues of coral, anemones and fish can be seen.
The waters around Pulau Redang also contain two historic shipwrecks: The H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse, which sank here at the start of World War II, setting the stage for the Japanese occupation of Malaya. This paradise island is perfect for snorkelling, swimming, scuba-diving, jungle trekking, boating and canoeing. No fishing is allowed within a 3.2km radius of the island as Pulau Redang is gazetted as a marine park. The collection of corals and other aquatic life is also strictly prohibited. Berjaya Resort offers a golf course in an idyllic setting.
Another place that should be on every visitor’s itinerary is Rantau Abang, 60km south of Kuala Terengganu. There, visitors can lie quietly in wait from midnight to dawn to watch giant leatherback turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. The turtles, lumbering slowly up the white sandy beaches to lay eggs, are a memorable sight.
These giant turtles grow up to 2.5m long and sometimes weigh more than 375kg. Rantau Abang is one of only six places in the world visited by these turtles, from the months of May to September.
These turtles and their eggs are also protected. Their eggs are located and replanted by scientists in incubator centres where controlled conditions can influence the sex of young turtles, helping the species survive.
Tanjung Jara Beach
Nestled near the South China Sea, Tanjung Jara Beach has a prominent stretch of golden sand, with powerful waves striking its shores.
Catch the sunrise or sunset with the winds whipping in your face, albeit with a gentle breeze.
The beach provides an excellent location for windsurfing, boating, kayaking, snorkelling and diving.
Turtles also frequent the beach during the ‘turtle laying season’ from the months of May to September.
The silence here is a welcoming treat, and makes for a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque
Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque (Masjid Terapung)
is built on a floating platform, giving it a unique perspective from all facets.
It sits snuggly on the estuary of Terengganu River and its modern architecture is due to the ingenuity of one of the princes in Terengganu.
The glistening white mosque combines modern and Moorish architecture, symbolizing a new modernisation in the state, making it an Islamic icon in the country.
The design of the mosque reflects a subtle Islamic influence combined with local features, incorporating the use of marble, ceramics, mosaic works and bomanite paving.
The mosque, was built by an idea inspired from the late Sultan of Terengganu, Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah.
This beautiful mosque was named after his mother, Tuanku Intan Zaharah binti Almarhum Tengku Seri Setia Raja.
The architectural beauty of the mosque is surrounded by a lake, looking enchantingly inspirational much like a place in the tale of 1,001 Arabian Nights.
The calmness of the mosque is enhanced with the roaring of the South China Sea, making it an alluring and unique tourist attraction in Terengganu.
Terengganu State Museum, Terengganu
Acclaimed as the largest museum in South East Asia, the Terengganu State Museum Complex houses century old artefacts and artworks of rich and colourful heritage.
Located on 27 hectares of land in Bukit Losong, Kuala Terengganu, the complexes itself are an impressive architectural feat, based on the designs of Terengganus old palace.
It comprises a Main Museum, a Maritime Museum, a Fisheries Museum, 4 traditional houses and botanic and herb gardens.
The Main Museum is built on 16 concrete stilts with galleries showcasing textiles and weaving techniques, traditional weapons, crafts, historical, royal regalias, nature, petroleum development, Islamic arts, new generation and contemporary arts.
The other 4 blocks are adjoined, to represent a large family. At the main entrance of the main complex, lays the famous original Batu Bersurat of Terengganu.
Visitors from hotels could contact any of the local travel agencies to arrange for a fun Kuala Terengganu Town Tour which includes visit to the State Museum. Or fancy the traditional boat cruise along the Terengganu River that also stops at the State Museum.
For those wishing to drive themselves to the Museum, they have to take the route to Kampung Losong which is famous for its keropok lekor, a famous local delicacy. From there one can see the majestic looking museum, on top of Bukit Losong.