The state of Terengganu overlooks the South China Sea on the east side of Malaysia. A charming holiday destination, Terengganu has a stretch of beautiful beaches and even more spectacular islands. Popularly known as the ‘Land of Turtles’, many turtle species such as Olive Ridleys and Leatherbacks come to nest on its beaches each year. Like Kelantan, Terengganu has a strong Malay population, partaking in the same culture and traditions. Its people mostly live a peaceful life in coastal towns and fishing villages. In ancient times, Terengganu traded extensively with the Majapahit Empire, the Khmer and the Chinese, before becoming a vassal state of Malacca. Terengganu is also believed to be the first state to receive Islam, a turning point in Malaysia’s history. Terengganu later became a vassal state of Malacca. The present royal family of Terengganu was founded when Mansur Shah became Sultan in the late 1700s. It was in 1909 that the British took control of the state under their colonisation efforts, effectively ending the reign of Sultans at the 16th ascension. And, like the rest of Malaysia, Terengganu received her independence in 1957. Today, many people head to Terengganu to escape the busy city life and participate in recreational and relaxation activities by the beach. It is this peace and serenity that Terengganu offers which draws crowds from all over the world.
Although fishing has always been Terengganu’s main economic activity, the discovery of oil and gas off-shore has emerged as the state’s economic trump card. Terengganu’s natural wonders have also significantly boosted the state’s tourism industry.
Geography & Climate
Terengganu is one of the three states on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It has a total area of 12,995 sq. km, and shares a border with Kelantan on the northwest, with Pahang on the southwest, and its east with the South China Sea. Terengganu has a strong tropical monsoon climate, with relatively uniform temperature within the 21°C to 32°C range. January till April, the weather is dry and warm, with humidity in the lowlands consistently high, between 82-86 percent annually. Terengganu’s average rainfall is 2,032 mm to 2540 mm per year, with the most rain falling between November till January.
Town & Districts
Terengganu’s capital, administration and business centre is Kuala Terengganu. The state is divided into seven districts of Besut, Dungun, Hulu Terengganu, Kemaman, Kuala Terengganu, Marang and Setiu.
Terengganu Hotels & Resorts
Terengganu’s offshore islands (Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian) easily steal the thunder from the supposedly-lacklustre state. Conventional and strongly Islamic, Terengganu’s mainland offerings rarely make an appearance on most tourists’ maps and boy, are they missing out. At the very least, the nouveau-rich capital, Kuala Terengganu, merits a quick stop over simply because of its lively street markets, beautiful waterfront and the grand Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque. Yet for those willing to venture further inland, you’ll find the famed Lake Kenyir and Sekayu Waterfall which represent the state’s excellent outdoor action. Terengganu has a good deal of lodging choices – luxury collection venture, Tanjong Jara Resort obviously tops the list but you’ll easily find charming mid range hotels going for a song.
Have a look through our listings of what to see in Terengganu and enjoy exploring the region and discovering fascinating facts about the place.
In 1991, the Redang archipelago was gazetted as the Pulau Redang Marine Park, becoming a protected site under the Government.
The Redang archipelago constitutes the islands of Pulau Redang, Pulau Lima, Pulau Paku Besar, Pulau Paku Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Kecil, Pulau Kerengga Besar, Pulau Ekor Tebu, Pulau Ling and Pulau Pinang.
Pulau Redang at 7 km long and 6 km wide is the largest island. The highest peak is Bukit Besar at 359 metres above sea-level.
Only the bigger islands like Redang, Lang Tengah, Perhentian and Kapas have resort facilities for visitors.
There are several trails to explore the rainforest on the island, conveniently located behind some of the premier resorts. Going off the beaten track will lead you to scenic hilltops and rocky cliffs that offer panoramic views of the island and sea. A guide is recommended for these kinds of journeys.
Redang’s mangroves are also home to a rich variety of coastal life. Creatures you can see here include crabs, mudskippers, birds, monitors and much more. Deeper within the forest, visitors can glimpse rare orchids and beautiful trees. As it is a small island, only tiny animals such as the mouse deer, monkeys, some bats and jungle rodents can be seen, but it is still worth checking out.
Birds that can be seen here include the olive-backed sunbird, dark-necked tailorbird, terns, pink-necked pigeon, swiftlets and white-bellied sea eagles. Black-nest swiftlets and white-nest swiftlets often make their nests in the many cliffs and sea caves on Redang. The bird’s nests are collected during certain times of the year as they are believed to hold therapeutic properties when ingested in soup form.
Visitors can come here to learn about marine park conservation besides engaging in their own diving and snorkelling activities. The sea bed around the island holds a magnificent variety of life, including moray eels, giant groupers and clown fish. There is also shipwreck close to the jetty which is perfect for exploration through snorkelling.
Many resorts will offer snorkelling in their packages. Pasir Panjang, which is a nesting bay for baby sharks, is the top place to snorkel. Scuba-diving is the second most popular activity; the waters are crystal-clear and you can glimpse all manner of sea creatures in the water. Resorts on the island do offer scuba equipment and diving classes to cater to all ages.
You can also kayak around the island and play beach volleyball, but jet-skis and water-skiing is banned to protect the tranquillity and quality of the marine environment. Fishing is also banned but outside a two-mile boundary around the island, angling is permitted.
Myths & Folklore
Visitors can explore for themselves the many mysterious sights on the island, such as the inexhaustible pool of water at Pasir Gontang, or the beach at Pasir Mak Kepit which they locals believe smell of a fragrance left behind by a princess many years ago.
Other sights include Batu Gajah which are huge boulders on a hill believed to once have been sea elephants; Tok Kong and Batu Surat, rocks said to contain magical spirits and Tanjung Telaga Batu, a piece of rock that is said to grant wishes.
Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) – Turtles Watching
There are three species of turtles that come to Redang to nest – the Green Turtel, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill. Green turtles next between March to December with a peak in August, and January to September for Hawksbills and Olive Ridleys in May. The nesting points include Pasir Chagar Hutang, Pasir Mak Simpan, Pasir Mak Kepit, Pasir Bujang and Teluk Dalam.
Visitors can also visit SEATRU, a large green turtle nursery and turtle conservation centre, perhaps even volunteer to help in collecting eggs and incubating them till they hatch upon which the baby turtles will be released into the sea.
- Opening Hours: 9am – 4pm (Mon – Fri)
- Address: Institute of Oceanography (INOS), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.
What To Do
The island is rich in flora and fauna, perfect for eco-adventures.
Even being on the island is an experience itself as you can watch the sunrise from the beach, admire the multitudes of stars on a clear, night sky, snorkel, skin-dive or scuba dive to see the marine life, charter a boat round the island or go trekking.
Then there’s the customary relaxation on the warm, sandy beaches!