For a long time, Terengganu was seemingly hidden away from the world, a jealously guarded treasure almost. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing as it had contributed to the state’s rustic and idyllic charm today. Much of the state is still covered by lush pristine forests, fishing villages continue to dot its coastline, and white sandy beaches and exotic islands remain largely untouched.
But it has now emerged as an irresistible tourist destination in Malaysia, beckoning visitors to come “Live in harmony with nature”.
Indeed, this north-eastern State of Peninsular Malaysia has come a long way. Among other things, it has already won a place on the world map of competitive yachting. For the second time this year, it is hosting the annual Monsoon Cup at Pulau Duyung.
The Monsoon Cup is the Malaysian leg for the Swedish Match Tour, a prestigious international sailing event, dubbed “the Formula One of Sailing”.
Kuala Terengganu, its capital, is the gateway to breathtaking Marine Park islands like Perhentian, Redang, Lang Tengah, Bidong, Kapas, Gemia and Tenggol.
Steadily travelers from all over the world are making their way to this “Emerald of the East”, as Terengganu is also known. For good reason too, inland it is home to the world’s oldest rainforests and also the famous Tasik Kenyir (Lake Kenyir), the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia, as well as the tasik Kenyir National Park.
As for culture, this east coast Malaysian state, facing the South China Sea, is the birthplace of Islam in Malaysia.
With its history going as far back as the 1st Century, it is regarded as the cradle of Malay civilisation. Not surprising then that some time-tested Malay cultural traditions and practices still thrive.
The state, covering 12,995 sq km, also has the longest coastline in the peninsula, much of which comprises dazzling white beaches. And it is known the world over as an important nesting ground for various species of turtles, including the 500-kg leatherback, which lays eggs at only six spots in the world.
Undoubtedly, Terengganu conjures up images of bucolic life. Indeed, farming and fishing were once integral to the State’s econonmy. Things have however changed somewhat since the discovery of offshore oil and gas in 1974.
Still, whatever transformation Terengganu undergoes, people will always have plenty of reasons to visit the state-its unmatched pristine environment, its unrivalled offerings of beautiful songket and batik, and of course, its nasi dagang and keropok, for example.
Here, we give you 10 reasons, plus one-its warm and friendly people,who do truly always make visitors feel at home.
Yes, they are ready to share their treasure with the world, and nowhere will this be more evident than come 2008 when the state celebrates ‘Visit Terengganu Year’.