The wonderfully clear waters of the islands off the Terengganu coast are famous with divers the world over, but the state holds other attractions too. Kuala Terengganu is a culturally rich capital city with museums, markets and fascinating architecture, while the coastline to the east has several beautiful spots of its own.
Terengganu’s main attractions are the idyllic island chains of Perhentian and Redang. Take the ferry from Kuala Besut on the eastern coast and find yourself in a tropical dream of white sand beaches, dense jungle and clear waters filled with colourful marine life. Both groups of islands offer excellent diving and snorkeling. Perhentian caters more for travellers on a budget, while Redang is more of a resort.
Back on the mainland, head to the state capital, Kuala Terengganu. This striking city is known for its oil riches, but is home to a number of cultural treasures as well. Take a walk around Chinatown and see houses that date back to the 18th century. Shop for local handicrafts such as batiks and songket in Pasar Payang, the city’s central market, where locals buy their fruit and vegetables.
Learn about the city’s history by spending an afternoon in the State Museum. The largest museum in Southeast Asia, it features exhibits on marine life as well as a gallery charting the area’s Muslim heritage. In this vein, don’t miss the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque, which sits on a floating platform in the Terengganu River.
Take a daytrip to the coast or visit Kenyir Lake, the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia. It is surrounded by a rainforest where over 2,500 species of plant have been discovered.
Terengganu has a warm year-round climate, but the best weather for diving is from June to October. Internal flights land here daily from Kuala Lumpur. A reliable network of buses connects Kuala Terengganu with the rest of Malaysia.