In online searching before leaving for Kuala Terengganu, I never found the word “International” attached to its name. I just kept guessing that the airport I was going to was only a domestic airport which only served domestic flights.
Turned out I was only slightly right, but still horribly wrong in the end. Because this airport also provided international flights, although only for Hajj and Umrah purposes, i.e direct flights to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Now I was hovering over Kuala Nerus District. Terengganu River was seemed when Malaysia Airlines MH 1326 slowly lowered all its flaps on its two iron wings. That iron sheets slowly pushed the plane down towards the sole runway belonging to Sultan Mahmud Airport.
Gliding on the runway, I was presented with a view of a small yellowish building gracefully standing and showing off its distinctive style. The beautiful carvings at its wooden ornaments along airport’s wall seemed to take me to the gates of old sultanate era. Meanwhile, terraced roofs in airport corners add to its authority and classic impression.
The plane had done its job and came to a gentle stop in an apron which made from solid-uncoated concrete. The aerobridge line welcomed and provided a way for me and other passengers to enjoying the beauty of airport inside.
Yellow….became the color of Malay majesty which was consistently exhibited. The waist-high wooden planks lining its walls made me feel like I wasn’t far from home. While the motive of three-color tile patterns made the atmosphere along arrival hall more lively.
Stepping into Domestic Arrival Council, the feel of Malaysian tourism was evident in advertisement wall throughout the room. Pictures which were familiar to my mind, beautifully displayed, the legendary Mining Boat which had been sailing for 90 years, Batu Burok Beach with its beautiful white sand and Traditional Trishaw which offered the beauty of a city tour made me impatient to be closer to downtown.
Malaysia’s tourism jargon also created an euphoria which always grew my longing for Malaysia. “Leave Malaysia” was a jargon for domestic tourism, “Malaysia Truly Asia” which was the marketing campaign of Ministry of Tourism and “Beautiful Terengganu” which was the last tourism slogan belonging to the State of Terengganu, seemed crowded to fill the arrival halls.
I arrived at Domestic Arrival Council after descending the escalator, in downstairs I found an unguarded tourism counter which allowed me to freely pick up Kuala Terengganu tourism brochures.
Like airports in general, of course this Arrival Hall was dominated by car rental counters, taxi ticket counters, souvenir shops and restaurants. There was also an ATM Area and Ticketing Counter on this floor. There were ticket counters belonging to Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia and Firefly.
While the public seating area utilized an empty space around airport poles with the presence of seats without a backrest.
My intention to exploring the airport, whose its name was taken from the name of the 16th Sultan of Terengganu, made me in no hurry to leave. Now I had stepped out of the airport building to see beautiful facade of airport which was built to replace the old airport building thirteen years ago.
Crossing a lane lined with airport taxis, I began walking down a corridor with a typical Terengganu roof splitting a large parking lot. Finally at the end of corridor I could freely enjoy the beauty of this airport.
To complete visitation, I stepped into Departure Hall upstairs. After all, the day after tomorrow I wouldn’t visit this airport again to go back to Kuala Lumpur. I prefered to take an interstate bus which of course offered cheaper ticket. I would buy it right away when I got to downtown later.
Using escalator, I arrived at top floor. Of course I just found a row of impenetrable check-in counters and screening-gates. I prefered to walk out of Departure Hall and enjoyed airport’s atmosphere from Drop-off Zone upstairs. Arriving outside, I found ancient cannons which were neatly arranged to decorate Departure Hall’s face.
This top floor drop-off zone was where I would wait for almost 45 minutes just to be able to enjoy airport bus service to downtown.
The adventure at Sultan Mahmud Airport was completed.