Pukul setengah lima pagi aku terbangun dari sebuah bangku panjang di salah satu sudut food court Muscat International Airport Lantai 2. Aku bergegas menuju Musholla di lantai yang sama untuk menjalankan shalat dan setelahnya aku kembali ke bangku yang sama untuk menyantap cheese cake dan strawberry yogurt yang kubeli di Lulu Hypermarket pada sehari sebelumnya.
Setidaknya hingga pukul enam pagi aku bertahan di bangku itu untuk kemudian beranjak ke toilet demi menggosok gigi dan menyeka muka.
Ketika semua sudah kurasa siap, maka aku segera menuju ke Departure Hall di Lantai 3 demi menuju ke check-in desk.
Aku sudah tak sabar untuk pergi menuju ke tempat baru lainnya. Pagi itu akan terbang menuju Manama, Bahrain. Akan tetapi penerbangan Air Arabia yang kuambil akan membawaku untuk transit sementara waktu di Sharjah, Uni Emirat Arab.
Walau beberapa hari sebelumnya aku telah mengeksplorasi Dubai, ibu kota Uni Emirat Arab. Akan tetapi rencana transit di Sharjah pagi itu tetap tak mengurangi rasa antusiasku.
Melalui escalator aku menuju lantai 3. Tiba di Departure Hall, aku sigap mencari keberadaan Flight Information Display System (FIDS) demi mencari informasi tentang penerbanganku. FIDS yang terpampang di salah satu sisi koridor mengarahkanku menuju check-in desk nomor F9 untuk mendapatkan boarding pass.
Tanpa pikir panjang aku segera melangkah menuju check-in desk yang dimaksud. Tiba di depannya, tampak sudah mengantri para calon penumpang dengan wajah khas Asia Selatan. Dari paspor yang dipegang, aku tahu bahwa mereka berkewarganegaraan Bangladesh.
Mengantri tak lebih dari setengah jam, akhirnya aku mendapatkan dua boarding pass. Selain untuk penerbangan Air Arabia G9 115 dari Muscat menuju Sharjah, aku juga mendapatkan boarding pass untuk penerbangan Air Arabia G9 105 dari Sharjah ke Bahrain.
Aku menggenggam dua boarding pass tersebut untuk kemudian bergegas menuju konter imigrasi. Dengan mudah aku menemukan konter imigrasi tersebut setelah mengikuti arahan dari beberapa signboard yang terpampang di beberapa titik koridor.
Sedang enak-enaknya mengantri di konter imigrasi. Seorang petugas imigrasi berjubah putih memanggilku untuk keluar dari antrian.
“ID card please !”, dia memintaiku identitas kewarganegaraan.
“Wait, Sir”, aku menurunkan backpack lalu berjongkok mengaduk-aduk isinya demi menemukan travel wallet
“Is this what you mean?”, aku memberikan KTP WNIku beserta paspor.
Dia terdiam dan fokus mengamati KTP dan paspor yang kuberikan.
“Traveling?”, dia berujar memastikan tujuanku berkunjung ke Oman
“Yeaa, just traveling”, aku tersenyum sembari menerima kembali KTP dan pasporku.
“OK”, tangannya mempersilakanku untuk kembali menuju antrian yang kutinggalkan. Bahkan petugas itu dengan baiknya memohon izin kepada para pengantri demi menyelipkanku di antrian depan, sesuai dengan urutan antrian yang kutinggalkan beberapa menit sebelumnya.
Menghadap staff imigrasi di salah satu konter, dengan mudah aku mendapatkan stempel departure di paspor.
Aku meninggalkan konter imigrasi dengan sumringah dan kemudian mengesampingkan keberadaan free duty area yang kulewati.
Aku merapat ke Gate C3 dan bersiap menuju Sharjah….
I staggered and grabbed any handles when I suddenly woke up from sleep and headed straight for the shared bathroom when my eyes hadn’t been fully opened. That was because I stared at the clock on the wall perched at half past eight.
“Damn”, I cursed my waking up too late. At dawn, I deliberately pulled back the blanket and covered my cold body. Luckily, last night I had packed all my supplies.
I took a quick shower, yet my whole body still felt clean after the last shower at ten o’clock last night. I put back on the t-shirt I wore to sleep last night and put on the jeans I had prepared last night.
After that, I locked my backpack on my back and headed to the shared kitchen to brew oat powder with hot water from the dispenser. It was a tedious breakfast menu, but I’ve been repeating myself for three days out of my home.
While sipping the wet oat powder mouthful after mouthful, I began to worry because the reception desk was still dark and empty.
“Ouch, what time will the staff be ready? I might be late chasing the bus”, I thought to myself and hoped that, after breakfast, the staff would come so I could hand over the key and take the deposit.
It turned out that until breakfast was over, the room was still empty. I, who was getting more and more anxious, could only give up waiting in the lobby. Luckily, fifteen minutes later, the inn owner appeared and immediately smiled at me.
“I want to check out….sorry for the long waiting”, he started a conversation while turning on the room light and heading behind the desk. The lack of guests at the inn made him not need to ask for my identity and room number because he would easily memorize it. It didn’t take long to take the envelope with my room number containing the 30 Ringgit deposit and then gave it to me.
“Thank you, Sir”, I received the money and handed over the key.
“See you….Be careful”, he waved as I started down the stairs to leave the inn.
Outside the inn….For the fifth time, I completely completed the route to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. Now I walked very fast and focus only on getting to the terminal. I’d rather wait far from the bus departure time than missed it.
It was almost half past nine when I arrived right in front of the counter where I bought my ticket yesterday.
“Wait for it on platform 1, the bus will come later”, was the answer from the counter staff when I asked where to wait.
“Whatever, in the next hour I’ll just wait here”, I thought as I took the concrete seat next to platform 1.
But waiting for something in a foreign land was always interesting. Observing the activities of local residents on each side of the terminal kept me away from boredom.
Until finally I was shocked when a red maroon bus with a yellow combination appeared from the rear gate of the terminal.
“Arwana Group”, I could clearly read it from a distance.
This was the bus I was waiting for. The bus arrived fifteen minutes before departure. The bus stopped right on platform 1 and I rushed towards it until an Arab-looking man stopped me.
“Kuala Lumpur….this?”, his short question was thrown at me.
“Yes….This bus goes to Kuala Lumpur”, I answered briefly.
“Where are you coming from?”, I added.
“Is Yemen Okay now?”, as far as I knew the country was in civil war.
I jumped in from the front door and looked for seat number 13. I chose the single seat on the bus which had a 2-1 formation of seats.
Exactly at half past ten, the bus started the long journey to Kuala Lumpur…
The 43 Ringgit trip would take 5 hours and cover a distance of no less than 450 km.
The bus started leaving the city by commuting through Perusahaan 3 Street, this was the main overland route on Malaysia’s east coast that stretched for more than 700 km, starting from Kelantan in the north and ending in Johor Bahru in the south. I was very grateful for being given the opportunity by God to comb the seaside with the most beautiful scenery in all of Malaysia. The most amazing sight on this trip was where I could cross the road which was only 50 meters from the beach. Later I would show you the beauty of this road.
At the beginning of the trip, I still remember the view of Kuala Terengganu that was presented to Kuala Ibai Village, because I had passed it while visiting the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque the other day. But after crossing the Ibai River, I passed through an area with views I had never seen before. Instead of falling asleep, the sight managed to keep me awake all the way.
Within half an hour, the bus started to leave Kuala Terengganu District and entered Marang District which took Pandak Beach to the gate. Three kilometers away, the bus crossed the coastline of Rusila Beach which was one of the most beautiful sights in the district. Until finally the bus rested for a while at Hentian Bas Marang. The bus had to pick up some of its passengers at the small terminal.
The view after a short pause at the Marang City bus terminal may be the highlight of this trip. The beautiful seaside scenery stretched for 50 kilometers starting from Peranginan Kelutut Beach to Batu Pelanduk Beach at the beginning of the Kuala Dungun District.
Two hours away, the bus had now passed through the main landmarks of the Kuala Dungun District, especially not the Dungun River which has a width of no less than 300 meters.
The bus quickly started entering Paka City. The city was home to Malaysia’s largest power plant run by the national power company, Tenaga Nasional. No wonder the vast expanse of electric power stations was in this city.
More than ten kilometers parallel to the bend of the Paka River until the bus finally left Paka City and entered a new city, Kerteh City.
Kerteh is an oil city because it has the potential for petroleum stored at the bottom of the South China Sea. The city of Kerteh is one of the most important places in the state of Terengganu because of its dense population and complete public facilities.
Exploring Kerteh City made me understand that Petronas, the giant oil company in my neighboring country, placed many important facilities in this city. Oil refineries, gas pipelines, chemical factories, and the Petronas housing complex dominated the sightings along Kemaman-Dungun Street.
For almost half an hour, I was presented with the bustle of the oil business of Kerteh City, until finally, the bus arrived at the southernmost area of the state of Terengganu, namely the Kemaman District. This is the border area between Terengganu State and Pahang State.
Entering Kemaman, the bus directly divided Chukai City which was the capital of Kemaman District. City parks were spread out in the corners of the city, and congestion was starting to feel, while the Kemaman River stretched widely as the main decoration of Chukai City.
South of Chukai City, the bus stopped a second time. This time the bus picked up two passengers at the Kemaman Express Bus Stop. After carrying its passengers, the bus continued its journey to get out of the southern border of Terengganu State and started its adventure in Pahang State.
There was still an hour to arrive at Kuantan Sentral Terminal, the main bus terminal in Pahang State. Meanwhile, it was one o’clock in the afternoon. I was sure all the passengers were feeling the same way….Hungry.
And a quarter of an hour after entering the State of Pahang, the bus finally decided to stop for lunch. It was D’Cherating Cafe which took its name according to the area where the restaurant stood, namely in Cherating Village.
Here, the driver allowed passengers to enjoy lunch for half an hour and then continued the rest of the journey to Terminal Sentral Kuantan . At the end of the journey, the driver-focused behind the wheel to complete the last 40 kilometers to the largest bus terminal on Malaysia’s east coast.
My first stage of the journey was over…
After a break at Kuantan Sentral Terminal, I would continue my journey to the final destination, i.e the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan in Kuala Lumpur.
I sat in the front seat on the left when Bas KITē slowly left the Tamadun Islam Park complex. Via the only connecting bridge, Bas KITē completed its wheel loop over Wan Man Island.
Now the Bas KITē would complete the remaining half of the journey to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, when I got there, the bus would take a break to operate again tomorrow at half past ten in the next morning.
On the way back to the inn, I was more relaxed and free to talk with the driver. During the rest of the trip, he told about his daily activities with four other Bas KITē drivers in operating that special city bus. He also told about his son who was having a hard time finding work in Kuala Terengganu, many employment sectors chose to use foreign workers which made it difficult for residents to find a livelihood. I only listened to it as a form of empathy, even though I didn’t know the real facts.
On the way back to the inn, the bus driver only took a middle-aged female passenger who seemed to be very familiar with him. Maybe the woman was a subscriber to his Bas KITē, so as soon as she got on, the driver immediately familiarly asked about the woman’s activities throughout the day. The rest after the female passenger boarded, only the two of them had the dominant conversation until the trip was over. The conversation with Terengganu’s thick accent I tried to understand even though I could only absorb it a little.
At a quarter past six I arrived at the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu….
Jumping off the bus and thanking the Bas KITē driver once again for giving me five precious minutes to enjoy the beauty of the Crystal Mosque, I tried to leave the terminal as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be trapped in the dark in the terminal.
I swiftly walked through Masjid Abidin Street to arrive at the intersection where the PERMINT Tower stood. “What’s that sound?…”, I stopped when I heard a noise from a height. Due to that sound, I backed off from the inn. I was now walking along Sultan Ismail Street towards the source of the sound. “Wow….That’s a flock of sparrows”, I knew now. On the entire face of the Wisma PERMINT building, perched a lot of sparrows calling to each other, making the sound like a pleasant harmony to be heard at sunset.
For so long I was stunned, capturing and videoing the scene that two other tourists suddenly came next to me and did the same. After a while of enjoying the harmony of the sound of the sparrows, simultaneously the street lamps began to come on, and the building lights began to be turned on, making the path along Sultan Ismail Street show off the beauty of its colorful lights.
“Looks like I have to enjoy my closing night in Kuala Terengganu by being on the streets even if only for a moment”, I decided.
My night exploration step started from the KT Walk which was a spacious area that usually presents a night market view for residents. It was just that the night has just begun, and a row of new food stalls was getting ready to entertain their prospective guests who would arrive soon. Because there were no significant activities, I just enjoyed the KT Walk for a moment from a corner of the field.
The night was creeping up and the lights were starting to look more dazzling as the sky darkened. I continued to comb along Sultan Ismail Street and then was stunned at a bookstore that seemed to be the favorite bookstore in the city, SMO Bookstores. “There’s nothing wrong if I go in …”, I idly started.
I rushed into the bookstore. As soon as I entered the shop, I just looked around and visited several bookshelves which were visited by many visitors. “A collection of novels which have been adapted into Malay”, I slightly frowned as a sign that I wasn’t interested in it.
SMO Bookstores isn’t as big as a well-known bookstore brand in Indonesia, the collection isn’t much, but many people visit it. Maybe Malaysia’s good literacy rate makes it so.
I finally left SMO Bookstores and resumed my journey to enjoy the night atmosphere of Kuala Terengganu. Although not too crowded, that night was able to make me a little amazed because, during the two days in Kuala Terengganu, I was more dominant in enjoying the atmosphere of the day. Even though the sparkling lamp that night wasn’t as beautiful as in Kuala Lumpur, it still kept its charm. A city that wasn’t so crowded was showing its beauty at night.
I turned at the corner at the northern end of Air Jernih Street, which was still doing business. Walking along the street, I stopped again at a 7-Eleven, I purposely entered it to look for fast food on my dinner menu. I felt like I have been reluctant to go back a little further to visit “Kedai Kak Na” which I visited that afternoon. It was better to just look for perfunctory food at the mini market.
I came out of the 7-Eleven with a packet of fried rice that had been heated in the microwave for a while. I immediately left the minimarket to the inn while enjoying the remaining scenery. Continuing a little step on Kota Lama Street, I turned left on Engku Pangeran Anom 2 Street and then arrived at the inn, The Space Inn…
Engku Pangeran Anom, who is it?
Engku Pangeran Anom was a Terengganu noble with the full name Pengiran Anum Engku Abdul Kadir bin Engku Besar. He was a man who really understood the history of Terengganu and was often a reference to the sultanate which at that time was led by Sultan Ahmad.
I arrived at the inn at exactly half past eight….
It was time for me to wash up, have dinner, fold the clothes and tidy up my backpack because tomorrow I would leave Kuala Terengganu at half past ten in the morning.
I was still guessing, who could be, one of three drivers who would make the last trip of Bas KITē Lane C02. They were joking and intimately chatting at the coffee shop in terminal corner.
I kept watching from the waiting bench behind the Bas KITē queue until finally one of them got up from his seat, headed for the bus and then started the engine to heat it up before starting the journey.
“Oh, he’s the one”, I snapped my fingers.
I quickly intercepted it. “Sir, will the Crystal Mosque be visible from the road when this bus will pass?”, I even intercepted him with a silly question.
“You can’t see the mosque from the road…why?”, he looked surprised by the question I asked.
“If you can’t see it, I won’t be taking this last bus, Sir”, I frowned.
“Do you want to visit the Crystal Mosque?”
“You can take this bus, I’ll wait five minutes for a quick visitation to the Crystal Mosque. How about mi idea?”.
“Thank you. Okay, I’ll go with you, Sir.”
Negotiations between tourists and city bus drivers were over. Now I had the opportunity even if not long to visit one of the most beautiful mosques in Asia and even the world.
Exactly five o’clock in the afternoon….
I hopped on the Bas KITē from the front door. Handed the 3 Ringgit fare to the driver and started taking seats. Meanwhile, Bas KITē slowly began to leave the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Even though my destination was in the west, but that time Bas KITē first went east, picked up some passengers at Shahbandar and Hotel Grand Continental, then turned around at Bulatan Batu Bersurat, Kuala Terengganu, and then Bas KITē went to the west to reach my desired destination, i.e Crystal Mosque.
Slowly but consistently, the Bas KITē drove along the south side of the Terengganu River and approached its destination. Now the bus was starting to move over the bridge connecting Wan Man Island. After crossing the bridge, I was faced with a large gate in front of Taman Tamadun Islam.
The Islamic Gardens Park is an important attraction on that artificial island. This is the first theme park in Malaysia that combines the concepts of religion and tourism, of course the Crystal Mosque is an important part. Along the way through Tamadun Islam Park, the Bus KITē driver explained that in that park there were replicas of the best Islamic structures from around the world such as the Taj Mahal, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, and the Dome of the Rock, but I didn’t have time to visit them. .
“Crystal Mosque is near….I’ll stop and wait for you for five minutes…When you’re done, let’s go back again to this bus”, the driver spoke to me while focusing behind the wheel.
“Okay, Sir”, I happily answered.
The bus slowly slowed down and entered a large parking lot. I still didn’t realize that that place was a stop for the Crystal Mosque religious tourist destination.
“The Crystal Mosque is over thereē”, the driver pointed in a direction.
“Okay, Sir”, I quickly got up and got off the bus.
“The five-minute countdown has started”, I thought, my heart beating faster. There was no other way, except to run as fast as possible to the mosque.
The further I ran, the face of the Crystal Mosque was already in sight. And after running past a local young man who was busy documenting the mosque with his tripod, I suddenly stopped.
“Can you take a photo, brother?”, I offered my Canon EOS with a smile.
Without saying anything, the young man smiled back and took my camera. For a moment, his agenda was slightly disturbed by my tacky behavior.
After thanking him, I ran back to the mosque. Within a minute I arrived. Ignoring any crowds, I preferred to stand still watching the mosque, which was mostly made of steel and glass.
I continued to enjoy the mosque with a capacity of 1,500 worshipers from the banks of the Terengganu River. The combination of black and white made the 13-year-old mosque very elegant and eye-catching. This was the first ‘smart’ mosque in Terengganu, the existence of an integrated IT infrastructure that allowed worshipers to access the internet to read the electronic Al-Quran.
Five very precious minutes didn’t expect that with time constraints, I was still allowed to visit the Crystal Mosque.
Four minutes have passed….
One last minute I’ll use to run back to Bas KITē. I didn’t want the driver to leave me and make it even more difficult for me to get public transportation to go home to the inn.
The relief came when the Bas KITē still stopped with a sluggish engine sound and the driver was looking at me while waving his hand as a signal for me to speed up running.
“Hufffttt….I’m tired, Sir”, I jumped from the front door.
“Hahahaha… How about that, how beautiful is the Crystal Mosque?”, he laughed as he slowly stepped on the gas pedal and let the bus go slowly.
“Very good, Sir”, I panted sitting in the front seat on the left side.
Time to back to the inn….
My adventure that day was over….
Tomorrow I would take a long road trip to Kuala Lumpur.
I sat down and intensely watched the vehicles on Batu Buruk Street from under Rhu trees when the congregation for the Dhuhr prayer began to arrive. Some of them smiled when they saw me who was still sitting on the grass of Floating Mosque’s Ramadhan Bazaar.
A few minutes after the iqamah was pronounced, the bus I was waiting for started showing its nose at the entrance gate. The Bas KITē didn’t slow down, apparently, suddenly quickly stopped in front of the north bridge.
I stuttered, got up, put the itinerary sheet which I had used as a seat cushion into the folding bag, and started running as fast as I could to catch the Bas KITē which had stopped and had finished lowering its passengers. “It’s bad if I miss it”, I held my breath and drove as fast as I could.
“Hurry….Come on, hurry up, brother”, a mother who walked with her umbrella encouraged me. I could only run while trying to leave a smile on her.
The Bas KITē, which initially started to go, finally slowed down, and the driver seemed to see me running from the rearview mirror. I did try to show myself in the rearview mirror and wave to him. Luckily for me, the Bas KITē driver noticed my presence.
I jumped up from the front door…..
“Oh, brother….I thought you had explored another place”, the driver still memorized my face.
“Not yet, Sir….I’ve been waiting for the bus for a while”, I panted and handed over 3 Ringgits while trying to keep a friendly smile.
Now I was sitting in the row of seat number six and trying to cool off the heat of my body right under the bus’ air conditioner then trying to get back to enjoying the trip to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Leaving the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque, initially, Bas KITē moved south, the bus took passengers to an important destination, namely Noor Arfa Craft Complex which is a well-known handicraft outlet in Kuala Terengganu. After dropping off and picking up passengers, Bus KITē again drove north along Batu Buruk Street, crossed the Kuala Ibai Bridge, and crossed again the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque which still looked elegant even from a distance.
By three o’clock in the afternoon, Bus KITē finally arrived at the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, which was eight kilometers from the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque.
But I arrived at the bus station in hunger. I was still trying to stay calm, because yesterday afternoon when I finished eating at the terminal canteen, I saw the existence of a food stall at a taxi rank which was full of visitors. “The food in that food stall must be delicious,” I concluded that afternoon. I’ve bookmarked the food stall and now was the perfect time for me to visit and had lunch there.
The food stall hadn’t changed from yesterday, it was crowded with visitors. Not only taxi drivers, but many office workers, security forces, and soldiers were seen queuing up to be able to eat at that place. It seemed that the place was indeed a favorite and affordable place to eat for residents.
I tried to enjoy a portion of rice with chicken pieces and I added a few pieces of fresh vegetables. The vegetables weren’t paid for.
The simple food stall only had a seat made from plastic but had its specialties because the shop assistant was a young girl wearing a headscarf with a beautiful Malay face. “No wonder this shop is crowded,” I smiled to myself.
I enjoyed the lunch very voraciously. Apart from being hungry, that stall’s food tasted very good. I ended my lunch by handing five Ringgits to the beautiful lady of the stall’s servant.
There was still 45 minutes before the Bas KITē to the Crystal Mosque departed….
I looked for a prayer room in the terminal and decided to pray. There was no more time because I would bump into the sunset when I return from the Crystal Mosque later.
Even after the prayer, there were still thirty minutes left….
I decided to explore the interior of the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu by stepping to the second floor. On the second floor, there were rows of kiosks that were very busy with various activities selling goods and services. But the majority seemed to be dominated by clothing kiosks and tailoring services.
While the view downwards looked more beautiful than a sweep of the eye when I was below. The front left side of the terminal was dominated by the taxi parking area. Meanwhile, on the right front side, several Bas KITe were neatly parked, which since this morning have been instrumental in driving me around the city. On the other hand, that afternoon, interstate buses began to stir and slowly arrived to pick up passengers to take out of town.
Half an hour of exploring each side of the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu allowed me to get to know more about the Kuala Terengganu mainstay bus terminal.
It was three in the afternoon….
Time to go to the Crystal Mosque….
But now I was in big trouble. That was the Bas KITe on the last C02 trip, meaning that when I arrived at the Crystal Mosque, I had to go back to the inn by taxi… “Hmmh, expensive”, I kept thinking….
Failing to get off at Batu Burok Beach due to entrusted my trip too much to the Bas KITē driver, I was dropped off at my second target destination. It was Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque, the first floating mosque in my neighboring country.
Bas KITē stopped on the north side of the parking area which was also known as the Floating Mosque Ramadhan Bazaar area. Once down, I didn’t directly enter the mosque. I took a standing position on the north side of Ibai River’s estuary to enjoy the full view of Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque with its thirty-meter minaret from a distance.
Zaharah….is a word taken from the name of Sultan Mahmud’s mother, Tengku Intan Zaharah. The thirty-year-old mosque is truly enchanting to my naked eye from my standing position, it is appropriate that long wooden seats are provided on the north side of the estuary, allowing any visitor to sit at dawn or dusk to enjoy the beauty of the mosque which can accommodate a thousand worshipers.
Not only the building but I was also stunned by the water below. The estuary water is filled with tame fish which beautifully flock when fed by visitors from the connecting bridge on the north side. Visitors got fish food from a fish pellet seller in the parking area at a price of only one ringgit per pack.
I started to enter the mosque from the north bridge which was intentionally provided with a canopy along it, making it comfortable for visitors to linger to feed the fish. Along the canopy, signs bearing the words of the Prophet managed to become a shade of heart before actually entering the mosque.
The first thing I did when I arrived at the mosque’s door was to walk around the mosque and saw its view from all sides. Some amazing views of the surroundings were easy to find when I stood at the best spots on the mosque’s terrace. Do you want to see that beautiful view?…. Here it is:
After finishing recording memories in my head about all the beauty around the mosque, I rushed to the purification room. The time for Dzuhur hadn’t yet come, but I was very excited to perform the “tahiyatul masjid” prayer.
Entering the purification room, I washed my face solemnly, preparing myself to worship at the mosque whose position was very famous as an important landmark of the State of Terengganu.
Now I would enjoy the mosque inside which was the core part of the building, of course also the core part of this visit. The stretch of soft red carpet on the front row combined with a light blue carpet on the back makes the room come alive. Twelve large pillars support the entire mosque body and the side poles of the pulpit are decorated with beautiful lights looking up. While in the middle of the building perched a dome with a hexagon structure base. Then the dominant green windows enrich its color. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to look upstairs.
I finished praying while some mosque staffs were still busy cleaning its terrace. I returned out of the mosque through the bridge on the north side and walked around the river estuary to the garden on the south side. I had to complete the point of view. After enjoying the north side, now I sat in the south garden and enjoyed the beauty of the Tengku Tengah Zaharah mosque from the other side of the estuary.
The visitation was completed by enjoying the beach on the east of the Lagun Kuala Ibai Public Park. That was a substitute beach for the Batu Burok Beach destination which I couldn’t reach because I was dissolved in the speed of the Bas KITe.
At one o’clock in the afternoon, I finished relaxing on the beach. I had to immediately take a seat in the area of the Floating Mosque Ramadhan Bazaar which was widely stretched on the north side of the mosque to wait for the arrival of Bas KITē which would arrive in an hour. I didn’t want to be left behind because I had to immediately go back to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. I still wanted to look for opportunities to go to Crystal Mosque which I decided this morning to cross off my bucket list.
This time I deliberately didn’t attend the congregational Dzuhur Prayer which would soon be held, I decided to just do it later. I had to catch the bus that time because the Bas KITē might come sooner.
I decided to sit on a side of the grassy area under the Rhu trees to avoid sunlight directly. Rhu trees certainly made my body more comfortable in waiting for the arrival of the C01 A KITe Bus.
I was now preparing to leave the Kuala Ibai District.
Satu setengah jam lamanya, aku menyambangi setiap sudut Muscat Sports Club hingga matahari tergelincir menuju ufuk barat.
Waktu menunjukkan pukul setengah empat sore….
Aku pun memutuskan untuk undur diri, mengakhiri petualangan dan beranjak kembali menuju penginapan. Aku harus mengambil backpack yang kutitipkan usai check-in siang sebelumnya. Rencananya, setelah mengambil backpack, aku akan menuju bandara dan menginap di sana saat malam tiba. Itu karena penerbanganku menuju Bahrain akan berlangsung di keesokan pagi.
Melintasi coffee shop yang terletak di sebelah gerbang utama Muscat Sports Club, aku kembali turun di jalanan. Menelusuri An Nuzhah Street sisi selatan, menuju utara. Kembali menyisir jalanan yang sama ketika aku tiba di Al Wadi Al Kabeer Park dan Muscat Sports Club.
Sore itu udara sudah tak panas lagi, melainkan bertransformasi menjadi hembusan angin dingin yang membawa butir-butir pasir, membuat kulit gatal dan mata pedih ketika menerpa badan.
Tak peduli dengan hembusan angin itu……
Entah kenapa, tetiba langkahku menjadi kikuk ketika tiba di depan Al Wadi Al Kabir Market. Aku berhenti sejenak, menatap bangunan perbelanjaan itu. Memaksa otak untuk berpikir, “Apa yang harus kupersiapkan?”.
Aku menarik dompet dari dalam folding bag, melihat isinya, setelah merasa cukup dengan lembaran Rial yang kupunya, maka aku pun tanpa ragu masuk ke dalam bangunan itu dan bergegas memasuki Lulu Hypermarket di dalamnya.
Ya….Aku menyempatkan berbelanja beberapa makanan untuk perbekalan selama di perjalanan menuju Bahrain. Perjalananku menuju Bahrain akan dimulai dengan menginap di Muscat International Airport malam itu juga dan akan tiba di Bahrain pada pukul empat sore di keesokan harinya. Itu berarti aku akan berada diperjalanan selama 22 jam.
Setelah menelusuri seisi Lulu Hypermarket selama lima belas menit aku keluar dari pasar swalayan itu dengan membawa cheese sandwich, yogurt, orange juice dan cake. Semuanya kutebus dengan harga 725 Baisa.
Lalu aku pergi meninggalkan Al Wadi Al Kabir Market dengan menenteng kantung plastik yang berisi barang belanjaan. Selepas mengunjungi Lulu Hypermarket, aku pun melangkah secepat mungkin dan berfokus menuju penginapan. Menjelang pukul lima sore, aku pun tiba di OYO 117 Majestic Hotel, tempatku menginap.
Setelah mengambil backpack di resepsionis, aku tak terburu menuju Ruwi-Mwasalat Bus Station, melainkan menuju ke kedai khas Bangladesh yang telah menjadi langgananku semenjak tiba di Muscat.
Sore menjelang malam itu, aku menyantap nasi putih dengan chicken fry sebagai lauknya. Pemilik kedai itu telah paham dengan kebiasaanku selama beberapa hari sebelumnya. Dia menyuguhkanku satu potongan paha yang itu berarti menyuguhkan setengah dari porsi normal. Jadi aku hanya perlu untuk membayarnya separuh porsi saja, cara tepat bagiku untuk berhemat.
Aku pun membayar menu makan malamku dengan 250 Baisa ketika selesai menandaskan nasi di piring.
Selanjutnya aku pun kembali menelusuri Al Fursan Street. Berjalan sejauh dua kilometer dengan waktu tempuh tiga puluh menit.
Aku pun tiba di Ruwi-Mwasalat Bus Station….
Aku bersiap menuju ke Muscat International Airport
After washing jeans, t-shirts and socks, I took a bath. Made my body fresh and repel shabby. “It’s still too early to sleep, I’d better hang out in the shared-kitchen to fill my water bottles which are starting to recede”, my idea suddenly appeared.
I started downstairs to the second floor where the reception desk and shared-kitchen were located. Arriving there, looked the presence of Mr. Okamoto who slowly brewed the coffee.
“Where was you going today, Mr. Okamoto?” I asked before he smiled as I poured tap water into my drink bottles.
“Hi Donny, I didn’t go everywhere today. I was tired. I decided to take a rest all day in my room”, he chuckled while sipping his own brewed coffee.
“Ohhhhh…..I think you have found a nice destination today….Hahahaha. I see you are very fresh now”, I hasten to sit in front of him and continue the conversation.
Somehow in the beginning, Mr. Okamoto told many things that night….From the charming story of Okinawan culture, memories of drinking coffee with local Acehnese, the behavior of Japanese girls in modern times, the cuteness of a student from Yogyakarta, as well as the ups and downs of being an English teacher at his capital city.
Meanwhile, I added a little story about my adventure to visit Japan three years ago, exploring Terengganu on the first day that afternoon until my plan to explore Middle East a few days ahead.
The specialty of the conversation was a cup of coffee brew made by Mr. Okamoto for me.
Wow…. Arabica coffee was still imagined to be enjoyed until now.
That Monday morning, I accidentally woke up a little late. After the Fajr prayer, I went back to sleep and just woke up at exactly nine in the morning. After bathing, I have breakfast by sipping oat powder that I brought from home, I served the powder in hot water and mixed it with a spoonful of sugar in the inn’s kitchen.
Twenty minutes later I finished breakfast, I started to go downstairs to the first floor and got ready to continue exploring. Looking at the sky, it looked like my second day in Kuala Terengganu would be as hot as yesterday. I stepped through Engku Pengiran Anom 2 Street to reach Air Jernih Street which if pulled straight north would take me to Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
The bus terminal was still my ally in dissecting the beauty of Kuala Terengganu. At least I knew where to go all Monday.
Oh yes, back to the story a day before, when I arrived at the bus terminal after being escorted by myBAS from Sultan Mahmud Airport, I took a moment to get closer to the BAS KITē stop. I deliberately documented the bus route which is the transportation mode of Kuala Terengganu residents’ mainstay. I had monitored the existence of BAS KITē itself from Jakarta two months before departure.
Well, if you went to Kuala Terengganu and wanted to save on costs in exploring the city, then BAS KITē was the best solution. After all, instead of taking a taxi everywhere…. It was expensive.
Let’s see what was a BAS KITē.
According to the results of my conversation with the BAS KITē driver when going to the Crystal Mosque, there were only five buses in Kuala Terengganu, and the drivers were only five people. But on the route board which I managed to photograph, BAS KITē turned out to only have four routes….Hmmm, maybe one unit was a spare bus….Ah, I didn’t know, what were you thinking anyways?
The uniqueness of this city bus lies in its design. When viewed from the outside, the body of this city bus resembles the architecture of a typical Terengganu house. The bus’ glass is designed like an arched window, while the bus’ roof is given a distinctive touch of Terangganu’s carved. While at bus inside, seats and dividing area between driver and passengers are dominated by iron and wood combination, full of Terengganu carvings.
This city bus with a capacity of 36 passengers is operated by Cas Ligas SDN. BHD whose office is in PERMINT Tower, the tower I passed by many times every day when I explored Kuala Terengganu. Cas Ligas SDN. BHD itself is a land and water transportation business in Kuala Terengganu.
To be able to take this city bus to various tourist destinations, you have to prepare a fare ranging from 1 to 5 Ringgit depending on the distance. Cheap right?…..
The city bus which departed the earliest was BAS KITē for Kuala Nerus (direction to the airport but doesn’t stop at the airport if you want to go to the airport just use the myBAS service). That route departed at exactly half past eight in the morning and departs at an interval of 1.5 hours before noon and then departs at intervals of 2 hours when it is past noon. The last bus departs at half past five in the afternoon from Hentian Bas Majlis Kuala Terengganu Airport.
Meanwhile, the city bus which departs at noon is the KITē BAS towards Crystal Mosque. This BAS KITē route first departs at 9:30 am and only provides four trips a day. The last trip departs at five in the afternoon from Hentian Bas Majlis Kuala Terengganu Airport.
Cheap but limited.
With an average distance of two hours for each departure, at least I could visit at least three destinations in different routes. “Enjoy it, don’t be in a hurry….”, that’s how I thought about its limitations.
I was satisfied enough to experience the beauty of Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu even though I was only pulled over to one side. Observing the bustle of the merchants who slowly began to arrive to prepare for night’s culinary session, the traffic of fishing boats that were about to go to sea leaving the estuary also started to become apparent, then the tourist boats kept on bringing the excitement of tourists to several islands which I myself didn’t know how much. far away, and oil and gas operational vessels keep going back and forth along the estuary.
“It’s time to get out of here”, I started to tidy up the camera and throw the sit mat into the trash after tearing it into small pieces, I didn’t want to leave even a name imprint on every sheet I threw away in another country.
I crossed right in the middle of island to the mainland where Kampung Cina stood. On the side of one-way sreet, Roadside gazebos were full of local residents. They began to down to the streets waiting for the sun to fall in west. Across the street, the playground came to life with the presence of several children of Chinese descent playing on swings and slides. Meanwhile, Turtle Alley, which became a famous art alley along the road, began to fill with tourists.
“Ah, never mind”, I seemed to give up. “Just looking for food, tonight I don’t have to leave the inn”, I decided.
I stepped west against the one-way street. One or two beggars approached while clenching their hand several times to their mouths. A sign they need food like me. I looked around, looking for CCTV or anything which could record the surroundings. Realizing there was nothing there, I handed two Ringgits to the two approaching beggars then I hurriedly left them.
My step arrived at a narrow bend and was only able to flow one vehicle at a time to pass it. Now I have arrived at the end of the road, as a marker I would be faced with the face of Kampung Cina.
In fact I was at the southern end of Kampung Cina Street. If previously I had combed the road from the north side when I visited Payang Memory Lane, now I have completed it by combing the remaining sections from the south.
“Oh, this is Kampung Cina after all,” I reflexively thought after seeing the iconic Terengganu Kampung Cina Gate. Of course it was a dragon. Yes, it had always been a symbol of good luck in Chinese society. Two perfectly green dragons faced off at the top of the gate.
The identity of Kampung Cina, so lanterns were also a distinctive decoration of their existence in any country, even in Kuala Terengganu. Red lanterns were scattered on every side of the street.
While at the T-junction there appeared a dominant yellow temple, i.e Ho Ann Kiong Temple. This was a Chinese temple dating back a century, the oldest Taoist temple in the state of Terengganu dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of Sea.
After observing the beauty of temple, I started exploring a new streets. It was Kampung Tiong Street which would be my shortcut to Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. I knew there was a terminal canteen there. “It’s better to have dinner there”, I didn’t think long and decided.
At first glance, the Terengganu government seemed to offer the beauty of Lang Tengah Island as a mainstay tourist destination along the road. Meanwhile, signs prohibiting selling street vendors without a permit decorated several alleys. “It is forbidden to peddle without a license”, that’s what Datuk Bandar Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terngganu’s direction. Passing one or two towering buildings in Kampung Tiong Street finally led me to the end of the road.
“Hmmh, where’s the shortcut way?”. I looked around and was reluctant to walk around to get to the bus terminal. The top of terminal’s roof was visible from where I was standing. “Maybe that”, I saw a small alley straight towards the terminal, I followed it until I arrived at a large parking lot whose its existence was successfully hidden by the thick trees. It turned out that that was the Paya Bunga Square parking lot. Indeed, shopping complex, hotel and office complex were clearly visible in the south corner. “Yiaaiy, the canteen was still open”, I inwardly cheered seeing the crowd in the terminal’s canteen. I didn’t hesitate to enter it until some merchants in the canteen kept offering me their menus. Finally, I decided to enjoy a portion of fried rice for only five Ringgit.
I voraciously ate the simple fried rice because of the hunger I had been holding back all that time. The fried rice tasted a little curry, either because my smell detected the presence of a curry stall to the left of where I was sitting or indeed this fried rice merchant was too bold to spice up his fried rice. But no matter what, I was actually a fan of Indian curry.
Half an hour of dining with local travelers at the bus terminal, made me feel like I was just a resident of Terengganu.
Now it was time for me to go back to the inn…..
I got off again at Masjid Abidin Street. If before I always walked on left side, now I tried to cross the road and comb from the right side to the south. A few meters ahead, my steps were stopped by the presence of a large parking lot and shops. It seemed that that was a flea shop which became the idol of citizens. Towards dark, young people could be seen carrying their skateboards and sitting enjoying the afternoon under shady trees in the east side of the stretch of land. That was PB Station which was quite famous in downtown because it always presented a festive bazaar on weekends. But sadly I was here on a monday night. Of course I wouldn’t find a crowd even if I waited until the night was over.
I unsteadily continued walking towards The Space Inn. Passing a large intersection where a six-story building belonging to RHB Investment Bank firmly stood, I finally arrived at Air Jernih Street. Continuing through a few inches of Kota Lama Street which connected the main road with the location of my inn.
It was time to take a shower, washed up and went to bed early……..Hufftt, my eyes were already really heavy.
Backtracking a moment from Payang Memory Lane, I followed Pasar Besar Payang Street to the mouth of the Terengganu River. Considering the roaming area was a coastal area, then my feet wouldn’t be far from the water. I would stop two hundred meters north, right on the banks of the Terengganu River.
While the sun was still perfectly round in the west, its rays were still able to make the skin red. Forcing me to occasionally stop behind the big trunks of palm trees by the roadside. Hhmmhh…. Terengganu’s sun was too long, it made the whole face sting.
But not long….A moment later I arrived at the northern edge of Kampung Cina (China Town). My eyes were instantly fixed on the arched footbridge at the eastern end of the village, it seemed that the object had become the main landmark of this night’s tourist attractions.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time tonight, my body was tired to endured the sleepiness all night at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. So tonight, I chose to soundly sleep. It was fine that I have to visit that destiation now, even though I won’t be find its culmination visitation time.
That was Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu, an artificial seven-hectare island on the banks of Terengganu River estuary which was commonly used for night markets, big events, music concerts, art exhibitions and the base of Heritage Island River Cruise to explore the beauty of Terengganu River which had many excellence tourist attractions in its various key spots. Locals often refered to Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu as i-City Terengganu, referring to the ICT-based city in Shah Alam, Selangor.
On top of the iconic archway, I freely could gaze at all corners of Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu. In plain view, the island was only separated from the mainland by a canal thirty meters wide. The canal looked clean and was occasionally passed by a security guard’s engine boat.
It seemed that this island wanted to reveal its identity as the pride of Terengganu with the existence of a green park on the eastern edge of the island. The park was titled I Love KT Park. From a distance, several vehicles were seen parked in the park. A group of families seemed to roll out their mats to enjoy the sunset in Terengganu River by eating the home-cooked food they brought, some men on motorbikes seemed to prepare fishing rods, they were ready to hunt fish on the banks of river.
As a venue for large events at night, the island was equipped with firing light poles in every corner. I could imagine how festive it would be tonight when the lights were turned on and poured light into the crowds of culinary tents below.
“Looks like I have to complete the adventure by sitting and relaxing at the end of the island,” I muttered as I looked at the row of shady trees in the northern shore. I started down the canal to reach the main gate of the island which was in the form of a graceful gate with a typical Chinese pattern.
My steps began to split the island right from the middle, I accelerated the swing of my steps to pass the twilight rays which still gave off their stings. I arrived….. Oh, there wasn’t a single bench to just sit on. Alright…. I took out the itinerary sheets which I compiled a few months ago. I tore off the first sheet where I had completed all the stages of the itinerary. I took a clearing under a big tree and sat down on my own itinerary sheet.
Cool….silent….safe….enchanting, that was the feeling which arised when you awere under a shady tree with my gaze thrown far to the north. I could see the expanse of Pulau Duyung (Duyung Island) which was three hundred meters away and was only separated by the waters of the Terengganu River.
The bustle of the ships belonging to the Pulau Duyung Supply Center (PDSC), which is one of the oil and gas companies in Terengganu, was very obvious, but I didn’t know what was going on inside. The Ignorance made me only able to digest the scenery in front of me, which was like an oil shipyard.
While on the east side, there was a magnificent building belonging to Jabatan Pelancongan Negeri Terengganu. There were tourist ships neatly lined up on the banks. Maybe it was the ships that would take tourists to the beautiful islands which were Terengganu’s marine assets.