Closing Night in Kuala Terengganu

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In the afternoon….It was a quarter to six….

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.

Only me….
The driver.

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.

Enjoying the choir of sparrows at Wisma PERMINT.
The front side of KT Walk.
SiThe quiet side of KT Walk.i.

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.

Wisma Maidam was towering on Sultan Ismail Street which was used for the Kuala Terengganu Islamic Bank office.
The intersection that I often pass every day while in Kuala Terengganu.
Umobile Center (Telecommunication Equipment Store) on Engku Sar Street. Engku Sar refers to the name of the father of Engku Pengiran Anom whose full name is Syed Abdullah Al-Idrus. “Sar” is another name for “Sir”.
Aneka KAMDAR Building on Kota Lama Street is used as an ASC (Arena Sports Center) which is a Sports Venue business in Kuala Terengganu.
Let’s sleep!…. It was 11 p.m.….Tomorrow I would walk again.

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Happy Five Minutes at the Crystal Mosque

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Almost five o’clock in the afternoon….

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?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“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.

Bulatan Batu Bersurat Kuala Terengganu at the center of the meeting of four roads, i.e Sultan Ismail Street, Sultan Mahmud Street, Sultan Zainal Abidin Street and Sultan Sulaiman Street.
The atmosphere on Air Jernih Street that afternoon.
Mydin Grand Market seen from Tengku Mizan Street

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.

Snap….

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.

The Crystal Mosque front view.
Crystal Mosque side view.
The beautiful Terengganu River.

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.

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In-depth exploration of Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu

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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.

Noor Arfa Craft Complex on the edge of Permin Jaya Street.
Head to Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Kedai Makan Stesen Teksi (local people call this food stall as Kedai Kak Na).

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.

The back of the terminal.
Kiosk on the 2nd floor of the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Concrete waiting bench next to the platform.
Front right side (saw the Bas KITē with multiple lanes)
Front left side (saw the interstate bus ready to leave).
Bus platforms.
The Kiosks were on the front left side of the 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….

I have to outsmart this unfortunate limitation……

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Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque….Spiritual Decoration in Ibai River Estuary

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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:

Visitors who enjoyed fishing activities.
Cactus plant on the mosque’s veranda.
The connecting bridge on the south side is without a canopy.
Clear green….This is the form of the Ibai River estuary where the mosque stands.
An elegant pavilion that provides seating for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.

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.

Let’s pray!
The door and window designs are cool.
The windows of the mosque on each side…
Southside garden.
The view from the south side of the estuary.

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.

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BAS KITē ….Kuala Terengganu’s Mainstay City Bus

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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.

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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.

I got in the BAS KITē
Tasting the BAS KITē…
This was the first route I took.
I couldn’t go up this route, I’m sorry….
Well, Route C02 was the last route I took.

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.

To keep the mood happy….Yes, right?

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