Moored for a Moment in Payang Memory Lane

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

After enjoying the elegance of Terengganu Drawbridge, I sat down at a Kite Bus Stop. The existence of a city bus stop on Dataran Shahbandar shows that this stretch of Pesisir Payang is the economic pulse and tourism destination of Terengganu.

Even after six hours, I have explored the right places for newcomers to know.

Many times I drank bottled mineral water to fight dehydration when more and more locals came to Pesisir Payang. Oh, I would just leave the coast when the situation got busier. Maybe the sun was starting to fall and the atmosphere would soon be cool which made this place become crowded.

Again, I measured Sultan Zainal Abidin Street with my feet heading west, bypassing the Kuala Terengganu Post Office at the main bend of a road, through the back of “Bukit Puteri” foothills which managed to instill curiosity in my heart, quickly passing Kedai Payang Market which I enjoyed a few hours ago, quickly avoiding from the dust cloud of the Kerajaan Persekutuan Project in perfecting Kedai Payang Market in the west side and arriving at the intersection right on the side of Balai Bomba dan Penyelamat Jalan Kota (fire department).

“Hmhhh….Better to find another way”, I muttered to myself for a moment. Maybe that was the best way to be able to explore the city’s treasures more. It was Kampung Cina Street which had a similar texture to the road in front of Kedai Payang Market, thick concrete with a pink paving block pattern that I finally chose.

I just realized that the smooth flow around Pesisir Payang and Kampung Cina was influenced by the presence of a five-story parking building right at the golden fork. According to the tradition of the Chinese community, Kampung Cina Street was lined with complexes of shop houses and commercial shops. As I went west, I noticed that old Chinese buildings seemed to dominate.

That time, I planned to spend the afternoon walking in the city streets to the inn, of course with a different route from my departure route this morning. Walking along Kampung Cina Street made my stomach even more hungry. The distinctive aroma of Chinese cuisine pierced my sense of smell I never gets tired of sucking it. The terrace of a row of two-story shophouses directly appeared adjacent to the street so that passing vehicles only slowly drove to maintain the safety of pedestrians.

My steps suddenly stopped because of the appearance of an alley full of artistic taste. I was standing right in front of it. Meanwhile, what could be seen inside was an arrangement of colorful umbrellas neatly arranged as the roof of the forty-meter-long alley.

“Payang Memory Lane”, I silently read the alley header. “Then there is history here”, I began to conclude.

I was in the front of the hall…
Two of the seven Chinese figures are enshrined along the hall.
View from the end of the hall.

I began to slowly enter the mouth of the alley. My gaze automatically turned to the left. Lined with reliefs of seven prominent Chinese community leaders who were said to be devoted to the Terengganu Sultanate. In that order, the names of Dato’ Tan Eng Ann (once served as Chairman of MCA Terengganu), Dato’ Toh Seng Chong (formerly served as Exco of the State Kingdom), Jang Chow Thye, SMT (formerly served as Expert of the Royal Malaysian Council), Dato’ Tok Teng Sai (formerly Terengganu MCA State Chairman), Senator Dato’ Ir. Wong Foon Meng (formerly the Lead Yang Di-Pertuan State Council), YB Toh Chin Yaw (formerly the State Executive Councilor), and Tan Sri Dato’ Lau Yin Pin (formerly the State Council Expert).

Meanwhile, mural paintings occupied the remaining stretch of walls along the hallway. The paintings depicted the richness of Kuala Terengganu’s stories, which were nicknamed Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air. Therefore, ocean-themed murals were very thick in this hallway.

Actually taking shelter in that three-and-a-half-meter wide alley was really very comfortable in the midst of the surrounding atmosphere which still left heat even though the sun had slipped in the west. It was just that I certainly didn’t have much time, I had to quickly step through other corners of the city before the sun really set.

So I came out of the hallway which was also known as Payang Memory Lane. Oh yes, actually there were other alleys that of course, I couldn’t visit one by one. It was Turtle Alley that tells the story of turtle conservation efforts in Terengganu, several other alleys are called Eco Lane, Seven Wonders Alley, and Lorong Haji Awang Besar.

Come on, just followed my steps…. What else would I meet in Kuala Terengganu?

Impromptu Photographer in Terengganu Drawbridge

<—-Previous Story

My eyes were getting heavy, the impact of sitting under a tree for too long, of course still in the Padang Maziah complex. Now and then the sound of car horns gave a pulse to the deserted palace garden. However, my reason still said “no”, when the heart’s intention persuaded it to immediately go to the beach.

What could I do, my eyes preferred to continue their sleep, “Who wants to be hit by the hot sun”, my reason was determined to stay for more moments in the coolness and beauty of Padang Maziah. Because of that, I was more and more confident leaning against a concrete wall that has functioned as a giant pot in that palace park. This was the first time I could sit and relax in a park out of my country.

The blink of my eyes grew tighter as the sun slowly slipped to the west. Almost half past three in the afternoon, I finally decided to get up and walked again.

I headed back down a four-lane and two-ways road heading west. Ahead there was a large city gate. Through the left side of the road, slowly but surely I was getting closer to it. The gallant city gate, straddling Sultan Zainal Abidin Street.

“Sovereign My Sultan – Hope God Keep Terengganu’s Sultan and Sultanate”, was the three-line sentence plastered above it. “Terengganu is Islamic,” I quietly thought as I stood still looking at that sentence from below.

After the gate, only a row of four-story shophouses could be seen which be built parallel to the road on its right side, while on the left side was acquired an expansive green area titled Dataran Shahbandar. It was a community park complex combined with gathering & events venues which will usually be crowded at important moments such as Ramadan, New Year, and national holidays.

Dataran Shahbandar itself covers an area of ​​ten hectares with three main sections, namely parks, plazas, and piers. From the naked eye, I could estimate that the park dominated up to 60% of the total area. Meanwhile, the plaza used for tent areas, car boot sales, or food trucks took up 30% of its portion, while the remaining area was used as the Shahbandar Jetty, which was a wooden pier used for the transportation terminal to Redang Island, which was 40 kilometers offshore.

I leisurely walked through a pedestrian path in the middle of a lush park to reach the plaza area. The spacious but quiet plaza was decorated with a signboard that reads “Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air”. The day after tomorrow this place would be filled with local citizens to celebrate New Year Countdown. Meanwhile, at the same time, I would be in Kuala Lumpur.

Park @ Dataran Shahbandar.
Plaza @ Dataran Shahbandar.

Meanwhile, the focal point of the New Year’s celebration the day after tomorrow would be on iconic bridges on the right side of the Dataran Shahbandar complex. It was the Terengganu Drawbridge that had become the sea gate of Kuala Terengganu. That lift bridge perfectly stretched connecting Seberang Takir Village on the north of the bridge and Ladang Padang Cicar Village on the south.

This was the first lift bridge in Malaysia, even in Southeast Asia which was only 2 years old. So I still had time to enjoy its new face that afternoon. With a length of more than 600 meters, the bridge proudly fenced off Kuala Terengganu from the vastness of the South China Sea.

And you needed to know that all of the Terengganu Drawbridge complexes, Dataran Shahbandar, and Kedai Payang Market were tied together in a management area nicknamed Pesisir Payang.

Now I was at the beach and trying to take the best picture of Terengganu Drawbridge. On the other hand, residents often came to capture themselves in various Pesisir Payang spots. I even occasionally volunteered to be an impromptu photographer for several families who wanted to capture all of their members in a picture. Of course, I was happy because I got to know so many very friendly families, and didn’t even hesitate to talk to me for a while after they found out that I was from Indonesia. Of course, my accent was easy for them to guess. In that conversation, some of them gave many references to tourist attractions that must be visited in Kuala Terengganu.

It could be said that I spent my afternoon hanging out with residents. At the end of the session, I decided to rush toward the Terengganu Drawbridge and as a result, I managed to enjoy that architectural beauty from a hundred meters away.

Terengganu Drawbridge.

Around the Terengganu Drawbridge viewpoint, five young Malaysians of Indian descent were very busy. I dared to approach them.

“Hi, I can help you to take a photo, so everyone can fit in a photo”, I offered myself with a small smile.

“It’s okay….Thanks. In a moment, let me adjust the lens setting firstly”, one of them approached me and was busy adjusting the camera settings, occasionally he peeked at the iconic bridge from his camera hole. “It’s ready”, he handed it to me.

For a while, I adjusted their positions, swapped short positions for taller ones, ordered left and right, and asked for some styles. I showed some photos to the owner of the camera until he said enough.

And as a reward….They turned to take my photo….Get ready, check it out…..Snap-Snap……..

I was….Wow

Next Story—->

Sponsored Message in Maziah Palace

<—-Previous Story

For me, visiting a country would be perfect if I were able to visit the palace of its president or king. I don’t know why the president palace or king or sultan has become a separate icon of a country. Therefore, if possible I will try my best to visit this special building. I have visited many state palaces during my journeys. Nurul Iman Palace (Bandar Seri Begawan), Grand Palace (Bangkok), Malacanang Palace (Manila), Istana Negara (Kuala Lumpur), Gyeongbok Palace (Seoul), Ōsaka-jō (Osaka), Mulee-aage Palace (Maldives) and Al Alam Royal Palace (Muscat) are some examples.

Likewise with my trip to Kuala Terengganu this time, I managed to take the time to visit the palace of Terengganu Sultanate…..Ulala, I finally added another palace collection

Unmitigated, I visited it on the first day, of course because I was afraid of missing it……

—-****—-

Exactly one-thirty on afternoon, the air was still stinging, burning the skin on my face that I had never protected. I left the gazebo which was starting to fill with locals to escape the hot sun. Makes my mood to enjoy the charm of Terengganu River no longer solemn.

I went away….

I decided to finish the curve to the west from Sultan Zainal Abidin Street which was made of concrete with a pavling block motif. Zainal Abidin himself is taken from the Sultan name of Terengganu who is currently in power.

I know that around Kedai Payang Market there is a tourist destination located right on top of a hill.

Known as the Bukit Putri which became the monitoring point of Terengganu Sultanate against enemy attacks from the ocean. While the name Puteri itself is taken from a myth that is said to tell the story of a princess living on a hill and likes to help the surrounding community.

That’s it….Bukit Putri which is being renovated.

“Where is the gate to Putri Hill, Ms? “, I asked a clothes seller at the bottom of hill.

“Closed, Sir, undergoing renovation”, she softly answered while inserting a sweet smile….. God.

Hmmhhh, how can….Finally, Bukit Puteri wasn’t crossed off from my Terengganu bucket list.

Still under the scorching sun, I rushed away from the foot of Bukit Puteri to continue my exploration.

Because actually Bukit Puteri was part of the defense of Terengganu Sultanate in the 1800s, so the existence of imperial palace wouldn’t be far from the hill. Sure enough, two hundred meters later I found the palace gate….Maziah Palace was its name.

Without hesitation, I entered the gate of four twin pillars with the imperial coat of arms in its center. The symbol is golden in color, culminated in a crown symbolizing sovereignty, in the middle is a kris crossed sword that marks the typical weapon of the sultanate, flanked by two main books, namely the sultan’s law and the Qur’an as well as the entanglement of shawl as a marker of the greatness of the sultanate.

The quiet atmosphere in front of the sultanate made me free to enjoy the palace of Terengganu Sultanate from its outer garden. The garden nicknamed Padang Maziah was more than enough for me to get asylum from the threat of the sun.

It took a little while to be able to enjoy this palace because I had to be busy with some sponsorship messages. Yupz, the sponsors which certainly helped reduce the cost of my trip. Struggling with a mini tripod, made me look busy in front of palace gate. Hope no guards kicked me out while doing that “business activity”.

Half an hour later, I could really enjoy the beauty of the palace building from Padang Maziah. Taking a seat in the shade of large trees growing around the garden, I spent my midday in that special place.

Maziah Palace Gate.
Halo RICH….
That was the palace….
Padang Maziah.
Shady……

Several young couples looked in and out of the garden area just to capture themselves in iconic places around the palace. Made me feel not alone. I deliberately lingered in Padang Maziah to wait for the sun to slip from its highest point, because my next destination was an open area which was located right in the north coast of Malaysia.

Ah sustenance wasn’t going anywhere, I never thought I could explore the coast of Malaysia…. Never thought about it before.

Next Story—->

Moored at Kedai Payang Market

<—-Previous Story

“I’m not from India, I’m from Iran”, the bunk bed neighbor’s traveler answered my question.

“Do you know where is a middle eastern salon near here?. I think I need a salon for relaxation”, he suddenly asked the receptionist and hotel owner.

I inwardly laughed at that “funny” scene that morning, a light conversation before I set out to explore Kuala Terengganu for the first time since arriving.

I rushed down the stairs to get out of The Space Inn, along Engku Pengiran Anom 2 Street, heading north, repeating the original way when heading to the inn. Of course, I went back to Air Jernih Street, met again at the intersection where Politectic Kuala Terengganu became a landmark besides PMINT Tower and retraced Masjid Abidin Street until I arrived back in east side of Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.

The east side of Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Rows of Interstate Bus ticket counters.
So here it was…. The tree just got “dressed up”……

It was just that, two hundred meters before arriving at bus terminal, I was fascinated by the art of yarn bombing which pinned colorful knitted threads to a row of trees in a side of Masjid Abidin Street’ sidewalk, right on the west side of PB Square. Make the city atmosphere more lively.

Arriving at bus terminal, I immediately struggled to find an Interstate Bus ticket to go to Kuala Lumpur the day after tomorrow.

“There are even cheaper ones, Sir?”, I joked at an Arowana Bus ticket counter staff.

“Nothing…. It’s only 43 Ringgit, Sir…. this is the cheapest”.

“Okay, I’ll take one, Sir …. For the date of 31st”.

A few minutes ago, I had secured a ticket to Kuala Lumpur, now I was a little calmer to start exploring my first destination.

Yupsz, I was going to Kuala Terengganu’s market.

That market is only a kilometer from Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, so I decided to just walk. I slowly enjoyed the crowds around Kampung Daik Street, under the shade of roofed corridor along sidewalk, what a comfortable way to walk. My steps also had to turn right in front of Balai Bomba dan Penyelamat Jalan Kota’s Office, which were identical in color to the fire brigade offices in Jakarta (my hometown), bright red.

Now I felt reluctant to continue swinging steps due to the scorching heat of sun in the path in front of me that wasn’t longer covered. Finally, I decided to take a break at the end of covered corridor, sitting in a concrete bench, waiting for the cloud to cover the sun.

Kuala Terengganu fire department.

A few moments of waiting while enjoying the passing of local residents, the cloud was present, now the street didn’t sting anymore, I immediately took a quick step down Sultan Zainal Abidin Street. Finally, two hundred meters ahead, I arrived at Kedai Payang Market which was starting to get busy.

The Kedai Payang Market dis seem to show off its beauty, it was said that the two-year-old building functions to replace the old building that had retired.

Rows of tents with white cloth roofs stretched across market’s face, separating the parking area from commercial area. The large tents showed that  market’s interior area wasn’t enough to facilitate the bustling commerce in downtown Kuala Terengganu.

Now I’ve entered market inside which was very crowded, the stalls with red brick motifs still looked new, the alleys seemed full of visitors passing by. Several clowns and pet equipment sellers were seen cramming into several corners of stalls selling songket, batik, handicrafts and traditional snacks from Terengganu. While in the back area, it appeared that a special area was provided for a row of culinary stalls with a mainstay menu of Nasi Dagang, Laksa, Nasi Lemak and several other specialties.

Kedai Payang Market back view.
The market front.
Market atmosphere.
Rows of clothing stalls.
Culinary stalls behind the market.
Come on, first enjoy the beauty of Terengganu River!

I just kept going until I reached its backyard. Apparently that market is right on the outskirts of very clean Terengganu River. Bot Penambang (Passenger Boats) could be seen moving back and forth to mobilize Terengganu residents from a bank to another. The Bot Penambang (Passenger Boat), which is relied upon as the city’s water taxi, seems to have originalized the atmosphere of Terengganu that morning.

The beauty of the expanse of Terengganu River finally started to make me fall in love with that city and managed to tame me to just linger for a while enjoying the gentle breeze in a concrete gazebo which is part of public facilities belonging to Pasar Kedai Payang.

“Don’t be in a hurry, Donny….Sit down and enjoy”.

Next Story—->

Impressed in The Space Inn

<—-Previous Story

Adventure to neighboring country is easy and fun. In addition to culinary which is familiar with Indonesian tongue, their tourism also provides a lot of super cheap lodging which gives possibility for anyone to explore the country.

That morning, I had just jumped off myBAS which had brought me from Sultan Mahmud Airport, now I had just turned around when I had just moved north leaving Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. For a moment, I stared at it from a distance, enjoying the simplicity of that mainstay bus terminal of “Keropok Lekor” Country.

A moment later I headed to WIN DOTCOM Telecommunications Equipment Store, the busiest shop in Syed Hussein Street to hunt for local SIM cards and internet services which I would use for my four-day adventure in Malaysia.

Inside the shop, I was offered various types of SIM cards by shop owner who was of Chinese descent. Meanwhile, a young girl wearing a black headscarf with an authentic Malay face patiently explained my ignorance from shop owner’s quick explanation. At the end of that transaction, I got a SIM Card with a 2 GB quota for 25 Ringgit. The price was very affordable, at least I had been guaranteed by Hotlink for 10 days to have access to internet surfing.

Now I was starting to head south, entering a road inside the block, crossing Twin Towers of PB (Paya Bunga) Square, owned by Perbadanan Memajukan Iktisad Negeri Terengganu (PMINT) which became Pusat Transformasi Bandar Terengganu or public better known as UTC (The Urban Transformation Centre) . The atmosphere began to get excited that morning, the routine activities of Terengganu residents had just begun.

Paya Bunga Square in the morning.
The intersection at Abidin Mosque Street.
PMINT tower in a side of intersection.

Seeing the architecture of Twin Towers of PB Square, I began to understand that Kuala Terengganu carvings were always embodied in every city building. Nice and elegant.

Leaving Twin Towers of PB Square, I now head south through Masjid Abidin Street until I arrived at a large intersection decorated with a slogan Sign Board “Visit Beautiful Terengganu”. The PMINT tower which functions as Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu looked solid, occupying a corner of intersection and exhibiting city’s main slogan “Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air”.

Finished waiting for the turn of green traffic light, I crossed intersection, continued heading south. Entering Air Jernih Street, a hundred meters ahead, I turned right at a fork. Location of The Space Inn wasn’t far from T-junction. The inn I chose was a dormitory which utilized a shophouse complex along Engku Pengiran Anom 2 Street.

My steps finally arrived at the door of inn, but I was enveloped in confusion because the door was tightly locked. For a while I just silently stood in front of inn’s door without any idea. Even the sidewalks around seemed deserted, it was impossible for me to ask anyone. Luckily, ten minutes later, an inn guest came down the stairs and was about to leave the inn. It was this moment that I then used to sneak in.

I climbed the stairs and finally arrived at 2nd floor reception desk which was guarded by inn’s owner, a middle-aged man of Chinese descent. He friendly greeted me and of course asked how I could get in because I didn’t have an access card. I told him my “cheating technique” and he burst out laughing.

As a result he gave me an access card to go in and out of inn after handing over my passport to be scanned and the staying cost was 41 Ringgit per night. Finishing all administration, I went up to 3rd floor to look for a bunk bed according to a number listed in back of access card.

The Space Inn.
Reception room.
My bed.

Taking off my shoes in front outside, I started to enter a quiet room with cool air conditioning. Not all bunk beds were filled so that it was possible for me to move to other mattress I liked, next to  bulkhead with travelers from Iran and Japan.

Mr Okamoto

The traveler from “the Land of Rising Sun” worked as an English teacher in the capital city, his name was Okamoto. I met him when he was busy fiddling with the small padlock which was attached to a locker handle of inn.

“There’s no key in my locker, did you get that padlock from the reception desk?”, I ventured to ask.

“Oh, of course not. I bought it by myself”, he answered with a smile.

“Oh, okay. I’ll better put my backpack in bunk bed”, I replied with a frown.

From that conversation, the two of us became acquainted and became best friends at inn.

Eventually it became a habit, when morning and evening, before and after adventures, Mr. Okamoto was always the first to greet me at shared-khitchen table. It made me powerless to refuse his invitation to just talk about anything while sipping coffee together. Mr. Okamoto’s brewed coffee mix always had a special taste. I didn’t know what kind of coffee he brought from Tokyo.

Shared kitchen.
Mr. Okamoto whose English was good….But he still had a Japanese accent.

His friendship made me know more about Japanese culture and some interesting locations in Japan which he suggested to I visited, Okinawa being one of them. He was also honored because I had visited his country three years before our meeting. Likewise, I felt honored because he had traveled to Aceh just to enjoy original coffee from that area at the western tip of Indonesia.

Washing

The advantage of this tiny inn iss the availability of a space which connects share-bathroom and bedroom. In that small room, the inn manager provides a hanger and a fan. During my stay, I noticed that none of visitors used the connecting room.

Except for me, who casually used that room to dry t-shirts which I washed every afternoon in shared-bathroom. Washing wasn’t a complicated thing for me when I get acquainted, just rub t-shirt, trousers and socks using bath soap, then rinse it under faucet, wring it hard and then hang it in hanger in connecting room, just wait until tomorrow morning until it dried.. OK? That was why five t-shirts were enough for my long journey which could even last three weeks.

My T-shirt was still drying.
Shared bathroom.

Faucet Water

It was output of a light conversation with The Space Inn staff on duty that afternoon, I finally got information that the tap water in Kuala Terengganu is very safe for direct consumption. He even demonstrated in front of me how he put the glass under kitchen faucet, streamed the tap water and then drank it casually. “Of course it’s safe…. You’ll see, every day I drink this water,” he lightly joked with a faint smile.

Three days in Kuala Terengganu, I didn’t even spend a single bite money to buy drinking water. The price of 1.5 litre drinking water in Kuala Terengganu is around 3 Ringgit, if you are only three days in the city, it means you have to budget 18 Ringgit just to buy for drinking water.

How?….Is Kuala Terengganu tap water useful?

So, if you go to Kuala Terengganu, where do you want to stay???….

Next Story—->

myBAS from Sultan Mahmud Airport to Downtown Kuala Terengganu

<—-Previous Story

Similar to my experience when visiting Ipoh a year earlier. In several cities in Malaysia, finding a bus to downtown from the city’s entrance gate was something that sometimes was rare to find in internet. The consequence was, I had to try my best to find it on the spot when I arrived in my destination. Calmness and mental strength were really tested to find that public bus.

Exploring the entire Sultan Mahmud Airport, I took time to ask a cleaning service who was pushing his trolley. Through simple conversation, he informed that there was a bus service to downtown every hour. myBAS, the name of that bus and that public transportation would drop passengers in the top floor of airport.

Armed with that important information, I decided to immediately go up to Departure Hall to hunt it down. But I wasn’t lucky, just as I exited Departure Hall’s front gate, the bus was already puffing a thin layer of smoke, started its engine and leaving the airport.

“Well, in next a hour, I must wait”,  I lightly thought.

The waiting moment which was actually boring, I used to enjoy an atmosphere around the airport from top floor. After that, I sat in the edge of Departure Hall terrace waiting for myBAS to arrive.

Filling the waiting time, I decided to record all expenses I had spent since leaving my home on yesterday afternoon. I really paid attention to the passing of private cars which dropped off prospective flight passengers, until I realized that many people had been paying attention to my presence when passing by. It might seem a little strange, there was someone sitting in the edge of terrace waiting for a bus. I myself was a little surprised, why not provided a seat in that wide terrace. Of course not, I had to stand for an hour waiting for bus to come. That was similar to my experience in Manila when I was reprimanded by an MRT officer when I sat on the floor waiting for MRT to arrive.

Exactly a hour, the sound of a slight engine growl came from the far right of Departure Hall, the airport bus slowly crawled up to top floor. I immediately stood up and waved as a sign I would use its services. The bus slowly slowed down and stopped right in front of me.

Drove with myBAS to downtown.

I jumped up from front door of medium-sized bus with a capacity of 34 seats. Give the driver a fare of 1.8 Ringgit and sat in back seat. The passengers were dominated by women and I was really amazed that all of them were wearing headscarves. “The Islamic nuances in Terengganu are thick,” I quietly thought.

None of passengers got off the bus. “Oh, maybe Terengganu people prefer to use a private car to go to airport, but what do I care, the important thing is that I can go to downtown at a low cost,” I concluded in my heart.

Sitting there, I enjoyed the local dialect which was passed between passengers, the Malay dialect which I always missed when I got home. I was still in the aisle seat when myBAS first out from airport, I had to wait for some passengers to get off to be able to enjoy Kuala Terengganu’s view from seat in window side.

The time I was waiting for arrived when after a few minutes, the bus dropped passengers and left a few empty seats in the side of window, I took the leftmost seat in the middle and started following  bus’ pace in showing the original view of Kuala Terengganu.

On a time, the view of Terengganu River and the view of downtown at the far end caught my attention. Meanwhile, rows of passenger ships and mining boats were seen going back and forth on the vast expanse of river, showing that Kuala Terengganu’s economic strength was supported by its waters.

Seen in the distance: Felda Residence Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu Drawbridge, UTC Terengganu and Wisma Darul Iman.
The atmosphere in Masjid Abidin Street.
Air Jernih Street. 1.5 kilometers from Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu
I arrived.
myBAS at Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.

The next view which appeared were several one-story government buildings which occupied several sides of road leading to downtown. The bus continued to follow road signs which lead to downtown, while other signs pointed to Terengganu State Museum. Also a direction to big road to Kuantan, that was my way out to Kuala Lumpur the day after tomorrow.

Unconsciously, fifteen minutes have passed, myBAS whcih I was riding began to reach to downtown. For ten kilometers, I was exposed to Kuala Terengganu travel spoilers which made me even more curious.

Descending from the tiny myBAS, I immediately walked to The Space Inn where I was staying.

My adventure in Kuala Terengganu began…

Next Story—->

Peeking Sultan Mahmud Airport, Kuala Terengganu

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

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.

Arrival Hall

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.

Malaysia Airlines 1326 in the apron.
Corridor leading to arrival hall.

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.

Arrival Hall.
Vehicle lane in front of the arrival hall.
Sultan Mahmud Airport was so beautiful.

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.

Departure Hall

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.

Parking lot seen from Departure Hall.
 Vehicle lane in front of Departure Hall.

The adventure at Sultan Mahmud Airport was completed.

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Malaysia Airlines MH 1326 from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Kuala Terengganu (TGG)

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Malaysia Airlines flight path MH 1326 (source: flightaware.com).
Sleep in the waiting room in gate A5.

Not restful….

Throughout my sleep, occasionally my eyes warily narrowed at digital clock on the blue screen of Flight Information Display System. The plane to Kuala Terengganu would be flown on 07:25 am which made my sleep not perfect.

Two hours before dawn, in order to stop the anxiety, I decided to get up. While tidying my tired face, I had decided to go to gate A5. “Time to go to the destination point”, I muttered to myself.

Half unsteadily I descended an escalator leaving the International Concourse in 4th floor, then followed all signs to reach the gate. Because the previous night I got off an international flight, that morning I had to get through the immigration counter and hunted an arrival stamp in my passport to be able to go to Kuala Terengganu.

Not finding any other passengers, I now had to face an immigration officer at Kuala Lumpur International Airport alone. The immigration counter in front was guarded by a female staff who with a cold face stared at my presence.

“Good morning”, as usual I ventured to say hello. But as I predicted, my greeting went unanswered.

I slided my passport and ticket in front of her and she started to examine it carefully while frowning.

“Why do you go to Terengganu?”, was the first question from her in a low and heavy voice.

“Tourism”, a moment of silence…….“Travel”, I reiterated.

“How many days?”, the second question from her followed.

“Three days, Mam”, I confidently answered.

“Where will you spend your nights?”

“Near downtown”

“Hotel?”

“Oh, wait a minute, I don’t remember its name, Mam,” I was a little nervous looking for files on my smartphone. After a while of searching I finally found it, “The Space Inn”.

“OK”

Smoothly completing the process of taking fingerprints and facial photo, made me step happily towards the gate in front of me.

Now I was in gate A5, exactly 2 hours before boarding time. Silence still engulfed that cold waiting room, there was no one in sight… Therefore, I decided to go in and continue sleeping. Maybe I could do Fajr Pray in the plane.

Zzzzzzzzz….

Some time later,

The sounds of passengers’ trolley bags woke me up, who actually could sleep better than sleeping in upstairs last night. Now I was awake, waiting for boarding time which would arrive in less than half an hour.

On time….

The boarding call finally sounded. The small number of passengers made me very fast to verify passport data and boarding passes before being allowed to enter plane’s cabin via aerobridge.

I sat in a window seat number 24F and no one else sat in the two columns closest to me, making me feel more relieved and comfortable. I immediately went for tayammum and performed the Fajr prayer while cabin crew were busy preparing for the flight.

The plane was waiting on the apron.
The cabin of MH 1326 was empty of passengers.
Take-off at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport runway.
The beauty of Putrajaya from above.

A few moments later everything was ready. The weather was very sunny and cloudy when the plane departed its main hub, i.e Kuala Lumpur International Airport at seven in the morning.

Malaysian Airlines MH 1326 itself is a flight with an air distance of 333 km with a travel time of 57 minutes from the capital Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu in the north. This flight is taken using a Boeing 737-800 twin jet with an average speed of 363 km per hour and in the middle of the flight it can reach a maximum speed of 764 km per hour.

I was ready to explore to an altitude of 25,000 feet or about 7,620 meters.

A flight that was actually ordinary but felt very special, considering it was a flight to a new place, a place I had never been to, a place which for the past three years had only inhabited my dream….But now a dream had come true, MH 1326 was taking me there. Thank you, God……

The special visit which was delivered by the 49-year-old flag carrier, the pride of my neighboring country, made the moment still linger to this day.

Although this time I took a premium flight, but because of its short distance, the airline didn’t provide in-flight meal. But that was okay, I still had a piece of burger form Mr. Younes which gave to me last night. I also relaxed to eat it during the flight because I was very impressed by the view of morning sky which was really enchanting. Every now and then the inflight magazine “Going Places” managed to interrupt my eyes which were engrossed in that special sight.

Under clouds just before cruising.
Cruising above clouds to Kuala Terengganu.

Yup, I didn’t feel it, I’d been in the air for almost an hour…..

Now the plane was starting to lower its altitude, cabin crew swiftly checked the readiness of passengers to landing, slowly, the appearance of Kuala Terengganu city was visible from a height….Wouuuwww, my heart was immediately pounding wanting to track it. “Patience Donny, in a moment you will be there”, I soothingly thought.

Now, the plane had lowered the flap to hold it in place and then smoothly landed in the runway of Sultan Mahmud Airport, a tiny airport which is the gateway to Kuala Terengganu tourism.

Kuala Terengganu from above.
It was a nice airport.

Welcome to Kuala Terengganu.

To get flight tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu, you can search for it in 12go Asia with the following link:  https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

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Malaysia Airlines MH 724 from Jakarta (CGK) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL)

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MH 724 flight path (source: flightaware.com).

After checking at immigration counter, I went down one floor and then walked west along travelator at Departure Hall Terminal 3 Ultimate.

Within fifteen minutes I arrived at Terminal 3 Existing. Meanwhile, a dark hue began to appear from the airport window. Only one thing which crossed my mind…..Doing a Maghrib and Isha’ Jama’ prayers. I have memorized Terminal 3 Existing since 2013, so I know where the prayer room was, which wasn’t far from the final bend of Terminal 3 Ultimate in west side.

After praying, I sat down to enjoy oatmeal which I poured in mini foldable lunch box, fortunately there was a free water station which provided warm water to brew that powdered food. That was the first dinner in my adventure to explore Kuala Terengganu, India and Middle East.

After eating a simple dinner, I rushed to gate 4 to prepare myself for boarding. Just a few minutes sitting in waiting room, announcements filled the airport ceiling….. Yup, delayed.

The predicted delay time for a hour made me have to do other activities to avoid boredom. I decided to recharge my smartphone which had run out of power. Meanwhile, I threw my eyes out of the airport building to watch busy loading activities carried out at the feet of giant Boeing 747 belonging to Japan Airlines, Airbus 330 belonging to Turkish Airlines and Korean Air in the east side of Terminal 3 Existing.

Another fun thing I did to get rid of the boredom was eavesdropping on the conversation of a beautiful Indonesian woman who was solemnly making a video call with her lover who was in Europe….Hhmmhhh, I was naughty.

I also took the time to talk to a native Chinese who opened a restaurant in Cikarang Industrial area. According to him, he would temporarily return to China after almost a year of not going home. The difficulty in speaking Indonesian and English made us struggle to converse with the addition of sign language and our own body language….Hmmmmhhh, he was a Chinese businessman.

Yuhuu….That was my plane.
Look at that sweet Malay face……Hmmmhh.

Finally, on 20:15 hours, boarding time arrived……

I immediately entered the queue column in right side for passport and boarding pass checking by ground staffs. After the inspection, I walked down the aerobridge to enter the cabin of Malaysia Airlines plane which was a member of the world’s largest aviation alliance “Oneworld”….Yes, I found my seat in the middle cabin, right on the left side window seat numbered 26F.

Malaysian Airline MH 724 was a 1 hour 34 minute flight using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft and covered a distance of 1,216 km. And that was the second time I enjoyed to flying with Malaysia Airlines. One and a half years earlier I had tried the morning flight Malaysia Airlines MH 726 with same destination.

I was very lucky to be able to catch this premium flight from my neighboring country in a promo which lasted ten months before the flight. And the main destination wasn’t Kuala Lumpur, but Kuala Terengganu.

After carrying out the boarding process and a demonstration of flight safety procedures by cabin crew, the plane was prepared at the end of runway to take-off. Not long after, after getting permission from Air Traffic Controller (ATC), the plane took off and nearing nine o’clock in the evening, the plane was airborne.

When the plane had entered the cruising stage, flight attendants began to distribute in-flight meals. The Low Lactose Meal (NLML) which I ordered long time before the flight arrived.

Low Lactose Meal (NLML) which contained potatoes, carrots and boiled chicken….nyammmm.
Let’s read the magazine…

Since it was a short flight, after dinner I tried to take advantage of the time by exploring the neighboring country through Malaysia Airlines’ inflight magazine, “Going Places” and occasionally flipping through Temptations e-cataloque for a little peek at the prices of souvenirs belonging to Malaysia Airlines….Hmmh, of course I wouldn’t buy it.

I ran out of ideas so in the rest of flight I tried to close my eyes for a moment because tonight I definitely won’t be sleeping well at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to wait for the morning. I didn’t really sleep well for the rest of flight, until finally the pilot announced that the plane would be landing soon while informing me that the weather was good in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines MH 724 was preparing to land, took a straight position towards the runway and slowly lowered its big wheels to tread the runway and helped the pilot to stop the plane.

The beauty of Kuala Lumpur.

Welcome to KLIA….Welcome Malaysia.

To get flight tickets from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur, you can search for them at 12go Asia with the following link:  https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

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The Middle East Aroma in Terminal 3 Ultimate Soekarno Hatta International Airport

DAMRI Bus Terminal Kampung Rambutan – Soekarno Hatta International Airport.

Saturday afternoon was very sunny. The impatience that had enveloped my heart since morning had already collapsed. A faint smile continued to hang in the corners of my lips after I got off city transportation and stepped onto DAMRI shelter, which was part of JA Connexion’s mode of transportation.

On 15:30 hours, after confirming that the fleet in front me was the fastest bus which would depart to Soekarno Hatta International Airport, I jumped into it through its front door and sat behind the driver in left seat coloumn.

After all the passengers entered, an officer of Kampung Rambutan Terminal entered and withdrew a retribution of a thousand Rupiah to all passengers. “How come the retribution isn’t just included in the ticket price,” I asked myself.

Shortly after, the bus departed….Slowly speeding out of terminal, briefly passing through a side of toll road and then entering the toll gate a few meters ahead.

At the beginning of journey in toll road, the congestion began to be felt, but I wasn’t really worried about that situation because I was on 4 hours 20 minutes before my flight. I also enjoyed the 50 km journey very comfortably.

An hour and a few minutes, I arrived at the drop off zone of Terminal 3 Ultimate Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Through Departure Hall Gate 3, I started looking for Malaysia Airline MH 724 flight status.

The flight number which had not been listed in the Flight Information Display System (FIDS), made me dare to ask a female officer at the information center desk and finally I got information that check-in desk C would be used to process administration of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 724.

Waiting seats at Departure Hall Terminal 3 Ultimate

Knowing this information, I decided to wait in the nearest seat with check-in desk C. While waiting for the check-in desk to open, I was stunned by the busyness of a pair of tour guides who were busy organizing their group, which I didn’t know where would they go? The two of them gathered the group and loudly conducted a briefing so that their voices could be heard by anyone around the corner waiting for Terminal 3 Ultimate.

An hour of waiting, finally the check-in desk opened and I immediately queued at C24 queue column to get my boarding pass to Kuala Lumpur. That time Kuala Lumpur would only be a stopover, because I would explore Kuala Terengganu, a city located 450 km north of Kuala Lumpur.

Check-in desk C Terminal 3 Ultimate

Kuala Terengganu would be the fifth city in Malaysia which I would enjoy after Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Ipoh and Penang….. Ahhhh, that afternoon I couldn’t wait to arrive in Kuala Terengganu.

A visit to Kuala Terengganu was the intention which emerged after I met Mariya, a solo-traveler from Malaysia in Seoul. The charm of Kuala Terengganu told by Mariya had hypnotized my subconscious to visit it. It took three years to realize that dream.

But again, Kuala Terengganu was also not the only destination in my trip that time, because my target points were certainly in places which were further away, i.e countries in the Middle East region.

Back to Terminal 3 Ultimate…..

Now I was heading to the immigration counter to hunt for a departure stamp. In front of immigration area, I tried to complete immigration check process through immigration autogate but there was an officer who held me back and forbade me to pass through that route. I was directed to the immigration counter with an officer ready to check. Facing an immigration officer, I handed over my passport and boarding pass.

Immigration staff: “Return ticket, Sir?”

Me: “Here, Sir”, I handed over a print out of Philippine Airlines flight ticket with Doha-Jakarta route and transit in Manila.

Immigration staff: “Alone, Sir?. On what occasion?”

Me: “Solo-Backpacking, Sir”

The immigration staff was finally busy researching page by page details on my passport.

Immigration staff: “Where will you go, Sir?”

Me: “Kuala Terengganu-Kochi-Dubai-Oman-Bahrain-Qatar, Sir”

Immigration staff: “May I see the visas, Sir?”, his face was still cold and serious.

Me: “Just a minute, Sir”, I opened my zipper bag and took out India Visa, United Arab Emirates Visa, Oman Visa and Bahrain Visa, “Here, Sir”

The immigration staff checked that visas I was given one by one.

Immigration staff: “Ok. Be careful, Sir.”

My ticket….Yuuuuuuu.

I came out of the immigration counter with a sigh of relief and immediately put all my documents back in zipper bag. Now I would head to Terminal 3 Existing to prepare to fly with Malaysia Airlines.

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