Kampung China at the End of First Day

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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.

Goodbye Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu.

“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.

Beautiful gate.
One of the sections of Kampung Cina Street on the south side.
Ho Ann Kiong Temple.
Kampung Tiong Street.
Alliance Islamic Bank in a side of Kampung Tiong Street.

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.

Canteen @ Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
The venue hosted a weekend bazaar.

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.

I arrived….

It was time to take a shower, washed up and went to bed early……..Hufftt, my eyes were already really heavy.

Next Story—->

Exploring Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu

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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.

Arch bridge on the Kuala Terengganu Heritage Island.
The dividing canal between Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu and Kampung Cina.
The gateway for pedestrians to Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu.
That was where I would enjoy the atmosphere….I Love KT Park.

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.

Pulau Duyung Supply Centre (PDSC).
Jabatan Pelancongan Negeri Terengganu.
Seen in the distance is the Sultan Mahmud Bridge.
The beauty of the Terengganu River before sunset.

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.

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Moored for a Moment in Payang Memory Lane

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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?

Next Story—->

Tertambat Sejenak di Lorong Kenangan Payang

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Usai menikmati keanggunan Terengganu Drawbridge, aku terduduk di sebuah Perhentian Bas Kite. Keberadaan halte bus kota di Dataran Shahbandar menunjukkan bahwa hamparan Pesisir Payang ini adalah nadi ekonomi serta tujuan pariwisata Terengganu.

Genap enam jam sudah, aku telah mengeksplorasi tempat-tempat yang tepat untuk dikenal oleh para pendatang.

Berkali-kali aku meneguk air mineral kemasan untuk melawan dehidrasi ketika semakin banyak warga lokal yang mendatangi Pesisir Payang. Oh, justru aku akan meninggalkan pesisir saat suasana mulai ramai. Mungkin matahari mulai jatuh dan suasana akan segera sejuk yang membuat tempat ini menjadi ramai.

Aku kembali mengukur Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin dengan tapak kaki menuju barat, memintas Pejabat Pos Besar Kuala Terengganu di tikungan utama jalan itu, melalui kembali kaki Bukit Puteri yang berhasil menanamkan rasa penasaran dalam hati, melintas cepat Pasar Kedai Payang yang beberapa jam lalu kunikmati, menghindar cepat dari kepulan debu Projek Kerajaan Persekutuan dalam menyempurnakan Pasar Kedai Payang sisi barat  dan tiba di persimpangan tepat di sisi Balai Bomba dan Penyelamat Jalan Kota.

Hmhhh….Lebih baik mencari jalan lain”, aku bergumam sejenak dalam hati. Mungkin itulah cara terbaik untuk bisa mengeksplore khasanah kota lebih banyak. Adalah Jalan Kampung Cina yang bertekstur serupa dengan jalanan depan Pasar Kedai Payang, beton tebal bermotifkan pavling block merah muda yang akhirnya aku pilih.

Aku baru sadar bahwa lancarnya arus di sekitar Pesisir Payang dan Kampung Cina dipengaruhi oleh keberadaan gedung parkir lima lantai tepat di pertigaan emas itu. Sesuai tradisi masyarakat Tionghoa, maka sepanjang Jalan Kampung Cina dijejali dengan kompleks ruko serta kios niaga. Semakin ke barat, kuperhatikan bangunan-bangunan tua khas Tionghoa tampak mendominasi.

Kali ini, aku berencana menghabiskan sore dengan menyusuri jalan-jalan kota menuju penginapan, tentunya dengan jalur yang berbeda dari jalur keberangkatan pagi tadi. Berjalan di sepanjang Jalan Kampung Cina membuat perutku semakin lapar. Aroma khas masakan Tionghoa menyeruak menusuk indra penciuman yang tak pernah bosan menghisapnya. Teras deretan ruko dua lantai tampak berbatasan langsung dengan jalan raya sehingga kendaraan yang melintas hanya berjalan lambat untuk menjaga keselamatan para pejalan kaki.

Langkahku mendadak terhenti karena penampakan sebuah gang penuh cita rasa seni. Aku tepat berdiri terpaku di depannya. Sementara yang terlihat di dalam sana adalah susunan payung warna-warni yang tersusun rapi sebagai atap gang sepanjang empat puluh meter itu .

Lorong  Kenangan Payang”, aku membaca tajuk gang dalam hati. “Berarti ada sejarah di sini”, aku mulai menyimpulkan.

Aku di depan lorong nih….
Dua dari tujuh tokoh Tionghoa yang diabadikan di sepanjang lorong.
Tampilan dari ujung lorong.

Aku mulai memasuki mulut gang perlahan. Tatapanku secara otomatis menengok ke kiri. Berjajar relief tujuh tokoh pemimpin masyarakat Tionghoa yang konon berkhidmat pada Kesultanan Terengganu. Secara berurutan tersebutlah nama Dato’ Tan Eng Ann (pernah menjabat sebagai Pengerusi MCA Terengganu), Dato’ Toh Seng Chong (pernah menjabat sebagai Exco Kerajaan Negeri), Jang Chow Thye, SMT (pernah menjabat sebagai Ahli Dewan Kerajaan Malaysia), Dato’ Tok Teng Sai (pernah menjabat sebagai Terengganu MCA State Chairman), Senator Dato’ Ir. Wong Foon Meng (pernah menjabat sebagai Timbalan Yang Dipertuan Dewan Negara), YB Toh Chin Yaw (pernah menjabat sebagai State Executive Councillor) dan Tan Sri Dato’ Lau Yin Pin (pernah menjabat sebagai Ahli Dewan Negara).

Sedangkan lukisan-lukisan mural menempati sisa hamparan tembok di sepanjang lorong. Lukisan-lukisan itu menggambarkan kekayaan kisah Kuala Terengganu yang berjuluk Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air. Oleh karenanya mural-mural bertema lautan sangat kental dalam lorong ini.

Sebetulnya berteduh di dalam gang selebar tiga setengah meter ini sungguh sangat nyaman di tengah suasana sekitar yang masih saja menyisakan panas walaupun matahari sudah semakin tergelincir di barat. Hanya saja waktuku tentu tak banyak, aku harus segera melangkah menelusuri sudut-sudut lain kota sebelum matahari benar-benar tenggelam.

Maka keluarlah aku dari lorong yang juga dikenal dengan nama Payang Memory Lane itu. Oh ya, sebetulnya masih ada lorong-lorong lain yang tentu aku tak bisa mengunjunginya satu per satu. Adalah Turtle Alley yang menceritakan usaha konservasi penyu di Terengganu, beberapa lorong lainnya bernama Eco Lane, Seven Wonders Alley dan Lorong Haji Awang Besar.

Yuk ikuti saja langkahku….Bakal ketemu apa lagi ya di Kuala Terengganu?.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->