Moored for a Moment in Payang Memory Lane

<—-Previous Story

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—->

Impromptu Photographer in Terengganu Drawbridge

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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—->

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—->

Tukang Foto Dadakan di Terengganu Drawbridge

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Mataku semakin berat, imbas terlalu lama duduk di bawah sebuah pohon, tentu masih di dalam kompleks Padang Maziah. Sesekali nada bising klakson kendaraan memberikan nadi pada taman istana yang sepi itu. Tetapi, nalarku masih saja mengatakan “tidak”, ketika niatan hati membujuknya untuk segera beranjak menuju tepian pantai.

Apa boleh buat, mataku lebih memilih melanjutkan kantuknya, “Siapa juga yang mau menjadi gosong karena siraman panas matahari”, nalarku bersikukuh untuk bertahan beberapa saat lagi dalam kesejukan dan keindahan Padang Maziah. Karenanya, aku semakin mantab saja menyandarkan badan ke sebuah dinding beton yang berfungsi sebagai pot raksasa dalam taman istana itu. Baru kali ini aku bisa duduk bersantai ria di sebuah taman di negeri seberang.

Jeda kerjapan mata semakin rapat ketika matahari perlahan tergelencir ke barat. Hampir setengah tiga sore, akhirnya kuputuskan untuk bangkit dan melangkah lagi.

Aku kembali menyusuri jalanan empat lajur dua arah menuju barat. Di depan sana tampak gapura besar kota. Melalui sisi kiri, perlahan tapi pasti aku semakin mendekatinya. Gapura kota nan gagah, mengangkangi Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin yang melajur di bawahnya.

Daulat Tuanku – Allah Peliharakan – Sultan dan Sultanah Terengganu”, begitulah kalimat tiga baris yang terpampang di atasnya. “Islami banget Terengganu ini”, aku membatin pelan sembari berdiri mematung memandangi kalimat itu dari bawahnya.

Selepas gapura, hanya tampak deretan ruko empat lantai memanjang menyejajari jalanan di sisi kanan, sedangkan di sisi kiri diakuisisi oleh area hijau menghampar bertajuk Dataran Shahbandar. Adalah kompleks taman komunitas yang dipadu dengan gathering & events venue yang biasanya akan ramai di momen-momen penting seperti ramadhan, tahun baru dan hari-hari libur nasional.

Dataran Shahbandar sendiri mencakup area sepuluh hektar dengan tiga bagian utama, yaitu taman, plaza dan dermaga. Secara kasat mata aku bisa memperkirakan bahwa luasan taman mendominasi hingga 60% dari keseluruhan area. Sedangkan plaza yang digunakan untuk area tenda, car boot sale atau food truck mengambil porsi 30%, sedangkan sisanya difungsikan sebagai Shahbandar Jetty yaitu dermaga kayu yang digunakan untuk terminal transportasi menuju Pulau Redang yang berjarak 40 kilometer ke arah lepas pantai.

Aku berjalan santai melewati jalur pedestrian di tengah taman yang rimbun untuk menggapai area plaza. Plaza yang luas tetapi sepi itu berhiaskan signboad berbunyi “Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air”. Esok lusa tempat ini pasti akan dipenuhi lautan manusia demi merayakan pergantian tahun. Sedangkan pada saat yang bersamaan, aku akan berada di Kuala Lumpur.

Taman @ Dataran Shahbandar.
Plaza @ Dataran Shahbandar.

Sedangkan focal point dari perayaan tahun baru esok lusa berada pada selarik jembatan ikonik yang berada di sisi kanan kompleks Dataran Shahbandar. Adalah Terengganu Drawbridge yang telah menjadi gerbang laut Kuala Terengganu. Jembatan angkat ini membentang sempurna menghubungkan Kampung Seberang Takir di utara jembatan dan Kampung Ladang Padang Cicar di selatannya.

Inilah jembatan angkat pertama di Malaysia, bahkan di Asia Tenggara yang baru berusia 2 tahun. Jadi aku masih sempat menikmati wajah gresnya sore itu. Dengan panjang lebih dari 600 meter, jembatan itu gagah memagari Kuala Terengganu dari luasnya Laut China Selatan.

Dan perlu kamu ketahui bahwa kesemua kompleks Terengganu Drawbridge, Dataran Shahbandar dan Pasar Kedai Payang ini diikat dalam satu kawasan pengelolaan berjuluk Pesisir Payang.

Kini aku sudah berada di tepian pantai dan berusaha mengambil potret terbaik dari Terengganu Drawbridge. Di lain sisi, kerap sekali warga lokal berdatangan untuk mengabadikan diri di berbagai spot Pesisir Payang. Bahkan aku sesekali memurahkan hati menjadi juru foto dadakan untuk beberapa keluarga yang ingin mengabadikan seluruh anggotanya dalam satu gambar. Tentu, aku merasa senang karena bisa berkenalan dengan banyak keluarga yang sangat ramah dan bahkan tak ragu mengajakku bercakap ria untuk beberapa saat setelah mereka mengetahui bahwa aku berasal dari Indonesia. Tentunya, logat bicaraku mudah sekali ditebak oleh mereka. Dalam percakapan itu, beberapa diantara mereka memberikan banyak referensi perihal tempat wisata yang harus dikunjungi di Kuala Terengganu.

Boleh dikata bahwa soreku kala itu habis kugunakan untuk bercengkerama dengan warga lokal. Di bagian akhir sesi, aku memutuskan untuk menyegerakan diri mendekati Terengganu Drawbridge dan alhasil aku berhasil menikmati keindahan arsitektur itu dari jarak seratus meter.

Terengganu Drawbridge.

Di sekitar viewpoint Terengganu Drawbridge, tampak lima pemuda Malaysia keturunan India sangat sibuk. Aku pun memberanikan diri mendekati mereka.

Hi, saya bisa bantu fotokan, supaya semua bisa masuk dalam satu foto”, aku menawarkan diri dengan senyuman kecil.

Boleh lah….Trimakasēh. Sebentar sayè atur dulu setelan lensa nih”, seorang dari mereka mendekatiku dan sibuk mengatur settingan kamera, sesekali dia mengintip jembatan ikonik itu dari lubang kameranya. “Sudēh siap”, dia menyerahkannya padaku.

Untuk beberapa saat aku mengatur posisi mereka, menukar posisi yang berpostur pendek dengan yang lebih tinggi, menyuruh ke kanan dan kekiri, serta meminta beberapa gaya. Beberapa foto kuperlihatkan pada si empunya kamera hingga dia menyatakan cukup.

Daaaan sebagai upahnya….Mereka ganti memotoku….Siap-siap, cekrekkkk…..taraaaaaaaa……..

aku tuh….wkwkwk.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->