Kampung China at the End of First Day

<—-Previous Story

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

<—-Previous Story

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.

Next Story—->

Kampung Cina di Akhir Hari Perdana

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Aku sudah cukup puas meresapi keelokan Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu walau hanya menepi di salah satu sisinya. Mengamati kesibukan para pedagang yang perlahan mulai berdatangan demi mempersiapkan sesi kuliner malam nanti, lalu lintas kapal nelayan yang hendak melaut meninggalkan muara juga mulai kentara, lalu tak henti-hentinya kapal pelancong membawa kegembiraan para turis menuju pulau-pulau wisata yang aku sendiri tak tahu seberapa jauhnya serta kapal-kapal operasional minyak dan gas konsisten berhilir mudik di sepanjang muara.

Saatnya pergi dari sini”, aku mulai merapikan kamera dan membuang alas duduk ke tempat sampah usai menyobeknya menjadi serpihan-serpihan kecil, aku tak mau meninggalkan jejak nama sekalipun dalam setiap lembaran yang kubuang di negeri seberang.

Aku melintas tepat di tengah pulau menuju daratan dimana Kampung Cina berdiri. Di tepian jalan sehala*1) itu, gazebo-gazebo sisi jalan penuh oleh warga lokal. Mereka mulai turun ke jalanan menunggu surya jatuh di peraduan. Di seberang jalan sana, taman bermain mulai bernyawa dengan kehadiran beberapa anak keturunan Tionghoa yang memaikan ayunan dan prosotan. Sementara itu, Turtle Alley yang menjadi lorong seni terkenal di sepanjang jalan itu mulai dijejali wisatawan.

Selamat tinggal Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu.

Ah, sudahlah”, aku tampak menyerah. “Cari makan saja, malam ini ga usah keluar penginapan”, aku memutuskan.

Aku melangkah menuju barat melawan arus sehala kendaraan. Satu dua peminta mendekat sembari mengepalkan tangannya beberapa kali ke arah mulut. Pertanda mereka membutuhkan makanan sepertiku. Aku melihat sekitar, mencari keberadaa CCTV atau apapun yang bisa merekam sekitar. Menyadari nihil keberadaannya, aku menyerahkan dua Ringgit pada dua peminta yang mendekat lalu aku bergegas cepat meninggalkannya.

Langkahku tiba pada tikungan menyempit dan hanya mampu mengalirkan kendaraan satu per satu untuk melintasnya. Kini aku tiba di ujung jalan, sebagai penanda aku akan dihadapkan pada muka Kampung Cina Kuala Terengganu.

Sesungguhnya aku berada di ujung selatan Jalan Kampung Cina. Jika sebelumnya aku menyisir jalan itu dari sisi utara ketika berkunjung ke Lorong Kenangan Payang, maka kini aku menggenapkannya dengan menyisir sisa ruasnya dari selatan.

Oh, ini toh Kampung Cina”, batinku reflek berkata usai melihat ikoniknya Pintu Gerbang Jalan Kampung Cina Terengganu. Tentunya adalah naga. Ya, dia selalu menjadi simbol tuah dalam masyarakat Tionghoa. Dua naga hijau sempurna berhadapan di puncak gerbang.

Pintu gerbang yang indah.
Salah satu ruas Jalan Kampung Cina sisi selatan.
Ho Ann Kiong Temple.
Jalan Kampung Tiong.
Alliance Islamic Bank di salah satu sisi Jalan Kampung Tiong.

Jamaknya perkampungan Tionghoa, maka lampion juga menjadi dekorasi khas pada keberadaannya di setiap negara manapun, pun di Kuala Terengganu. Lampion merah betebaran di setiap sisi jalanan.

Sementara di pertigaan sana tampak sebuah kuil dominan kuning, berjuluk Ho Ann Kiong Temple. Inilah kuil Cina yang telah ada sejak seabad lalu, kuil Tao tertua di negara bagian Terengganu yang didedikasikan untuk Mazu, sang Dewi Laut.

Usai mengamati keindahan kuil, aku mulai mengekplore jalanan baru. Adalah Jalan Kampung Tiong yang akan menjadi jalan pintasku menuju Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. Aku tahu ada kantin terminal di sana. “Lebih baik bersantap malam di sana saja”, aku tak berfikir panjang memutuskan.

Sekilas melintas, pemerintah Terengganu tampak menawarkan keindahan Pulau Lang Tengah sebagai destinasi pelancongan andalan di sepanjang jalan itu. Sementara papan-papan larangan berjualan kaki lima tanpa izin menghias beberapa gang. “Dilarang menjaja tanpa lesen”, begitulah sekiranya bunyi arahan Datuk Bandar Majlis Bandaraya KualaTerngganu. Melewati satu dua bangunan menjulang di Jalan Kampung Tiong akhirnya mengantarkanku pada ujung jalan.

Hmmh, mana ya jalan pintas?”. aku mengamati sekitar dan merasa enggan berjalan memutar untuk sampai di terminal bus. Ujung atap terminal sudah tampak dari tempatku berdiri. “Mungkin itu”, aku melihat gang kecil lurus menuju terminal, aku menyusurnya hingga tiba pada sebuah lahan parkir nan luas yang keberadaannya berhasil disembunyikan oleh rimbunnya pepohonan. Ternyata inilah lahan parkir Paya Bunga Square. Memang kompleks perbelanjaan, hotel dan perkantoran itu tampak jelas di pojok selatan. “Yiaaiy, kantinnya masih buka”, aku bersorak dalam hati melihat keramaian kantin terminal. Tak ragu aku memasukinya hingga para pedagang di kantin itu tak henti-hentinya menawariku menu. Akhirnya, aku memutuskan menikmati seporsi nasi goreng seharga lima ringgit saja.

Aku menyantap nasi goreng sederhana itu dengan lahapnya karena lapar yang kutahan sedari tadi. Nasi goreng itu sedikit berasa kari, entah karena penciumanku yang mendeteksi keberadaan kedai kari di sebelah kiri tempatku duduk atau memang pedagang nasi goreng ini terlalu berani membumbui dagangannya. Tapi peduli apalah, aku toh sejatinya penggemar kari India.

Setengah jam bersantap bersama para pelancong lokal di terminal bus itu, menjadikanku serasa warga Terengganu saja.

Kini saatnya aku pulang menuju penginapan…..

Aku turun lagi di Jalan Masjid Abidin. Jika sebelumnya aku selalu melintas di sisi kirinya, kini aku berusaha menyeberang jalan dan menyisir dari sisi kanan menuju selatan. Beberapa meter di depan, langkahku terhenti dengan keberadaan lahan parkir dan pertokoan yang luas. Tampaknya ini adalah pertokoan loak yang menjadi idola warga. Menjelang gelap, tampak anak-anak muda menenteng skateboardnya dan duduk menikmati sore di bawah pokok-pokok rindang di sisi timur bentangan lahan. Inilah PB Station yang cukup terkenal di pusat kota karena selalu menghadirkan bazaar meriah di akhir pekan. Tapi sayangnya aku berada di sini pada malam senin. Tentu tak akan kutemukan keramaian walaupun menunggu hingga malam usai.

Kantin @ Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Tempat diselenggarakan bazaar akhir pekan.

Aku gontai melanjutkan langkah menuju The Space Inn. Melewati perempatan besar dimana gedung enam tingkat milik RHB Investment Bank berdiri kokoh, alhasil aku tiba di Jalan Air Jernih. Berlanjut melintas beberapa jengkal Jalan Kota Lama yang menghubungkan jalan utama itu dengan lokasi penginapanku.

Aku sampai…….

Saatnya mandi, mencuci dan terlelap lebih awal……..Hufftt, mataku sudah teramat berat.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Keterangan kata:

Jalan sehala*1) : jalan satu arah

Mengampar di Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu

<––Kisah Sebelumnya

Mundur ke belakang sekejap dari Lorong Kenangan Payang, aku menelusur Jalan Pasar Besar Payang menuju muara Sungai Terengganu. Mengingat area jelajah adalah kawasan pesisir, maka kakiku tak akan jauh-jauh dari perairan. Aku kan menghentikan langkah dua ratus meter di utara, tepat di tepian Sungai Terengganu.

Sementara matahari masih saja membulat sempurna di barat, sinarnya masih mampu membuat merah kulit. Memaksaku sesekali berhenti di balik batang-batang besar pokok palem tepi jalan. Hhmmhh….Terlalu lama tersiram surya Terengganu membuat segenap muka terasa perih.

Tapi tak lama….Sesaat kemudian aku tiba di tepian utara Kampung Cina. Mataku sekejap tertuju pada titian lengkung di ujung timur kampung, sepertinya obyek itu menjadi tengara utama tempat wisata malam ini.

Jembatan lengkung di Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu.
Kanal pemisah antara Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu dan Kampung Cina.
Gerbang masuk bagi pejalan kaki menuju Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu.
Di sana lah aku akan menikmati suasana….I Love KT Park.

Sayangnya aku tak punya waktu malam nanti, badanku telah lesu demi menahan kantuk semalaman di Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Jadi malam nanti, aku memilih untuk tidur pulas saja. Tak mengapalah aku harus mengunjungi tempat wisata malam ini sekarang, walaupun aku tak akan menjumpai puncak pertunjukan.

Inilah Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu, sebuah pulau artificial tujuh hektar di tepian muara Sungai Terengganu yang umum digunakan untuk pasar malam, acara-acara besar, konser musik, pameran seni serta pangkal atraksi Pulau Warisan River Cruise untuk menyusuri keindahan Sungai Terengganu yang menyimpan banyak tempat wisata unggulan di berbagai spot utamanya. Khalayak sering menyebut Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu sebagai i-City Terengganu, merujuk pada kota berbasis ICT di Shah Alam, Selangor.

Di atas titian lengkung ikonik itu, aku bisa dengan leluasa menatap seluruh sudut Pulau Warisan Kuala Terengganu. Secara kasat mata, pulau itu hanya terpisahkan dari daratan utama oleh sebuah kanal selebar tiga puluh meter. Kanal itu tampak bersih dan sesekali dilalui oleh perahu mesin petugas keamanan.

Tampaknya pulau ini ingin menampakkan jati dirinya sebagai kebanggaan Terengganu dengan keberadaan taman hijau di tepian timur pulau. Taman itu bertajuk I Love KT Park. Dari kejauhan tampak beberapa kendaraan merapat di taman itu. Sekelompok keluarga tampak menggelar tikar untuk menikmati suasana senja di Sungai Terengganu dengan menyantap hidangan rumahan yang dibawanya, beberapa laki-laki bermotor tampak mempersiapkan alat pancing, mereka siap berburu ikan di tepian sungai.

Sebagai tempat penyelenggaraan event-event besar saat malam, pulau ini dilengkapi dengan tiang-tiang lampu tembak di setiap sudutnya. Bisa dibayangkan betapa meriahnya malam nanti ketika lampu itu dinyalakan dan menyiramkan cahaya ke keramaian tenda-tenda kuliner di bawahnya.

Sepertinya aku harus menggenapkan petualangan dengan duduk bersantai di ujung pulau sana”, aku bergumam ketika memperhatikan deretan pokok nan rindang di tepian utara. Aku pun mulai menyusuri kanal untuk menggapai gerbang utama pulau yang berwujud gapura anggun bercorak khas Tionghoa.

Langkahku mulai membelah pulau tepat dari tengahnya, kupercepat ayunan langkah untuk melintas sinar senja yang masih saja menitipkan sengatan.  Aku sampai…..Oh, tak ada satupun bangku untuk sekedar berduduk manis. Ya sudahlah…. Kukeluarkan lembar-lembar itinerary yang kususun beberapa bulan lalu. Kusobek lembaran pertama yang segenap tahapan itinerarynya sudah paripurna kujalani. Aku mengambil tempat lapang di bawah sebuah pokok besar dan terduduk diatas lembar itinerary buatanku sendiri.

Sejuk….sunyi….aman….mempesona, begitulah perasaan yang muncul ketika berada di bawah pokok nan rindang dengan tatapan terlempar jauh ke utara. Tampak hamparan Pulau Duyung yang jaraknya tiga ratus meter dan hanya dipisahkan oleh perairan Sungai Terengganu.

Pulau Duyung Supply Centre (PDSC).
Jabatan Pelancongan Negeri Terengganu.
Tampak di kejauhan Jambatan Sultan Mahmud.
Keindahan Sungai Terengganu menjelang matahari terbenam.

Kesibukan kapal-kapal milik Pulau Duyung Supply Centre (PDSC) yang merupakan salah satu perusahaan minyak dan gas bumi di Terengganu sangat kentara, tapi entah kesibukan apa yang terjadi di dalamnya. Pendeknya pengetahuan, membuatku hanya mampu mencerna pemandangan di depan sana tak ubahnya sebuah galangan kapal-kapal minyak.

Sedangkan di sisi timurnya, tampak bangunan megah milik Jabatan Pelancongan Negeri Terengganu. Tampak kapal-kapal wisata berjajar rapi di tepiannya. Mungkin itu adalah kapal-kapal yang akan mengantarkan para wisatawan ke pulau-pulau indah yang menjadi aset bahari Terengganu.

Aku benar-benar menikmati pemandangan Sungai Terengganu dari sisi yang berbeda. Aku memuaskan diri dengan berlama-lama duduk di tepian pulau hingga suhu Terengganu benar-benar reda untuk kemudian melanjutkan langkah.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->