Impressed in The Space Inn

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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

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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.

Next Story—->

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

Next Story—->

myBAS dari Sultan Mahmud Airport ke Pusat Kota Kuala Terengganu

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Serupa dengan pengalaman ketika berkunjung ke Ipoh setahun sebelumnya. Di beberapa kota di Malaysia, mencari keberadaan bus menuju Pusat Bandar dari gerbang masuk kota menjadi sesuatu yang langka di dunia maya, sangat susah ditemukan. Konsekuensinya adalah, aku harus berjibaku mencarinya on the spot ketika tiba di tujuan. Ketenangan dan kekuatan mental sungguh diuji untuk menemukan bus umum itu.

Mengeksplorasi seisi Sultan Mahmud Airport, aku menyempatkan diri untuk bertanya kepada seorang petugas cleaning service yang sedang mendorong janitor trolleynya. Melalui percakapan sederhana, dia memberitahukan bahwa ada layanan bus menuju Pusat Bandar setiap satu jam. myBAS, nama bus itu dan kendaraan umum tersebut akan menurunkan penumpang di lantai atas bandara.

Berbekal informasi penting itu, aku memutuskan segera naik ke Departure Hall untuk memburunya. Tetapi beribu sayang, baru saja aku keluar dari gerbang depan Departure Hall, bus itu sudah mengepulkan asap tipis, menggerungkan mesin dan meninggalkan bandara.

Well, satu jam lagi”, aku mengeluh ringan.

Momen menunggu yang sebetulnya membosankan itu, kumanfaatkan untuk menikmati suasana sekitar bandara dari lantai atas. Selepasnya, aku terduduk mengampar di ujung teras Departure Hall demi menunggu kedatangan myBAS.

Mengisi waktu menunggu, aku memutuskan mencatat semua pengeluaran yang sudah kubelanjakan semenjak meninggalkan rumah kemarin siang. Lalu lalang kendaraan pribadi yang menurunkan calon penumpang penerbangan benar-benar kuhiraukan, hingga aku sadar bahwa sedari tadi banyak orang memperhatikan keberadaanku ketika berlalu lalang. Mungkin terasa sedikit aneh, ada seorang yang duduk di tepi teras menunggu bus. Aku sendiri sedikit heran, kenapa tak disediakan tempat duduk di teras luas itu. Tentu tak mungkin, aku harus berdiri selama satu jam menunggu bus itu datang. Hal ini mirip dengan pengalamanku di Manila ketika ditegur petugas MRT ketika aku duduk di lantai menunggu MRT datang.

Tepat satu jam, suara mesin yang sediki menggerung menyeruak dari ujung kanan Departure Hall, perlahan bus bandara itu merangkak naik ke lantai atas. Aku segera berdiri dan melambaikan tangan sebagai tanda aku akan menggunakan jasanya. Bus itu perlahan melambat dan berhenti tepat di depanku.

Melaju bersama myBAS menuju Pusat Bandar.

Aku melompat naik dari pintu depan bus berukururan sedang dengan kapasitas 34 bangku itu. Memberikan kepada sopir ongkos sebesar 1,8 Ringgit dan duduk di bangku belakang. Penumpang didominasi oleh para wanita dan aku sungguh kagum bahwa semuanya mengenakan jilbab. “Kental nian nuansa Islam di Terengganu”, aku membatin pelan.

Tak ada satupun penumpang yang turun dari bus itu. “Ah, mungkin orang Terengganu lebih suka menggunakan mobil pribadi untuk pergi ke bandara, tapi apa peduliku, yang penting aku bisa ke Pusat Bandar dengan biaya murah”, aku menyimpulkan dalam hati.

Dalam duduk aku menikmati dialek lokal yang dilontarkan antar penumpang, dialek Melayu yang selalu saja kurindukan ketika aku sudah berada di rumah nanti. Aku masih berada di aisle seat ketika myBAS pertama kali berjalan meninggalkan bandara, aku harus menunggu beberapa penumpang turun untuk bisa menikmati pemandangan Kuala Terengganu dari tempat duduk di sisi kaca.

Waktu yang kunantikan tiba ketika setelah beberapa menit, bus menurunkan penumpang dan menyisakan beberapa bangku kosong di sisi kaca, aku mengambil bangku paling kiri di bagian tengah dan mulai mengikuti laju bus yang memamerkan pemandangan orisinil Kuala Terengganu.

Pada suatu waktu, pemandangan Sungai Terengganu dan penampakan pusat kota di ujung jauh sana sangat menarik perhatianku. Sementara barisan kapal penumpang dan Boat Penambang tampak hilir mudik di hamparan sungai nan luas itu, menunjukkan kekuatan ekonomi Kuala Terengganu didukung dari perairan.

Tampak di kejauhan: Felda Residence Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu Drawbridge, UTC Terengganu dan Wisma Darul Iman.
Suasana di Jalan Masjid Abidin.
Suasana Jalan Air Jernih. 1,5 kilometer dari Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu
Aku sampai.
myBAS di Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.

Pemandangan berikutnya yang tertampil adalah beberapa bangunan pemerintahan satu lantai yang menempati beberapa sisi jalan menuju pusat kota. Bus terus mengikuti markah jalan yang membimbing menuju Pusat Bandar, sementara markah  lain menunjuk arah ke Muzium Negeri Terengganu. Jalan besar menuju Kuantan pun tak lupa diberikan petunjuk arah, itulah jalan keluarku menuju Kuala Lumpur esok lusa.

Tak terasa, lima belas menit sudah berlalu, myBAS yang kutunggangi mulai merapat ke Pusat Bandar. Sepuluh kilometer sudah aku terpapar spoiler wisata Kuala Terengganu yang membuatku kian penasaran.  

Turun dari myBAS mungil itu aku segera melangkahkan kaki menuju The Space Inn tempatku menginap.

Petualanganku di Kuala Terengganu pun dimulai…..

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Sejenak Mengintip Bandar Udara Sultan Mahmud, Kuala Terengganu

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Dalam pencarian di dunia maya sebelum keberangkatan ke Kuala Terengganu, aku tak pernah menemukan sematan kata International pada namanya. Aku hanya terus menduga bahwa bandara yang akan kutuju ini hanyalah bandara domestik yang hanya melayani penerbangan dalam negeri.

Ternyata aku hanyalah sedikit benar, tetapi tetap saja salah besar pada ujungnya. Karena bandara ini juga menyediakan penerbangan internasional, walaupun hanya untuk keperluan haji dan umrah, yaitu penerbangan langsung menuju King Abdulaziz International Airport di Jeddah.

Kini aku melayang di atas Distrik Kuala Nerus. Sungai Terengganu nampak lamat ketika Malaysia Airlines MH 1326 perlahan menurunkan segenap flap di kedua sayap besinya. Lembaran-lembaran besi itu perlahan mendorong pesawat ke bawah menuju landas pacu tunggal milik Sultan Mahmud Airport.

Meluncur di atas landas pacu, aku disuguhkan pemandangan bangunan mungil berwarna kekuningan berdiri anggun memamerkan corak khas. Ukiran-ukiran indah pada lisplang dan ornamen kayu di sepanjang dinding bandara seakan membawaku ke pintu gerbang era kesultanan tempoe doeloe. Sedangkan atap-atap bertingkat pada pojok-pojok bandara menambah kewibawaan dan kesan klasik.

Arrival Hall

Pesawat paripurna sudah menyelesaikan tugasnya dan berhenti lembut di atas apron beralaskan beton kokoh tak berpelapis. Juluran aerobridge menyambut dan memberikan jalan untukku dan penumpang lain untuk menikmati keindahan bagian dalam bandara.

Malaysia Airlines 1326 di apron.
Koridor menuju arrival hall.

Kuning….menjadi warna keagungan Melayu yang konsisten dipamerkan. Papan kayu setinggi pinggang yang melapisi dinding membuatku serasa tak jauh dari rumah. Sementara permainan pola ubin tiga warna membuat suasana sepanjang lorong kedatangan lebih hidup.

Melangkah menuju Dewan Ketibaan Domestik, nuansa pariwisata Malaysia tampak nyata dalam iklan-iklan dinding di seantero ruangan. Gambar-gambar yang sudah familiar dibenakku, diperlihatkan dengan indahnya, Bot Penambang legendaris yang telah berlayar selama 90 tahun, Batu Burok Beach dengan keindahan pasir putihnya serta Traditional Trishaw yang menawarkan kindahan tur kota semakin membuatku tak sabaran saja berada untuk merapat ke tengah kota.

Jargon-jargon pariwisata Malaysia pun menimbulkan euforia yang selalu menumbuhkan rinduku pada Malaysia. “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia” menjadi jargon wisata domestik, “Malaysia Truly Asia” yang menjadi marketing campaign Kementrian Pariwisata dan “Beautiful Terengganu” yang menjadi slogan pariwisata terakhir milik Negara Bagian Terengganu, tampak ramai memenuhi lorong-lorong kedatangan.

Aku tiba di Dewan Ketibaan Domestik usai menuruni escalator, di lantai bawah aku menemukan konter pariwisata tak berpenjaga yang membuatku leluasa mengambil brosur-brosur pariwisata Kuala Terengganu.

Seperti bandara pada umumnya, tentu Balai Ketibaan ini di dominasi oleh konter-konter persewaan mobil, konter tiket taksi, toko souvenir dan restoran. Di lantai ini juga disediakan Area ATM dan Ticketing Counter. Tampak konter tiket milik Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia dan Firefly berada di sana.

Sementara area tempat duduk umum memanfaatkan ruang kosong di sekeliling tiang-tiang bandara dengan keberadaan tempat duduk tanpa sandaran.

Arrival Hall.
Jalur kendaraan di depan arrival hall.
Sultan Mahmud Airport yang begitu indah.

Naitku untuk mengeksplorasi bandara yang namanya diambil dari nama Sultan Terengganu ke-16 ini membuatku tak terburu-buru untuk meninggalkannya. Kini aku telah melangkah keluar dari bangunan bandara untuk melihat keindahan muka bandara yang dibangun untuk menggantikan bangunan bandara lama tiga belas tahun silam.

Menyeberangi  jalur yang dipenuhi taksi bandara, aku mulai menelusuri koridor dengan atap khas Terengganu membelah lahan parkir yang luas. Akhirnya di ujung koridor aku bisa leluasa menikmati keindahan bandara ini.

Departure Hall

Untuk menyempurnakan kunjungan, aku melangkah menuju Departure Hall di lantai atas. Toh, esok lusa aku tak akan mengunjungi bandara ini lagi demi menuju kembali ke Kuala Lumpur. Aku lebih memilih menaiki Bus Antar Negara Bagian yang tentu menawarkan tiket lebih murah. Aku akan langsung membelinya setiba di pusat kota nanti.

Menggunakan escalator, aku tiba di lantai atas. Tentu aku hanya menemukan sederetan konter check-in dan screening-gate yang tak mungkin ditembus. Aku lebih memilih berjalan keluar dari Departure Hall dan menikmati suasana bandara dari Drop-off Zone lantai atas. Setiba di luar, aku menemukan meriam-meriam kuno yang ditata apik menjadi penghias muka Departure Hall.

Drop-off zone lantai atas inilah yang nantinya menjadi tempatku menunggu selama hampir 45 menit untuk sekedar bisa menikmati jasa bus bandara menuju pusat kota.

Lapangan parkir dilihat dari Departure Hall.
Jalur kendaraan di depan Departure Hall.

Petualangan di Bandar Udara Sultan Mahmud pun rampung.

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