Closing Night in Kuala Terengganu

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In the afternoon….It was a quarter to six….

I sat in the front seat on the left when Bas KITē slowly left the Tamadun Islam Park complex. Via the only connecting bridge, Bas KITē completed its wheel loop over Wan Man Island.

Only me….
The driver.

Now the Bas KITē would complete the remaining half of the journey to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, when I got there, the bus would take a break to operate again tomorrow at half past ten in the next morning.

On the way back to the inn, I was more relaxed and free to talk with the driver. During the rest of the trip, he told about his daily activities with four other Bas KITē drivers in operating that special city bus. He also told about his son who was having a hard time finding work in Kuala Terengganu, many employment sectors chose to use foreign workers which made it difficult for residents to find a livelihood. I only listened to it as a form of empathy, even though I didn’t know the real facts.

On the way back to the inn, the bus driver only took a middle-aged female passenger who seemed to be very familiar with him. Maybe the woman was a subscriber to his Bas KITē, so as soon as she got on, the driver immediately familiarly asked about the woman’s activities throughout the day. The rest after the female passenger boarded, only the two of them had the dominant conversation until the trip was over. The conversation with Terengganu’s thick accent I tried to understand even though I could only absorb it a little.

At a quarter past six I arrived at the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu….

Jumping off the bus and thanking the Bas KITē driver once again for giving me five precious minutes to enjoy the beauty of the Crystal Mosque, I tried to leave the terminal as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be trapped in the dark in the terminal.

I swiftly walked through Masjid Abidin Street to arrive at the intersection where the PERMINT Tower stood. “What’s that sound?…”, I stopped when I heard a noise from a height. Due to that sound, I backed off from the inn. I was now walking along Sultan Ismail Street towards the source of the sound. “Wow….That’s a flock of sparrows”, I knew now. On the entire face of the Wisma PERMINT building, perched a lot of sparrows calling to each other, making the sound like a pleasant harmony to be heard at sunset.

For so long I was stunned, capturing and videoing the scene that two other tourists suddenly came next to me and did the same. After a while of enjoying the harmony of the sound of the sparrows, simultaneously the street lamps began to come on, and the building lights began to be turned on, making the path along Sultan Ismail Street show off the beauty of its colorful lights.

“Looks like I have to enjoy my closing night in Kuala Terengganu by being on the streets even if only for a moment”, I decided.

My night exploration step started from the KT Walk which was a spacious area that usually presents a night market view for residents. It was just that the night has just begun, and a row of new food stalls was getting ready to entertain their prospective guests who would arrive soon. Because there were no significant activities, I just enjoyed the KT Walk for a moment from a corner of the field.

Enjoying the choir of sparrows at Wisma PERMINT.
The front side of KT Walk.
SiThe quiet side of KT Walk.i.

The night was creeping up and the lights were starting to look more dazzling as the sky darkened. I continued to comb along Sultan Ismail Street and then was stunned at a bookstore that seemed to be the favorite bookstore in the city, SMO Bookstores. “There’s nothing wrong if I go in …”, I idly started.

I rushed into the bookstore. As soon as I entered the shop, I just looked around and visited several bookshelves which were visited by many visitors. “A collection of novels which have been adapted into Malay”, I slightly frowned as a sign that I wasn’t interested in it.

SMO Bookstores isn’t as big as a well-known bookstore brand in Indonesia, the collection isn’t much, but many people visit it. Maybe Malaysia’s good literacy rate makes it so.

I finally left SMO Bookstores and resumed my journey to enjoy the night atmosphere of Kuala Terengganu. Although not too crowded, that night was able to make me a little amazed because, during the two days in Kuala Terengganu, I was more dominant in enjoying the atmosphere of the day. Even though the sparkling lamp that night wasn’t as beautiful as in Kuala Lumpur, it still kept its charm. A city that wasn’t so crowded was showing its beauty at night.

I turned at the corner at the northern end of Air Jernih Street, which was still doing business. Walking along the street, I stopped again at a 7-Eleven, I purposely entered it to look for fast food on my dinner menu. I felt like I have been reluctant to go back a little further to visit “Kedai Kak Na” which I visited that afternoon. It was better to just look for perfunctory food at the mini market.

I came out of the 7-Eleven with a packet of fried rice that had been heated in the microwave for a while. I immediately left the minimarket to the inn while enjoying the remaining scenery. Continuing a little step on Kota Lama Street, I turned left on Engku Pangeran Anom 2 Street and then arrived at the inn, The Space Inn…

Engku Pangeran Anom, who is it?

Engku Pangeran Anom was a Terengganu noble with the full name Pengiran Anum Engku Abdul Kadir bin Engku Besar. He was a man who really understood the history of Terengganu and was often a reference to the sultanate which at that time was led by Sultan Ahmad.

I arrived at the inn at exactly half past eight….

It was time for me to wash up, have dinner, fold the clothes and tidy up my backpack because tomorrow I would leave Kuala Terengganu at half past ten in the morning.

Wisma Maidam was towering on Sultan Ismail Street which was used for the Kuala Terengganu Islamic Bank office.
The intersection that I often pass every day while in Kuala Terengganu.
Umobile Center (Telecommunication Equipment Store) on Engku Sar Street. Engku Sar refers to the name of the father of Engku Pengiran Anom whose full name is Syed Abdullah Al-Idrus. “Sar” is another name for “Sir”.
Aneka KAMDAR Building on Kota Lama Street is used as an ASC (Arena Sports Center) which is a Sports Venue business in Kuala Terengganu.
Let’s sleep!…. It was 11 p.m.….Tomorrow I would walk again.

Next Story—->

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—->

Moored at Kedai Payang Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kuala Terengganu fire department.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Story—->

Impressed in The Space Inn

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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.


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—->

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

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Malaysia Airlines flight path MH 1326 (source:
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”


“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”.


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.


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:

Next Story—->

Malam Penutup di Kuala Terengganu

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Sore hari….Jam enam kurang seperempat….

Aku duduk di kursi paling depan sisi kiri ketika Bas KITē perlahan meninggalkan kompleks Taman Tamadun Islam. Melalui jembatan penghubung satu-satunya, Bas KITē menyudahi putaran roda di atas Pulau Wan Man.

Only me….
Bapak pengemudi yang budiman.

Kini Bas KITē akan menuntaskan setengah perjalanan tersisa menuju Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, sesampainya di sana nanti, bus akan beristirahat untuk beroperasi kembali esok hari pada pukul setengah sepuluh pagi.

Dalam perjalanan pulang itu, aku lebih santai dan leluasa untuk berbincang-bincang dengan si pengemudi. Dalam perjalanan sisa itulah dia bercerita tentang aktivitas hariannya bersama empat pengemudi Bas KITē lain dalam mengoperasikan bus kota istimewa tersebut.  Dia juga bercerita mengenai anaknya yang begitu susah mencari pekerjaan di Kuala Terengganu, banyak sektor pekerjaan memilih menggunakan tenaga kerja asing yang menyebabkan susahnya warga lokal mencari mata pencaharian. Aku hanya mendengarkannya sebagai bentuk empati, walau aku sebenarnya tak tahu fakta aslinya.

Dalam perjalanan pulang itu, pengemudi bus hanya menaikkan satu penumpang perempuan setengah baya yang tampaknya sudah sangat dikenal akrab olehnya. Mungkin perempuan itu adalah langganan Bas KITēnya, sehingga begitu dia naik, si pengemudi langsung bertanya akrab tentang aktivitas si perempuan sepanjang hari. Selebihnya setelah naiknya penumpang perempuan tersebut, hanya percakapan mereka berdua saja yang mendominasi hingga perjalanan usai. Percakapan berlogat kental Terengganu itu mencoba kufahami walau aku hanya bisa meyerapnya sedikit saja.

Jam enam lebih seperempat aku tiba di Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu….

Melompat turun dari bus dan mengucapkan sekali lagi rasa terimakasih kepada sang pengemudi Bas KITē yang telah memberikan lima menit berharganya untukku supaya bisa menikmati keindahan Masjid Kristal, aku berusaha secepat mungkin meninggalkan terminal. Aku tak mau terjebak gelap di dalam terminal.

Aku melangkah gesit melalui Jalan Masjid Abidin untuk tiba di perempatan dimana Menara PERMINT berdiri. “Itu suara apa ya?…”, langkahku terhenti ketika mendengar suara berisik dari sebuah ketinggian. Akibat suara itu, aku mengurungkan langkah menuju penginapan. Aku kini melangkah menyusuri Jalan Sultan Ismail menuju sumber suara. “Oalah….Itu sekumpulan burung gereja”, aku kini mengetahuinya. Di seluruh luasan muka gedung Wisma PERMINT, bertengger buanyakkk sekali burung gereja yang bersahutan suara satu sama lain, menjadikan suara itu bak sebuah harmoni yang enak terdengar di saat menjelang maghrib.

Begitu lama aku tertegun, mengabadikan dan memvideokan pemandangan itu hingga dua orang turis lain tiba-tiba datang di sebelahku dan melakukan hal yang sama. Setelah beberapa saat menikmati harmoni suara burung gereja, serentak pelita-pelita jalanan mulai hidup, lampu-lampu gedung mulai dinyalakan, menjadikan jalur di sepanjang Jalan Sultan Ismail memamerkan keindahan lampu warna-warninya.

Sepertinya aku harus menikmati malam penutup di Kuala Terengganu dengan berada di jalanan walau hanya sesaat”, aku memutuskan.

Langkah eksplorasi malamku dimulai dari KT Walk yang merupakan area lapang yang biasanya menyajikan pemandangan pasar malam untuk warga lokal. Hanya saja malam baru saja memulai masanya, deretan kedai makanan baru bersiap diri untuk menjamu calon tamu-tamunya yang akan tiba sebentar lagi. Karena belum ada aktivitas yang berarti, aku pun hanya menikmati sejenak suasana KT Walk dari sebuah pojok tanah lapang itu.

Menikmati paduan suara burung gereja di Wisma PERMINT.
Sisi depan KT Walk.
Sisi dalam KT Walk yang masih sepi.

Malam semakin merayap naik dan lampu-lampu mulai tampak lebih mempesona seiring dengan menggelapnya langit. Aku terus menyisir sepanjang Jalan Sultan Ismail untuk kemudian tertegun pada sebuah toko buku yang tampaknya menjadi toko buku favorit di kota itu, SMO Bookstores namanya. “Tak ada salahnya jika aku masuk…”, aku mulai iseng.

Aku bergegas memasuki toko buku itu. Begitu memasuki toko, aku hanya memperhatikan sekitar serta menyambangi beberapa rak buku yang banyak didatangi pengunjung. “Sekumpulan novel yang telah disadur dalam Bahasa Melayu”, aku sedikit mengernyitkan dahi sebagai penanda aku tak meminatinya.

SMO Bookstores itu tak sebesar brand toko buku kenamaan di Indonesia, koleksinya tak seberapa, tetapi banyak warga yang berkunjung di dalamnya. Mungkin tingkat literasi warga Malaysia yang baik membuatnya demikian.

Aku akhirnya keluar dari SMO Bookstores dan kembali melanjutkan perjalan menikmati suasana malam Kuala Terengganu. Walaupun tak terlalu ramai, malam itu mampu membuatku sedikit takjub karena selama dua hari di Kuala Terengganu, aku lebih dominan menikmati suasana siangnya saja. Walau saja gemerlap pelita malam itu tak seindah di Kuala Lumpur, tetap saja menyimpan pesona tersendiri. Sebuah kota yang tak begitu padat sedang menampilkan keelokan malamnya.

Aku menikung di pangkal utara Jalan Air Jernih yang masih saja bergeliat perniagaan. Berjalan di sepanjang jalan itu, langkahku kembali terhenti pada sebuah 7-Eleven, aku sengaja memasukinya untuk mencari makanan cepat saji sebagai menu makan malamku. Rasanya aku telah enggan kembali melangkah sedikit jauh untuk mengunjungi Kedai Kak Na yang siang tadi kusambangi. Lebih baik mencari makanan ala kadarnya saja di minimarket itu.

Aku keluar dari 7-Eleven dengan menenteng nasi goreng kemasan yang sudah dipanaskan dalam microwave untuk beberapa saat. Aku segera meninggalkan minimarket itu menuju penginapan sembari menikmati pemandangan tersisa. Menyambung langkah sedikit di Jalan Kota Lama aku berbelok ke kiri di Jalan Engku Pangeran Anom 2 untuk kemudian tiba di penginapan, The Space Inn. .

Engku Pangeran Anom, siapakah gerangan?

Engku Pangeran Anom adalah seorang bangsawan Terengganu dengan nama lengkap Pengiran Anum Engku Abdul Kadir bin Engku Besar. Beliau adalah seorang yang sangat memahami sejarah Terengganu dan sering menjadi rujukan kesultanan yang pada waktu itu dipimpin oleh Sultan Ahmad.

Aku tiba di penginapan tepat pukul setengah delapan….

Saatnya aku berbasuh, makan malam, melipat jemuran dan merapikan backpack karena esok hari aku akan meninggalkan Kuala Terengganu tepat pukul setengah sepuluh pagi.

Wisma Maidam yang tinggi menjulang di Jalan Sultan Ismail yang digunakan untuk kantor Bank Islam Kuala Terengganu.
Perempatan yang sering kulalui tiap hari selama di Kuala Terengganu.
Umobile Centre (Kedai Peralatan Telekomunikasi) di Jalan Engku Sar. Engku Sar mengacu pada nama ayahanda dari Engku Pengiran Anom yang bernama lengkap Syed Abdullah Al-Idrus. “Sar”adalah sebutan lain dari “Sir”.
Gedung Aneka KAMDAR di Jalan Kota Lama yang digunakan sebagai ASC (Arena Sports Centre) yang merupaka bisnis Sport Venue di Kuala Terengganu.
Tidur wooeey….Sudah jam 11 malam….Besok jalan lageee.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

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

Tertambat di Pasar Kedai Payang

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

I’m not from India, I’m from Iran”, begitulah ucapan gemulai pejalan pria tetangga bunk bed menjawab pertanyaanku.

Do you know where is a middle eastern salon near here?. I think I need a salon for relaxation”, dia tetiba memberikan pertanyaan kepada resepsionis sekaligus si empunya hotel.

Aku tertawa dalam hati menemukan adegan “lucu”pagi itu, percakapan ringan sebelum aku beranjak melakukan eksplorasi Kuala Terengganu untuk pertama kali semenjak tiba.

Aku bergegas menuruni tangga untuk keluar dari The Space Inn, menyusuri Jalan Engku Pengiran Anom 2, menuju utara, mengulang kembali jalur awal ketika menuju penginapan. Tentu aku kembali merunut Jalan Air Jernih, berjumpa lagi perempatan dimana Politektik Kuala Terengganu menjadi tengara selain Menara PMINT serta menapaki ulang Jalan Masjid Abidin hingga tiba kembali di sisi timur Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.

Sisi timur Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu.
Deretan konter tiket penjualan Bus Antar Negara Bagian.
Nah ini dia….Pohon aja “dibajuin”……(gambar akhirnya menyusul tampil karena permintaan teh Uchi…..Hahahaha).

Hanya saja, dua ratus meter sebelum tiba di terminal bus itu, aku terpesona dengan seni yarn bomb-ing yang menyematkan rajutan warna-warni benang pada deretan pohon di salah satu sisi trotoar Jalan Masjid Abidin, tepat di sisi barat PB Square. Membuat suasana kota menjadi lebih hidup.

Setiba di terminal bus, aku langsung berjibaku mencari tiket Bus Antar Negara Bagian untuk pergi menuju Kuala Lumpur esok lusa.

Yang lebih murah lagi ada lagi, Pak Cik?”, selorohku pada seorang penjaga konter tiket Bus Arwana.

Manè adè ….Cukup 43 Ringgit sahajè lah….ini paling murah”.

Okelah, saya ambil satu, Pak Cik….Buat tanggal 31”.

Beberapa menit lalu, aku telah mengamankan satu tiket menuju Kuala Lumpur, kini aku sedikit lebih tenang untuk mulai menjelajah destinasi pertama.

Yupsz, aku mau ke pasar rakyatnya Kuala Terengganu.

Pasar rakyat ini jauhnya hanya satu kilometer dari Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, jadi kuputuskan untuk berjalan kaki saja. Aku perlahan menikmati keramaian di sekitar Jalan Kampung Daik, di bawah naungan koridor beratap di sepanjang trotoarnya, sungguh jalur yang nyaman untuk berjalan kaki. Langkahku pun harus berbelok tepat di depan kantor Balai Bomba dan Penyelamat Jalan Kota yang warnanya identik dengan kantor-kantor pemadam kebakaran di Jakarta, merah menyala.

Kini aku merasa enggan untuk terus mengayunkah langkah gegara panas menyengatnya surya pada jalur di depanku yang sudah tak berpelindung. Akhirnya, aku memutuskan rehat sejenak di ujung koridor beratap, duduk di bangku beton, menunggu naungan awan melintas menutupi sengatan surya.

Kantor pemadam kebakaran Kuala Terengganu.

Beberapa saat menunggu sambil menikmati lalu lalang warga lokal, awan itu pun hadir, kini jalanan tak menyengat lagi, aku segera mengayunkan langkah cepat menyusuri ruas Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin. Akhirnya, dua ratus meter di depan, aku tiba di Pasar Kedai Payang yang mulai ramai.

Pasar Kedai Payang memang tampak memamerkan keciamikan, konon bangunan berusia dua tahun itu berfungsi menggantikan bangunan lama yang sudah purna tugas.

Deretan tenda beratapkan kain putih tampak memanjang menyejajari muka pasar, memisahkan area parkir dengan area perniagaan. Tenda-tenda besar itu menunjukkan bahwa luasnya bagian dalam pasar tak cukup untuk memfasilitasi ramainya perniagaan di pusat kota Kuala Terengganu itu.

Kini aku sudah memasuki bagian dalam pasar yang sangat ramai, sekat-sekat kios bermotifkan bata merah masih tampak baru, gang-gang tampak penuh dengan lalu lalang para pengunjung. Beberapa badut dan penjual perlengkapan hewan peliharaan tampak menjejal di beberapa pojok kios penjualan songket, batik, kerajinan tangan dan jajanan khas Terengganu. Sementara di area belakang, nampak disediakan area khusus untuk deretan kios kuliner dengan menu andalan Nasi Dagang, Laksa, Nasi Minyak dan beberapa makanan khas lainnya.

Pasar Kedai Payang tampak belakang.
Bagian depan pasar.
Suasana dalam pasar.
Deretan kios pakaian.
Kios-kios kuliner di belakang pasar.
Yuk, nikmati dulu keindahan Sungai Terengganu!.

Aku terus saja meneruskan langkah hingga sampai di halaman belakang. Rupanya pasar ini tepat terletak di pinggiran Sungai Terengganu yang sangat bersih. Tampak Bot Penambang berhilir mudik memobilisasi warga Terengganu dari satu titik tepian ke tepian lain. Bot Penambang yang diandalkan sebagai taksi air kota tampak mengoriginalkan suasana Terengganu pagi itu.

Keindahan hamparan Sungai Terengganu akhirnya mulai membuatku jatuh cinta pada kota ini dan berhasil menjinakkanku untuk sekedar berlama-lama menikmati tiupan sepoi-sepoi angin semilir di sebuah gazebo beton yang merupakan bagian dari fasilitas umum milik Pasar Kedai Payang.

Ga usah buru-buru, Donny….Duduk dan nikmatilah”.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Terkesan pada The Space Inn

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Berpetualang ke Negeri Jiran adalah hal mudah nan menyenangkan. Selain kuliner yang familiar dengan lidah Indonesia, wisata mereka juga jamak menyediakan penginapan super murah yang memberikan kemungkinan bagi siapapun untuk menjelajah negeri itu.

Pagi itu, baru saja aku melompat turun dari myBAS yang telah membawaku dari Bandar Udara Sultan Mahmud, kini aku sudah saja membalikkan badan kembali ketika baru saja menjauh ke utara meninggalkan Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. Sejenak  kusempatkan menatap dari kejauhan, menikmati lagi kesederhanaan terminal bus andalan “Negeri Keropok Lekor” itu.   

Sebentar kemudian aku menuju Kedai Alat Telekomunikasi WIN DOTCOM, kedai teramai di ruas Jalan Syed Hussein demi berburu SIM Card lokal dan layanan internet yang akan kugunakan selama empat hari berpetualang di Malaysia.

Di dalam kedai, aku ditawarkan berbagai jenis SIM Card oleh si empunya toko yang berketurunan Tionghoa. Sedangkan seorang gadis muda berjilbab hitam berwajah otentik Melayu dengan sabar menjelaskan ketidakfahamanku atas penjelasan cepat si empunya toko. Di akhir perniagaan itu, aku mendapatkan SIM Card dengan kuota 2 GB seharga 25 Ringgit. Harga yang sangat terjangkau, paling tidak aku telah dijamin oleh Hotlink selama 10 hari untuk memiliki akses berselencar di dunia maya.

Kini aku mulai menuju selatan, memasuki jalanan di dalam blok, melintasi Menara Kembar PB (Paya Bunga) Square, milik Perbadanan Memajukan Iktisad Negeri Terengganu (PMINT) yang menjadi Pusat Transformasi Bandar Terengganu atau khalayak lebih mengenalnya dengan nama UTC (The Urban Transformation Centre). Suasana mulai bergairah pagi itu, aktivitas rutin warga Terengganu baru saja dimulai.

Paya Bunga Square di pagi hari.
Perempatan di Masjid Jalan Abidin.
Menara PMINT di sisi perempatan.

Melihat arsitektur Menara Kembar PB Square, aku mulai faham bahwa ukiran khas Kuala Terengganu selalu diejawantahkan ke setiap bangunan kota. Apik dan elegan.

Meninggalkan Menara Kembar PB Square, aku kini mengarah ke selatan melalui Jalan Masjid Abidin hingga tiba di sebuah perempatan besar berhiaskan Slogan Sign Board Visit Beautiful Terengganu”. Menara PMINT yang difungsikan sebagai Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu tampak kokoh menempati salah satu pojok perempatan dan memamerkan slogan utama kota “Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air”.

Selesai menunggu pergiliran warna hijau traffic light, aku menyeberangi perempatan, melanjutkan menuju ke selatan. Memasuki Jalan Air Jernih, seratus meter di depan, aku berbelok ke kanan pada sebuah pertigaan. Letak The Space Inn tak jauh dari pertigaan itu. Penginapan yang kupilih itu adalah sebuah dormitory yang memanfaatkan kompleks ruko di sepanjang Jalan Engku Pengiran Anom 2.

Langkahku akhirnya sampai di depan pintu penginapan, tetapi aku diselimuti kebingungan karena pintu bertralisnya terkunci rapat. Untuk beberapa saat aku hanya terdiam berdiri di depan pintu penginapan tanpa satu ide apapun. Bahkan trotoar di sekitar tampak sepi, tak memungkinkan bagiku untuk bertanya kepada siapapun. Beruntung, selang sepuluh menit kemudian, ada seorang tamu penginapan menuruni tangga dan hendak keluar dari penginapan. Momen inilah yang kemudian kumanfaatkan untuk menyelinap masuk.

Aku menaiki tangga dan akhirnya tiba di meja resepsionis lantai 2 yang dijaga oleh si empunya penginapan, laki-laki setengah baya keturunan Tionghoa. Dia menyapaku ramah dan tentu menanyakan bagaimana aku bisa masuk karena tak memiliki access card. Aku menceritakan “teknik curang”ku dan dia terbahak mendengarnya.

Walhasil dia memberikanku access card untuk keluar masuk hotel setelah menyerahkan paspor untuk discan dan biaya menginap senilai 41 Ringgit per malam. Ihwal administrasi telah rampung, aku pun naik ke lantai 3 demi mencari bunk bed sesuai dengan nomornya yang tertera pada bagian belakang access card.

The Space Inn.
Ruang resepsionis.
Tempat tidurku.

Melepas sepatu di bagian depan luar, aku mulai memasuki kamar sepi dengan sejuk pendingin ruangan. Tidak semua bunk bed terisi sehingga memungkinkan bagiku untuk berpindah menempati kasur yang kusuka, bersebelahan sekat dengan pejalan asal Iran dan Jepang.

Tuan Okamoto

Pejalan asal Negeri Matahari Terbit itu berprofesi sebagai guru Bahasa Inggris di ibu kota, Okamoto namanya. Aku berkenalan dengannya ketika dia sibuk mengotak-atik gembok kecil yang disangkutkan pada locker handle penginapan.

There’s no key in my locker, did you get that padlock from the reception desk?”, aku memberanikan diri bertanya.

Oh, of course not. I bought it by myself”, dia menjawab penuh senyum.

Oh, Okay. I’ll better put my backpack on the bunk bed”, aku menimpali dengan mengernyitkan dahi.

Dari percakapan itulah, kami berdua berkenalan dan menjadi teman karib di penginapan.

Akhirnya sudah menjadi kebiasaan, saat pagi dan menjelang malam tiba, sebelum dan sesudah berpetualang, selalu saja Tuan Okamoto menjadi yang pertama menyapaku di meja shared-khitchen. Membuatku tak kuasa menolak ajakannya untuk sekedar berbincang ihwal apa saja sembari menyeruput kopi bersama. Racikan kopi tubruk buatan Tuan Okamoto selalu saja bercitarasa spesial. Entah kopi jenis apa yang dibawanya dari Tokyo.

Dapur bersama.
Tuan Okamoto yang Bahasa Inggrisnya jago….Tetapi tetap saja English aksen Jepang.

Pertemanan dengannya membuatku lebih mengenal budaya Jepang dan beberapa lokasi menarik di Jepang yang disarankannya untuk kukunjungi, Okinawa salah satunya. Dia pun merasa terhormat karena aku pernah mengunjungi negerinya tiga tahun silam. Begitupun aku, merasa terhormat karena dia sudah berpetualang hingga Aceh hanya demi menikmati kopi asli dari daerah di ujung barat Indonesia itu.


Keunggulan penginapan mungil ini adalah tersedianya sebuah ruang yang menghubungkan share-bathroom dan ruang tidur. Di ruangan kecil itulah, pengelola penginapan menyediakan hanger dan kipas angin. Selama menginap, kuperhatikan tak ada satupun pengunjung yang memanfaatkan ruangan penghubung itu.

Kecuali aku yang dengan santainya menggunakan ruangan ini untuk menjemur t-shirt yang setiap sore kucuci di shared-bathroom. Mencuci bukanlah hal yang rumit bagiku ketika berkenala, cukup mengucek t-shirt, celana panjang dan kaos kaki menggunakan sabun mandi, kemudian membilasnya di bawah kran, memerasnya kuat-kuat kemudian menggantungnya dengan hanger di ruang penghubung, tunggu saja esok pagi sampai kering..Beres kan?. Itulah mengapa lima potong t-shirt cukup untuk menemani perjalanan panjangku yang bahkan bisa berlangsung selama tiga minggu.

T-shirtku tuh lagi dijemur.
Kamar mandi bersama.

Air Kran

Adalah buah dari percakapan ringan dengan staff The Space Inn yang bertugas siang itu, akhirnya aku mendapatkan informasi bahwa air kran di Kuala Terengganu sangat aman untuk dikonsumsi secara langsung. Bahkan dia memperagakan di depanku bagaimana dia menadahkan gelas di bawah kran dapur, mengalirkan air kran dan kemudian menenggaknya dengan santai. “Tentulah aman….Lihat sajè, tiap hari sayè minum air nih”, selorohnya ringan sambil tersenyum tipis.

Tiga hari di Kuala Terengganu, bahkan aku tak mengeluarkan seringgit pun untuk berbelanja air minum. Harga air minum ukuran 1,5 liter di Kuala Terengganu berkisar 3 Ringgit, jika kamu berada tiga hari saja di kota itu, berarti kamu harus menganggarkan 18 Ringgit hanya untuk berbelanja air minum.

Bagaimana?….Bermanfaat kan air kran Kuala Terengganu?

Jadi, kalau kamu pergi ke Kuala Terengganu, mau nginep dimana???….

Kisah Selanjutnya—->