Terengganu River Safari
Tour Code : PA/020/TRS
09:00am - Shahbandar river taxi
jetty, Cruise to the picturesque Pulau Duyung (Mermaid Island) fishing
village, dot with brightly paint fishing boat. Visit a unique boat
building at the fishing village of Duyung Island, beautifully squeeze in
the middle of Terengganu River mouth. At the headland of Duyung Island,
there is a fine view of China Town wooden stilt houses.
10:30am - Cruise up to Jeram River.
Along the mangrove swamp river, you will be greeted by wild animals like
monitor lizard, monkeys, crabs, colourful birds, eagles and sometime an
otters. Witness the traditional live style of Terengganu villagers which
included stop at one of the village by the river and then proceed to
State Museum (the largest museum in Southeast Asia with outdoor and indoor
12:00nn - Journey back by van
PER PERSON (RM)
4 persons and above
Minimum 2 persons per departure
factory close on Friday
* Children below 12 years old less 50% from adult rate.
* Rate exclude museum entrance fees.
* Return transfer
Merang or Tanjong
Jetty add RM
are subject to changes on fuel chargers.
* Surcharge RM
per person during Hari Raya
Aidilfitri & Chinese New Year.
bridge to Pulau Sekati
Duyung Island boat making
DISCOVERING TERENGGANU'S RIVERINE 'TREASURES'
Travel Times (New
Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu, the route winds eastward along the
Karak Highway to Kuantan taking about three hours and on to Kuala
Terengganu in another three hours. The coastal route in Terengganu
passes through quaint villages with intermittent scenes of lovely
beaches. The inland route through Gua Musang in Kelantan passes through
Kota Baru before looping back to Kuala Terengganu. It can take up to 10
hours. By air, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia operate regular flights to
Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur.
Terengganu River Safari & Heritage Tour This is one of many packages
offered by award-winning local tour operator Ping Anchorage Travel and
Tours Sdn Bhd. The company, established in 1990, won the Malaysia
Tourism Awards for Best Tour Operator for the year 2000 and 2001/2002
and Best Tour Package 2000. The cruise takes about four hours through
Sungai Terengganu, Sungai Jeram and Sungai Nerus. It departs from Shah
Bandar river taxi jetty. Nett rates per pax: RM80 (4 pax); RM90 (3 pax);
RM110 (2 pax); children below 12 (less 50 per cent). Rates include
refreshment/food, transportation by boat and guide. Museum entry fee of
RM2 excluded. Museum and boat-making factory closed Fridays. Advisable
to join tour on other days. Details and reservations, call 09-6262020,
fax 09-6262022, email email@example.com or access
SUNGAI Terengganu and its tributaries, Sungai Jeram and Sungai Nerus,
are a sanctuary off popular tourist routes in Kuala Terengganu. Murky
and calm in fine weather, the rivers are in stark contrast to the rough
turquoise blue waters of the South China Sea.
Cruising the rivers is an alternative way to discover Terengganu's
treasure trove of riverine villages, rural lifestyle, culture, history
Leaving the Shah Bandar river taxi jetty, which is less than five
minutes' walk from buzzing Pasar Payang in Kuala Terengganu, our tour
boat entered the busy waterway with bot penambang (river taxis) ferrying
passengers to nearby villages while traditional and modern fishing and
commercial boats made their way either towards the open sea or upriver.
The scene is a reminder that Terengganu was once a bustling maritime
state and Kuala Terengganu was a port-of-call for spice traders in early
1900s. The port attracted traders from all over Southeast Asia,
exchanging goods like pepper, onions and salt with local rice and
Some traders and seafarers then used boats made in Terengganu
specifically in Pulau Duyung, renowned in Malaysia as centre of the
traditional boat-making industry.
In fact, the quality and durability of boats made by Malay builders in
Pulau Duyung have attracted many owners from Australia, New Zealand, the
US, Canada, England, Denmark, France and Italy.
Pulau Duyung, one of the many islands along Terengganu river, was the
first stop. Guide Zaidi Musa of Ping Anchorage Travel and Tours says
Pulau Duyung means Mermaid Island as legend has it that mermaids had
"landed" on the island in the past. Nevertheless, the island is
synonymous with boat making and expert builders who inherit their skills
from their forefathers.
The most respected boat maker there, says Zaidi, is Abdullah Muda or
fondly called Haji Dollah. Now 70, Abdullah is not just any boat maker
as he leads in traditional construction.
This master craftsman is said to have never compromised on quality and
has taken as long as two years and more to complete vessels with
painstaking detail. Most are made of the hardy local hardwood species,
the chengal, preferred for its durability.
At the boat "factory", you can see the fine workmanship of Abdulah and
other boat makers working a dying trade due to both economic and
In the early 80s, there were some 30 boatyards on the island. Now there
are only four. So all the more a visit to Pulau Duyung is a must to
experience a rich legacy that may not survive the test of time.
From the headland of the island, a Chinese village with wooden stilt
houses can be seen. It has been recognised by the World Monuments Watch
in its listing of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
Cruising further upriver, we entered Sungai Jeram and were charmed by a
rural setting and seemingly easy and carefree lifestyle.
Rural folk were seen resting in the outdoors by the banks of the river.
Some rowed their sampans to cast lines for fish and even prawns. There
were also those who moved in small modern boats carrying goods.
Children were a delight to watch, swimming and doing summersaults from
trees into the water and splashing happily about. Another delightful
scene was women washing clothes the old way by the river.
Lush vegetation, coconut trees, mangroves and nipah palms grow wildly
and profusely by the banks. Sometimes, says Zaidi, we can even spot
monitor lizards, otters and eagles.
From Sungai Jeram, we moved to Sungai Nerus and after about 30 minutes,
we reached Kampung Jeram. Surprisingly, amidst traditional Malay village
houses, there is a Chinese temple with roof edges in striking red in
stark contrast to the green foliage.
Whether it is history or legend, it is said the great Admiral Cheng Ho
of China's Ming dynasty sailed through the area in 1414, stopping for
fresh water and food supplies.
His vessel was believed to have run aground in the middle of the river
with slabs of rocks, strong whirlpools and large tree roots.
Zaidi says Cheng Ho was believed to have spent some time in the village
and won the hearts of locals. Although he was a Muslim, he was well
respected by the Chinese.
The temple was built only in 1943 by the Terengganu Chinese Cultural
Association in memory of Cheng Ho also known as Sam Poh Kong or San Po
Kung, the "Three-Jewel Eunuch". "Pilgrims" pay respect at the temple
during Chinese New Year and other special occasions.
At Kampung Jeram, we turned back the same route and headed for Kampung
Tanjong Sabtu where a opulent Terengganu legacy is preserved by none
other than a Terengganu prince.
Pura Tanjong Sabtu Cultural Centre is the result of the passion of
Tengku Ismail Tengku Su to preserve his royal heritage. It is a cluster
of centuries-old Terengganu homes lovingly restored.
The pura, sanskrit for palace, temple or city, is a combination of 10
traditional houses moved from other areas to the present site, a
sprawling 5.6 ha site with lush tropical landscape.
Tengku Ismail has a private domain at the centre. Hence all visits and
homestays are by appointment only. Otherwise, visitors can only wander
the grounds and marvel at the showcase from outside.
Next, we moved to another great Terengganu treasure house, the State
Museum in Bukit Losong, Kampung Losong which, of all things, is more
famous for its keropok lekor! Sprawled on 27 ha, the museum is the
biggest in the country and also said to be the biggest indoor and
outdoor museum in Southeast Asia.
It consists of four multi-storey complexes with 10 galleries both indoor
and outdoor, all designed in traditional Terengganu architecture.
A priceless historical relic, the "batu bersurat" which is regarded as
the earliest written testimony of the existence of Islam in Terengganu,
greets visitors at the main building.
There are also many other exhibits that a one day visit may not do it
Tired after a long cruise, we were pleased when Zaidi brought out some
picnic baskets and laid out mats at the rest area near the museum jetty.
It was a sumptuous lunch by the river, a welcome addition to a memorable
journey. IN THE THICK OF ACTION VISITS to many interesting places in
Kuala Terengganu will be made easy by staying in the business centre of
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