Kota Bharu has the energy of a mid-sized city, the compact feel and friendly vibe of a small town, superb food and a good spread of accommodation. A logical overnight stop between Thailand and the Perhentians, KB is a good base for exploring Kelantan. The state’s villages are within day-tripping distance, and its crafts and culture are present in the city itself.
With so many amazing islands to chose from, Terengganu’s coast is seen by many travellers as a mere pass-through to paradise. Traveller’s who take the time to explore between paradise-hops will fine the region rich in culture, cuisine and scenery that, on the islands, is simply unavailable.
An emerald coated in powder-white sand floating in a blue sea of tranquility, pretty Pulau Kapas has something for everybody. Serene on the weekdays, the island becomes overrun with day-trippers on holidays and long weekends, and actually shuts down during the east-coast monsoon season (November to March).
Redang’s position within a marine park lends itself to excellent diving and snorkelling, and you can easily lose yourself in between the golden sunlight, cackling jungle and lapping waves. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to visit outside of package tours, which tend to be regimented affairs with arrival lectures and set times for meals, snorkelling and ‘leisure’.
North Of Kuala Terengganu
North of Kuala Terengganu the main road (Route 3) leaves the coast and runs inland to Kota Bharu, 165km north, via Jerteh. The quiet coastal back road (Route 1) from Kuala Terengganu to Kuala Besut runs along a beautiful stretch of coast and is popular with cyclists.
Marang is the jump-off point for ferries to Pulau Kapas. Once a quiet fishing town, much of Marang’s seaside charm has disappeared beneath a recent flood of new buildings. It’s still a nice place to hang out for an evening on the way to or from Kapas, especially in summer, when numerous exotic fruit trees are in season.
The construction of the Kenyir Dam in 1985 flooded some 2600 sq km of jungle, creating Southeast Asia’s largest man-made lake, with clumps of wild overgrowth gasping over the water’s surface. Today Tasik Kenyir (Lake Kenyir) and its 340 islands constitute Terengganu’s most popular inland tourism destination.