Kuala Terengganu or ‘KT’ in short, is the capital city of Terengganu. The state is dotted on the east coast surrounded by South China Sea and is blessed with some of the best pristine beaches in Malaysia.
Best Time to Visit
Kuala Terengganu is situated in a tropical monsoon climate with hot and humid weather. The best time to come here is between February and July. The monsoon season falls between August and January, and heavy rain and flooding are expected in or nearby the city.
The peak seasons usually fall in May or June and from November to December. Festival seasons like Chinese New Year will fall at the end of January or February and Muslim festival is around April or May. It is expected to have many visitors and locals traveling here and stay overnight before heading to Redang Island or Kapas Island for island-hopping.
One of the important events is the Ramadan period when the Muslim people start fasting during the day. Due to the high population of Muslims in town, you will find most eateries and shops remain closed during the day until late evenings. Night bazaars will open to sell food and beverages from 4 pm until late night.
Sultan Mahmud Airport (Airport Code: TGG) is the city’s main airport and there are only flights flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Kota Kinabalu International Airport by Malaysia Airline and Air Asia. If you are traveling from other parts of Malaysia or abroad, you need to transit through either of these two airports. The journey from Kuala Lumpur takes only an hour and from Kota Kinabalu for two and a half hours.
Once you exit the airport terminal, you can take an e-hailing ride from Grab or Air Asia car to your hotel (Remember to download the Grab or AirAsia Super app to your phone beforehand). It is better to use an e-hailing service rather than taxi because most taxi drivers are reluctant to use taxi meters and charge passengers a higher price.
Kota Terengganu is not a big city like Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Most of the tourist spots are located within walking distance of the city center. You only need to take Grab or Air Asia e-hailing car to the Terengganu Drawbridge and Crystal Mosque.
The Best Things to do in 24 hours in Kuala Terengganu
Kuala Terengganu has a few tourist attractions that can’t be missed. If you are making a stopover or just return back from Rendang Island or Kapas Island, you can spend at most 24 hours to explore this small city.
Stroll through Chinatown
Take a stroll along Chinatown, filled with coffee shops and old-style cafes. Perhaps it is the longest Chinatown in Malaysia, there seem to have more shophouses here than the Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. The buildings are pretty old and still retain to its origins.
Have breakfast at Chay Kee Kopitiam
If you have just landed at Kuala Terengganu or are on the way to Redang Island’s island-hopping, have a delicious pan mee for breakfast at Chay Kee Kopitiam in Chinatown. They serve a variety of pan mee including dry pan mee (can add an egg) with wonton soup (above), pan mee soup, dry mala pan mee, and noodles with fish ball.
Opening hours: Daily from 6 am to 3 pm, except on Wednesday until 6 pm.
Wander through Turtle Alley
This little Turtle Alley is hidden in plain sight and easy to be missed. It is fun and educational to learn about various species of turtles since Terengganu is known as their breeding ground, Cute paintings of turtles can be found on the ground and walls.
Travel tips: This small alley is right next to Restoran China Town.
Visit Ho Ann Kiong Temple
Constructed in 1801, the Ho Ann Kiong Temple is the oldest Taoist temple in Terengganu. This beautiful temple is furnished with red and golden architectural elements and spectacular carvings.
Back then when a new temple was established nearby, the number of devotees slowly declined and left ruined. A deadly unknown disease spread in 1915 that caused the death of half of the town population. Suffering from the lack of medical supplies at that time, the people quickly returned to pray in the temple to seek mercy from the deities for a cure. Their prayer was answered when the people immediately restored the building. Later, the diseases miraculously vanished.
Opening hours: Daily from 7 am to 4 pm
Entrance fee: Free
Visit Terengganu Drawbridge
Terengganu Drawbridge was built under the inspiration of the famous London Tower Bridge. You can go to the top of the 15-story towers and watch the surrounding views from the skybridge. The bridge connects the reclaimed south bank in the city center to the north bank. Do get ‘behind-the-scene’ and watch how this impressive 23-meter-wide double-carriageway works and gives clearance for ships to pass through.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm, Friday from 10 am to 12.30 pm and 2.30 pm to 10 pm, and weekends from 10 am to 10 pm
Entrance Fee: Local- Adults: RM15/ Children: RM10/ Senior Citizens: RM10/ Person with Disability: Free and Foreigner: Adults: RM30/ Children: RM15/ Senior Children: RM15. There also have special packages– Technical Visit only- RM15/ Children: RM10 and Technical Visit and Gallery- Adults: RM22/ Children: RM15 (Visit their official website for more details and ongoing promotions).
Have lunch at Mei Fong Curry Noodles Restaurant
This restaurant is famed for its curry noodles, which claim to be “the best in town”. Their signature Hakka noodles are served with braised meat and the curry soup is thick with coconut milk, which makes it so fulfilling. The taste is not as spicy as I usually have elsewhere, so it is well suited for kids too.
They also have mini buns with butter and kaya, Hakka noodles, curry kuey teow, curry bee hoon, and braised pork rice.
Opening hours: Daily from 6 .30 am to 4 pm
Admire the stunning Crystal Mosque
Crystal Mosque is a magnificent piece of architecture with its unique design. Located in the Islamic Heritage Park off Wan Man Island, its exterior design is coated with steel, glass, and crystal, which gave it its name. The illumination from inside the building makes it looks like the shining glass domes. It can accommodate up to 1,500 worshippers at a given time.
Opening hours: Daily from 6 am to 11 pm
Entrance fee: Free
Going Elsewhere in Malaysia?
If you are planning to stay longer for more adventures in Malaysia, you can check out some of my other posts:
- Kuala Lumpur
- Cameron Highlands
- Johor Bharu
- Tioman Island
- Kota Bharu