TERRAPURI – The Land of Palaces

Kak Em, there is one place called Terrapuri Heritage Village that you must visit because I know you like architecture,” a friend told me when we discussed about places that we had and have not been. I was quickly filled with excitement, dreaming to visit the place. One day, I was invited by Sham to join Gaya Travel team to stay at Terrapuri. I jumped at the opportunity and said yes.

My family and I travelled by car to Kampung Mangkuk, Pantai Penarik, where Terrapuri is situated. Upon reaching the place, the gate was closed. Silly me, I didn’t know that I had to pull a string to ring the bell. “Kak Em, you have to pull the string to ring the bell to call someone to open the gate,” Sham told me on the other end of the line when I called him to ask how do I enter the place. I did just that, and voila, someone opened the gate for me.

Majestic! My eyes were rolling and feasting on what I thought as a very beautiful heritage village with houses that were built more than 100 to 250 years ago. The place is set in an idyllic environment where there exists nothing between human and nature. One will certainly feel refreshed. Thoughts are sure to get uncluttered and there would definitely be an inspiration overload.


Being the brainchild of Alex Lee, Terrapuri Heritage Village is a conservation and restoration project involving classic Terengganu Malay houses. There are total of 29 antique houses that were collected by Alex for over the period of 18 years. According to Alex, the layout of the heritage village is inspired by the 17th century Terengganu Palace and its surroundings.

Terrapuri villa

The antique houses manifest creative and aesthetic skills of the Malays. They were built using chengal wood with triangular shape, steep gabled roofs and odd-number staircases. The houses were also built on stilts (8 feet high) and employed the tebuk-pasak technique at the joints. The roof was made from rhomboid-shaped Singgora roof tiles while the walls were made from timber panel walls slotted into grooved frame (what the Malay calls Dinding Janda Berhias). The upper part of the walls, windows and doors are decorated with screen with beautiful woodcarving work (Kerawang or Sobek).

Types of houses here include Rumah Kedai Buluh, Rumah Paloh, Rumah Belukar Titian, Rumah Tasek, Rumah Dusun, Rumah Binjai Rendah, Rumah Tembakang, Rumah Gelugor Raja, Rumah Seberang Takir, Rumah Jeram, Rumah Kubang Jela, Rumah Nibong, Rumah Pulau Musang, Rumah Pengkalan Kubu and Rumah Sungai Mas.

kerawang2I stayed at Rumah Nibong. Although it is old, I had the benefits of the villa’s refurbished splendour and unique traditional batik (with Nibong patterns) as décor. For a hot and humid weather, air-conditioning is heaven-sent, and each house in Terrapuri comes with its own unit. My husband said that he prefers the old kampung way instead and said that the house’s natural ventilation system adequately cools and reduces humidity. I agreed but with the temperature of more than 40°C, I doubt that cooling could take place. I switched off the air-con and opened up all windows and doors. After few minutes, my husband started to sweat. He finally gave into the idea of switching on the air-conditioning unit. He switched on the ceiling fan in addition.

Although the house itself is traditional, the interior is half traditional, half modern. So just because the house is over 100 years old doesn’t mean that every piece has to be antique. I love that Alex combines preserved history and progressive design. By progressive design, I mean rain shower, wooden bathtub, bathroom amenities (WC and what not, I can’t imagine myself doing ‘business’ in the old way), hair dryer, fridge and coffee/ tea making facility. Telecommunication medium like TV and telephone is not available in this heritage village to create a real kampung ambience.

My son and I spent some time visiting the library (Rumah Pulau Rusa) and reading room that is furnished with antique furniture, some books and magazine collection, computers with internet and a congkak set. We loved it there. We also dropped by the Serengas Shop that features a handpicked selection of finest antiques, artefacts, books and crafts from Terengganu and other parts of Malaysia.

After that we went walking along the coconut-tree laden beach, admiring the beautiful view that overlooks Pulau Perhentian, Lang Tengah, Pulau Cepu, Redang and Bidong, which are all visible during a clear day.

brasspotIn addition to just feasting our eyes on the beauty of the surrounding village, we also went for refreshing coconut drinks and fried keropok lekor at the nearby food stall. We later drove to Kuala Terengganu, which is about an hour’s drive, to have our dinner.

We really had a great time at Terrapuri and wish to come back again for a family holiday. We missed the attractions nearby, namely the Fireflies Sanctuary and Setiu Wetlands, and plan to visit them soon when we return to Terrapuri.

Although the cost of staying at Terrapuri ranges from RM400 and above per night, it is worth it as the owner had spent a lot of money and time restoring the houses to make it the most beautiful place in Terengganu (perhaps in Malaysia). The best time to stay there is when it is off-season – you might just find the peace and tranquillity that you’ve been looking for. Your heart will certainly be full of joy for having a chance to travel back through time and experience the architecture of a forgotten ancient kingdom. ~EY


Kampung – village

Rumah – house

Keropok lekor – cracker which is made primarily from a combination of dough (sago flour) and pounded fish.

tebuk-pasak – mortise and tenon


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Trishaws in Malaysia

When I look at my photo albums, I noticed that I have some trishaw pictures and decided to write about it. I am no historian but we all know that trishaw was one of the main transporation in Malaysia up to the 70s. Since then, rapid urbanisation has increased demand for more efficient public transport, resulting in the decreasing numbers of trishaws. I try to remember hard but I can only remember that I rode on one during the 70s in Alor Star when I was a child.

Today, they are operated as tourist attraction, mainly in Melaka, Penang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

Let’s take a look at trishaws in Melaka. I prefer it way back when it was in its much simpler state where there were no fake flower decorations. LOL. Less is more. But if fake flowers can attract tourists, so be it. I guess I can live with that. On second thought, I think the creativeness of the trishaw operators somehow made the trishaw unique. I would love to interview one of the operators one day and find out who started the trend.

And this one was in Penang. I love the trishaws in Penang, they were quite an antique! The originality is still there, no fake flower decorations. And look at the back stand; antique and precious.

And this one was in Terengganu when my son, Yassin was 3. Some were undecorated…

…but some were decorated with fake flowers as well. But not as exaggerated as the ones in Melaka.

I don’t have any pictures of trishaws in Kelantan but will definitely take a snap or two if I pass by the town. I did passed by Jeli during my road trip last February but did not went into town.

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the one in the National Museum. Purely an antique, 1950s.

Have you rode on trishaw before? Mind sharing the experience?


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Redang Lagoon Chalet

I am happy to recommend this chalet in case you need to plan for a budget stay. Hotel/chalet rooms are not promoted based on individual room but rather comes with a package. It can range from as low as RM260 per person to RM1000 per person. You decide. So, one of the cheapest ones is Redang Lagoon Chalet. This is where I stayed last time.

Redang Lagoon Chalet offers price rate as below:

Price rate per adult (3 Days & 2 nights)
– Weekday rate: Quad sharing &Triple sharing – RM260 | Twin sharing – RM280
– Weekend rate: Quad sharing &Triple sharing – RM280 | Twin sharing – RM290
– Public holiday rate: Quad sharing &Triple sharing – RM300 | Twin sharing – RM320

See pictures of room here: Extemporaneously Redang.

Price rate for children is RM150 on all ocassions.

Note: Please be reminded that the day you arrived is counted as one day.

Each rate includes:
– Return ferry or boat transfer to Redang Island (You choose from Meranf or Kuala Terengganu)
– 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 afternoon teas, 1 dinner and 1 barbeque
– 3 snorkelling trips

– Insurance coverage
– Entrance fee to the Marine Park (RM5 per adult)
– Snorkelling equipment rental (M\mask & snorkel RM10, life jacket RM10)

To book a room here, please call:
Telephone: 09-6665018/20
HP: 019-9140083
E-mail: admin@redanglagoon.com
Website: www.redanglagoon.com


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Extemporaneously Redang

“How about we go to Pulau Kapas?” my husband broke the silence while driving along the East-West Highway last Saturday after attending a wedding in Perlis. Initially, we wanted to go for a wedding in Jerantut after that but lucky I checked the invitation again and the wedding won’t be happening until the next Sunday.

“Uh, OK,” I replied. Se we went driving along the coastal road.

“How about we go to Pulau Redang?” My husband suddenly had a change of mind. “Uh, oh…that will be a great idea too,” I replied. Yassin was listening very carefully from the back seat. He was yaying quietly. I was yaying quietly too.

And so we followed the signboard to where Merang Jetty is. It was around 5pm and we were told that the last boat to Redang was at 12pm. The earliest was at 9am. After talking to a man at the information shack, we took a package of 2D 1N stay at Redang Lagoon for RM500. RM200 for adult and RM100 for children. Here 2D 1N includes the day we check out. The package includes everything; boat transfers (to and fro), room, meal and snorkelling activity. We rented a chalet nearby to put up the night and took Yassin for a dip in the salt water.

Happy to play with water.

We waited by the jetty at 9am the next morning after having our breakfast. A speedboat was assigned to us and few others who also took the same package.

The information shack.

Taking the speedboat was very scary; the most scariest experience I ever had taking a boat. The weather was not good and big waves were slowing down our ride. Yassin was scared too and held me tightly. I could see that crinkle on my husband face but that was probably because he was having a motion sickness. I felt like it was a mistake taking the speedboat. There must be a ferry somewhere (find out later from a family who stayed at the same chalet that there’s a ferry at Kuala Terengganu). Anyway, the gruesome experience ended when we reached Redang Jetty some one and a half hour later.


 There was a tractor with carriage waiting by the jetty but as they had to wait for others to board off (ferry and boats from KT), we decided to take that 640m walk.

Our room was quite spacious; a two-storey chalet equipped with one bathroom, air-condition and a fan. However, there was no cupboard to hang our clothes.


First activity we did was having our lunch. Haha, very important to fill in the stomach first. Meal includes breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.


After that we just went and enjoy the clear sea water of Redang Island. Weeeeeeeeeeee!

Snorkelling at the Marine Park is at 9.30am and 2.30pm every day. We missed it as we we were enjoying the clear water in front of Redang Lagoon very much. We however rented snorkelling equipment (RM10 for snorkelling gear and another RM10 for life jacket) and went snorkel at the lagoon. We saw some stripey fish,  orange dotted fish and some little fish. I am not sure of the species but these are typical fish you will see when you snorkel. Another group who went snorkelling there gave us some bread to feed the fish. “Take this bread and you’ll see a lot of them,” the uncle told us. It’s true, we got to see many fish!!


We extended our stay for one more day and decided to go to the Redang Marine Park. And it was my first experience going to a marine park. There were about 40 of us from Redang Lagoon and it took two boats to transport us from the jetty to the marine park. The ride was about 20 minutes. It was beautiful down there.  I’ll draw one if I have the time. We saw many types of coral and fish, sea cucumber, sea urchin, big oyster shell and many more.

We were very happy that we decided to stay for one more day. On the last day we went to buy a t-shirt for Yassin and a fridge magnet for me. The ride on the speedboat on the way back to Merang Jetty took only 45 minutes as the weather was good.

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Road Trip – Day 3

Sadly, my husband and I have to cut short our road trip as he has a very important work to attend to. Work is priority. We will resume the trip next month, continuing from where we left off.

So, at the end of Day 2, we put up a night at T’ Lodge, a newly opened lodge. It has operated for just 5 days. Promotional rates for Standard room is RM80 (normal rate is RM100) and Deluxe RM100 (normal is RM120). We took the latter. The room is quite spacious. Sorry no photo because I only thought about it the next day, when the room was in mess! But funny thing is, I did not forget to capture the scene from the balcony.

T’Lodge is situated near the bus station in the heart of Kuala Besut. A walking distance to the Jeti to Pulau Perhentian. I slept around 4am to edit my Day 1 entry. Woke up around 9am and my son has already been pestering about getting a fishing rod. He developed this new hobby from his uncle.

A happy boy with his very own fishing rod.

We had a good breakfast at C Putera Café, situated just beside the lodge. Food was great but the service was too slow. I had hard time making the waitress understand, in pure Bahasa Melayu, what I want. One must speak fluent bahasa ‘Ganu’ it seems. After talking like a teacher to a kindergarten student, she finally understands. Hah. We got our breakfast after waiting for about 45 minutes although we were the first one to order! Lucky, the food was great. I hope they will improve over time.

After breakfast, we headed to Pantai Bukit Keluang to let Yassin tests his fishing rod.

While letting son and dad, doing their own thing, I observed rocks formation along the left side of the beach. It has few caves opening.


Click to see larger photos

The rocks consist of small rounded stones held together by clay and sand. I dig some information on the Internet and found that these rocks are cretaceous sediments, in other word, Jurassic. It is dated back some 200 years ago! According to an article by the Department of Geology UKM, the rock units consist mainly of conglomerate at their base, gradually fining and thinning upwards into sandstone and shale.

While Pantai Bukit Kluang is ONE good tourism attraction, there are things that should be taken into consideration; from local authority right down to the public.

One, the walkway should be restored. Unless the local authority wants it  to be part of the cretaceous sediment some 200 years in future, then it’s fine.


Two, keep such eye-sore views like these (see below photos) away! Oh please! I saw litter bins all over the beach but how come some people were just plain ignorant, they did not want to walk to the bins.

Being a mother is not a an excuse to leave diaper everywhere you like.

One can walk to the stall and buy a drink but cannot walk to find a litter bin.

My heart is in pain. This is not what I want to see along this road trip. I talked about it with my husband and we both agree that an all-time HUGE nationwide campaign should be set-up to curb this problem or habit or norm to some people. Educating the public should be first on the list.

After few hours spent here, we drove along the coastal of Terengganu. We made stops at Setiu, Merang and Marang before making that long journey back to KL. Total mileage we made from KL Day 1 back to KL Day 3 is 1445km. From Kuala Besut we travelled on Route T3, T1, 3685, T100, 3, T119, 3, T6, T131, back to 3 and finally E8.

Sea eagle.

Rapunzel cloud! Look at the long ‘hair’!

Somewhere in Setiu.

Somewhere in Merang. Credit to my husband for taking this photo. That was me and my son sleeping under the shade haha.




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