Kapoors Year 5: Right Round The World travel blog

Kuala Terengganu The Next Major City South Along The Coast, Rumoured To...

It Had Just Finished Raining And We Set Off To Explore The...

It's Clear That The City Is Determined To Preserve This Historic District,...

The Smells Coming From The Chinatown Bakery Pulled Us In, The Coconut...

There Were All Sorts Of Traditional Chinese Treats, But None Of Us...

The Rain Seemed To Intensify The Colours On The Old Shophouses, And...

Most Of The Businesses Were Closing For The Day, But That Meant...

Lanterns Were Strung Up Everywhere, Most Of The Wiring Looking More Than...

This Group Of Local Gentlemen Were Very Friendly, Enjoying Afternoon Tea And...

They Insisted On Sharing Their Fresh-Baked Buns, I Would Only Accept Half...

I Passed Through A Narrow Alleyway To The River Behind The Buildings,...

We Walked From One End Of Chinatown To The Other, Enjoying The...

There Was An Incredible Variety Of Building Styles, In All Colours Of...

The Owner Of This Shop Has A Real Green Thumb, The Shrubs...

Anil Stopped To Look At Some Postcards, He Wanted To See Someone...

It Would Be Easy To Think One Had Stumbled Onto A Movie...

I Think The Rain Had Driven Most People Indoors And It Was...

A Few Convenience Stores Remained Open, But The Neighbourhood Was Clearly Settling...

We Passed Many Of These Small Shrines Attached To The Walls Along...

Near The End Of The Street, We Came Upon A Small Canal...

The Owner Of This Building Clearly Thinks His Place Is #1, Note...

Though The Colourful Buildings Are So Attractive, One Of My Favourites Was...

As We Neared The End Of Chinatown, I Looked Back Along The...

Though This Is Chinatown, I Noticed A Malay Name On A Gem...

What A Beautiful Door! The Hibiscus Flowers In Front Match The Colour...

The Traffic Through Chinatown Began To Diminish And Most Of The Parked...

We Passed Though The Welcome Gate Once Again, It Was Time To...


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BACKGROUND

Kuala Terengganu was once a sleepy fishing village sitting at the mouth of the Terengganu River. Along one of the banks of the river, a thriving Chinatown developed and the atmospheric buildings along a cobble-stoned streets is not to be missed. The oldest Chinese temple in the state was built here back in the early 1800s, and is currently undergoing extensive renovations.

Oil was discovered offshore and the fishing village was dragged into the 20th century. Modern buildings abound, stunning new mosques have been built and visitors now find a bustling city with tourism a growth industry. Visitors will find the Malay people very friendly indeed, but this is still a very conservative part of the country and at times people may feel the city is too sedate for their tastes.

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

We arrived in Terengganu early enough in the day that we were able to find a tourism agency where we could rent a car for a week. We had decided that we wanted to be more independent with our transport and that we wanted to take a spin inland to visit the national park Taman Negara and other villages and towns along the east coast. We were surprised that the rental agency doesn’t allow drivers older than 60 years of age.

That meant that Anil could not be our driver, and since I wasn’t interested on driving on the left-hand side of the road, we nominated David as our chauffeur for the week we had the car. David has a lot of experience driving in Indonesia, so this seemed to be the most sensible bet.

After lunch, we hailed a taxi and set off to explore Terengganu’s Chinatown. We had just endured a quick afternoon shower, but the rain stopped shortly after we arrived and the air was fresh and the colours of the buildings looked even brighter when they were wet. It was late afternoon and the shops were beginning to close, but in the end, I didn’t mind at all. We weren’t really there to poke through all the Chinese foodstuffs and I was able to photograph the buildings in all their glory when the shutters were closed and most of the cars parked on the street departed.

The highlight of our visit to Chinatown came when we encountered a group of gentlemen sitting around a table chatting the afternoon away, drinking fruit juice and eating some fresh baked buns. When I asked if they would mind me taking their photograph, they replied with hearty thumbs up and big smiles. I walked away but before I had gone more than a few steps I spotted a stainless-steel cart with some fresh baked goods inside.

We were a little hungry ourselves, so I suggested we buy some fresh buns, and suddenly one of the men from the group rushed over to give us some service. It was then I realized that this was his cart, and that the buns on the table were ones he had just baked. He insisted on giving us a pan of buns, but I told him half was more than enough. He wouldn’t accept any payment, how’s that for Malaysian hospitality.

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