TERENGGANU: Off The Beaten Path In Malaysia

One of the lesser-known and under-subscribed holiday destinations in Malaysia is the state of Terengganu. Terengganu is located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and offers a unique blend of cultural, natural, and historical attractions.

But first I’d like to mention the popular holiday destinations in Malaysia, for those of you who prefer a greater selection of landmarks and attractions.

By the way… did you know? According to the Global Peace Index, Malaysia features in the Top Twenty safest countries! 

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Panoramic view from the hilltop at Kapas Island, Terengganu, Malaysia min

Popular holiday destinations in Malaysia

So, let’s explore the difference in experiences between choosing popular holiday destinations in Malaysia versus a lesser-known destination like Terengganu.

Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Twins Architecture
Kuala Lumpur

Landmarks and Attractions

Kuala Lumpur and Penang boast iconic landmarks and attractions. In Kuala Lumpur, you have the awe-inspiring Petronas Twin Towers, the vibrant street markets of Chinatown, and the historical Batu Caves. Penang offers the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown, famous street art, and mouthwatering street food. In Terengganu, while it may not have internationally renowned landmarks, it compensates with its natural beauty, serene islands, and cultural gems like the Crystal Mosque. You’ll have the chance to discover hidden treasures and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Upside down house in Penang Malaysia
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Crowd Factor

Popular holiday destinations like Langkawi and Malacca tend to attract a larger number of tourists. You’ll find bustling streets, crowded attractions, and busy restaurants. On the other hand, choosing a lesser-known destination like Terengganu offers a more tranquil experience. You can explore at your own pace, enjoy uncrowded beaches, and savor the peaceful atmosphere.

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Cameron Highlands

Off the beaten path

Choosing a lesser-known destination like Terengganu, as opposed to Borneo and the Cameron Highlands, allows you to discover hidden gems and explore places that are less explored by tourists. You may have the opportunity to interact more closely with the local community, gain insights into their way of life, and create unique and authentic experiences.

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A holiday in Terengganu, what to expect...

Before I forget, I’m also sharing some insights into the cost of a holiday in Terengganu versus for example Kuala Lumpur, as well as when the best time is to have a glorious holiday in this little hidden gem.

So, let me tell you about this hidden gem I discovered in Malaysia – Terengganu. Trust me, it’s worth considering for your next holiday destination! Picture this: pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a unique blend of culture and nature. Terengganu has it all, and here’s why you should pack your bags and head there…

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Terengganu beaches

First off, the beaches! Terengganu boasts some of the most breathtaking coastlines I’ve ever seen. The soft, powdery sand between your toes, the gentle sea breeze kissing your face, and the mesmerizing shades of blue stretching out as far as the eye can see. It’s a beach lover’s paradise.

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Turtle beach on Perhantian Islands

But Terengganu isn’t just about lounging on the sand (although that’s definitely a must-do). It’s also a gateway to stunning islands. Think tropical paradise, swaying palm trees, and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. You can hop on a boat and explore the enchanting Perhentian Islands, Redang Island, or Kapas Island. Snorkeling, diving, or simply soaking up the sun – the choice is yours!

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Nasi Danang

Ah, the food! Terengganu is a foodie’s dream come true. Indulge in the flavors of Nasi Dagang, a fragrant rice dish served with a delectable tuna curry. Don’t miss out on Keropok Lekor, a local specialty made from fish and sago flour, crispy on the outside and oh-so-tasty on the inside. And of course, you can’t leave without trying the refreshing coconut shake, a perfect treat to beat the tropical heat.

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Masjid Kristal Mosque

Now, let’s talk about the culture. Terengganu is a treasure trove of Malay heritage and traditions. Take a stroll through the charming streets of Kuala Terengganu and immerse yourself in the rich history. Visit the stunning Crystal Mosque, an architectural marvel that glistens in the sunlight. Don’t forget to explore the local markets, where you can find intricate batik fabrics, traditional crafts, and mouthwatering street food.

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One thing that struck me about Terengganu is its authenticity. It’s not as crowded with tourists as some other destinations in Malaysia, which means you get to experience a more genuine and laid-back vibe. The locals are warm and friendly, always ready to share a smile and a conversation.

So, if you’re up for an adventure off the beaten path, Terengganu is the place to be. It offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. Pack your swimsuit, your curiosity, and your sense of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable journey in this hidden gem of Malaysia. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

The best time to be on holiday in Terengganu


Terengganu has a tropical vibe going on, which means it’s pretty hot and humid most of the time.

Now, we’ve got two seasons to talk about. First up is the dry season, which runs from March to September. During this time, you can expect lots of sunshine, minimal rainfall, and warm temperatures during the day, typically ranging from 32°C (90°F) to 34°C (93°F). Picture yourself lounging on the beach, soaking up that glorious sun without a worry in the world. It’s the perfect time to explore the islands, go snorkeling, and enjoy outdoor activities. At night, the temperatures usually range from 23°C (73°F) to 25°C (77°F), providing a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere to relax and unwind.

But wait, there’s more. We’ve also got the monsoon season, which happens from November to February. Now, during this period, things can get a bit wet. You might experience heavier rainfall and the occasional thunderstorm. But hey, don’t let that rain on your parade! While some beach activities might be affected and boat schedules could be limited, you can still have a blast exploring Terengganu. Plus, the upside is that you’ll encounter fewer tourists, so it’s like having a little slice of paradise all to yourself. Daytime temperatures range from 31°C (88°F) to 33°C (91°F), and nighttime temperatures range from 23°C (73°F) to 25°C (77°F).

Now, keep in mind that the weather can be a bit unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before you head out. But overall, the best time to visit Terengganu is during the dry season, when the sun is shining, and the weather is oh-so-perfect for your beach getaway.

So, pack your sunscreen, beach towels, and your adventurous spirit, because Terengganu is ready to welcome you with its warm tropical climate and stunning landscapes. It’s time to make some amazing memories in this little slice of paradise!

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A more affordable holiday

Terengganu tends to be more affordable compared to popular destinations like Kuala Lumpur or certain parts of Borneo. Here’s why:

  • Accommodation: In Terengganu, you can find a wide range of accommodation options to fit various budgets, including budget hotels, guesthouses, and resorts. Prices for accommodations in Terengganu are generally lower compared to those in Kuala Lumpur or high-end resorts in Borneo.

  • Food and Dining: Terengganu offers a variety of local eateries and street food stalls where you can savor delicious Malay cuisine at affordable prices. From traditional dishes to fresh seafood, you can enjoy a flavorful meal without breaking the bank. In comparison, dining options in Kuala Lumpur and certain touristy areas of Borneo can be relatively more expensive.

  • Activities and Attractions: Terengganu offers a mix of natural and cultural attractions that are often more budget-friendly compared to popular tourist destinations. Exploring the beautiful beaches, visiting local markets, and experiencing traditional activities like batik-making or boat rides are typically more affordable in Terengganu.

  • Transportation: Getting around Terengganu is relatively inexpensive. Public transportation options such as buses and taxis are affordable and readily available. However, do note that transportation costs may vary depending on your specific activities and destinations within Terengganu.

That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that prices can still vary within Terengganu itself, especially in more touristy areas or during peak seasons. Additionally, prices for specific goods and services can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to research and compare prices before your trip to get a clearer picture of the current cost of living and expenses in Terengganu.

Plan your trip to Terengganu, Malaysia

The Malaysian Currency

The currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). The symbol for the Malaysian Ringgit is “RM”. The currency is issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Malaysia, known as Bank Negara Malaysia.

The Malaysian Ringgit is divided into 100 sen. Coins are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen, while banknotes are available in denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, and RM100.

When visiting Malaysia, it’s advisable to exchange your currency for Malaysian Ringgit at authorized money changers or banks. Most businesses in Malaysia accept cash payments, but credit and debit cards are widely accepted, especially in urban areas and popular tourist destinations. ATMs are also readily available throughout the country, making it convenient to withdraw cash using international cards.

Suggested Tool: Currency converter.

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From Sultan Mahmud Airport (TGG) to Terengganu

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Languages in Malaysia

The official language of Malaysia is Malay, also known as Bahasa Malaysia. Malay is widely used in government, education, media, and business sectors.

English is widely understood and spoken, especially in urban areas, and is often used in business and tourism.