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5 things that prove Kuala Terengganu isn’t just for diving

Yes, Kuala Terengganu is one of the largest cities that serve the diving paradises of Pulau Perhentian and nearby islands. Yes, thousands of people flock to the city each year for that reason alone. No, it’s not the only thing worth doing while you’re there. Skyscanner recommends these five items for every visitor's itinerary.

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1. Walk through Kampung Cina (Chinatown)

Though it’s smaller and younger than the settlements in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, the Chinese settlement here is as authentic and important to the city’s history as any other. The buildings lining the neighbourhood are officially part of the UNESCO World Monument Watch Program, and do not disappoint. When walking the main streets, give in to the temptation to wander the narrow alleys to either side – they’re half the fun.

Night or day, Chinatown has something to offer. Image copyright Rozi Salleh
_Night or day, Chinatown has something to offer. Photo credit: Rozi Salleh_

2. Catch a show at Cultural Centre Stage

Located across the road from the main beach, this centre stage hosts acts from all over the town and region, plus a sprinkling of national acts on tour. Check in as soon as you hit town at the Kuala Terengganu Tourist Office to peruse the shows lined up and buy tickets early to get the best options. It takes a bit of luck, but occasional surprises are part of what makes travel great.

Entertainment with this traditional Rebana Ubi drum is just one of many cultural performances at Cultural Centre Stage. Photo credit: Yosri
Entertainment with this traditional Rebana Ubi drum is just one of many cultural performances you could catch. Photo credit: Yosri

3. Shop Bazaar Warisan and Pasar Payang

Batiks and handicrafts are the real draw for the two biggest markets in town, and both boast the usual assortment of t-shirts, tourist souvenirs and snacks. You’ll even find a few Thai-style shops, owing to how close Kuala Terengganu is to the border. Whether you come to shop or to enjoy the bustling atmosphere, it’s worth dedicating an afternoon or late morning.

Shopping is big entertainment even in smaller provinces of Malaysia. Photo credit: Fikku fiq
_Shopping is big entertainment even in smaller provinces of Malaysia. Photo credit: Fikku fiq_

4. Visit the Crystal Mosque

Malaysia isn’t exactly short on impressive mosques, but the Masjid Kristal (Crystal Mosque) stands out even among the best in this country. The Crystal Mosque is a steel and glass construction featuring towering minars, with a contemporary take on both traditional and gothic architectural elements. At night, a light show shifts the colours of all the domes in a variety of jewel tones. Seeing this gorgeous spectacle alone is worth spending a night in town.

The famed Masjid Kristal is even more attractive at night Photo credit: Didiz Rushdi.
_The famed Masjid Kristal is even more attractive at night. Photo credit: Didiz Rushdi_

5. Enjoy a river cruise

Enjoy a selection of river cruises along the city’s waterfront, ranging from simple sightseeing to high tea to a dinner cruise, run by Taman Tamadun Islam cruises. This is a mellow and fascinating way to get a sense of the city. Keep an eye out for monitor lizards swimming nearby, and book the evening tour for an unbeatable view of the Crystal Mosque in its lit up glory.

A river cruise is a cool, and cooling, way to view the city. Photo credit: Adiput
_A river cruise is a cool, and cooling, way to view the city. Photo credit: Adiput_

Check prices to Kuala Terengganu

Time spent in Kuala Terengganu makes for great memories and better stories. Whether you’re moving on to a diving paradise or visiting the city for its own sake, book the cheapest flights, hotels and car rental with Skyscanner and our Skyscanner mobile apps.

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