I am a spontaneous person. I do things on impulse. And I am a late bloomer. Now in my 30s, the “adventures” or spontaneity things I ought to do in my 20s are engulfing my deliberation sense! Haha! I have always want to explore East Coast – there was even this unhatched plan with my now-uncertain-other-half to visit Kelantan 6 years ago. But oh, well like I said that this year is The Year of Metamorphosis; so I have been empowering myself to be more independent – so, by impulse; I did some eleventh-hour hotel reservations, grabbed my car key and hit the road!
My first lodging at Kuantan was The Sentral Hotel – affordable and comfortable. At the heart of Kuantan. This iconic landmark is located just behind my hotel.
From Batang Kali, I took the route up to Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands and had breakfast there. Then, I descended the hill straight to Genting-Sempah which eventually led me to Karak Highway. East Coast is definitely an alien territory for me; I’ve only been to the region in 2012 – that was merely to join my sister’s family to take broken car (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/silver-lightning-in-clouds-blood-is-thicker-than-water-kuantanpahang-megaview-hotel-tanjung-lumpur/); so you could imagine how excited, enthralled and intimidated I was to do a solo trip! After Karak Highway, I was led straight to The East Coast Highway (Lebuhraya Pantai Timur) which was actually a newly-constructed. I shudder to imagine how east coast people were to drive back to their hometowns prior to the existence of the highway as the distances from Kuala Lumpur were quite far!
Sandy, picturesque beach of Telok Chempedak!
Prior reaching Kuantan as my hotel check-in time was scheduled to be at 2 p.m., I detoured to Teluk Chempedak. I always heard about it from my sister as her godmother, the late Mak Tok used to bring her there. It was indeed a sandy beach and there was even an elevated walking terrace built at the beach with troops of monkeys chattering. The scenery was picturesque and breathtaking. Amazing indeed. I loved the ambiance. There was a special corner for buskers to exhibit their talents by serenading the passers-by and an elevated 2-storey-building of the famous Mee Tarik! There was also a food arcade there and I had my lunch there with affordable pricing (considering I took 3 rings of squids; which could be very costly in the Malaysian markets!). I checked-in the Hotel Sentral, adjacent to Pahang River circa 2.30 p.m.
The iconic Sultan Ahmad Shah State Mosque! At last I was there. Perhaps I should go here during Ramadhan just to get that feeling of breaking the fast with hundreds of people on this field? Who knows? I am spontaneous.
The small library at the mosque. Nonetheless, it is equipped with exquisite reading materials!
Averroes’s old book entitled “Tahafot At-Tahafot” and the Malay Archipelago’s gem, Prof. HAMKA’s book called “Peribadi” (Personality)! He enlisted several traits to attract others – in a way, he is a rhetorician in nature, no?
I went to the Sultan Ahmad Shah State Mosque which was merely a 3-minutes drive from my hotel. Always wanted to visit this mosque as I always see the field in front of the mosque filled with people having their Iftar (breaking the fast)! Well, it wasn’t that big but at least I had set my footsteps there. And what most surprising was to see the small library in the mosque with a few exquisite books such as HAMKA’s “Peribadi” and Ibn Rusyd a.k.a. Averroes’s book called “Tahafot at Tahafot”!!! I was so attracted to the former as I’ve read somewhere about the book in which Prof. HAMKA had enlisted a few traits which could be used to accessorize oneself and in someway, rhetorical strategies to attract others! Absolutely enthralling! Since the trip was meant for me to have a casual let-hair-down moment, to unwind myself from the stressful Charity Carnival; I didn’t really venture out for any tourism attractions. That night, I feasted on the Wak Rado satays, which happened to be merely a stone-throw away from my hotel.
The majestic Terengganu Crystal Mosque! At last I was there! Wishlist TICKED! Looks like my colleague’s daughter who have to eat her words for saying that Sir Shahrill has been traveling the world but not Terengganu! Hahahaha!
That night, I was awaken abruptly when someone tried to crash-in my room!! As the door was locked, the person tried to use force to open it and knocked the door a few times. I was a bit annoyed and when I opened, there was a young man who looked a little surprise at seeing my face. He got the wrong room; probably didn’t check the room number prior knocking the door! Arghhh!! Bummer! Of course the next morning at the breakfast hall, I bumped into this young man but pretended as if nothing happened. Hahaha!
The nearby Taman Tamadun Islam or The Islamic Heritage Park.
The Sultan Mosque at Singapore. I have been there last May 2017 so you could imagine how fascinated I was to see the detail of the mini model! REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/thee-galaxy-of-geekddom-garden-by-the-bay-singapore-the-star-wars-run-2017-the-prior-prejudice-of-bangsa-johor-an-amateur-social-science-observation/.
The Malaysian National Mosque and The Nabawi Mosque in Medina. Been there!
The Makkah. The Kaabah or The Black House was built at the centre of the complex just like the real one. Been there in 2014! Refer to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/the-bride-of-the-red-sea-episode-xvi-the-2014-umrah-part-i-1st-pilgrimage-with-qarnul-manazil-as-miqat-makkah-al-mukarramah/.
The majestic Sultan Omar Ali Saifiuddien Mosque at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. I was there in June 2017 for my birthday! REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/a-rebirth-in-ramadhan-my-33rd-birthday-a-spiritual-ziyarah-brunei-darussalam-the-nusantara-islamic-oasis/.
I took the Jabor Highway from Kuantan straight to Kuala Terengganu. As that was my first experience and my first time to Terengganu, I was very excited! The journey took me around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Without further ado, I went to the famous Terengganu Crystal Mosque at Pulau Wan Man, Kuala Terengganu! I still remember that a colleague’s daughter who was in my class told his father that I’ve never went to Kuala Terengganu (I admitted to the class I’ve never been to Terengganu and would like to go there one day) whereas I’ve practically went to several countries abroad :-
“Sir Shahrill tu kan Ayah; seluruh dunia dia dah gi tapi Terengganu pun dia tak sampai lagi! (Daddy, Sir Shahrill has been to a few countries around the world but yet, he has never even been to Terengganu!).”
So, I’ve been telling myself that if I were to go to Terengganu, I would definitely visit the Crystal Mosque; and I did! Wishlist TICKED! It wasn’t that big but definitely an exquisite facade. Next, there was The Islamic Heritage Park (Taman Tamadun Islam) adjacent to the Crystal Mosque. I walked along the wooden bridge erected along the riverbank between these two places. It was scorching hot! The entrance fee for an adult was RM22.90 along with free meal coupon (but I didn’t use it due to immense crowd!). I have to say that the replica or the mini models of the Islamic civilization buildings/mosques were INCREDIBLE! Thumbs up to the architects and engineers!! I was amazed when I see the mini version of the mosques I have been to such as mosques in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei and even the Dome of Rock!! When I entered the Dome of Rock, the ambiance was exactly the same just like the original one I went into in Jerusalem- the interior design, the ceiling, and even the Foundation Stone and the small door leading underneath the stone were built!! Amazing!!
Dome of The Rock was the most spectacular for me! Since I was there in Palestine circa March 2017 and have entered Baitul Muqaddis, I can say that for thsoe who have no opportunity to visit Palestine; you could go here at Terengganu! The interior deco was similar and even they got the right colour! And not to mention the Foundation Stone and the little door that leads underneath it! Kudos to the architects. REFER to my March 2017 Jerusalem’s Dome of The Rock at (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/hymn-for-the-soul-the-land-of-the-prophets-my-spiritual-journey-at-the-promised-land-palestine-israel-al-ar%E1%B8%8D-al-muqaddasah-eretz-hakodesh/)
And then there was an elevated viaduct (just like the one I saw in New Zealand!) and also a water windmill! So cool! It is a pride for Malaysians to have this type of Edutainment Park and now I see, no wonder Malaysia ranks No.1 as the best Muslim travel destination in the 2017 Global Muslim Travel Index (REFER to https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/06/malaysia-ranks-worlds-best-muslim-travel-destination/). I spent around 1 hour walking around the park and savoured the beautiful architectures. If you guys want to peruse more information, you can go to http://www.tti.com.my/page/tti-virtual-reality for more.
The viaduct and the water mill, leading to the Arabian world.
The Kul Sharif Mosque, Kazan City, Russia. I wish to go here one day. Insya ALLAH. My #WishList.
The unique facade of Agadez Grand Mosque, Niger.
The Great Mosque of Qairawan, Tunisia.
The Suleyman Mosque, Turkey. Another #WishList for me!
The amazing Mohammad Ali Mosque (Alabaster Mosque), Cairo, Egypt! Breathtaking. Look at the details spent to construct this mini model.
The Aleppo Citadel, Syria. Sigh, I am not sure whether this mosque still exists there or not eversince ISIS now reigns the area. I remember someone that I used to date years ago telling me about Syria. Oh, well.
The Mausoleum of Abu Nasr Parsa, Balkh, Afghanistan.
The Sheikh Lutfallah Mosque, Iran.
Look at the unique style of architecture?! The Great Mosque of Samarra, Iraq!
The Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan! Splendid!
The Pattani Mosque, Thailand. I hope to explore Thailand in the nearest future!
There’s reason why Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Looking at the architecture, you can find hints of Javanese style building on the Islamic architecture. The Kudus Al-Manar Mosque,Central Java, Indonesia!
I then checked-in the Kuala Terengganu Grand Continental. Although it was an old hotel but I guess it was money-worthy with scenic view of South China Sea. It was therapeutic. And also a wild twilight I had, no doubt. I can’t dish explicitly but it was a wild one (,”).
From my 13th floor room at The Grand Continental Kuala Terengganu. I love seeing the vast South China Sea.
A dinner after the Twilight Fight. A reward for being such a good dominatrix, perhaps. Haha! Thanks my Trengganu darling. Kikiki. Husshh.
That morning, I made an attempt to hike the Puteri Hill situated not that far from my hotel and The Payang Market. I knew this historical hill from the book “A Maps of Trengganu” by abang Awang Goneng, an FB friend who now lives in London with his wife, Kak Zaharah Othman. Naturally, I was intrigued by the artifacts and the old bell described in the book. The guard was a friendly chap who somehow found it amusing to know that I drove to Kuala Terengganu alone. Probably due to my petite size and wondering what the hell I was doing at Kuala Terengganu, no? LOL!
Heard so much about this Puteri Hill in Awang Goneng’s “A Maps of Trengganu”. So I have make an effort to see this, myself.
A lighthouse to warn the voyagers at the yonder.
The majestic bell or “genta”. I read in “A Maps of Trengganu” that it was used to mark the time for Iftar or breaking fast for people of Kuala Terengganu. Very nostalgic tradition.
Initially, I was contemplating whether to go along the East Coastline straight to Kota Bharu, Kelantan or not. But thinking about the route as there is no highway leading to Kota Bharu and as well as from a few blog reading, I guess maybe I should focus Kota Bharu for another adventure. Perhaps from the northern region? So, anyway I decided to go back to Pahang; spending night at Cherating. I made my spontaneous reservation at Tanjung Inn as it seemed so tranquil there. So, on the way back via the highway, I saw Kuala Berang and that reminded me of the famous Terengganu Inscription Stone (Batu Bersurat) of which I have already read about since I was in secondary school! So instantaneously, I made a detour and used my Waze to locate it. Finally, I reached the memorial and saw the Stone. Wow, it wasn’t that big! Before this, I thought it was a gigantic rock but apparently it was not. This stone is a testament that Islam already reached the Malay Archipelago since the early 13th Century! Gosh, I am sucha History freak! Haha!
The famous Terengganu Inscription Stone or “Batu Bersurat”!!! At last I was there! Another #WishList Ticked! I used to think that it was big but on contrary it was actually, small.
Teluk Mak Nik Beach a.k.a. Monica Bay. Wow, sucha a vast difference between these two names. Maybe some Anglicized-Malaynized kinda thing? Like Aaron converted as Haron? Vice versa? Haha!
Then, I continued my journey to the south and stopped at Cukai where the Teluk Mak Nik Beach was located. It was reported that the beach was dubbed as Monica Bay years ago. I don’t know how that came about – possibly by the English Colonists? I savoured the Ikan Celup Tepung (The Deep Fried Fish; unluckily didn’t have the chance to savour the deep fried calamari!). The wave at the beach was indeed strong! I had that spontaneous reminiscence of the old Malay movie called “Fenomena” starring Ramona Rahman as Isabella, a Malay-British lady travelling to Terengganu to find traditional way to cure her AIDS; there was a scene where Ramona Rahman was strolling along a Coast East beach with strong wind blew her hair! It was definitely something I haven’t seen because wave in West Coast is not that strong due to Sumatra as the natural barrier, whereas South China Sea has no natural barrier to shield the strong wind! I arrived at Cherating circa 2.00 p.m. and checked-in Tanjung Inn.
Tanjung Inn, Cherating! A great place to stay with serene ambiance. Money-worthy, I said for people who wants to rejuvenate their minds. Thumbs up to the friendly, groovy manageress. (,”)
My villa for the night. Very nice.
The pavement leading towards the villas are so Bali. Love the ambiance.
A view from my verandah.
Water lily at the swamp near my villa. I don’t know WHY I was posing like that?! Perhaps I thought it was sexy. Hahaha! Yearning to make the blanket warm, again. Kikiki!
I chose this as it has wooden-house villas with Bali ambiance. I would say it is money-worthy for the tranquility and therapeutic feel. It reminded me of the villa I resided at The Settlement in Malacca last year (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/battling-mental-depression-with-self-serenity-notes-of-my-travel-the-settlement-hotel-melaka/). I loved the ambiance. And the manageress at the counter was a hippy-wardrobe kinda girl but very friendly. I was given the villa that was nearest to the beach. There was a vast lake in front of my verandah as well as a swamp with beautiful lillies. Breathtaking, I would say. I went to the Turtle Sanctuary but was late as it was closed. So, I went to try the famous Sotong Celup Tepung (Deep Fried Calamari) at the famous Warung Awang Ikan Bakar (WAIB). Perhaps because I was in the strict diet regime – I just couldn’t eat the whole 2 squids I picked as I found that they were too oily – on contrary, I used to really LIKED that especially at Bagan Lalang! Haha!
Too oily for my liking and couldn’t finish them. But thumbs up to the famous Sotong Celup Tepung!
That night, I went out to Chendor Beach which was not that far from Kemaman-Cherating boundary. Had a great tete-a-tete which initially was a casual one but turned to be quite life philosophical. I got to know the world of Silat Kuningan which is said to be originated from the Cirebron Isles of Java and the metaphors behind the graces and steps of our Malay Archipelago’s martial arts. I was surprised to discover how I could sustain myself in that type of conversation for nearly 2 hours! From that conversation, I deduced that sometimes, ordinary common men actually possess such a strong integrity and ethics; contradicts to the idea that high-flyers in society are regarded as the gentlemen when actually these intelligent brains are the uncouth and immoral scumbags – and I respect that; and it was a grounding experience for me. We talked while serenaded by the local Karaoke spot near the beach. It was another new experience for me – I mean, I do love karaokeing but I never go to an alfresco type in a “kampung”-esque places where mostly the visitors were carefree Middle Class men! It was cool. We called the night off at 11.00 p.m.
The beach behind Tanjung Inn. You could see the Cherating Royale Chulan up there, looking so regal.
Sunset view. So East Coast. Very serene.
On the next day after having breakfast at the beautiful Tanjung Inn, I called the day off by pushing off back to Batang Kali. The journey took me circa 2 hours and 15 minutes via the Genting Highland; and all the way to my crib at Tamu Hill Park in good old Batang Kali. I have to say that the whole wanderlust experience was great although a bit pricey as I booked the places on last minutes (more like a day before!) but that is just me; I am a spontaneous soul!
There was a library for those bookworms. I guess that is why Tanjung Inn was flocked with international tourists, in fact, Cherating has many foreign tourists! I love the ambiance there. Very chique and lay-back with alfresco dining and drinking. Perhaps if I were to go back there with company, I would hang out there. The second picture was the Tanjung Inn’s banquet hall. On whole, I had very therapeutic East Coast tastes – the scenery, the view and the meat. Haha! #TrueStory.