If you head to Terengganu, one of the hotspots of the state is Kuala Terengganu and other beautiful islands of the South China Sea such as Perhentian Island, Redang Island and Kapas Island.
Located about 55 kilometres from Kuala Terengganu, Setiu also offers many interesting places to visit. Setiu is situated along the coast with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches which it is sure to offer memorable memories for those who visit it.
When it comes to the beaches, there are a few things to be mindful of such as the states on the West Coast of the Peninsula (Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang) that usually experiences Northeast monsoons leading to heavy rains and tides from early November to March. Therefore, most hotels and chalets offer lower prices in comparison to the usual peak seasons as not many visitors will come.
However, the situation is not as bad as it may seem, as many still take the opportunity to visit to avoid peak tourist seasons.
Setiu is rich in flora and fauna, cultural art and beautiful beach scenery. Here are some must-see locations if you go there:
1. Pantai Penarik
Setiu, Terengganu is one of Malaysia’s hottest ‘instagramable spots’. Not only is the view of the sea breath-taking, but the cultivation of the coconut trees along the coastline is a major attraction. Some of the activities you can do are swimming, having picnics with family and friends and even photography. You can also cycle around while having the coconut trees and beaches as your backdrop.
Penarik Beach is a regular filming location often seen in the film industry as a movie or drama venue especially for its fishing villages along the coast. When it comes to vacationing on the seaside, seafood is a must. Don’t worry, many restaurants do offer sea-based cuisines along the coast which includes one of the main cooking styles of ‘celup tepung’.
2. Setiu Wetlands
With the size of 23,000 hectares, Setiu Wetlands is the largest natural wetlands in the East Coast. It consists of nine ecosystems – the sea, rivers, sandy beaches, estuaries, islands, mudflats, a lagoon, freshwater swamps and mangroves. The authorities and locals work together for preservation and conservation efforts.
The Wetlands is an area of high biodiversity and difficult to locate. Research carried out in the wetlands indicates that 29 species of mammals, 161 species of birds, and 36 species of reptiles and amphibians are found. It surely is a unique spot for tourists to explore using the boat services to these Wetlands.
3. Setiu Boardwalk
From the boat cruise, you can take a short walk to Setiu Boardwalk where you can get a closer look of the mangrove forests. A 500-foot bridge is built along the mangroves.
Various marine life can be found here, among them are the lesser-known reefs, shrubs and marine plants. Both local authorities and the locals are involved in preservation and conservation work. Along the pedestrian bridge, lots of information is given to facilitate visitors. No fee is charged to visitors.
4. Rumah Botol
This location is quite interesting as it is an individual initiative to collect bottles.
Beginning with worries that visitors’ feet might be injured by the glass bottle shards on the beach, Tengku Mohd Ali or known as Ayah Ku, 75-year-old started buying bottles from the villagers. Now he has collected 7,000 bottles including glass bottles washed up on the beach and receives donations from the public to continue his work.
In addition to bottles, there were also mugs that were collected as early as 1976 when he operated a small resort on Kapas Island. You can visit Bottle House in Kampung Baru Penarik, Setiu.
5. Terrapuri Heritage Village
Located in the picturesque beach of Terengganu, Terrapuri Heritage village is no stranger to tourists. Offering accommodation in concept houses of a traditional Terengganu Malay village house, there is a total of 29 historic houses believed to be 100 to 250 of age. 22 rooms are turned into villas while the rest are for dining, meeting, reception and spa.
Owner, Alex Lee Yun Ping began collecting antique houses from all over Terengganu since 1990s by buying from the original owner before being transported and restored in Setiu. Each antique house has its own story looking at the history of each building. Guests can stay in Terrapuri starting from RM429.00 per night (Superior Villa) with free breakfast for two people. Lunch and dinner are also offered for as low as RM75.00 per person.
However, for those who do not stay here, you can also visit the area for RM25.00 per person including snacks (min 2 people). It is an experience like no other living in a museum with not only great sunset views but there are also antique furniture and appliances such as pottery, bronze and game equipment to appreciate.