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5 Mar 2015

Music Festivals in Malaysia

Malaysia Music Festivals

There has been a surge in Music Festivals in Malaysia over the last couple of years as the tourism industry has been growing tremendously on a positive note. With the many new music festivals and events, there was a need for this to be published as many locals and also foreigners visiting Malaysia would like to know where and when these festivals will take place. 

The list of music festivals in Malaysia is in no order but by the various states in Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak Borneo. If you know of a music festival not listed here, please contact me or leave a comment below and I will include it in this list.

Selangor Music Festivals

My Music Festival 2015 Malaysia

My Music Festival 2015

The latest music festival in Malaysia is My Music Festival 2015 or MMF2015 which will take place at Sunway Surf Pool and will be recognised as the 'Largest Malaysian Live Band Music Festival' ever held in the country to date. This inaugural music festival is also a free entrance event and will see thousands of Malaysians and foreigners attending the event held on the 8th March 2015 here in Sunway Lagoon, Selangor. A total of 21 live bands, musicians and and artist are scheduled to perform in one evening giving visitors a very wide genre of music.

My Music Festival 2015
Venue: Surf Pool, Sunway Lagoon, Petaling Jaya Selangor
Date: 8th March (Sunday)
Time: 5-11pm
Website: My Music Festival 2015

MTV World Stage Malaysia 2015

MTV World Stage Malaysia

History in Malaysia was made on August 15, 2009 when world renown MTV Asia staged the first ever outdoor MTV World Stage Live In Malaysia at Sunway Lagoon Resort in Petaling Jaya which saw over 15, 000 fans attending this. To date, numerous international superstars like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Wonder Girls, Jay Park, Robin Thicke among local Malaysian superstars have performed over the years here. A must-attend-concert for any youth or any MTV fan!

Sundown Beach Music Festival Malaysia

Sundown Beach Music Festival

Having been one of the only beach festivals in Malaysia, the Sundown Beach Music Festival has kept party goers entertained at Gold Coast Morib in Selangor. International Electro mix in delirious visual vibes kept the party-goers up all night long with the best of electro that Malaysian and international DJs such as Jaytech and Lisa Lashes.

*However, since the last incident at Future Music Festival 2014 in Malaysia, we are unsure if this festival is going to happen again, so this is pending information. The last event was the Sundown Beach Music Festival 2013. 

WOW Music Festival Malaysia

WOW Music Festival 

Based on the Ibiza like dance parties at the beach, the WOW Music Festival was created and this event is targeted to the EDM and Dance Music lovers in Malaysia.  Held at the Surf Beach  of Sunway Lagoon, this momentous event is highly recommended for anyone into DJ's and dance music.

*Unsure if this event will continue due to the FMFA 2014 issues. 

Kuala Lumpur Music Festivals

Rainforest Reggae Music Festival KL Malaysia

Rainforest Reggae Music Festival 

The first ever Rainforest Reggae Music Festival in Kuala Lumpur took place on the 6th December 2014 at a the Kem Isi Rimba at Kemensah, near Ulu Kelang in the Klang Valley. The joint organizers initially planned for the Putrajaya International Reggae Festival but due to unfortunate circumstances, the event was called off and postponed to this which is now branded as Rainforest Reggae Music Festival 2014.

Good Vibes Festival

Good Vibes Festival 

Good Vibes Festival is all about having good fun with good music and good company, featuring a plethora of art, food and fashion attractions to complete the festival experience. Good Vibes was originally started in 2013 where the festival showcases the best local and international music in various stages. Catered more for the younger generation, there are food and drink stalls and various fun activities to participate in here.

*Due to the last FMFA incident, we are unsure if Good Vibes Festival 2015 will continue here. 

Kuala Lumpur Jazz Festival

Kuala Lumpur Jazz Festival 

Branded as the KL Jazz Festival, this city level event has seen some very big international names like Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, Lisa Young Quartet and many other international names from the world over play at KLJF. A must attend jazz event if you love all things jazz. 

Jazz Piano Festival Malaysia 2015

Malaysia Jazz Piano Festival 

A very niche music festival in KL, the Malaysia Jazz Piano Festival event is held for 3 days at various locations around Kuala Lumpur. Many local Malaysian jazz artist and performers take part here and the main event is usually held at No Black Tie in Kuala Lumpur. There are some clinics which include jazz piano clinics too.

Urbanscapes 2015 Malaysia


Urbanscapes is the first and only all-day "user-generated" creative arts festival in the Klang Valley and the main event is divided into 4 different areas, Main Zone; where you have headliners performing, The Field; which is the upfront stage featuring top bands and DJs and snacks crafts corner; Green Village for green initiatives as well as live act performances and Central Square where festival-goers chill and enjoy comedy shows at the Lounge. Mostly youths and teenagers attend this festival and Urbanscapes is also branded as the countries largest Indie Music Festival in Malaysia.

Malaysia World Youth Jazz Festival

World Youth Jazz Festival

The World Youth Jazz Festival (WYJF) works jointly under the initiatives of the Malaysian Minister Of Youth And Sports and Jazz Community Malaysia (JAZZCOMM). This event is also held at Putrajaya and showcases about 20 jazz bands and performers from Malaysia and around the world.

*We are unsure is this event will continue in 2015.

DongTaiDu Music Festival Malaysia

DongTaiDu Music Festival

The DongTaiDu music festival is catered to the creative market offering a great selection of crafts and arts as well as photography exhibition, film screenings, independent music discussion and double-stage musical performances by various artists across Southeast Asia such as +2dB (Malaysia), Elephant Gym (Taiwan), UNiXX (Hong Kong), The Voodoo Sound (Singapore) and many others. A very niche Chinese music festival here in Malaysia.

Malaysia Rock The World Festival

Rock The World 

Rock The World is a major household name to music fans of Malaysia’s rock scene and created in 2000, this rock festival in Malaysia has grown to be Malaysia’s biggest and longest running rock music festival. Every year Rock The World showcases the best bands and highlights new and upcoming bands coming through the ranks.

*Unsure if Rock The World 2015 will take place.

We Love Asia Festival 2015

We Love Asia Festival 

We love Asia Festival is one of those not-to-be-missed music festival of the year in Malaysia which is usually held on the massive international Sepang F1 Race Circuit. In total, the festival has seen more than 50 international and national renowned artists perform here in Malaysia.

*However, due to the FMFA2014 Incident, we are unsure if We Love Asia Festival will continue here in Malaysia. Pending information. 

Malaysian International Guitar Festival MIGFest

Malaysian International Guitar Festival or MIGFest

Founded back in 2007, MIGFEST (Malaysian International Guitar Festival) is an international music festival which showcases a variety of guitarists and luthiers. This unique guitar festival in Malaysia is also created by Mr. Jeffrey Yong with the assistance and support from the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia, it is a prestigious and publicised musical festival which is biggest of its kind in South East Asia region.

Sarawak Music Festivals

RWMF 2015

Rainforest World Music Festival 

The mother-of-all music festivals in Sarawak and Malaysia - the Rainforest World Music Festival which has been around for 16 years, and is recognized as one of the 25 music festivals in the world to visit. This unique festival sees over 15,000 visitors over a 3-day weekend at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching and also showcasing not only world music, but unique workshops and a bazaar. Highly recommended for anyone who has not attended the RWMF. The next Rainforest World Music Festival 2015 is on the 7-9 August at the same venue. 

2015 Borneo Jazz Festival

Borneo Jazz Festival

It has been 10 solid years that the Borneo International Jazz Festival or BIJF has been happening here in Miri, Sarawak and is a must-visit if you are a jazz lover. This festival was once called the Miri Jazz Festival where it has always been at the home ground of the Everly Park Hotel in Miri. World class jazz musicians from all over have performed here over the years. Borneo Jazz Festival 2015 will take place from 8-9 May at Miri, Sarawak.

2015 Borneo World Music Expo

Borneo World Music Expo

The first of its kind and held here in Kuching, Sarawak - this was the mastermind of former Sarawak Tourism Board CEO, Datuk Rashid Khan where it was slated a few days just before the World Rainforest Music Festival. At the Borneo World Music Expo, international programmers, performers and specialist conduct workshops about the unique world music industry. The next Borneo World Music Expo 2015 will happen from 3-5 August in Kuching, Sarawak. 

Asia Music Festival 2015

Asia Music Festival

The first Asia Music Festival in Sarawak is set to showcase the talent of many local and international musicians and performers. Held in the city of Miri, the AMF is a two day event at the Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club which is about five kilometers from town center. A wide genre of music is played here while the last count at the AMF 2014, a total of 3,000 visitors attended this festival.

2015 WAG Music Festival

WAG Music Festival 

WAG stands for World Animal Groove and this fun festival is organized by the Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and host a series of exciting events to commemorate World Animal Day in celebration of the animals which share our lives, and our world. Held usually in October at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) and features an evening of artistes, performers and stand-up comedians from Malaysia, Singapore, USA and Indonesia.

Highland Folk Music Festival Sarawak

Sarawak Highland Folk Music Festival 

One of the more obscure music festival the world has seen is here in Sarawak Borneo. The Highland Folk Music Festival is a very unique music festival which features very traditional music instruments such as Sape, Satung, Tung But, Sanang, Tawak, Jatung Lutang, Atui and Oreng used by the ethnic people here. Only for the those who appreciate this event. Many have requested that they bring the music festival to the city of Kuching but this is pending as it is usually held in the remote highlands of Sarawak.

MCMF 2015

Miri Country Music Festival 

The first and only Country Music Festival in Malaysia and possible Southeast Asia, and who would have thought, a Country and Western Music Festival in the island of Borneo! The Miri Country Music Festival was made possible by Gracie Geckie and her team who has successfully brought the MCMF to its second year with an amazing turnout of over 2000 visitors. A craft and food bazaar compliments the event which sees visitors all dressed in cowboy hats, boots and checked shirts for the Miri Country Music Festival, something you rarely encounter nowadays. 

Penang Music Festivals

2015 Penang World Music Festival

Penang World Music Festival

The two-day Penang World Music Festival held previously at the Penang Botanical Gardens is now moving to a new venue - The Penang Esplanade for 2015. PWMF features various world musicians, many who have performed at the Rainforest World Music Festival, art and music workshops, souvenir booths, stalls selling CD's and food and an excellent festival. If you missed the RWMF, the Penang World Music Festival 2015 is easily accessible as it takes place from 11-12 April.  

2015 Penang Island Jazz Festival PIJF 2015

Penang Island Jazz Festival 

The pioneers of jazz festivals in Malaysia, the 1st Penang Island Jazz Festival was born in 2004 here in the Pearl of the Orient or Penang. Showcasing local and international Jazz artist from around the world, the PIJF is held every end of the year at the same venue - The Bayview Beach Resort at Batu Ferringhi, Penang. A must-visit is you love jazz and catch the main event which is Jazz by the Beach. Penang Island Jazz Festival 2015 will take place at the end of the year in early December.

Sabah Music Festivals

Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival 2015

KK Jazz Festival 

Over in North Borneo in the state of Sabah, the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival or KK Jazz Festival (KKJF) is an annual fund raising jazz extravaganza jointly organized by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) and the Society of Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (SPArKS). Expect local and international jazz musicians performing yearly here.

Sunset Music Festival Kudat Sabah 2015

Sunset Music Festival

Located at a very beautiful setting in the island of Borneo, the Sunset Music Festival embarks on a musical journey at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau or The Tip of Borneo in Sabah. Music genres here range from classical favourites to contemporary tunes with the amazing sun sets in the horizon. One of the more nicer setups in terms of venues. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to try something different. 

Sunset Music Festival 2015
Date: 5-6 June
Venue: Tip of Borneo, Sabah
Tickets: RM50+ 
Sunset Music Festival Website

North Borneo Jungle Music Festival 2015

North Borneo Jungle Music Festival

The North Borneo Jungle Music Festival 2015 is a brand new music event here in Kota Kinabalu Sabah with an objective to celebrate the diversity of live performance musicians, singers and also cultural dances. Local and international DJ's will also be part of the program where the entire festival will go on for a whopping 12 hours. Music genres you will find here are ethnic and traditional music, contemporary world music, modern fusion and even ethnic jazz. However, the face that DJ's are involved will also see modern electronic dance music. The event is also held at the Monsopiad Cultural Village, 20 minutes from Kota Kinabalu city.

North Borneo Jungle Music Festival 2015
Date: April 25th, 2015
Time: 12 noon to 12 am
Venue: Monsopiad Cultural Village, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tickets: RM35 to RM50
Buy BJMF2015 Tickets Online 

Johor Music Festivals

JB Jazz Festival 2015

JB Jazz Festival

A brand new jazz festival in Malaysia has been added into this list which is the JB Jazz Fest 2015 which was held at the end of February and early March at the DoubleTree Hilton in Johor Baharu City. World-class jazz musicians such as Sadao Watanabe were the highlight here which is in conjunction with the JB arts Festival 2015. Another bonus for Jazz Fans in the region.

Johor Baharu Classical Musical Festival 2015

JB Classical Musical Festival 

Part of the JB Arts Festival initiative, they have also launched another new music festival called the JB Classical Musical Festival 2015 which will take place from the 1-3 May 2015 in Johor Baharu. This is also a spin off after the JB Jazz Fest and currently, there is not much information released on this event but for Classical Music lovers, the Johor Baharu Classical Musical Festival 2015 is definitely something to catch in Johor.

JB Classical Musical Festival 2015
Date: 1-3 May, 2015
Venue: -
Time - 

Langkawi Music Festivals

Langkawi Live - One Earth Blues Festival 2015

Langkawi Live - One Earth Blues Festival

Langkawi Live – One Earth Blues Festival 2014 showcases Malaysia’s finest blues artistes and launched in 2011. To date, performers include The Jamie Wilson Trio, Russell Curtis Project, Alex Terry and Victor Chan, Elvira Arul, Ushera, Kelvyn and The Blues and local Penang boy Raggy Singh.  Langkawi Live was launched as a vehicle for bringing exciting and eclectic music events to various venues on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. Several short eco films are played during the breaks between the musical performances while part of the proceeds are donated to the Charity Club Langkawi. 

Malaysia Music Festivals 2015
Malaysia Music Festivals
The above are a collection of all the music festivals around Malaysia and based on research, some of them may or may not be continued due to certain circumstances. While most of the prominent ones have been ongoing for over 5 years, a lot of new ones seem to come and go, mainly due to funding issues or lack of interest from the public.

The major music festivals in the country are also supported by Malaysia Major Events (MME), a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia. If you know of any new or other music festivals in the country, please do leave a comment below or contact me with the information as I can update this list of Music Festivals in Malaysia. 

4 Mar 2015

Raptor Watch 2015

Raptor Watch 2015 Tanjung Tuan Melaka

Raptor Watch 2015 is organised by the Malaysian Nature Society who also turns 75 years old this year and the bird watching event on the 14th of March will be celebrated differently as promised by MNS. This birding festival held at the Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse in Melaka celebrates the return of the migratory birds of prey or better known as raptors from their journey back to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere. 

The migratory raptors of Tanjung Tuan originate from North Asia, Northeastern Asia, Northeastern China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, Eastern Siberia, and Kamchatka where they breed. As the autumn season approaches (September), they will make the perilous journey south from their original country into continental Southeast Asia and its associated archipelago through the East Asian Flyway (migratory routes taken by raptors).

From late January till March/April, they will once again make the same journey to their breeding grounds and March is one of the best times to spot these migratory birds.

Tanjung Tuan in Melaka Photo
Tanjung Tuan in Melaka for the Raptor Watch Event
Among the Raptors that you can spot at Tanjung Tuan are;

• Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

• Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis) 

• White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 

• Chinese Goshawk (Accipiter soloensis) 

• Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes)

• Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 

• Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) 

• Eastern Marsh-Harrier (Circus spilonotus) 

• Oriental (Crested) Honey-Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) 

• Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus) 

• Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela) 

• Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

Tanjung Tuan Crested Serpent-Eagle
Crested Serpent-Eagle seen at Tanjung Tuan
This years Raptor Watch 2015 will focus mainly on the Tanjung Tuan lighthouse and the forest reserve surrounding it. Among the many activities which will be held in the Tanjung Tuan forest, the organizers promise a whole new level of fun and interactive learning experience for young and old.

Tanjung Tuan or Cape Rachado History

Cape Rachado was actually named by the Portuguese which means Broken Cape and is an exclave of the state of Malacca, Malaysia, adjacent to the town of Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan. The most prominent landmark here is of course the Cape Rachado Lighthouse which faces the Strait of Malacca and now serving as the main venue for Raptor Watch.

After the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511, the Portuguese built a lighthouse to guide its ships and Tanjung Tuan was chosen and the cape was named Cape Rachado by them. Another historical fact is that the coastal area off the cape is the site of the naval Battle of Cape Rachado in 1606, between the Dutch VOC and Portuguese fleets. 

Tanjung Tuan Osprey
An Osprey at Tanjung Tuan
Tanjung Tuan is also the only remaining patch of coastal forest on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has been gazetted as a Forest Reserve, Wildlife Reserve, Fishing Prohibited Area and also a Historical Site which is open to all tourist. 

Raptor Watch 2015 Information
Date: 14th March, 2015
Venue: Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, 10th Mile Port Dickson, Melaka
Time: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Entrance: Free
More Information: Raptor Watch 2015 Website 

How to go to Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson
Tanjung Tuan is also known as Cape Rachado or the Blue Lagoon on the 10th mile from the Port Dickson town heading south. Those driving here, you need to take the Port Dickson coastal road all the way pass Taman Anika and turn into Kampung Siginting towards Hutan Rekreasi Tanjung Tuan.

An easy landmark here is the PNG Ilham Resort just before the national park. For some state bordering reasons, the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve is located in Melaka while Kampung Siginting is in Negeri Sembilan.

Tanjung Tuan GPS Coordinates: 2.4000° N, 101.8667° E

Raptor Watch Japanese Sparrowhawk
A Japanese Sparrowhawk photographed at Raptor Watch
Hotels around Tanjung Tuan
There are quite a number of hotels around here so for anyone driving, it would be much easier. There are choices of budget hotels and also 3-5 star hotels available here depending on your style. I have provided a radius of 5 kilometres for the list of hotels nearest to the Raptor Watch event which is;

• PNB Ilham Resort
• Casa Rachado Beach Resort
• Permaisuri Resort Port Dickson
• Thistle Port Dickson
• Klana Beach Resort Port Dickson
• Akar Beach Resort
•Ancasa Resort Port Dickson
• Primaland Resort Port Dickson
• Eagle Ranch Resort

Tanjung Tuan Map

There are also other articles on Bird Watching in Malaysia done by Malaysia Asia and for the serious birders, you can check out this article on Bird Watching in Borneo or even participate in a unique bird race called the Borneo Bird Race held yearly which is an amazing experience taking you to three different parts of Borneo to spot the many endemic birds there.

The RW birding event is organized by Malaysian Nature Society in partnership with the Malacca State Government, Negeri Sembilan State Government and Tourism Malaysia for Raptor Watch 2015. 

3 Mar 2015

Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015

Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015

The Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015 is taking place this 14 and 15 March at Monumen Alaf Baru, Precinct 2 in Putrajaya. This is also the 7th year that the pioneer hot air balloon festival has been happening here and every year, it only gets better and better. For two days, visitors will be treated to spectacular balloon races, the night glow, events and many more interesting things here. 

Last year, the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2014 saw a total of 200,000 visitors over the weekend here where 32% were foreigners and the balance Malaysians which came from day to night. Also at last year's event, Malaysians and foreigners managed to see some unique shaped hot air balloons in Putrajaya such at the Racing Motorbike Balloon, Ice Cream Cone Balloon and an odd shaped Taiwan Tourism balloon. 

Racing Motorbike Hot Air Balloon Putrajaya
Racing Motorbike Hot Air Balloon at Putrajaya in 2014
Participating Hot Air Balloons at Putrajaya

This year, a total of 19 Hot Air Balloons are taking part from around the world. Unfortunately, there is no Darth Vader Hot air Balloon as they were present at the recent Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Previous years saw many more unique hot air balloon shapes like the Doraemon Hot Air Balloon, a Tree Balloon, A Cat Balloon, Birthday Cake Balloon and many more cute characters. 

However, there are some pretty unique shaped balloons this year which include A Green Frog Hot Air Balloon from the UK, a Tourist Panda Balloon from the USA and a hot air balloon with the face of the balloonist from Holland. 

These are the odd shaped ones to look out for this year. Other than that, the standard hot air balloon shapes from around the world will be here to entertain visitors from near and afar. 

Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta Race 2015
The balloons taking off for the race at Putrajaya
Malaysia Lord Vader
Lord Vader arrives at Putrajaya in 2014
Overall, Malaysians love to attend festivals like this over the weekend and it would have been nicer if the organizers could have arranged to bring in more catchy shaped hot air balloons as they are always a hit in the day and also night.

Fancy shaped balloons are the pure pulling factor for tourist and Malaysians as they love taking photos of them and also showing the kids these unique balloons. Perhaps, next year, we will see a comeback of the other interesting shaped balloons plus new ones too.

Program for Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon 2015
Itinerary and program for Thursday and Friday
Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon 2015 Program
Itinerary and Program for Saturday and Sunday
Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015
• Date: 14-15 March 2015
• Venue: Monumen Alaf Baru, Presint 2, Putrajaya
• Time: 7.00 AM onwards
• Tickets: None, it is a free event. However certain areas require you to purchase tickets for tethered rides, cold inflation or helicopter rides.

Map of Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015
The venue map
For more information, please visit the official website for the Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Anyone driving here, you should know that there is loads of parking found all over the venue. If you come early, you can park next to the venue,if you come later, prepare to do a little walking as the car parks are pretty much full.

As for food and drinks, there is a ton of them available at allocated places so fear not if you get hungry or thirsty. There are also many other stalls selling all sorts of souvenirs and items too. 

I hope to see you there as I will always try to make it a point to attend events like this as it is great for tourism - local and international. Plus it is also one way of getting the country of Malaysia known to the world by using digital and social media in these kind of outdoor events. This is also part of the MyFest 2015 celebrations in Malaysia for the Year of Festivals. See you there at the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2015. 

2 Mar 2015

Terengganu Chinatown

Terengganu Chinatown Photos

While Terengganu, a state in east coast Malaysia is the gateway to the main islands, not many people visit the city proper and among one of the missed locations is Terengganu Chinatown. The location of this historical place is along Jalan Kampung Cina or Jalan Bandar in the Kampung Tiong area and is highly recommended for any tourist or traveler.  

For anyone visiting the Perhentian Islands or Redang Island, Kuala Terengganu can be one of your stops, if you choose so and exploring the city here would most likely take you back 20 years in time as things have been on a slower development here compared to Kuala Lumpur. The best place to explore on foot is also Chinatown Terengganu where it is mainly one long street and very alive with activity in the mornings while the old pre-war architecture is a must for historical building enthusiast. 

Chinatown Terengganu
Terengganu Chinatown
Arch at Chinatown Terengganu
Chinatown Terengganu Arch 
Terengganu Chinatown History

According to research and Wikipedia, there is no exact date for the founding of Kampung Cina Terengganu (Chinese Village) here but records show that Chinese settlers came here as early as the 16th century and have been here ever since. The main Chinatown was established only in the late 19th century where Chinese settlers built this place according to their traditional place of origin in China. 

Historical records show that foreigners Alexander Hamilton and Captain Joseph Jackson visited Kuala Terengganu in 1719-1720 and again in 1764, the presence of Chinese settlers was noted down in their records.

Alexander wrote this in his journal; 
"Trangano ........ about one thousand houses in it, not built in regular streets, ....... The Town is above half-peopled with Chinese, who have a good trade for three to four Jonks yearly, ....... The product of the country are Pepper and Gold, which are mostly exported by the Chinese. About 300 tons are the common Export of Pepper, ........"
utilitarian building Terengganu
A utilitarian building seen in Chinatown Terengganu
Terengganu Old Building Architecture

When you walk around this part of town, you will surely notice the well cared for pre-war buildings where a number of them date back over a hundred years old from the Utilitarian era right till the Art Deco era. The city council has also done up the entire area making this place very suitable for tourism and a special fund was also allocated for the preservation of the heritage buildings here. 

The pre-war buildings in Chinatown Terengganu have also been declared a heritage site by the United Nations UNESCO World Monument Watch Programme and grants are being given annually to finance preservation of this pre-colonial heritage significant. 

Wooden Shop House in Terengganu
An old wooden shop house by the river
The best way to see these beautiful buildings which range from wooden to brick and mortar is by coming here at about 8am till 3pm as it is the busiest time for the local traders while the sky is usually clear. 

What I did was I parked my car somewhere nearby and took a slow walk around Chinatown. It would take you about 1-2 hours to fully see this place on foot too.  

Turtle Alley in Chinatown, Terengganu
Turtle Alley in Chinatown, Terengganu
Attractions in Terengganu Chinatown

As you would already know, most of the attractions here would be Chinese related and in 2004, The Terengganu Government declared that Kampung China was to be gazetted as a heritage site of Terengganu based on the fact that many historical structures and monuments are still well maintained here. 

There are two main Chinese temples here which are Ho Ann Kiong (built 1801) and Tien Hou Kong (built 1896) and both of them have been well preserved serving the locals and also Chinese travelers who come here. A visit to any of them will show you the traditional Chinese temple life. 

Ho Ann Kiong Temple in Terengganu
Deities inside the Ho Ann Kiong Temple in Terengganu
Terengganu Payang Memory Lane
Payang Memory Lane
A unique signboard showing the distances to other world attractions
Red Telephone Booth Terengganu Malaysia
Classic Red Telephone Booth

Architecture lovers will find that many of the buildings here looking in great condition as they have undergone restoration or beautification programmes to make them more appealing over the years. One eye-catching thing would be the bright colors on some of the old shophouses here. 

For art lovers, there have been recent attractions in Kampung China Terengganu which are located at the side and back alleys, many of which are transformed into thematic lanes. One of them is Turtle Alley which provides information related to various turtles and turtle-themed wall and floor mosaics. 

Another lane is Tauke Wee Seng Hee Cultural Lane which showcases an old, colonial-era red telephone booth and a classic cast iron post box which is still in use. The building walls also displays a collection of old signs from shops in Chinatown and several Han Dynasty-era poems. 

These lanes provide an excellent Instagram or Facebook moment for the social media lovers while on weekends, it can get a little over crowded due to the narrow lanes here. Again, best visited in the mornings to avoid the touristy crowds. 

Hell Bank Notes Louis Vuitton LV
A jewelry set with some serious branding as offerings to be burnt
Walking along the main road here will show you the very local businesses that are still ongoing till this very day. One of the unique businesses here in Chinatown would be the Chinese Hell Bank Note Maker or the shop that sells Chinese Ritual Items. I just had to stop and have a look at what people are offering these days and I was pretty much surprised. 

Malaysia Chinese Hell Bank Notes
A Shell Petrol Station and an Louis Vuitton Handbag as offerings
This is a very old tradition of burning hell bank notes for the deceased and nowadays, apart from the common hell bank notes, more material items are made for the deceased which include luxurious items like LV bags, Rolex Watches, Mercedes Cars, Bungalows and even a Petrol Station - all made from paper as ritual offering to the deceased. Talk about status and modernization, just take a look at the photo above. I was totally in awe when I saw this. 

Good Food at Chinatown Terengganu 

Food has always been one of the main essentials in every traveler and here at Kampung China, there are a number of notable local delicacies which include the Roti Paong (a special local Terengganu bread), Pulut Dipa and the awesome durian cake. One speciality is the white keropok lekor, which is made out of Wolf Herring or ikan parang.

Fried Mee Hoon Malaysia
Most special fried mee hoon in Malaysia
As for me, I simply walked in to a number of local coffee shops here where you can find a variety of east coast styled noodles and rice. There are also small food courts or food centres which have a variety of hawkers all combined into one giving you the luxury of choosing your local dish. There was one, a local Chinese man selling 'The Most Special Fried Mee Hoon in Malaysia' and he swore by it convincing me to place my order and I did. Verdict - It was awesome! I kid you not.

I personally recommend trying the noodles at any of the local hawkers here. Bak Kut Teh (Pork bone and meat dish) was quite a popular fare here when I visited Chinatown. 

Coffee lovers may not be pleased as I am one and found it not up to my standards. This statement is based on the actual local coffee shops and not your regular Starbucks or modern cafe. I like a good cup of local coffee in a traditional coffee shop so I did my rounds only to be disappointed. However, the local Terengganu hawker food made up for it. 

Photos of Chinatown Terengganu

Below are random photos taken of Chinatown Terengganu during my visits here in 2014. You can click on them to view them in full size and also 'Pin' them on Pinterest if you like them. 

Malaysia Art Deco styled building
A beautiful Art Deco styled building seen here
Chinatown Terengganu Pictures
One of the local homes along Chinatown

 5-foot walkways in Malaysia
The 5-foot walkways in Chinatown
Terengganu Chinatown Tembles
Roof of one of the temples in Terengganu Chinatown
Pipe Dealer in Terengganu Malaysia
An old sign for a pipe dealer 
Old heritage buildings Terengganu
Facades of the old buildings nicely painted
Photos of Chinatown Terengganu
Walking along the Five Foot Way of the Shophouses
Shops at Chinatown Terengganu
Old buildings maintained as businesses in Chinatown Terengganu
Malaysia old shophouses
Inside one of the old shophouses. Wooden cabinets still used
Terengganu Pre-war buildings
Well maintained pre-war buildings
Souvenir Shop in Terengganu
A classic souvenir shop along Jalan Kampung Cina
Terengganu Chinatown Shophouses
Picture Perfect! 
Payang Memory Lane Terengganu
Payang Memory Lane featuring prominent people of Terengganu
Terengganu China town
Red lanterns used for decorating Chinatown here
Spring Roll Skins manufacturer Malaysia
Spring Roll Skins manufacturer in Terengganu Chinatown
Terengganu Buildings
Sides of buildings well maintained here 
Old Wooden Buildings in Terengganu
Old wooden buildings are still seen here
world Heritage Lane in Chinatown Terengganu
World Heritage Lane in Chinatown Terengganu
There you have it, a run through of this interesting place in Terengganu. If you plan to visit here, the best times are from February till October as this is not the monsoon season. During the monsoon season in Terengganu, it can be rainy and spoil your visit here. Moreover, you are not advised to visit the islands during the monsoon period.

Terengganu follows the Muslim style working days where their weekend is a Friday and Saturday, therefore everything is usually closed, especially government and private sectors. Sunday is the 1st working days of the week here, just as in Kelantan. So, please take note of this unique timing and rest assured, you can find McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and many other Chinese restaurants here. 

Driving from KL to Terengganu

For those driving here, the new Eastcoast Highway (ECE or H8) has now opened all the way to Kuala Terengganu passing Karak, Kuantan and Jabor. It is also estimated that driving from KL to Terengganu takes about 4.5 to 5 hours and a total distance of 457 kilometres. You will pass popular towns and cities like Lanchang, Temerloh, Kuantan, Cherating and Dungun before reaching Kuala Terengganu. There are three tolls along the way where in total, you have to pay around RM30 one way from KL to Terengganu in toll charges.

For those taking express buses, there are many companies offering bus services from KL to Terengganu and also from other cities around Malaysia. 

Driving Map to Terengganu

Overall, I highly recommending a visit to Chinatown in Kuala Terengganu as it is one of the lesser visited tourist attractions here. While most people just pass town to get to the Kuala Besut and Marang Jetty, this place holds some amazing history, culture and heritage for the Chinese and local people here. This year is also Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 and Terengganu is one of the states with some unique festivals and events.

To get here, everyone knows where it is and all taxis also know the place. There is great food, photography and a lot to learn as I did. If I never explored this place, I wouldn't be recommending this to you. I hope that one day, you the reader will have the opportunity to visit the Terengganu Chinatown. 
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