Saturday, 2 January 2010

Backtracking 25/12/09

Christmas Morning. We were at the Grand Continental Hotel in Kuala Terengganu - the only hotel in town with vacancies for 2 nights. We had adjacent rooms - men in one, girls the other. As both were "triple" rooms, we got two extra breakfast vouchers since there were only 4 in our party.

Ahead of us at the restaurant, a family of four adults and two kids were registering their vouchers. Turned out they had only 4, and will have to pay some preposterous amount for the little children to eat. What the heck - we gave them our extra vouchers. They were ever so grateful but anyone would have done the same. And it was the season of joy and good cheer; the waiters were wearing santa headgear too.

You'd expect Nasi Dagang at the buffet table in Terengganu but I was disappointed. Is it that humble a meal unworthy of a four-star hotel? There was chinese-style fried rice and fish porridge though, plus the other usuals. But they tasted OK so we ate our fill and went on our way.

Honey, they shrunk the mosques! What? Where? At this place they call the Taman Tamaddun Islam (Islamic Civilisation Park). Seriously. Here are some pictures.

Sitting at one of the doors of the "Herat Mosque" of Afghanistan

"Masjid Negara"

Inside the "Dome of the Rock" of Jerusalem

Other scaled replicas of historic Islamic monuments include
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, Medina, Saudi Arabia
Masjidil Haram, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Qolsharif Mosque, Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia
Mesjid Kuddus Mina, Kudus, Indonesia
Xian Mosque, Xian, PR China
Pattani Mosque, Pattani, Thailand
Al-Hambra Mosque, Córdoba, Spain
Aleppo Citadel, Syria
Badshahi Mosque, Pakistan
Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

The monuments are set in splendid gardens overlooking the Terengganu River estuary

Of course, the Crystal Mosque is located on the park grounds as well, at the other end.

But sad to note that it's unable to hold Friday prayers due to lack of quorum.

Friday afternoon and nowhere to have lunch. Kuala Terengganu was on near-total shutdown mode. We drove around and found a place in Kuala Ibai opposite the Taman Awam Lagun Ibai.

Masjid Terapung - another Terengganu icon at Kuala Ibai

 It was to be a day for sightseeing only - no shopping, as  the Craft Complex was closed and Pasar Payang looked deserted.

Stadium in ruins from an ancient civilization - not in Terengganu

Stadium in ruins from modern times - in Terengganu

But by evening things came back to normal especially at Pantai Batu Burok when the area was jammed with holiday-makers. We came back there later in the night to enjoy a very tasty seafood dinner at Restoran Nil.

Nothing nil about it - not even the cost!

And so ended our christmas outing...


mamasita said...

Suddenly you gave me a New Year ajak Dato sak visit some of the famous mosques you've just listed!
Kelakar jugak tengok gamba yang stadium runtuh when you compare dengan the one posted before..alahai!


Zendra said...

What mamasita, tak pegi lagi ke Taman Tamadun tu? Waaa pasar payang dan OU awak dah hafal dari atas ke bawah heh!!! Tapi takpe, kalau Dato Sak tak bawak you ke sana, ajak dia pegi ke tempat sebenar yang kat Mekah tu hahahah....

And wishing you too a great year this year!

Oldstock said...


We had lunch at restoran nil... ikan, udang, tomyam bagai. Fresh seafood and tasty too. Cheaper than KL or JB.

Zendra said...

Oldstock - agree 100% plus we had layanan mesra from the waiter in true terengganu hospitality :)

mekyam said...

wow, that was some wonderful holiday you had!

aside from the food, i'm very taken by those replicas. heard it's one of a kind in the world. how well-made were those miniatures, zee?

tourism malaysia should try and sell it more to the world, doncha think?

Red Alfa said...


Some of the replicas are beautifully represented but for the few with "painted intricaies" spoiling the show!

But significantly, the disappointing write-ups (in English & Malay) generally failed to describe/highlight the outstanding details/history of each of the mosque replicas.

Tourism Malaysia/Park Operator really MUST get more readable and well researched write ups and also ensure with more media savvy that they will be clearly presented so that visitors would better appreciate the classic works of art and amazing histories of the respective mosques.

We have a true gem here that just needs some world class presentation and publicization to make this more of a tourist attraction.

mekyam said...

ra, i hear you!

our tourism industry really needs to churn out more inviting copies. i wonder which ad-co writes for them. the ones i've seen distributed by tourism malaysia here are as blah as mud.

when it comes to advertising, we should take a leaf from western european countries or the caribbean ones.

jamaican brochures, i tell you, are so charmingly written that one feels like going there just for the sheer pleasure of experiencing a people who bubble with sense of fun and humour. :D

Zendra said...

mekyam, we lament the lack of promotional materials even for domestic tourism - if not for the recommendations made by blogger friends we would not have known where best to go and what best to see. There was basically nothing in the hotel lobby and zilch in our "continental"-class RM218 nett per night rooms! No brochures, no street maps, what more glossy magazines! What's happening???

Al-Manar said...

Regret I have not been visiting much these days but cannot help 'backtracking' my comment. It is useless to say now that you were within 15 km from Almanar. Although it was full house during that period, with childen and grands, we could have offered you some keropok lekor goreng at least.
Regret too that I have little appreciation for Pulau Wan Man investment as much as that of the great sports complex.

Happy New Year to you and family.

Zendra said...

Salam Pakcik, we backtrackers love to do this kind of thing for the heck of it. Yes I did wonder where Almanar might be situated in Terengganu, but I suppressed the urge to leave you a note because of not wanting to impose.
But I'll take a raincheck on the keropok lekor for the next time I swing by your territory - Marang as I noticed from my IP log.

Thanks again.

Red Alfa said...

Z, You will be appreciating T'Ganu more much like I have, had we got to re-visiting/ re-experiencing my old times sake, nostalgia, having good foods and meeting the amazing locals...
... for sure you would remember your Christmas Days as never before had we instead went that Friday to Hj Hadi's at Rusila, just surprising Pakcik at Al Manar or catching Capt Pirate at (where did he claim he would be?)

Red Alfa said...

..I mean't .." or catching Capt Pirate at (where did he claim he wouldn't be?)