Monday, July 31, 2006

Travel to Tok Bali and Kuala Besut

When I was about to go back to Kuala Terengganu (KT) from Kota Bharu (KB), my friend suggested to me to use coastal route, instead of using normal inland route. The road is less congested and there are not many speed traps along the way. I bought the idea as I wanted to do something different and I wanted to explore the area.

I remembered quite some times ago, I did pass the area when I was riding an illegal taxi (due to last minute plan) back from KB to KT. I remembered I saw a lot of coconut trees and the road was straight.

From KB Mall where I met my friend, I took main road all the way straight to Bachok. If using normal route, I must turn right somewhere in Kubang Kerian and head to Pasir Puteh but this time I should go straight until just 5 km before Bachok town, according to my friend, I should turn to the right for a short cut. However, I didn’t take the short cut as I wanted to get around Bachok town. Never in my life, I reached Bachok.

To my surprise, Bachok is only a very small town and surrounded by fishing villages. I thought Bachok, as one of district capitals in Kelantan state, should be bigger as its role speaks. Nevermind, it’s ok cause I also don’t want to be caught in traffic jam nor to wait long at traffic lights. I stopped for a while to withdraw some money from a bank so that later I didn’t have to go to KT town again.

My journey continued with breathtaking and serene surrounding. There were lots of coconut trees along the road with white sands covered their roots. The road was straight, as still freshly depicted in my mind. Sometimes I saw houses which were built scatterly but still near to the road. There were also shops especially ones that sold sea-based products. They sold keropok, which is made from sago and fish flesh. Some even used the famous Keropok Losong which is originated from Losong, Kuala Terengganu to attract customers. Not sure whether it was really authentic or not.

After about 20 minutes, I reached Tok Bali. This place is famous as a fishing jetty and also with its brand new bridge. I saw few advertisements by the roadside showing few resorts were being erected here and were already put up for sale. How fast the development here. The bridge there was quite high from the ground when reaching its centre. While driving, I was being slowly shown the beautiful scene of the river mouth on my left while colourful fishing boats and villages seen on my right. When heading down the bridge, I saw a fish market located beside the jetty.

The road was straight again after that until before I reached Bisikan Bayu Beach. When approaching the area, there were few stalls selling catches from sea like kerang, kepah etc. Then, I saw a chalet called Kisana Beach Resort. This resort headed towards sea with lots of Ru trees inside. This place also hosted the Malaysia National Service Program where after school kids gather and learn about nationalism.

The journey continued. About 20 minutes again. I reached Kuala Besut which is famous as its jetty, a point to get to snorkelling heaven, Perhentian Islands. Though Kuala Besut is located in Terengganu state, there was no signboard indicating that I passed the border.

There were few shops comprising tourist agencies, sundry shops and fishing related shops. A lot of tourists were seen waiting to get off Perhentian Islands or might have just arrived from the islands. Along a river, called Besut River, there were lots of fishing boats resting or perhaps preparing off to the sea.

When I get out from the jetty area, there was a bridge across Besut River and from here, all activities around the area can be seen. Further up, there were also few resorts and guest houses offering stays for tourists while on the way to Perhentian Islands.

After that, not much excitement can be seen except alternating fishing villages and small jungles. However, this was quite an experience. While many head towards beautiful islands in Terengganu, it is still worthwhile to get along the coastal road around here. There are lots of interesting sea-related activities can be found. Not to forget foods such as keropok or dried fish. There are few resorts and guest houses here for you to stay. For those who plan to stay longer, don’t worry, there are also lots of shops offering laundry services here.

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