The East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia refers to the eastern seaboard of the Malaysian peninsula that faces the South China Sea. Known for its serene landscapes, cultural traditions, and quieter pace, it offers a contrast to the bustling West Coast.
The East Coast consists mainly of three states: Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang. Its coastline is dotted with tranquil beaches and quaint fishing villages, while the interiors boast lush forests and rolling hills.
The East Coast has retained much of its traditional Malay culture, with some areas still practicing age-old customs and crafts. Historically, these states had strong sultanates and resisted foreign colonization longer than their western counterparts. Sultanates like Kelantan had trading relationships extending to Siam (Thailand) and beyond. Over time, influences from the broader Malay Archipelago, especially Indonesia, have merged with local customs, giving the region its unique cultural identity.
Highlights of Things to Do
- Kelantan: Dive deep into traditional Malay culture, visit the colorful Siti Khadijah Market, and appreciate local arts like batik and songket weaving.
- Terengganu: Explore the crystal-clear waters and marine life of Redang and Perhentian Islands. Visit the Islamic Civilization Park and the magnificent Crystal Mosque in Kuala Terengganu.
- Pahang: Relax at the serene beaches of Cherating, visit the old royal town of Pekan, and explore the vast Taman Negara rainforest.
How to Get In and Out
- By Air: The main airports serving the East Coast are Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kelantan, Sultan Mahmud Airport in Terengganu, and Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport in Pahang. Domestic flights link these airports to Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia.
- By Train: Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) provides train services to Tumpat in Kelantan, with plans for extension to other parts of the East Coast.
- By Road: The East Coast Expressway (ECE) runs from Gombak in Selangor to Kuala Terengganu in Terengganu, providing a smooth drive. Buses serve routes across the region and connect it to other parts of Malaysia.
- By Sea: Regular ferry services run between the mainland and the islands of Terengganu, providing easy access for island-hoppers and divers.
A visit to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia offers travelers a deep dive into traditional Malay culture, breathtaking natural beauty, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.