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Exploring Caves and Museums in Terengganu: Malaysia Asean East Coast Trail Day 3

Caves and Museums in Terengganu, Malaysia

It’s our third day in Kuala Terengganu, and the activities lined up are becoming more and more exciting. We left Lake Kenyir Resort early and then proceeded to the main Jetty Port. Before we started the tour, the entire delegation was divided into two based on the individually selected tour option.

Taat cave entrance from afar
Taat cave entrance from afar

The first group selected Kelah Sanctuary – an area in Lake Kenyir where the participants are required to do jungle trekking for an hour to reach the sanctuary, while the second group selected Bewah Cave which only involves a 250 wooden staircase climb to explore the historic cave.

Lake Kenyir main jetty port
Lake Kenyir main jetty port

The Philippine delegation selected option 2 since, aside from being the easier one, we taught that the cave is also more exciting than the fish feeding activity that the other group did.

Rock Formations surrounding the cave
Rock Formations surrounding the cave

Exploring Bewah Cave

After a one-and-a-half-hour scenic boat ride, we finally reached the southern end of Kenyir Lake, where the Bewah Cave can be found. The area is covered by Greenery and towering limestone rock formations.

Floating Jetty Port at Bewah Cave
Floating Jetty Port at Bewah Cave

Before exploring the Bewah Cave, we first visited the entrance of the Taat Cave. This cave has three entry points, and one of them is Tok Bidan Cave which is now submerged underwater after the creation of Lake Kenyir.

View of Bewah Cave from the floating jetty port
View of Bewah Cave from the floating jetty port

Bewah Cave is also known as Gua Tahi Kelawar due to the huge number of bats in the cave. The cave was named Bewah Cave because it is situated on Bewah Hill. Various artifacts were discovered inside the cave by some archeologists from the National Museum, and one of them is a skeleton of a Neolithic man.

Wooden Staircases in Bewah Cave
Wooden Staircases in Bewah Cave

After braving the 250 steps, there’s a small museum at the cave entrance showcasing old and new photos of Bewah Cave. A few meters from the museum is a glass-enclosed excavation with human bones. Upon reaching the cave entrance, you can smell the distinct odor of Bat Guano due to the existence of thousands of bats hanging from the cave ceiling.

Human Bones inside glass enclosed excavation
Human Bones inside a glass-enclosed excavation

Compared to other caves I have explored, Touring inside Bewah Cave is manageable with its solar-powered lighting and wooden platform installed in the entire cave for easy exploration.

Outside the Taat Cave
Outside the Taat Cave

There is also the impressive sight of stalactites and stalagmites in the lower chamber of the cave. Aside from the neolithic man’s skeleton, the National Museum archeologist also found a stone axe, ancient kitchen utensils, tools, and splinters of pots in the area.

Lunch at Petang Island Resort
Lunch at Petang Island Resort

After visiting the Bewah Cave, we had a short stop at Petang Island Resort for lunch, then we headed back to Tasik Kenyir’s main Jetty Port to prepare for our next destination.

Wooden Staircases inside Bewah Cave
Wooden Staircases inside Bewah Cave

Visiting Terengganu State Museum

From Lake Kenyir, we headed to Terengganu State Museum in Kuala Terengganu. This Museum is the largest museum in South East Asia, exhibiting century-old artifacts and artworks that showcase the uniquely diverse heritage of Malaysia.

Main entrance of Terengganu State Museum
The main entrance of the Terengganu State Museum

Nestled amidst beautifully landscaped gardens, Terengganu State Museum offers a glimpse into the state’s rich history. The Museum comprises a Main Museum, a Maritime Museum, a Fisheries Museum, four traditional houses, and botanic and herb gardens. The entire design of the Museum complex is based on the designs of Terengganu’s old palace.

Karat Keruping at the Textile Gallery
Karat Keruping at the Textile Gallery

The Main Museum has various galleries showcasing textiles and weaving techniques, traditional weapons, crafts, historical, royal regalias, nature, petroleum development, Islamic arts, new generation, and contemporary arts.

Seluar - Traditional Mens Pants in Terengganu
Seluar – Traditional Mens Pants in Terengganu

As a collector of indigenous textiles, the textile gallery really surprised me. The gallery depicts the development process and types of locally produced textiles such as songket, limar, batik, Pelangi, cindai, gerus and telepuk. Traditional garments such as those used in weddings, circumcision ceremonies, and daily clothing are also exhibited in the textile gallery.

Cultural Performance using Musical Instrument made from Bamboo
Cultural Performance using Musical Instrument made from Bamboo.

One of the most interesting parts of the gallery is the Islamic Gallery. The gallery exhibited various historical artifacts that are generally related to the arrival of Islam in the Malay Peninsular and, specifically, the state of Terengganu. The various artifacts being exhibited includes copper, manuscript cloth, Chinese potteries, and pictures of the mausoleum of famous Terengganu religious figures. Also being exhibited are pictures of mosques found throughout the state of Terengganu in various architectural forms.

Filipiniana Costume and Malaysian Traditional Dress
Filipiniana Costume and Malaysian Traditional Dress

After spending an hour inside the museum, everyone gathered at the garden fronting the Museum’s main entrance for dinner. While having dinner, we also enjoyed listening to local performers playing traditional music using bamboo instruments and a set of gong (similar to Kulintang in Mindanao). During our dinner with the local state officials, they served traditional Malaysian dishes and some famous Terengganu delicacies like Koropok Lekor.

Lekor or Keropok lekor is a traditional fish snack that is popular in the State of Terengganu in Malaysia. It is also called fish sausage, fish stick, or fish fritters. It looks like Kikiam in the Philippines, but Keropok Lekor is made from fish and sago flour seasoned with salt and sugar instead of pork. It is slightly greyish in color and tastes fishy.

After having dinner, we proceeded to Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina Resort & Spa for an overnight stay… to be continued.

Tourism Contact Info

Kenyir Elephant Village
Location: Tasik Kenyir Terengganu
Office: S Bina Management SDN BHD
Taman Cucai Utama
Jalan Kubang Kurus
24000 Cukai, Kemaman, Terengganu
Email: [email protected]

Terengganu State Museum
Tourism Malaysia Terengganu Office
Address: 5th Floor, Menara Yayasan Islam Terengganu,
Jalan Sultan Omar, Kuala Terengganu 20300, Terengganu, Malaysia
Phone: +609-622 1433 / 1893
Fax: +609-622 1791

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Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of Outoftownblog.com. He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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