Monday, June 17, 2013

Marang River Cruise

Tourists who are familiar with the north eastern Malaysian state of Terengganu tend to associate it with idyllic island getaways, like Pulau Kapas, Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian. These stunning islands are renowned for their rich marine life and  top-notch facilities for scuba diving and snorkeling. However, there is much more to Terengganu that just sun, sand and dive holidays for the government of Terengganu has now thrown open the state’s waterways, in effort to provide visitors with an insight into with the charming, quaint lives of its native river folk.
A cruise along the Sungai Marang transports visitors to old-world Terengganu, for located along the winding river’s lush banks are small kampong (village) houses. Most of these kampong houses are home to small, village industries that have existed for generations and continue to survive and thrive in these modern times. Visitors on the cruise will have the chance to interact and meet with these simple kampong dwellers, many of whom are excited to meet welcome outsiders into their homes and lives.
The Marang River cruise usually kicks off at the Marang Jetty (though some operators even offer pickups from area hotels for an additional charge) and makes pit stops at kampongs like Kampong Gong Nangka and Kampong Jerang. At these traditional villages which almost seem frozen in time, visitors have the chance to witness various cottage industries like coconut palm sugar making, traditional attap leaf roof weaving and the making of bags and boxes from mengkuang forest fibers.
Another attraction at Kampong Jerang, are its famous coconut harvesting monkeys. These monkeys which belong to a local resident and medicine man, Pak Uda, help to pluck approximately 100 coconuts a day and provide much entertainment for the visiting tourists who seem to be fascinated by them.
Aside from these small-scale industries, visitors on the Marang River cruise also have a chance to get acquainted with much native flora and fauna like monkeys, crabs, monitor lizards, multi-hued birds and even otters. Moreover, if you choose to take this cruise up the Marang River, during the Malaysian fruit harvest season (between the months of July to September), you will also have the opportunity to perhaps sample some delicious exotic fruits like mangosteens, rambutans, durrians and many more.
The Marang River cruise extends over a half a day and can be combined with a scuba diving/snorkeling trip to Palau Kapas, a short boat ride away.  Whether undertaken on its own or in combination with another expedition, the Marang River cruise is a ‘must-do’ on any vacation to Terengganu.

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