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Kampung Cina (Chinatown) in Kuala Terengganu – an exquisite Chinatown in the midst of traditional Malay state

Updated on November 12, 2013

Being a dominantly occupied by Malay ethnic, the Chinatown in the midst of the Kuala Terengganu city has become a major attraction. The one-street Chinatown, Jalan Kg. Cina, has old Chinese shops, brick-piled road, beautiful red lantern and Chinese street lamp. The row of houses is mostly 2 stories tall, with brick or concrete structure and some wood carving on the windows. The houses come with colourful long roof which is excellent for unique and beautiful photographing spot especially in evening before the sun set. The scenery should not be missed.

The history of this place dated back to 15th century; a family of Chinese traders who were trading between China and the Malay Peninsular established this place. Hence, the Chinese settlement in Kampung Cina (Chinatown) and the historical buildings are hundreds of years old. It soon grew into an important trading port between the two countries. However, its importance as a trading port in Southest Asian region diminished when the Malacca Empire conquered the town. Since then, the traders preferred to stop at Malacca, which then established as the centre of trade between China, India and Southeast Asia.

Visitor can easily recognise the place from the arc at the entrance of the street. Here, you should not miss the delicious Chinese food at Golden Dragon Restaurant. The restaurant is famous for all kinds of seafood cooked in Chinese style. If you are going there for the first time, and if you reach the China town after dark, it may be difficult to read the signboard of the restaurant due to bad lighting. The non-air conditioned, non-fancy restaurant is only a few shops immediately after the arc of China town, so, please remember to slow down to find the restaurant on your right. It looked like a typical local coffee shop. Nothing extra-ordinary. Definitely not an up class Chinese restaurant. Once you missed it, it is difficult to make a U-turn to come back to the same road again, as the road is quite confusing. Nevertheless, if you are lost, don't give up, stop the car and ask people for direction to turn back to the same venue. It will just take you another 10 minutes. The chinese food in this restaurant is worth the trouble.

What really impressed me is that, despite being a state domininated by Malay Culture, this excusite Chinatown is still well-maintained and upheld by the government of Terengganu. Investment is pumped into the town to beautify the place - the tiled road, the artistic street lamp, the lantern and so on. So don't miss this little Chinatown when you are visiting Kuala Terengganu.


The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are owned by Ingenira who hereby asserts her copyright on the material. Permission must be granted by the author in writing prior to copy or republish this article in print or online. However, please feel free to copy the first paragraph with a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Ingenira


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    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Sounds like one of those great "hidden treasures"!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Thanks, equella. I have visited South Africa before, and what you wrote about the places intrigues me too. :)

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I love reading about places, that I most probably never will be able to visit. What a charming place this is, and you gave us some nice background. If ever I have to visit, at least I will know a little bit more, before my voyage. I will know where to go.

    • jasonycc profile image

      jasonycc 7 years ago from South East Asia

      Appreciate your reply and information. Cheers!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Jasonycc, the price of the food in the mentioned Chinese restaurant is reasonable. If you do visit the place, you will find that it is packed with customers, showing how popular the place is. :)

    • jasonycc profile image

      jasonycc 7 years ago from South East Asia

      I have been to Kuala Terengganu many years back but did not visit its Chinatown. Will do so if I go there again and try out the Chinese seafood restaurant. Hope the price is reasonable. Thanks for sharing.