This day marked the day I released a baby turtle into the wild!
Turtle hatchlings are released from June to October and it’s a popular activity here in Kuala Terengganu Malaysia. Our beach here is one of the few coasts in the world to be visited by giant leatherback turtles. In an effort to conserve and lessen the extinction of these rare leatherback turtles, sanctuaries and conservation efforts are in place and public education are much more wide-spread now. These sanctuaries diligently collect the eggs, put them into incubation and hatched baby turtles are baby-sat till they reached the correct point of maturity to be released back into the wild.
I managed to shoot some footages for my video during the whole exercise so you will be able to see these cute turtles swimming frenziedly for the ocean the moment they were released.
As I stood there watching them flap with their tiny flippers battling against the strong waves that kept washing them ashore I realized the struggle of a turtle for survival. Reading about them is one thing, watching them swim for freedom with my very own eyes triggered emotions within that was indescribable.
Day 6 of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 was probably the most emotional day of the whole trip. Day 6 marked the last challenge of the hunt and thus by evening the final points are tabulated. Winners’ and the prize ceremony took place in the same evening.
Following up from where I left off on Day 5; I woke early as usual and opted for a simple breakfast. As you may know by now I’m rather prone to motion sickness and knowing that we have an hour’s ferry journey to Redang Island already made me queasy in the stomach. Permai Hotel Terengganu served pretty breakfast which includes local favourites such as nasi lemak and fried noodles.
As wtih our routine since the 1st day, we assembled at the lobby by 8am for the flag off. Since we are in the state of Terengganu, the Flag off was by the Director of TM Terengganu. Our first destination was Tourism Information Centre where the first challenge of the day involved some morning- marketing of local sweets (kuih-muih) and souvenirs hunt.
Oh my god, I’m totally in love with these turtles plushies!
It’s RM90 each and I would have bought one if it wasn’t for the reason I already have a miniature version courtesy of my stay in Tg Jara. Mine is cuter right?? :))
Alright. Here we go. We got our clipboards. Time to decipher the clues!
Hmm.. doesn’t seem too difficult right?
Pasar Payang was just walking distance from the Tourism Information Centre but as usual the sun was up and shining cheerily down on us. By the time we reached the market, I was dripping in sweat. Oh my, I haven’t even begun running/hunting yet.
We started with the local “kuih” (traditional delicacies of cakes). The fastest and easiest way to navigate within the large 2 story market was to ask the locals. The makcik-makcik and pakciks (aunties and uncles) were more than amused seeing the huge number of us suddenly descending on their usually peaceful market. However, in their curiosity they were more than happy to help.
All of us found that ONE stall that happened to be the biggest kuih stall in Pasar Payang. In that stall we could buy every item we required. Further investigation gave us our 6th item (the 6th most popular kuih in Terengganu – Question no. 2) – lemang (it was the wrong answer by the way, the correct answer was dodol!).
I got distracted with the amount of food in front of me. There were so many kuih-muih that I haven’t seen before! I was in Terengganu (but Dungun market) just last April while enroute towards Tg Jara but I didn’t see 40% of the kuih that was on display in this particular stall above.
Anyhow, I had to find the batik sarong (Question T04) so I left the rest of my team mates to queue for the kuih. As usual a quick query with a local (this time an old auntie) lead me upstairs right to where all the batik, clothing and souvenirs items were.
Unfortunately 4 pieces of batik are RM60 (RM15 x 4) and none of us had that much money with us!
Well, the organisers didn’t inform us in advance that we were supposed to buy items on our hunts. The international media within our group didn’t have local currency and the locals (me and Norfaiezah) had either spent most of our cash or we didn’t bring as much with us that day.
In the end, I managed to borrow the money from Tara, one of the officers from Tourism Malaysia. Thank you babe! Else we wouldn’t have been able to complete our challenge.
Anyhow I made good use of it as my outfit for dinner that night. 🙂
Below: Clock-wise from top left: Slemang, Bepang. Slemang again – close up shot. It tasted and looked like our “dragon beard candy” from China. Brittle, powdery and sweet.
Last picture bottom left is karipap kaya, kuih akok and Nganang – the eggy, baked custard-like cake.
All of our “treasures” were bought to the marshals for inspection. Points were tabulated and then it’s siesta time!
I happily helped myself to all the slemeng, karipap kaya, kuih akok and Nganang we bought. 😛
By 11am we headed over to Jetty Shahbandar to depart for Redang Island.
A one way trip cost RM55 per adult and RM35 per child.
Our ferry was large and comfortable. I was worried about the rocking motion but it was pretty minimal. Anyhow to be safe I took a motion sickness pill and dozed off!
Fellow Malaysia Tourism Hunt mates – say “hi” to Putri, Ju and Munzir! 🙂
We arrived @ Jetty Kampung, Redang Island & took van transfer to The TARAAS Beach & Spa Resort. Since it was my first visit to Redang Island, I had expected to be impressed immediately. Well, the jetty at Pangkor Laut Resort by YTL was nice! Here it was quiet; almost like we had disembarked on a sleepy fishing village rather than a popular, world famous resort.
But an inkling of what lies ahead could be seen from the waters below. Even at the jetty, the water was clear enough to spot some fishes and jellyfish!
Below: Spot the jellyfish? Can you?
Taraas Beach and Spa Resort is a 10 minutes journey via the sleepy village and over bumpy roads. Unlike Pangkor Laut Resort which is “one island, one resort” whereby YTL owns and developed the whole island, each resort on Redang Island is a world of disparity from beyond its resorts’ grounds.
We were warmly welcomed by another traditional dance. In 7 days starting from Day 1 to Day 7 of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt, I think I have seen more traditional dances compared to my 30 years of life. 😛
But no welcome is more welcoming than cold towels against the skin and cold drinks down our parched throats.
A better welcome would be food. A hot and delicious buffet spread for lunch was next on the agenda.
Followed by cold sweet desserts.
sleep it’s REST TIME! :DD
Well I wish. Barely an hour after lunch we were scheduled to head to Redang Marine Park Centre. Anyhow, here’s the room before a cyclone (aka me and and my luggage) hit it.
The Taraas Beach and Spa Resort is truly a wonderful resort. My time there was pretty rushed but I could imagine how lovely it would be for those seeking a refuge from the city. And oh, I must mention that Taraas Beach and Spa Resort has its very own private beach. 🙂
The Redang Marine Park Centre was a short boat ride away from the actual Redang Island on another island named Pulau Pinang (but NOT the Pulau Pinang = Penang ok!). We had a briefing from the tourism officer who explained to all of us the objectives and definition of such marine parks. After that was a short tour followed by my favourite past-time – EAT! 😀
BELOW: Arrival at Pulau Pinang where the Marine Park Centre was located.
The beach and waters here was even more stunningly pristine than Redang Island itself!
Next: Heading to the function hall of Marine Park Centre where the briefing was scheduled.
Some of us found the briefing to be ermm… relaxing.
Then a short tour of the exhibition hall. There wasn’t much to see per se.
So we hit the beach!
We were allocated gears and time to snorkel. I occupied myself with the trays of delicious lekor!
Oh so yummy! :DD
There was this uncommon dish of steamed glutinous rice balls coated with freshly grated coconut flakes and eaten with fried mackerel pieces. This was new to me as well. The glutinous rice balls was tasty thanks to the rich, creamy and saltish coconut flakes.
The weather was burning so I hid in the shade while the other was crazy enough to snorkel.
At 5.30 we went down to the beach side again, this time with our baby turtles waiting to be released!
Ww watched them swim toward uncertainties and a new life ahead. According to statistics, only 1 in 1000 baby turtles lived to adulthood. It was a sobering moment as I realized that many of these little ones will not make it to a ripe old age.
Dark clouds loomed ahead and we hurried back to the boat. By the time we reached Pulau Redang island, it started to pour heavily with extremely strong winds. We were safely transported back to Taraas Beach Resort via buses and vans.
Back in the room I finally got to soak in the bathtub before the Fisherman themed dinner and prize-giving ceremony. Ahhh… what a relieve….
Everyone was supposed to dress in some batik form of attire. I wrapped myself in the batik bought earlier during the Pasar Payang challenge while my fellow media friends came up with all sorts of creative wraps and forms of wearing a batik!
Me and my gorgeous roomy! 🙂
Berg – the photographer that captured all the best moments!
Funny guy from Japan! 🙂
The media from Thailand! Sawa-dee-kap! 🙂
Me and Bobby again!
Another new friend from Brunei, Fairol!
Halley and Nikhil from India!
Mridula, a blogger as well from India.
Rayyan, from… Malaysia! Haha!
My team mate, Norfaeizah from Perlis.
And more pictures!
I do miss all of them – Bryan, Law, Melvin… and everyone else!
Food was alright but entertainment was crazy! All in all it was a fabulous night as all of us bonded, relaxed and just had fun. The emcee for the night was a riot and had us in stitches half the night with his sharp wit and quick repartee.
Seriously I have attended so many events in my life. Some of our “famous” emcees in KL sucks in comparison to him!
Congrats to all the winning teams! 🙂
It was a lovely “closure” to the wonderful 6 days and 5 nights of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012. I believe we all left with a sense of close comradeship, built over the period and activites we have experienced together. I know I made a lot of fabulous friends! Thank you Tourism Malaysia and Gaya Travel Magazine! 🙂
Last but not least – check out my Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 video! 🙂
Day 1 & 2 of Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 – checking in and meeting fellow participants!
Day 3 – Pekan Kuala Kubu and Fraser Hill – the start of the hunt!
Day 5 – Pantai Kemasik Kemaman & Nor Arfa Batik Terengganu. Lekor, satar and otak-otak overload! 🙂