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Terengganu

Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The coastal city of Kuala Terengganu which stands at the mouth of the broad Terengganu River is both the state and royal capital as well as the largest city in Terengganu. There are many islands located close to the coast of Terengganu state, such as Redang Island.
Terengganu's location by the South China Sea ensured that it was on trade routes since ancient times. The earliest written reports on the area that is now Terengganu were by Chinese merchants and seafarers in the early 6th century A.D. Like other Malay states, Terengganu practised a Hindu–Buddhist culture combined with animist traditional beliefs for hundreds of years before the arrival of Islam.

Terengganu is one of Malaysia's most homogeneous state along with Kelantan. More than 95% of the population is ethnically Malay, but there are other ethnic groups that live in the state as well including Chinese (mostly Hoklo), Indians (mostly Tamils), Siamese and Orang Aslis (Batek and Semaq Beri).
The Orang Aslis are the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. The Senoi lives mostly near Lake Kenyir, but you can find them elswhere in Terengganu. Some of these ethnic groups can also be found in interior parts of Terengganu, especially in the Taman Negara area.
The Sultan is the constitutional ruler of the state of Terengganu. The State Constitution proclaims that the Sultan is "the Ruler and fountain head of all authority of government in the State and Territory of Terengganu", the Head of the Religion of Islam in the state and the source of all titles, honours and dignities in the state.

Terengganu used to be Malaysia's poorest state until oil and gas were discovered off its coastline not too long ago. Terengganu's main industry now is petroleum and gas. There are huge petrochemical complexes near Paka and Kerteh, involving many joint ventures between the Malaysian national oil company, Petronas, and foreign multinationals.
Tourism and fishing are also major industries in Terengganu, a state with a long coastline. Agriculture also remains important, with banana, rambutan, durian, watermelon, and various other fruits and vegetables available in season. Terengganu was traditionally famous for boat-building, with highly decorated carved wooden boats called bangau to be found in the harbour of every village and town in days not so long gone by, before electric motorboats became standard equipment for the state's fishermen.
The major tourist attractions in the state include: Kuala Terengganu, the capital; Islamic Heritage Park, Tasik Kenyir, a large artificial lake; Sekayu Waterfalls; Kuala Ibai Lagoons; Batu Burok Beach, Kemasik Beach, Rantau Abang, Setiu Wetlands, Marang, Chukai town and several offshore islands such as Pulau Redang, Pulau Lang Tengah, and Pulau Kapas, and the Pulau Perhentian, which attract beachgoers and snorkelers, because of their picture perfect beaches. Many travellers find the relatively rural and tranquil atmosphere in the state conducive to a relaxing holiday.
Terengganu, along with Kelantan is known as the cradle of the Malay civilization in Peninsular Malaysia. There are various traditional dances in the state such as the Ulek Mayang, Rodat, Saba, Balai, Nur Sakti and others, some even predates the arrival of Islam in the region. Terengganu is also one of few states to adopt Gamelan as part of their traditional theatre (after Riau and Pahang), the Terengganu Gamelan has developed a distinct identity from Sundanese and Javanese Gamelan. The Gamelan was originally bought from Pahang and later to Terengganu and played only during royal occasions. Today the Gamelan is part of the state's cultural heritage.


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   Ben van Wijnen

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