Pulau Duyung

Pulau Duyung

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Pulau Duyung or Mermaid Island are consist of Pulau Duyung Besar (big) and Pulau Duyung Kecil (small) this island ....,actually not really an island instead both are two peninsular that extends from the mainland and river towards the sea. Its Pulau Duyung Besar is the home and the most famous place to find the Finest, The Busiest, The most acclaimed master boat makers and The Oldest Traditional Boat Making in Malaysia and soon will be an international tourist destination.

Pulau Duyung which is only a few hectares big, sits between The Sultan Mahmud Bridge and Kuala Sungai Terengganu (Sungai Terengganu’s river mouth). Making its easily assessable by road or river.
This old-fashioned and laid-back little island can be visit on any time of the year. Among the last cache of Traditional boat maker that produce wooden sailing boat is Abdullah bin muda, a master yacht craftsman who is known and sought after by many sailing enthusiasts who have heard about his skills within the international sailing community over the world. Abdullah’s handcrafted yachts are very popular around the world that he received many orders that came from Singapore, Canada, Algeria, Australia, the United States, and Denmark, Britain, New Zealand, Italy, France and much more since his first overseas sales in 1965.

Abdullah’s handcrafted yachts or Custom Made Wooden Yachts are quite famous and remarkable as all the design of the boat are from his imagination. All the boat and yachts of the boats are dovetailed and pegged rather than nailed. All he need from his client is what do they want or characteristics of the boat on the spot that he can just simply draw out the remarkable design to his client in just minute that fist timer will be flabbergasted by his imagination right on the spot. Abdullah’s workshop which sits on a very scenic spot of Sungai Terengganu is one of the state’s most popular tourist haunts, especially for foreigners who arrive by the vanload, if not busload the workshop is located in the heart of the village in a traditional Malay house.

At Abdullah’s workshop many tourist can see how good and skill he and his skilled apprentice is at work. Which usually leave most people shock and baffle seeing how they chisel away, hacking and saw ling the wood with out even drawing or looking at any plan? They simple and languidly took the wood and start chopping and sawing straight away without the slightest or though of making any mistake.

Another reason which made him famous and much respected by many people is his loves of making boat, his modesty, this can bee seen with his modest bungalow which is just a stone throw from his workshop even thought many of the vessel that are build by his works shop are value over a quarter million US Dollar. He is a man who keeps his promise that even if the other party go back on their word and he has a philosophy is that “as long as there is no order from the owner to abort the deal, the agreement stays and the vessel will remain here.” and most importantly his laid back and honesty when dealing with boats most people cant believe that with his much sought skill and ten of million dollar worth of project in five decade his custom made yachts and boat making fee are relatively cheat except for the material. Which make him still a poor man that even thief will simply looked away from his house.

Anyone who wish to hire him had to be patient to get his order as Pakcik Abdullah doesn’t have a dead line on when to finish the order as he take extreme care and pride in making his boat that it may need a year or two to finish. The result are remunerable as most of the new owner will be awe in amazement of his job . Last year’s Monsonn Cup had cause his name more famous and had bring an order worth 5 million US dollar worth of nailess vessel and yacht and other sailing boat. 

The Annual Monsoon Cup
Beside of the traditional boat making industry Pulau Duyung are also famous for its salted fish and fish cracker industry at Pulau Duyung you will find many fish are salted and than put under the sun for 4 or 5 day until it is dried.

Ok...Back to business... beside this, there is another attraction here. Which is the International Sailing Championship, the Monsoon Cup. The Moonsun Cup was the idea of The Prime Minister Datuk Sri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who was here at Terengganu to congratulate Terengganu’s BARISAN NATIONAL for winning the election and took back the turtle state from the Pas party. During his sigh seeing in KT. The tour stop at the middle of the Sultan Mahmud Bridge to view the city’s waterfront, our Prime Minister. “Pak Lah” (as were usually called before he was elected as the fifth PM of Malaysia) suggest that the waterfront should be developed as an international stage or venue for sailing as he view the Pulau Duyung bay are suitable for sailing.

After that day Wan Hisham the chaiman of the state development of infrastructure , public amities and comuniction was chosen to change Pulau Duyung Bay into an International Sailing Venue ae The Monsoon Cup and the state company T-Best Event Sdn Bhd was form to run the event.

Last year they were a dramatic change at Pulau Duyung (as seen in ESPN on December 2005 During the live telecast of the Monsoon Cup). The state Gov decide and had built Heritage Bay Chalet, 5 star resort with swimming pool and much more . 60 unit were build during the first phase and another 60 more are currently been built to provide accommodation to tourist who want to stay at the calm Pulau Duyung and during the annual Monsoon Cup (Check the event Calendar) and 120 unit of 3 flour apartment was also build last year for rent .

Rm 60 million was spent on just to developed Pulau Duyung and its marina. The other development project that the state Gov also plan are the project to developed and establish an fishermen port, a playground garden ,shop and other building on a 30 hectares wide area.

The first Monsoon Cup was held in December 2005. But strangely.... last year the fierce monsoon season that usually strike from Octobers didn’t happen....?( still we were happy because we got to see many famous people like actor, singer and sport stat like Ferari team, Michele Yeoh, Jacky Chan and much more.It was like a festival and all suddenly Terengganu was on the world map and many dignitary from here and abroad was here at the small city of Kuala Terengganu.

To get here
To get here is very simple you can use the Sultan Mahmud bridge and take the Pulau Duyung exit in the middle of the span. From there, ask for directions to the “boat builder’s place” and walks there. You can even take a river boat ride from Pasar Payang or at the small jetty that lay just next to Hotel Seri Malaysia in Kampung Cina which both are use mostly by farmer and local to unload they produce from farm to sell here and going to Seberang Takir for Keropok Lekor and its seafood. The short ride should cost about 70 sen per person. And most importantly work at the workshop ceases by 4.30pm and it’s closed on Fridays. Pakcik Abdullah can be reached at 09-631 5072.

For accommodation, u can stay at a small sea facing Chalet for as low as Rm 20 per night in Pulau Duyung Besar or 3 star Hotel Sri Malaysia in Kampung Cina or 5 star Heritage Bay Chalet or u could rent the 3 storey apartment for a whole year. Both chalet blends perfectly into the village or Kampung life, that u may think that the chalet are your house that you can mingle with the local folks who sit down on small pondok drinking ‘kopi” as is u are staying with the local. The stay here will be quite remunerable. To get here you need to get to Uncle Awi yellow house. His house can be easily find but if you get lost. Uncle Awi are well know by the villager and some town folks .You can ask any of the local kid for “Rumah Awi” and they will direct you to his house. Heritage Bay Chalet can bee seen from a far which a swimming poll in the middle.

Beside the scenic spot the chalet is quite remunerable as next to Awi’s place, live Hasim who was a former sea crew and sailor who one work in the international water with various ship. Here you can find and buy and see how he made the many handcraft Wooden model of many old trading boat, Junk and many more which once strive the water of Terengganu ,Malaysia and the great South China Sea. 

At Pulau Duyung also you can find an old istana called Istana Kota Lama, Pulau Duyung. Which had recently been open to the public after the timber palace was restore by a group of historical NGO foundation.

For reading about Pulau Duyung you can go to /travel/islands/icboat

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