And I thought it could only happen in fairy tales. A structure made entirely of crystal. Well for this, the Crystal Mosque (or Masjid Kristal), it’s mostly made of crystal with some metal and glass. Nonetheless it’s a beautiful, one of a kind structure found in Kuala Terengganu. We were supposed to visit a floating mosque but got lost here on an island within a city to find the golden ochre walls of this mosque reflecting the warm light of the afternoon sun.
Heading Back to Kuala Terengganu
We got back to Kuala Besut from Perhentian Island. After a quick lunch, we got instruction to wait on a corner near the bridge by a hardware store if we’re looking after the bus back to the city center. It was a rotunda where vehicles pass through in and out Kuala Besut and towards Kota Bahru. By 130pm, an SP Bumi Bus to Kuala Terengganu picked us up. But the conductor and driver took a short buko juice and restroom break before we moved on.
It was an interesting couple of hours ride. As it turns out, it was the same bus that took us to Kuala Besut the first time. The conductor recognised us and started to engage in a conversation, probably to practice his English. After a while, we were teaching tagalog words to him while pointing how similar Malay words are. He learned phrases like “Mahal Kita (I love you)”, “Maganda ka (You are beautiful)” and “Pwede pakasalan mo ako? (Will you marry me?)”. To where he will use the words, it’s up to him. I did learn that a simple conductor like him already have a house in Kuala Besut and surprised us when he took out his iPad 2 3G from his worn out messenger bag. Yep, I guess life is better for people a worker like him here.
Finding Crystal Mosque
The McDonalds near the bus station not only offered to fill our hunger with snacks but to catch up on the online world with their free wifi. But we didn’t stay long as we wanted to visit one of the many mosque in the city. Terengganu is a predominantly Muslim City and most of their attractions are built around their mosques.
Originally, we were looking for the Floating Mosque. We tried to look at their bus routes but we just decided to take a cab. We thought that the Crystal Mosque and the Floating Mosque were the same as (we later found out were not) so we followed the road signs leading to the Crystal Mosque.
The Islamic Heritage Park
We crossed a bridge leading to one of the many river island in the city called Palau Wan Man. On the island is the large Islamic Heritage Park or Taman Tamadum Islam. This RM250 million theme park project opened last 2008 and contains replicas of famous Mosques around the world like the Taj Mahal of India or Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
One of the main attractions of the theme park of course is the Crystal Mosque or Masjid Crystal. It was nothing short of impressive with with crystal/glass walls reflecting the golden afternoon sky. From afar, the mosque also appears floating on a water. I would have wanted to go inside but I think worship was in progress at that time.
The theme park is a relaxing place to stroll around. There are riverside she-oak trees, neatly landscaped gardens and pathways. I saw some Muslims just enjoying their walks and a few sitting down by steps, chatting, catching-up while having a snack. It’s recommended though to have your own transport as I heard public buses only go through the park until 5pm. Fortunately we found a taxi waiting in the area and we got back to the bus station before our evening rides.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.