map and location of Pasar Besar Kedai Payang (Central Market)
This colourful and charming wet and dry open-planned market is located next to Chinatown (at the end of Jalan Bandar) and strategically located at the river mouth of Terengganu River that opens into the South China Sea. Pasar refers to market; Besar refers to big as it was enlarged in the 60s; Payang refers to the name of the typical Terengganu’s fishermen boat. The market offers huge variety of traditional products and souvenirs such as batik and brocade, metal products such as cooking ware and utensils, grocery items such as spices, seafood (fresh from the sea), fruits, fresh vegetables and so on.
and of course there is no shortage of Keropok, the Terengganu specialty, at the market
It is always busy in the market, especially during the peak hours from 6-9 in the mornings. One gets to watch and indulge in the experience of the local life – trading, where traders unload goods and merchandises in the utmost efficient manner; selling, where pakcik (elderly man), makcik (elderly woman) and younger sellers make announcement of their goods, sometimes melodically; and buying, where buyers (regular or new) investigate their potential purchase and haggle prices. Often the market has window-shoppers, travelers and birds paying a visit. What joyful are the sounds of conversations in the recognizable Terengganu Malay dialect, laughter and birds chirping filling up the space.
Therefore, it is one of the must-visit places if you are at Kuala Terengganu. Besides, one can find the local trishaw that is often colourfully decorated at the entrance or the sides of the market. It is the best way to see the town at an affordable price. The pakcik-pakcik who rode the trishaws are normally in their 50s!, friendly and welcome you to take photos.
the pakciks with their trishaws waiting for customers
Sadly to say that, reported in News Straits Time dated 31st May 2013, the state government is proceeding with the “plan to modernise it into a four-storey, air-conditioned market, together with the construction of a 23-storey, 550-room five-star hotel and a 30-storey apartment”. However, “on 23rd May 2013, the Terengganu State Tourism Association (PPNT) 24th general meeting, its chairman Wan Supian Wan Ishak had asked the state government to review its intention to demolish the central market to make way for an integrated complex with a new market, hotel and apartment.”
the market (on the left) along Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, in the background on the right Bazaar Warisan (a handycraft / batik market)
one of the many stalls at the market
inside the market
the wet market