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LOCATION:
Pantai Merang is located in the District of Setiu in the central section of Terengganu state. Most the photos in this articles were taken at the public park of Pantai Merang just a few minutes away from Merang Jetty. In general, the long coastline of Pantai Merang is located about 30 kilometres to the north of Kuala Terengganu.

DESCRIPTION:
The name of "Merang" is rather unfortunate as it is often mistaken for another popular beach area that goes by the name of "Marang" to the south of Kuala Terengganu. In recent days, the many beaches along the stretch of coastal Setiu district have gained better visibility to the public with the ever-growing flock of tourists to the idyllic islands off the coast of Pantai Merang, namely Pulau Redang and Pulau Lang Tengah. In fact, regular island goers have to make the compulsory stop at Pantai Merang where the main passenger boat jetty is located.

As Pantai Merang gets out of the ghastly shadow of Pantai Marang, the proliferation of medium- and high-class resorts start to stamp its mark on this long stretch of beautiful beach. Hospitality establishments such as The Aryani and Sutra Beach Resort have been adorning its white sandy beaches for many years, and as of recently, Merang Suria Resort had joined the fray to capture a slice of stopover tourists heading to the popular islands off the coast of Terengganu. It is not uncommon for island-bound visitors originating from different parts of Malaysia and Singapore to stay overnight at the many beach resorts of Pantai Merang before appropriately heading to the islands from Merang Jetty.

Near to the confluence of Sungai Merang and the South China Sea, a massive breakwater has been erected to regulate the depth of the river estuary. The construction has resulted in a man-made lagoon fronting the camping ground on the beach. During my visit, the camping ground seemed to be used for the ongoing National Service Camp (or Kem Khidmat Negara). In the so-called public park area, the beach is decidedly beautiful with swaying coconut trees and shady casuarina trees that produce whistling sounds when the wind is blowing strongly. Nonetheless, I do feel that the public facilities along the beach and around the park to be in dire needs of maintenance.

A good spot that I recommended for a visit is the Merang Observatory Station (or Balai Cerap for Universiti Darul Iman). The place looks like a planetarium and is actually used for sky-gazing to determine the beginning of the many special months of Islamic calendar. As the observatory is perched on top of a hill overlooking the vast expanse of Pantai Merang, the view can be considered spectacular.

Note that there are many beaches that can be considered Pantai Merang as the beach stretch itself is extremely long and largely uninhabited. There are probably a lot more beach sections to be discovered off the beaten track along the coastal road that connects Kuala Terengganu to Kota Bharu. Be on the lookout and find your best and personalised spot.

MY VERDICT:
A beautiful stretch of sandy beach and turquoise-blue water. Plenty of space to call your own.
 

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