North of Mersing & Kuantan

Terengganu breakwaters
Terengganu breakwaters and river | Photo by Bill O’Leary

90 miles north of Mersing is Kuantan, the next main fishing port on this coast. The river is navigable but subject to frequent depth changes. Entering should only be attempted at high tide; following a local vessel through the sandbar is recommended.

Anchorage is possible either side of the river or tie up to another vessel already alongside the many jetties. Further up the river at 3°48.503N, 103°20.075E, anchor just before the bridge in 3-4 metres opposite the commercial fishing pier and blue and white marine department building.

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This spot is safe and gives access to the charming shopping district and local municipality of Kuantan, the provincial capital of this state. The population is over 100,000, mainly Chinese.

In December 1941, the British battleships, the ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Repulse’ were sunk by Japanese aircraft 60 miles off Kuantan, and remain as a war grave. Annual pilgrimages are still made to the site.

20 miles north of Kuantan is the Club Med resort at Cherating. Anchor off the main resort building in 6-8 metres on a sandy bottom at 4°08.275N, 103°24.618E.


Pulau Tenggol chart
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45 miles from Terengganu

PULAU TENGGOL, WEST BAY. 4°48.518N, 103°40.537E

Fifty miles north of Kuantan is the small offshore island of Pulau Tenggol. This anchorage is deep in 15-20 metres on a sandy bottom off the cul-de-sac Telok Ayer Tanwah (Fresh Water Bay), mid west coast. Ashore is the Tenggol Coral Beach Resort, owner of some moorings for visiting yachts. This is a good stopover for the night.

The resort accepts outside guests at its restaurant and will arrange dive trips to the best local dive sites. The best diving and snorkelling is just two miles north at Pulau Nyireh 4°50.541N, 103°39.670E and Pulau Tokong Burong 4°51.725N, 103°39.504E.

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There are commercial moorings at these sites but they’re light tackle for speedboats. Best anchor off in 12-18 metres or stay in the resort bay and take one of their trips for far less hassle.

If this anchorage is uncomfortable (as it often is) there’s better shelter 34 miles further north at Pulau Kapas. This small island is just three miles east of Marang Town River on the mainland with the failed breakwaters, 10 miles south of Terengganu. Anchor or pick up a mooring in the better sheltered north bay at 5°13.677N, 103°15.727E directly south of Pulau Gumia, which has a run-down resort and turtle hatchery.

When conditions permit, you can access two resorts with white sand beaches, protected by fringing reef further south. Anchor 150 metres west of the south resort jetty in 6-8 metres. Daily ferries run back to Marang river and can be booked at the resort reception.


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Terengganu Harbour and Marina chart
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260 miles from Singapore


Forty miles north of Pulau Tenggol is the thriving oil and gas port of Kuala Terengganu. The main activity was fishing until the 1980s, when oil and gas fields began to be developed in the Gulf of Thailand.

Now the major east coast supply port for the Malaysian oil industry, the government recently completed construction of a mile long crab-claw-like reclamation breakwater sheltering the harbour. This makes Terengganu the most protected spot on the entire east coast of the Khra Isthmus, but beware the rock breakwater exacerbates the north south currents which can reach three knots across the entrance mid tide.

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One and a half miles directly west of the entrance, on Pulau Duyang, is the Duyong Marina and Resort. With capacity for five superyachts, it has 36 berths, full facilities, laundry, WiFi, gas refills available in town. The resort includes gym, sauna, swimming pool, restaurants, accommodation and 24hr security. Diesel can be delivered in cans.

Fast RIB transfers to and from the main town take a few minutes, run regularly and take the headache out of having to run your own dinghy. VHF Ch.69. 

Outside the marina, anchorage is available anywhere north at the fishing village in 2-4 metres at 5°20.691N, 103°08.104E or back inside the crab claw external breakwater in either corner in 3-6 metres, depending on the prevailing wind.

Good shipyards and repair facilities dot the inner harbour and the city has excellent wet and dry markets, great shopping, a well-established hospital and flights to the rest of Malaysia.

The small river mouth in the north of the basin, starting at 5°20.757N, 103°07.972E, is the lifeblood of the fishing community. It runs a mile further north through the village and ends in the mangroves. A photographer’s delight, it’s crossed by three low bridges and is lined with colourful fishing boats.

If coming to or from Thailand, Kuala Terengganu is a logical choice for checking in and out of Malaysian waters. At the time of writing, the Immigration Department in the city does not stamp passports, so a visit to the airport is required. It is 10 km away and about MR60 round trip by local taxi. The Customs and Harbour Master are located in town near the Sri Malaysia Hotel and must be visited as well.


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Terengganu Marina, Malaysia
Terengganu Marina | Photo by Bill O’Leary

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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