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Rantau Abang beach

Rantau Abang's gentle slopes invites leatherback turtles to land - The Giant Leatherback Turtles At 22km north of K.Dungun and 80km south of K.Terengganu, is probably the most talked about tourist spot in Terengganu. There was a time when a great number of giant leatherback turtles came to Rantau Abang to lay their eggs between May and August. (Peak egg laying months are June and July).

The beach terrain here is favourable as it has a steep and deep slope so that the turtle can 'land' straight up the beach. If the beach has a shallow and gradual slope, the turtle would have to spend much of her energy wading through a fair distance before finding a suitable nesting site closer to the vegetation line. She must conserve as much energy as possible for what she has to do later. The mother turtle comes up in the cover of night to lay her eggs.

Leatherback turtles can grow to a length of 2m and easily weigh up to 500kg. Unlike other turtles species who have hard bony shells, they have soft, leathery shells or carapace with 7 ridges running longitudinally down. The design and shape of the carapace reduces water friction and together with the long flippers helps the turtle propel smoothly through water. This is a more suitable design, for these long distance swimmers have to travel across great oceans every 2 to 3 years to return to the same breeding ground. It is believed that the long distance travel is related to seasonal drifts of the jellyfish.

Leatherback turtlesBest time to go: From early March right through till end-November

How to Reach there:

By car

From Kuala Lumpur Head east towards Kuantan. You will be driving on the Karak Highway (Highway 2) all through to Kuantan, which takes approximately 3 - 3 hours. Once arriving on the outskirts of Kuantan town, it can get a little tricky. Head towards the Northeast, on highway 3 (the coastal road) which will take you pass Dungun.

From Penang Head towards Kota Baharu via the East-West Highway (highway 4). Perhaps one of the most scenic routes found in the Peninsular, the East-West Highway is one of the last frontiers to be conquered, so to speak. A stronghold for the communists in the 60's and 70's where terrorist activity was rampant in the area then. This may be the reason why going through this part of Malaysia seems a little alien. There are neither plantations nor housing development lining the highway. Zip back 60years and this would probably have been the landscape for most parts of Malaysia. Little trunk roads splitting dense forests, with no evidence of civilisation far into the horizon.

By air

There are flights Kuala Terengganu by Malaysia Airlines. From the airport, grab a taxi to Rantau Abang.