Setiu, Terengganu

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The Setiu Wetlands, part of the Setiu River Basin and the larger Setiu - Chalok - Bari - Merang basin wetland complex lies in Terengganu on Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast.

Extending over 23,000 ha, it comprises riparian forests lining the riverbanks, freshwater melaleuca swamps, peat swamps, mangroves, brackish water lagoons with vegetated sand islands, seagrass beds and sandy beaches.

It is the only wetland in Malaysia with nine interconnected ecosystems - the sea, beach, mudflat, lagoon, estuary, river, islands, coastal forest and mangrove forest.

The sandy beaches, sand islands and riverbanks are nesting grounds for Malaysia’s largest breeding population of painted terrapin (Callagur borneoensis) and are amongst the few remaining mainland nesting sites for the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Both the painted terrapin and green turtle are endangered species.

Setiu’s natural wetland features and elements have considerable ecotourism potential. Suitable ecotourism activities may include nature observation on the unique wetland habitat and turtle nesting, honey harvesting in the Melalueca swamps and recreational fishing.

Ecotourism can generate alternative incomes for local communities, who at present depend almost entirely on the fisheries sector for their livelihood.

How to get there:

Gong Batu and Pengkalan Gelap, located in Kampung Penarik, Setiu are the stopping points for visits to Setiu Wetlands. These places are accessible within a 1 hour 15 minutes drive north from Kuala Terengganu.