Merang is a subdistrict or “mukim” located in the district of Setiu, state of Terengganu, Malaysia. To the north, it is bordered by Besut; to the west, Hulu Terengganu; on the south, Kuala Nerus. This place is well-known for being a gateway for people who are going to the island retreats such as Redang Island, Lang Tengah Island and Bidong Island which is located just nearby. As such, most of the residents here work in tourism industry, either by means of working on their own homestays or offering transport packages to go around the place.
From the history point of view, back in the 1870s, the Bugis people was involved in a fight with the Dutch. This would result in a lot of Bugis people to flee their homeland to find a better place and also due to their refusal to live under the rule of the Dutch. Tok Setiu, being one of the people, together with his followers, arrived in Terengganu which was being ruled of Sultan Ahmad II at that time. With the Sultan’s consent, he established a village which was named after him, Kampung Bukit Tok Setiu. This marked the beginning of the district and Merang in a whole. Later on, post-independence, Merang and Setiu in a whole is jointly established as a full-fledged district back in 1985 as a part of the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) declaration.
Merang can be accessed by by boarding flights to Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu. There are flights to Merang provided by Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia. From the airport, guests may hail up a taxi or public transportation to Merang.
People driving from Kuala Lumpur may drive through the E8 route for direct access to Merang. The journey could take up around five hours depending on the traffic situation.
There are no major express bus terminal, instead there are bus stops located nearby the Merang Jetty which can be accessed via local bus. Take the trip directly to Kuala Terengganu from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) terminal using express bus services such as Transnasional Express or Ekspress Mutiara before opting for local buses to go there.
Like any other beaches in Terengganu, this beach does not lack and disappoint in terms of its pristine white sands and beautiful ocean view that serve as a great spot for a retreat. Located nearby the Merang Jetty, the Merang Beach is sometimes foreshadowed and confused with another beach in Terengganu, Marang Beach. Nonetheless the frequent goers to both Redang Island and Lang Tengah Island have always been making this beach their compulsory stop to enjoy the breeze of the sea before proceeding to the said islands. To capitalize on this, many resorts have been opened in recent years along the beach stretch, hence increasing the visibility of the beach itself. There are also a recreation park nearby with public facilities which can be used for camping, teambuilding and having barbeque or picnic with family and friends.
Also known as the Merang Observatory Station, currently this observatory is maintained under the University of Sultan Zainal Abidin, a public university located with the main campus in Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu. The observatory can be found easily while visitors are coursing through the Merang Beach and can be seen from afar due to the observatory being positioned on the top of a hill overlooking the vast expanse of beach. It is typically a planetarium and is used for sky-gazing activities, many of them are meant to determine the beginning of the many special months of Islamic Hijri calendar. Besides that, just getting to the top and enjoying the look from that perspective can be a pleasant experience due to the spectacular sight offered.