Pasar Payang Terengganu

Pasar-Payang-Market-Kuala-TerengganuMarkets are a feature of most Asian cities, and in the Malaysian city of Kuala Terengganu there is a very interesting market called Pasar Payang.

Pasar Payang Market

This is one of those old fashioned type of markets which has been set up in, what looks like, a very old multi-storied building.

Located near the waterfront, yet close to the city’s central business district, the Pasar Payang is geared solely towards locals.

This is no fake tourist attraction done up to resemble a real market.  The Pasar Payang is the real thing, where the majority of goods, being food and clothing basics, would be of little interest to tourists.  That factor, for me, is its main attraction.

The ground floor, which is dark, dirty, crowded yet unbelievably fascinating is like the local supermarket, sans fridges and freezers, good lighting, clean floors and itemised goods.

This market is filled with all types of unusual foods, particularly piles of dried fish products, savoury snacks, spices and packets of local biscuits, noodles and some products of which I didn’t have a clue.

A Matriarchal Market

These market stalls are run by women, because Terengganu is a matriarchal society, in which the women run the businesses and are the one who own the property.  The goods on the stalls rise upwards, layered like Mayan pyramids, and atop the heap sit the ladies who can detect attempted theft from their high eyries, and whose height above the floor signifies that any deals to be done here will be in their favour.

The vast first floor of the complex seems to be devoted to clothing and toys.

Through narrow alleyways you wander, where the many tiny shops sit cheek by jowl, laden with traditional clothing in a multitude of colours.

As an Islamic state, the women of Terengganu are expected to dress modestly, and most wear the veil.

Caters For Locals Only

Don’t bother to shop here if you possess a large western frame for Malaysians tend to be slight, and the sizes recognise that trait.

Still, there are scarves and shawls available in many different and intriguing colours and patterns.

I assume that the locals must have their favourite shops for not having an attuned eye, most of the garments looked similar to me.

Some of the stall holders play CDs to keep themselves amused during the slow times, and ti was a surreal experience to me to wander past stalls selling modest clothing with local Malaysian Hip Hop blaring out from the speakers.

Because the Pasar Payang is targeted towards the locals, there’s not even a money changer there to help visitor’s contribute to the local economy, it is well worthwhile visiting.  Even if you shopping experience turns out to be dry.

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