(top photo : Did you know ? Turtle Stone legend “Batu Penyu” that located in Bukit Che Hawa, Rantau Abang is believe to be the turtle queen that attracted the giant leatherback dermochelys coriacea turtles come to Rantau Abang beach every year in July to August to lay eggs.)
Rantau Abang is about 60 km from Kuala Terengganu, the nearest town is Dungun which is 22km to the south. This place is rather famous as the main nesting beach for turtles especially as one of the six nesting beach in the world for giant leatherback turtle (Dermocheleys coriaca). From May to September in every year, there will be visitors wait patiently and quietly on the beach for the turtle. The turtle will swim all the way back to here, then lumbering slowly on the sandy beaches to lay their eggs and disappear in the sea again. They normally lay their eggs when it is full moon and accompany with hide tide.
Nobody knows the reason why do these creatures choose to come back every year. However, the local believe that the turtles are attracted by two giant turtle stones (Batu Penyu) one lies between the bushes on a little hill in the village off the coast and another soaking in seawater. The mysterious stone on the hill is accessible in a 30 minutes short walk passing through the village. There is sign board along the way or you may get a villager to bring you there. Whereas the other one is covered by sand and water and is not visible any more.
Though there are conservation actions taken by the Fisheries Department, reports show that number of turtle coming back to lay theirs eggs every year is declining. This is partly due to the consequence of some incorporative action from the visitors such as pulling the turtle’s flippers, riding on the turtle, taking the eggs, etc.
Even not for the purpose of witnessing the egg laying ‘process’, Rantau Abang is still a great place for swimming, picnicking and sunbathing. The miles long clean and soft sandy beach is a temptation for many people. Local run chalets and guesthouses are just standing behind the beach, offering excellent rooms and services.
There is a Turtle Information Center situated by the main road, displaying information about turtles. A few minutes documentary is also played several times a day.