Pulau is the Malay word for island and Duyung means mermaid. By just looking at the name, and compounded by my ignorance - my initial thought was that we would need to take a boat to get there.
Pulau Duyung is an island actually, a river island, to be specific. Located at the mouth of Sungai Terengganu (Terengganu River), it is accessible via riverboats that can be taken at the jetty of Pasar Payang (the Central Market of Kuala Terengganu).
We did not take a boat there though. Vee drove the Camry through the then newly built Sultan Mahmud Bridge that led us straight to our destination (admittedly, we did lose our way a couple of times before getting there). From the bridge, the place looked less the island and more of a typical Malay riverine village.
Pulau Duyung is the home of the artisan boatmakers of Terengganu. Sadly, due to the increasing cost of timber, traditional boatmaking is fast becoming a declining industry - the legacy continued only by a few craftsmen. The most well known, master craftsman Haji Abdullah, resides there.
The boatmaker's workshop opened up to Sungai Terengganu, where a vast body of water lay sleepy- the waves moving slowly, lazily. I could see a few fishing boats bobbing idly by the riverbank - maybe because it was a Friday, the day off in the east coast.
As we maneuvered quietly between pieces of wood and tools, we could see a couple of boats in the making. Outside, slabs of timber were lined criss-crossed next to an old house built in the Terengganu Malay traditional house design.
I don't remember the three of us talking much. We stood there, most of the time lost in our thoughts, admiring the handcrafted, beautiful and sturdy boats just biding time to hit the water.