THE seaside city of Kuala Terengganu, in the Malaysian east coast state of Terengganu, is now the first in Southeast Asia to deploy an amphibious bus to ferry tourists in both land and water.
The amphicoach has created some ripples in the country after the vehicle was seen carrying out a 45-minute test run from Kampung Losong village and an island called Pulau Wan Man several kilometers away.
The unique vehicle is still undergoing trials, Terengganu’s Chief Minister Ahmad Razif told local media, but it is expected to be fully operational soon. He said the coach tour which begins in the city would pass through the focal points of the Terengganu river.
“There are two bridges that need to be made compatible (with the vehicle). And we also need to ensure that the pilot has the necessary licenses,” Ahmad said as quoted by Astro Awani.
“The Road and Transport department and the Marine Department will work closely together (in ensuring compliance), so I believe it would be operational as soon as possible.”
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Due to the trial period, the state government has yet to announce the fare prices for the tour. It’s also worth pointing out that the amphicoach did not come cheap.
Specially imported from Malta, the amphicoach was bought at a whopping RM3.3 million (US$840,000) – enough to purchase a Ferrari.
Despite the hefty price tag, it also serves a noble purpose: to ferry victims of floods to safety during the monsoon season.
Regardless, residents of the small city were impressed by the vehicle’s abilities.
“It was very satisfying to see such unique bus as well as the fact that we are the only state to own the vehicle. Not every country has an amphibious bus and Terrenganu is a state which owns one,” 40-year-old Norabina Abdul Rahman told Sinar Harian.
Zailawati Ali, 42, said: “As a Terengganu local, I’m proud that we own this vehicle. I’ve only seen this vehicle on YouTube, and it’s my first time seeing it with my own eyes.”
This story first appeared on our sister website Travel Wire Asia.