One of the oldest professions practiced by locals is wood carving and carpentry. Terengganu wood artisans are known for their skills to not only make beautiful wood carvings but also for building boats and traditional houses without the use of nails. In traditional homes, wood carving ventilation panels are placed above doors and windows, which add aesthetic value as well.
The wood carvers today draw inspirations from Islamic designs, plants and nature, and interpret their work by carving intricate flowery motifs, Quranic verses and Islamic geometrical designs. No animals or human beings are depicted. However, some of these motifs have existed for hundreds of years and were derived from the pre-Islamic era and were visual interpretations of legends and myths. Each motif had its story of origination but with the coming of Islam, the interpretation of the motifs changed to suit what was acceptable to the religion.
An excellent destination for cultural enthusiasts is the Desa Ukiran Kayu (Wood Carving Village) in Kg Raja, Besut. There are workshops and classes for budding wood carvers and it is evolving to become the centre for vocational excellence. It is worth a visit as you will not only see the wood carvers at work, you will also appreciate the buildings in the Village, which were built to showcase traditional Terengganu Malay architecture.