Land of Lightening
Lush paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches define Kelantan. Located
in the northeast corner of Malaysia, the beauty of the ‘Land of Lightening’, lies in the
vitality of its culture and remote unsullied beauty.
It enjoys a pleasant tropical climate.
Kota Bahru, the capital of Kelantan is a bustling town famous for its ornately decorated trishaws. It is the best place to appreciate Kelantanese culture and crafts and offers numerous
attractions for visitors.
Its Royal Museum - Istana Batu was designed and built in 1939 during the reign of Sultan Ismail I. It was used as a venue for royal weddings as well as to house royal guests.
Today, you can see regalia and palace items belonging to former Sultans are
on display. These include silverware, bedroom items and furniture from the royal household.
Kelantan also has a lovely stretch of shimmering is its most famous beach. Fringed by swaying casuarinas and coconut palms, the beach is a big hit with the tourists. Situated in the district of Bachok about 25 km south of Kota Bharu, Pantai Irama is believed to be the most beautiful beaches along the entire east coast.
The town is also the venue of the International Kite Festival, this beach lies on the border of Thailand and Kelantan at Kampung Tujuh in Tumpat, about 7 km from Kota Bharu.Still, life here remains pleasant and peaceful.
Old trishaws still ply the streets to pick up tourists, but most of the time, are busy transporting housewives to and from the Central Market.
The Central Market is a popular market that
practically everyone in Kota Bharu goes to for shopping.
Come early morning, traders are busy setting up stalls; some smoke hand-rolled cigarettes while sitting cross-legged on a sheet of fruits and vegetables, others cradle babies in their hands. As the clock ticks, the central market itself becomes alive with the din of haggling.
A special dish called ‘Ulam’ is a local
salad served with a special anchovy sauce and flavoured with thinly sliced ‘kedondong’ (a tropical fruit) and spicy hot chilli.
Also, Batik, a form of silk, is a popular sale in shops as are traditional Malay handicrafts and apparels such as the ‘songket’ a type of Islamic prayer hat. For a good taste of history, visit the Royal Museum, also called the ‘Stone Palace’
for being one of the first establishments made of concrete in Kelantan.
A visit to Kota Bahru is a trip through the richness of Malay culture and tradition. An excellent network of roads
link major towns in Peninsula Malaysia to Kelantan.
There are regular air-conditioned busses operating from Kuala Lumpur and major towns to Kota Bharu while Train services from Kuala Lumpur to Kelantan terminate at Wakaf Bharu and Tumpat. Malaysian Airlines also operates daily flights to Kota Bharu from Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
The rich Malay culture evident in the
food, language, lifestyle and sights. However, alcohol is prohibited although there are some Chinese who will sell you beers behind closed doors