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Hot Destinations

Why Kota Bharu, Kelantan?
Experience the visual feasts at the day and night markets in Kota Bharu. Sample the local delicacies, from ‘nasi ulam’,nasi kerabu, nasi dagang to ‘ayam percik’, satay and local ‘kuih-muihs’or learn the secrets of traditional Malay kite-making from the masters. Kota Bharu is the capital of Kelantan (the Land of Full Mon) is a culturally rich place, peppered with incredible temples, museums, and markets. Kelantan is the “cardle of Malay culture”, one of the east coast interesting states in Malaysia.

The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, (”The Beautiful Abode”).Kota Bharu, the bustling state capital city emanates an old world charm and offers tourists the opportunity to witness a microcosm of the unique Kelantanese way of life and also a true Malaysian traditional lifestyle whereby the residents are known for their friendliness and generosity.

Situated in the north-eastern corner of the peninsula, Kelantan, which interprets as the “Land of Lightning” is an agrarian state with lush paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches. Kelantan is home to some of the most ancient archeological findings in Malaysia, including a few prehistoric aboriginal settlements. It also proposes a delightful abundance of colourful traditions, charm and beauty. Nature-based activities range from simple river cruises, rafting, and bird watching to jungle trekking and Caving. A goldmine, a deer park, and an ethno-botanical garden can also be found in Kelantan.

Kota Bharu Attractions:

Istana Batu (Royal Museum)

Royal Museum in Kelantan displays various silverware and furniture from the royal households including a royal dining room and a lavish living room.

This attraction in Kelantan was built in 1939 as a palace for the sultan and the venue for royal weddings as well as to house royal guests. , it has been converted into the Royal Museum where regalia and palace items belonging to former Sultans are on display. These include silverware, bedroom items and furniture from the royal household. There is also a photographic exhibition on the life of the late Sultan of Kelantan.

Open 8:30am - 4:45pm daily, except Fridays.

How to get there?
The museum is only 500 meters from Kota Bharu town. It is located at Jalan Hilir Kota, in front of Istana Balai Besar and behind the Muhammadi Mosque.


Istana Jahar (Jahar Palace)

Built in 1887 by Sultan Muhamad 11 for his grandson Long Kundur, this former palace, Istana Jahar, is now a museum. The intricate woodcarvings are testimony to the superb craftsmanship of the Kelantanese. Photographs, artifacts and exhibits on Kelantan’s rich cultural heritage will keep visitors enthralled. Among the exhibits seen here are high-class traditional handicrafts such as songket, royal artifacts and silver craft. Also seen inside this structure are displays of court life and a wonderful display of Malay weapons at the Weapon Gallery.

Opening hours: 8.30 am - 5.45 pm daily except Fridays.

How to get there?
Located within the cultural zone in Kota Bharu, the museum is easily accessible from Jalan Sultan and Jalan Hilir Kota.


Islamic Museum

Declared as a centre of Islamic learning. Tracing the golden times of Islam in Kelantan, exhibits contain Islamic arts and crafts and photographs and of some of the individual belongings of Prophet Muhammad and Islamic historical sites.

Opening hours: 10.30 am - 5.45 pm daily except Fridays.


State Museum

The State Museum located along Jalan Hospital incorporates the State Art Gallery is also called the Muzium Negeri Kelantan. The building itself was utilized as the land office from colonial times until 1990 when major renovations were carried out to convert it into museum. The museum documents the arts, crafts and musical traditions of Kelantan. Ceramic displays testify to the early trade with China and artifacts from local archaeological sites provide evidence of the existence of the pre-historic age in Kelantan. Another significant exhibit is the Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain. This building, located opposite the clock tower, also acts as the headquarters for the Kelantan State Museum Corporation.

Open: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm daily (except Fridays)

How to get there?
Located along Jalan Hospital, the Kelantan State Museum is a short walk from the Tourist Information Centre (Tel: 603 - 7485534/3543).


Merdeka Square

One significant and historic landmark in Kelantan is the Padang Merdeka which is also known as the Merdeka Square. Merdeka Square rose to prominence in 1844 after the completion of the lstana Besar. It is also known as Padang Bank, this place of interest is a strip of grass that was set up as a memorial after World War I. This place was where the British displayed the body of Tok Janggut, a local hero, who was killed after organizing an uprising against the British at Pasir Puteh to protest against land taxes imposed by the British on the locals in 1915




Pantai Cahaya Bulan

The most famous beach at Kelantan. Formerly known as the Beach of Passionate Love (Pantai Cinta Berahi), this popular tourist attraction is located about ten kilometers north of Kota Bharu.

The beach stretches to about 1.2km. Cahaya Bulan Beach is definitely a crowd puller during the weekends, popular among the local to bath under the sun and cherish the tranquility offered by the natural beauty of the coastal East Coast. There is abundance of cultural and artistic shops decorating the path to Cahaya Bulan Beach. It is creating its charm and beauty to this stretch of beach.

Relaxed chalets are available at the beach and the sight of the swaying casuarinas and coconut palms will give visitors a very calming atmosphere. Accommodation here is very reasonable with its A-frame huts and budget motels. Tourists will be delighted to know that there is a hotel with cottages on the beachfront and also a resort hotel with a golf course, restaurant, swimming pool and tennis court at Pantai Cahaya Bulan.

How to get there?
From Kota Bharu town, take the D1 Route headed north towards Pengkalan Chepa. Pantai Cahaya Bulan is located some 10km down this road. If you are taking public transportation, take Bus No.10 from the town centre. The journey takes about 20 to 25 minutes.


Pantai Seri Tujuh

The Annual Malaysian International Kite Festival in Kelantan has always been an interesting event. Each year, the event is held at Pantai Seri Tujuh or Beach of Seven Lagoons. Kites of various colors and sizes can be seen here with the wau bulan or the moon kite being the most common type seen here. Visitors will surprised by the skills shown by the participants since flying these these giant kites require special handling with enormous experience. The beach borders on Thailand and Kampung Tujuh in Tumpat, about 7km from Kota Baru. The nearby villages seen here are quite traditional with many old fashioned Malay fishing boats still making their rounds at the sea.

How to get there?
You can take a bus from the main terminal to Pantai Seri Tujuh.



Songket Factory

Songket, appropriately dubbed Malaysia’s “cloth of gold”, is a legacy of the Kelantan and Pattani courts. Once strictly reserved for royalty, songket is now used for ceremonial occasions and weddings. Abundantly woven with gold or silver threads, songket was the theatrical consequence of the region’s early trade with China (which supplied the silk) and India (gold and silver threads).

Location: Kampung Penambang, about 4km north of Kota Bharu, en route to Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB).

How to get there?
You can take a bus from the main terminal to Pantai Seri Tujuh.


Shop till you drop.
Pasar Siti Khadijah - New Central Market

You can find a charming variety of local handicrafts. This is supplemented by goods from Thailand that is available at the Malaysian border towns of Rantau Panjang and Pengkalan Kubur.

In the shops, richly coloured silks are displayed alongside batik scarves, prints and songket textiles. In the mornings, the thump of Kota Bharu is the Central Market (renamed the Siti Khadijah market).

The majority of the traders here are women and the abundance of colours, aroma and sounds bear testimony to the variety of goods on sale. This modern octagonal building buzzed with activities every single morning. Fruits and vegetables of all colours, shapes and sizes are everywhere, while cakes, spices, sweetmeats, preserved foods, pickles and dried seafood flood the senses with their scents.





Bazaar Buluh Kubu - Bamboo Fort Bazaar

This three-storey shopping complex is stocked with just about everything possible and at bargain prices as well. The sheer variety of locally made souvenirs, knick-knacks, batik, gold and silver songket, fine silverware and imported Thai goods leaves guests in awe. An ample choice of clothes, t-shirts, sarongs and hats are also offered at reasonable deals.





Jalan Temenggong

Nearly the whole street is lined with craft shops selling gold and silver jewellery, textiles, brassware and woodcarvings.
Be ready to make a good deal and search for the best price.




Other hot spot:

Wakaf Che Yeh night market.

This night market offers a lot of local handicrafts and also a good place to look for batik, a traditional colour fabric all by handmade. It starts from 7pm until 3am in the morning. It is a whole sale market and usually you can get a good deal here. Do not miss out the local foods selling inside the night market. Such as:

Ayam Percik
Grilled chicken with rich, spicy coconut gravy is traditionally cooked using original ingredients. It is the most wanted served as a special dish by locals and visitors.

Nasi Kerabu
Another special cooks in Kelantan. A rice-based dish served with coconut milk, flaked fish, desiccated coconut shavings and a variety of herbs, spices and sauces.

Nasi Dagang
Nasi Dagang is the ‘Nasi Lemak’ of the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, in the states of Terengganu and Kelantan. A type of brown rice steamed with coconut milk and served with rich spicy fish gravy and vegetable pickles.

Ketupat Sotong
This meal is made by putting glutinous rice into the cuttlefish. It is cooked with brown sugar or known as ‘gula melaka’ as its sauce. It is eaten as well as other traditional ‘kuih’.

Akok is another unique Kelantan delicacy. It is identified as ‘Akok Kelantan’ because of its sweet aroma. The ingredients are eggs and ‘gula melaka’.

Some of the best temples in Malaysia can be seen here.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha:
This 40 metres long statue of Buddha is the longest in South East Asia.

Dragon Boat Temple:
A unique temple, with its entrance decorated with intricate dragon figures and a roof in the shape of a boat.

Wat Mai Suwan Khiri (Dragon Boat and Standing Buddha)

Wat Pothivihan (the giant Reclining Buddha).

Kota Bharu is also home to the Stone Waterfall, Southeast Asia's highest waterfall. Museums fascinate travellers in Independence Square, and the Central Market draws in tourists with its vibrant colours and astounding architecture. Some fun things to do in Kota Bharu are touring the day and night markets, bicycling through downtown, and relaxing at its many beaches.