Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan is renowned as the Cradle of Malay Culture for its rich heritage, scenic costal idyllic pristine beach hotel resorts, rustic fishing villages and padi fields, Islamic culture, preserved architecture, traditional art handicrafts and delicious local Malay food.
Visit Kelantan, the city of culture for a genuine Malay traditional heritage experience with old world charm amid modern postcard pretty beach villas spa resorts that touches your mind, body and soul.
The Kelantan Culture Complex (Gelanggang Seni) is the perfect place to watch local heritage activities like Wau Bulan (giant moon kite) making and flying, Gasing (giant top spinning), performances like rebana ubi (giant drums), Malay music, wayang kulit (shadow puppet play) and silat.
Kota Bharu Handicraft Village and Craft Museum (Balai Getam Guri) is a one stop attraction developed by the Kelantan government in the heart of the city to showcase the traditional cottage industries.
Famous for their traditional artisan skills, Kelantanese pride themselves in hand painted batik, songket weaving with gold and silver threads, traditional embroidery, kite making , silverware crafting, wood carving, mengkuang weaving and unique Kelantan food.
Tour Kelantan and experience a rustic holiday with BeauteRunway.Com Kota Bharu City of Culture Guide Top 10 Must Do Hit List.
1. Islamic Mosques and Architecture
Masjid Kampung Laut Kelantan is the oldest mosque in Malaysia, located at Kampung Nilam Puri, near Kota Bharu River. Built in the 18th century, the amazing architecture design was created with cengal timber and without any use of nails, modelled after the Demak Mosque and Peringgit Mosque in Java.
Beijing Mosque Kelantan otherwise known as Sultan Ismail Petra Silver Jubilee Mosque was inspired by Niujie Mosque in Beijing, China. Located at Rantau Panjang, the exquisite Chinese green tiles, red and white designed mosque looks majestic and picturesque.
2. Istana Balai Besar, Istana Jahar and Sultan Ismail Petra Arch.
Known as the Palace with Great Hall, Istana Balai Besar was built in the early 1840. Commissioned by Sultan Muhammad, the regal palace was built using premium timber and showcased the intricate Kelantan woodcraving. One of Malaysia’s oldest royal palaces, it is the official venue for the royal ceremonies and rites.
Tourists are seen aplenty posing by the Istana Balai Besar palace gates, Istana Jahar – the Museum of Royal Traditions and customs as well as Petra Arch, built to commemorate Kota Bahru as a cultural city.
3. Thai Buddhist Temples - Wat Photivihan Reclining Buddha, Wat Machimmaram Sitting Buddha, Wat Phothikyan Standing Buddha and Wat Mai Suwan Khiri Dragon Boat and Standing Buddha
With its close proximity to Thailand, Wat (temples) have a significant presence in Kelantan.
Wat Photivihan is home to Asia’s longest Reclining Buddha statue at 40 metre and Wat Machimmaram houses the biggest Sitting Buddha . The Wat Phothikyan Standing Buddha in Kampung Balai at 100ft is the tallest in South-East Asia while Wat Mai Suwan with the beautiful Dragon Boat Temple and the Standing Buddha are also popular with the locals and tourists.
4. Wood Craving - Kandis Resource Centre, Museum and Gallery in Bachok, Kelantan
Kandis Resource Centre is a treasure cove of refined Malay wood carvings, ship models, keris and other artefacts by the late master wood carver Nik Rashiddin Nik Hussein.
The 185-year old traditional Malay wooden house was restored as a museum and gallery to showcase Malay culture and traditions, Kelantanese wood carving, Islamic features, traditional motifs,flora and foliate designs.
Funded by the Kelantan State government and the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, The Kandis Resource conducts carving workshops, talks and tours for visitors, artists and arts lovers.
5. Eco-tourism - Gunung Stong, Jelawang Fall, Kuala Koh National Park
Eco-adventure lovers will find joy in watching sunrise, visiting Jelawang Waterfall where the breath-taking seven tiered waterfall is the highest in South East Asia or snapping a photo of Rafflesia, the world’s biggest flower, all while trekking at Gunung Stong.
Explore the fauna and flora in Kuala Koh National Park, go kayaking or talk a walk through on the 300m high canopy walkway for an eco-experience.
Watch fireflies in Kelantan while you take a boat ride down the mangrove swamp river at night.
6. Batik Painting – Kelantan Traditional Craft
Using techniques like block, screen and wading, Kelantan beautiful traditional batik cloth are handmade. Each design are drawn, hand painted stroke by stroke to form gorgeous unique elegant designs for a fashionable statement.
Nordin Batik’s Boutique is the largest batik atelier and retail store in Kota Bharu with beautiful flora, butterflies and sophisticated designs for ladies and gentlemen to create the perfect outfit for special occasions or for daily wear.
7. Songket Weaving
Songket is a hand-woven traditional textile making technique to create intricately patterned silk or cotton brocade fabric with gold or silver threads, weaved meticulously by the dedicated experienced weavers.
Che Minah Songket Retail Store is one of the largest Songket weaving factories in Kota Bahru and offers tourists and visitors the opportunity to watch live demonstrations by the skilful Malay ladies.
Beautiful patterns from simple to sophisticated designs are weaved traditionally lovingly, thread by thread by talented Kelantanese, producing stylish and luxurious fabrics great for special celebratory occasions and perfect as gifts.
8. Kota Bharu Silverware, Kelantan
Kelantan is renowned for its exquisite handcrafted sterling 925 silversmithing.
A hidden gem in Kota Bharu is KB PERMAI, an established silverware shop with premium quality intricate hand made jewellery that are so popular that it was handpicked by the Malaysia Government to retail at the world’s most prestigious Harrods Department Store in London, United Kingdom.
Luxury lovers looking for wedding gifts could indulge in this extraordinarily top quality fine silverware – at only RM$29,000.
Create your own designs and customize your creations at KB Permai Silverware Shop where the talented local Kelantanese artisans will dedicatedly handcraft your dream jewellery, gemstones optional for an impeccable statement piece.
Take your pick from the beautiful heritage silverware products from accessories like earrings, rings, bracelets to souvenirs and more at its in retail workshop at extremely pocket friendly prices starting from RM$15.
9. Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah Central Market/ Wakaf Che Yeh Night market / Pengkalan Kubor and Rantau Panjang Tax –Free Shopping
In the heart of the city are two popular markets - Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah Central Market and Wakaf Che Yeh Night market, the must go Kota Bharu hot spots, visited by tourists and locals alike.
Rise and shine early to take a walk at the vibrant Siti Khadijah Central Market, where the locals do their daily marketing. The pulse of the wet market is dominated by Malay women owners where the atrium stalls sell freshly picked home grown vegetables, surrounded by fresh seafood from the fishing villages, kampung poultry and fruits stalls on the left.
Feast like a local and indulge in Kelantan home made kuehs, cakes, fresh keropok lekor, Laksam, Ayam golek / percik, Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Dagang, solok lada, fermented coconut milk tauk and more at the right side of the market.
Keropok, mini provision stall selling spices, curry powder, sweets and snack, toys, batik, sarongs, silverware, copper tooled handicrafts, leather goods, clothing and household wares are located on the second and third storey.
Kota Bharu famous most visited night market is Wakaf Che Yeh along Jalan Kuala Krai. Shop for a wide variety of products from apparels, shoes and accessories to electronic, toys and local street food, fresh fruits, exotic eats and grilled squid.
Shop to your heart’s content at Kelantan Tax-Free Zone at Pengkalan Kubor and Rantau Panjang, near Golok River. Situated about 40km from Kota Bahru City, catch a boat ride or bus across to the Gateway of Thailand, Tak Bai for a day trip.
10 Home stays in Kelantan - Kampung Renok Baru, Kampung Pantai Suri and Kampung Blok Ulu Kusial
Close to the South China Sea, Kelantan is home to fisherman and farmers, harvesting fresh seafood like fish, prawns, crayfish and grain rice.
Live like a local and enjoy true blue Kelantanese villager laid back lifestyle. Wake up in a picturesque kampung, catch fishes, play a traditional Malay instruments like 'dikir barat', rebab or serunai, paddy husking, watch a Monkey leap up giant trees and pick fresh coconut for you to savour or enjoy a walk by the beautiful seaside.
Geographical Climate : Located on the northern east coast of Malaysia, bordered by Thailand and South China Sea, Kelantan is tropically sunny with monsoon season from November to January, temperatures from 22 to 32 °C.
Getting There : Kota Bahru is accessible by flights on Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia and FireFly Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines which flies from Singapore/Johor/Subang direct to Kota Bharu Jalan Ismail Airport, in just 90 minutes.
Kota Bharu-Singapore is Kelantan's first international route, operating four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday to Singapore. Road trips by bus, railway train or enjoy a scenic drive along the Peninsular Malaysia to the heart of Kelantan.
Travel around : Taxis, buses and trishaws.
Bonus : Visit Perhentian Island in Terengganu for white sandy beach, crystal clear water reef diving and snorkelling or turtle watch, just 45 minutes from Tok Aman Beach Jetty.
Hotels & Accommodations :Renaissance Kota Bharu Hotel, Grand River View, Tok Aman Bali Beach Resort, Holiday Villa, Villa Danialla Beach Resort, Home Stays like Kampung Pantai Suri, Tumpat, Khalifa Suites hotel & apartments and Sutera Inn.
Contact : Visit Tourism Malaysia at www.tourism.gov.my , FireFly at www.fireflyz.com.my or call Kota Bharu Tourist Information Centre at 609-7485534 for enquires.
Kelantan Kota Bharu holiday tour of rich cultural, heritage and delightful Kelantanese cuisine are just 90 minutes away from Singapore, perfect for a short rustic getaway or a relaxing beach holiday. FireFly flies from Penang and Subang to destinations within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle and between Malaysia and Singapore. Visit Tourism Malaysia at www.tourism.gov.my and FireFly at www.fireflyz.com.my to plan your dream holiday today.
Special Thanks to Tourism Malaysia, FireFly and Kelantan Tourist Centre for the warm hospitality.