KELANTAN - Cradle  of  Malay  Culture





Brief Background


Kelantan, which means ‘Land of Lightning’, is the northernmost state on the East Coast covering an area of 14,931 sq km, and is steeped in tradition. To many, it is the cradle of Malay culture where, because of its relative isolation up until the early seventies, traditional art, theatrical performances and the way of life were nurtured and maintained free from the influences of modern life. Now, the capital, Kota Bharu, is easily accessible by air and road from all other parts of the peninsular.


Places of Interest


Kota Bharu, tucked away at the north-eastern corner of the Peninsular, was a long time isolated from the rest of the Peninsular. Given isolation and the strong creative bent of its population, Kota Bharu has become one of the nation’s storehouse of culture and traditional skills.


IstanaBalaiBesar is located in the northern part of town and it is a palace of old world charm, built around 1844, replacing the Istana Kota Lama as the state’s seat of administration. The IstanaBalaiBesar or “Palace with the Large Audience Hall” actually houses the Throne Room, the Hall of Adudience and the State Legislative Assembly Hall. It has a beautifully carved interior and still serves as a venue for important occasions such as royal wedding ceremonies.


GelanggangSeni is the town’s cultural centre. Performances and exhibitions are held most of the days. They include top spinning, kite-flying, shadow puppet theatre, silat (Malay art of self-defence) and traditional art forms such as BerdikirBarat and RebanaUbi.


New Central Market (also popularly known as Siti Khadijah Market) is a colourful and active market in Kota Bharu where most of the traders are women. Haggling, bantering and gossiping at the top of their voices, they offer a selection of food, batik and bamboo gifts. The market is open daily. It is surrounded by small stalls where visitors can have drinks and snacks.


Beaches of Kelantan are among the finest in Malaysia.

PantaiCahayaBulan (Beach of Moonlight – formerly known as Beach of Passionate Love) is a picture post card beach. Tall casuarinas trees fringe the beach providing shade and a grassy verge which gives way to tall swaying coconut palms. Comfortable chalets are available along the beach.

PantaiSeriTujuh (Beach of Seven Lagoons) is located in the Tumpat district close to the Thai border. It is a pristine beach and is sheltered by the longest lagoon in Malaysia. Home to the annual International Kite Festival, the beach has a variety of food and drink stalls as well as public amenities.

PantaiSabak is a rendezvous for fishing boats. Sabak beach boasts fine golden sands fringed by coconut palms. It is also the landing beach by the invading Japanese during the Second World War.

PantaiIrama (Beach of Melody) is approximately 30 km south of the capital in the Bachok district. PantaiIrama offers choice picnic spots and eating stalls. It is reputed to be one of the most beautiful beaches along the East Coast.

PantaiBisikanBayu (Beach of the Whispering Breeze) is about 50 km from Kota Bharu in the PasirPuteh district. The gentle breezes rustle the casuarinas needles producing a hushed sound. Surfing can be good at certain times of the year.


Gunung Stong is one of Kelantan’s highest mountains, at 1442 m, it is reputed to hold a majestic and spectacular Jelawang Waterfalls.

Sourced : Tourism Malaysia