The conservative town of Kota bharu is a small city, with an architectural style matching the Islamic countries. Domes and mosques dot this city. Building a have a distinctive large arched windows with the laced or even stained glass trimmings. This city is no doubt portraying the islamic malay cuture.
Being in Malaysia I personally feel it’s perhaps the best place to understand the Malay customs and traditions.
Kota bharu also functions as an alighting point to the islands of Perhenthian or Redang. It’s proximity to Thailand also brings in an influx of tourists.
A day well spend in Kota bharu…whatever your onward agenda may be, will be to visit the museums of
1) Isthana Jahar, the museums of ceremonies…you can read more in a separate post. The museum is open from morning 8.30 to evening. The charges are MYR 2 for local adults and MYR 4for foreigners. There are no guides visible but the explanations are clear and detailed.
2) Catch a glimpse of the the royal place, Isthana Negara. No admittance. Being next to the above museum….you probably wont miss it. Walk by the path between the two building s and it leads to the third place
3) Visiting the royal museum,Isthana Batu. This pale yellow color building has amazing collections of China, hats and pictures from the royal life. The museum is open from morning 8.30 to evening. The charges are MYR 2 for local adults and MYR4for foreigners. Kids go for half the price.
4) Picking up endless souvenirs in the Handicrafts village and peeking onto the traditional crafts at the museum. Alas….we waited for time endless to meet someone to issue us a ticket…but seemed like on one was there. We just being curious cats peeked in without entering. Then went on with the more exciting trinkets.
5) Chatting up with the old ladies from the Central market selling queer fresh produce and trying to decipher what they were saying.
All the above places are walkable from the bus station and are close to each other.
For the evening you can consider….
6) A taking a ride up to the Pantai Chahaya Bulan, or the coast line. The beach is not suitable for snorkelling or activities as they are supported by rocky boulders to prevent the damage from the lashing waves. The ride is pleasant to be on and the bonus is the lovely batik shops on either sides who offer luring discounts.
Reaching there and staying
An overnight stay at the city…I feel is good enough, so probably you can club it with your onward travels to Thailand or to the lovely island in the South China sea
The city is well connected by air, road and even by train.
The city has plenty of budget options for stay and a lot of eateries not to mention the warm Kelentan hospitality.
Kindly note that the city sleep early, and is not very friendly to alcohol.
The malls were active in the evenings and Friday seems to be the public holiday.
Note to travelling women…
The city seems to sleep early…so late night wanderings are advised to be avoided. Please also be politely dressed.
Note to vegetarians.…..
The city is famous for its meaty delicacies, so is obviously not a great foodie town for the vegetarians. Yet we did find a Chinese style natural restaurant ..close to the bus station. Just say vegetarian and there you will be directed there.
We did explore the veggie options on the popular pizza joints….but if you are a strict vegetarian, you may take a call to avoid it too.
Any wayside eateries will happily do you a fresh fruit or combo juice, fairly clean, and quite fresh.
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