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Kota Baharu Travel Guide, Malaysia

An Overview on Kota Bharu

Besides being the capital of Kelantan, Kota Bharu is also an Islamic place. It is located in the northeastern peninsular Malaysia, by the Thai border. The Klantanese are warm, friendly people and they are courteous by nature and possess an innate grace, perhaps the result of their long tradition of court life and etiquette.

Kota Bharu is an ideal place and the center for the art and crafts of Kelantan, pursuits that have earned the kingdom the name of ‘The Haven of Malay culture’.

Getting there

By road: The major towns are nicely connected to Kota Bharu in terms of road. From Kuala Lumpur, the route goes eastward along the Karak Highway to Kuantan in Pahang, a journey of about 3 hours. From Kuantan, it takes four and a half hours by road to reach Kota Bharu.

 By rail: Wakaf Bharu and Tumpat are the two points where train services from Kuala Lumpur to Kelantan come to an end. You can either hire a taxi or take a bus from these two points.

By air: daily Malaysian flights are available from Kuala Lumpur and Penang to Kota Bharu,.

Kota Bharu is a bustling, colorful place, with a great deal of sights to see. There are two lively markets:

Central Market must be one of the most photographed markets in Malaysia. The vast majority of traders are women, their men being mostly anglers who either are at sea or at home mending their nets. The second market is the Pasar Makan Malam, near the central market in Jalan Padang Gorong, which sells delicious food such as the popular rice dishes nasi dagang and nasi kerabu.

Historical zone: The main cultural and historical zone of Kota Bharu is situated in Jalan Hilir Kota and Jalan Sultan where many museums and heritage buildings are located. Some museums charge a fee for admission. The most popular are Istana Batu and Istana Jahar. These museums house a collection of silverware and antique furniture of the royal family.

Other interesting sites in Kota Bharu include Merdeka(Independence) Square, the state government offices and raft houses along the river banks.

Kuala Krai Museum and Mini Zoo: Being located in Kuala Krai, this mini zoo is 64km away from Kota Bharu. It shelters a variety of animals such as deer, bears, birds and monkeys. The documents and photographs related to the founding of Kuala Krai are being kept in the mini museum. In addition, it has a collection of preserved animals.

Fishing village: A visit to one of Kota Bharu's quaint fishing villages should not be missed. Two well-known villages are Kuala Besar and Kampung Sabak, both only 15 km from Kota Bharu. Anglers normally go out to sea at dawn and return in the early afternoon to sell their catch on the beach.

Beaches and Waterfalls: Waterfalls in Kota Bharu are major attractions for picnics and swimming.

Chaya Bulan beach is one of the beautiful and fascinating beaches. People gather here for enjoyment and love the breeze and environment to its fullest.

Shopping: Kota Bbharu offers a fascinating variety of local handicrafts. They are imported from Thailand and are easily accessible in the towns situated on the Malaysian border.  You will find a wide varieties of wares, from batik and leather puppets to kites and silver trinkets. Silver, along with gold, has played a recurrent and symbolic role in the history of Kelantan. The most popular outlets for the purchase of silver goods, including tea sets, trays, bowls, ashtrays, cutlery and jewelry, are the silversmiths along Jalan Sultanah Zainab in Kota Bharu.

Kota Bharu is an excellent base for exploring the surrounding countryside. There are now opportunities for visitors to stay two or three nights in a Malay kampong, experiencing the simple lifestyle of a family in a village like Kampong Morak.

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