Exploring Kota Bharu: Unmissable sights, memorable experiences and delicious foods

13 Jun 2024 07:30pm
Pasar Siti Khadijah is the symbol of a trade culture that is unique to Kelantan. - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Pasar Siti Khadijah is the symbol of a trade culture that is unique to Kelantan. - BERNAMA FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - Come to Kota Bharu, Kelantan for the history, stay for the food and leave with memories that will last a lifetime.

Known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant markets, the capital of Kelantan offers a wide range of activities for tourists and locals alike.

If you are thinking of a place where history, culture and delicious smell of street food come together, then Kota Bharu should be at the top of your travel list.

Here are the must-do activities that will make your visit to Kota Bharu unforgettable and probably make your Instagram followers a tad jealous:

Explore the Siti Khadijah Market

A visit to Kota Bharu is not complete without exploring Pasar Siti Khadijah. This market is renowned for its fresh produce, local delicacies and the dynamic presence of women traders.

Visitors can savour local snacks like keropok lekor and popular Kelantanese dish nasi kerabu.

But Pasar Siti Khadijah is not just about food. You might find yourself leaving with more than just a full stomach as you can find everything from traditional batik fabrics and handmade crafts to household goods and fresh flowers with a price that would not burn a hole in your wallet.

Discover cultural heritage at the Istana Jahar

The Istana Jahar, a former royal residence turned museum, offers a glimpse into Kelantan’s royal history and Malay culture.

The wooden palace, built in 1855, showcases traditional Malay craftsmanship and exhibits artifacts, including traditional costumes and royal regalia.

The museum provides a comprehensive look into the state’s regal past. Entry tickets are reasonably priced, making it accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Relax at Pantai Cahaya Bulan

The beach with golden sands and clear blue waters, makes it an ideal spot for picnics, leisurely strolls and enjoying the sunset.

The gentle sea breeze and the sound of the waves create a calming atmosphere that is perfect for unwinding.

Food lovers will be delighted by the variety of local seafood available at nearby eateries.

From freshly grilled fish and squid to spicy sambal dishes, the beachside food stalls offer a tantalising array of options that are both delicious and affordable.

For those with a sweet tooth, there are several ice cream vendors along the beach offering a refreshing treat to cool down in the tropical heat.

Visit the Handicraft Village and Craft Museum

For those interested in local arts and crafts, the Handicraft Village and Craft Museum is a treasure trove.

Located at Jalan Sultan Zainal Abidin, this spot is perfect for those who love to see traditional craftsmanship up close.

Visitors can watch artisans at work, creating intricate batik prints, silver jewellery and wood carvings.

The museum also provides workshops where visitors can experience traditional crafts firsthand. The entry fee is RM 2 for adults and RM 1 for children.

Photography is allowed, so you can capture the beautiful crafts and even your own handiwork if you participate in a workshop.

Stroll through Padang Merdeka

Padang Merdeka is a historic field in the heart of Kota Bharu, where visitors can enjoy a casual walk.

The field is surrounded by significant landmarks, including the State Museum and the Royal Palace, offering a picturesque backdrop for photographs.

Experience the thrills of Gelanggang Seni

Gelanggang Seni is a great place to experience the cultural heartbeat of Kelantan.

Located on Jalan Mahmood, this cultural hotspot is a must-visit for anyone interested in traditional performances.

Visitors can enjoy the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet), which tells ancient stories, silat performance, a traditional Malay martial art and the Dikir Barat, a musical performance featuring rhythmic singing and clapping.

There is no entry fee, making it accessible to all. Photography is allowed, so you can capture the mesmerising performances and share the cultural richness with your friends and family.

Indulge in local cuisine at night markets

Kota Bharu’s night markets are a food lover’s paradise.

The Taman Air Muleh and Wakaf Che Yeh night markets offer a variety of local dishes, from satay popular Kelantanes desserts like akok and tepung pelita.

These markets provide a vibrant culinary experience that should not be missed.