Kota Bharu for the first time, our guide serves as a great place to start and get familiar with the area. It could give you some inspiration about which museums, shops, markets, bars and restaurants to visit or to simply embark on a city tour. The highlight one is The Royal Museum which is known as “Istana Bata” today has exhibits of various royal artifacts and historical relics.
Kota Bahru’s Central Market is one of its most prominent attractions. This market which is housed in an octagon shaped building is a hub of activity as it is populated by mainly female vendors who sell a wide variety of products which include fresh produce, apparel and jewelry.
The Gelanggang Seni, or Cultural Center should be included as an attraction on any visit Kota Bahru itinerary as it offers a valuable insight into the culture of Kelantan through its shows and arts performances. Some of these performances are top spinning (Gasing), kite flying (Wau), shadow puppet shows (Wayang Kulit) and Silat which is a Malaysian form of martial arts.
Padang Merdeka is a strip of grass that was established as a memorial following WWI. It is best known as the place where the British exhibited the body of Tok Janggut (Father Beard), a respected elder who was killed at Pasir Puteh in 1915 after leading a 2000-strong uprising against British colonial land taxes.
The history of Islam in Kelantan can be found in this mosque-like building that is located across the road from Bank Kerapu. Artifacts and inscriptions document how Islam is so important in the everyday life of the state. The building itself was once known as “Serambi Mekah” (Verandah to Mecca), which refers to its days as Kelantan’s first school of Islamic instruction.
Kelantan’s exquisite range of handicrafts is on display here. Silverware, “songket”, batik, and woodcarvings are exhibited here, as well as for sale. Other cultural activities are also depicted in this museum.
Built in 1887 by Sultan Muhamad II, this beautiful old wooden structure is definitely worth a visit. The carved wooden panels and intricate wooden framework displayed act as a testimony to the superb craftsmanship of the Kelantan people. Recently renovated and converted as a museum, it houses many valuable historical and cultural artifacts.
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