Comprehensive 4 Days 3 Nights Kota Bharu (Kelantan) Travel Guide

kelantan travel guide

I am lucky to be invited as travel blogger by AirAsia, to join inaugural flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kota Bharu, Kelantan. This is my first time traveling to East Coast of Peninsular, where 3 states (Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu) ruled under different party. I don’t know what to expect.

After returning from this trip, I can say Kelantan exceeds my expectation. Rakyat are friendly, culture is kept strong, and felt safe entire journey too. I had fun chatting with every one. Remove political issues aside, we are 1Malaysia after all :)

Bahasa Melayu kat Kelantan memang cukup padat!

I still think Kuala Lumpur is most dangerous city in Malaysia. lol.

Places of Interests of Kota Bharu

Tourism Zone

Tourism Zone 2

Tourism Zone via Trishaw – War Museum, Islamic Museum, Merdeka Square, Masjid Muhammadi, Istana Jahar, Craft Village

This is also known as tourism zone or history zone. Kelantan has lots of stories to tell. All of these places are within walking distance, best accompanied by tour guide where he can explain more history in details. You won’t find these buildings or landmark fascinating until you hear the stories behind.

War Museum
Opening hours: 8.30am – 4.45pm (Closed on Friday). Admission fee: RM1.00 (Malaysian), RM2.00 (non-Malaysian). Tel: 09 748 2266

Wayang Kulit Pak Daim

Wayang Kulit Pak Daim

Never knew so many effort goes into making a wayang kulit performance. There are at least a dozen of percussion players playing live music for you during the entire show. Dolby Surround Sound also kalah a bit when the percussion music team performs. You can actually feel the “beat” of the drums.

Each “kulit” also requires many man-power and long time to produce. I’m glad Pak Daim is putting his entire effort in reserving this old time tradition.

Kelantan Malay Traditional Shadow Play
Pak Daim – Mobile: +601 7977 8929 / +601 6215 9422
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.wayangpakdain.com
No.5, Simpang 3 Morak, Palekbang, 16040 Kelantan.

Serunding Cottage Kampung Laut

Kampung Laut for making of Serunding

Getting to this village via boat is a fascinating experience. Serunding is meat floss and I finally know how they made it! They even shared their ingredients and ways of cooking serunding.

You’ll rather pay than cook them youself, trust me. You probably loss –20kg if you cook manually by hand…

Dragon Boat Temple

Dragon Boat Temple

Heavily influenced by Siamese (Thailand people!), these temples are magnificent, especially if you know when was these temple built. Lots of stories to tell tuuu.

Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Temples

This temple houses the largest Reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia. It measures 50m in length and 9m in width.

Nordin Batik Kelantan

Nordin Batik

Kelantan is one of the largest producer of batik. Unfortunately we are not able to see the making of batik due to unforeseen circumstances. There are 3 types of batik, 1) hand drawn 2) printed with pre-cast 3) print digitally. Hand drawn are premium and the color are usually penetrated to both sides while digital print only printed on one side.

Wanted to buy one for my mum, but the price easily goes up to RM300 per piece.

KB Permai Silverware

KB Permai Silverware

This is where Malaysia FA Trophy Cup was produced in 2012.

In this factory, we are able to witness how the silverware are produced. Lots of man-power goes into making these silverware and not much machineries are involved, besides some basic tools like pictured above.

Min House Camp

Min House Camp

The lady owner operates a honey farm, to food catering, to firefly river cruise, to team-building… kuat oh the lady! The husband and son help with the business too.

We joined the firefly river cruise but it’s only so-so. There’s not much firefly during full moon unfortunately.

Wakaf Che Yeh Midnight Bazar

Wakaf Che Yeh Midnight Bazar

Kelantan own version of Chee Chiong Kai! Nothing much to see to be honest. The selections are limited and mostly are clothings. The food section… hmmm NOTHING to see. Hahahhhha. We were given one hour to explore this night market, but we’re already done in 15 minutes.

I think it’ll be much more fun during Rahmadhan period?

Che Minah Songket

Che Minah Songket

This 86 years old mak cik is still practicing traditional songket… without glasses!

“Mak cik, masih boleh nampak?!”

“Boleh bah kalau kau…” she said.

Truly amazed at the complicated machinery that goes into this treading machine. I think this is considered as technology canggih during the old days ;)

Wau Maker Kampung Badang

Wau Maker in Kampung Badang

Never seen any way bigger than myself! The pak cik who created these traditional wau from really simple materials such as bamboo, thread and sugar paper.

The kites we used to make are diamond shaped, and it rotates like windmill when we tried to fly it.

“Run faster!” was the only solution we could think of… hahhaah.

Amazed with the kite making expertise by this pak cik. He truly lives the 10,000 hours mastery rules by Malcolm Gladwell, mentioned in the book “Outlier”.

Too bad we didn’t see wau fly in field :(

Keropok Maker Cap Kapal

Keropok Maker

Located near to Warung Pak Mot for the awesome Sup Kepala Ikan, this is factory for Keropok Cap Kapal. There’s nothing much to visit besides seeing all the keropok being sun dried and having a few samples to makan. Mostly buy buy buy buy for souvenirs.

I’d like to see the entire process of making these snacks, even if it’s in video format.

“OMG there’s so much houseflies on these keropok!”

“Maybe attracted by the fishy smell, hehehe”

“Ewwww…”

“Any bacteria or maggots will die when there are deep fried anyway. Might just ignore it… extra protein!”

Rantau Panjang Free Duty Zone

Rantau Panjang Free Duty Zone

We drove entire way to Thailand border to explore the duty free zone. We were discussing what alcohol/cigarettes to buy back. Manatau, everything is duty free except these both item –_-

Clothing here are very cheap, probably all the way from Thailand? (it’s only walking distance away anyway).

I was expecting more special thing here, but it’s just a market without any unique things to see.

Ah wait. There’s one…

Kelantan Thailand Border

Getting to Thailand without passport

Just pay RM4 for a boat ride to opposite the river and taa-daa! You’re unofficially at Thailand. It’s that easy. There’s even taxi and bus stop for your convenience.

I was like, huhhhhh? =___= so easy one meh?

Masjid Beijing

Masjid Beijing

Not long ago, a Siamese monk came to visit this temple. He stepped inside was amazed… he can’t see ONE buddha statue. And then only realised this is a Mosque, not a Temple.

There is a reason why this mosque looks like a temple – but you gotta find it out yourself ;)

For female visitors, there are tedung for rent.

Majlis Jubli Perak

Pejabat Tabah Da Jajahan Pasir Mas, 17000 Pasir Mas. Kelantan.
Tel: 09-7908963 / Fax: 09-7904963
Website: http://www.tic.kelantan.gov.my
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tic.kelantan

Cultural Centre for Dikir Barat Show

  1. Try your hand at playing the retana ubi (a huge a colorful drum) or kertok (a coconut husk percussion instrument)
  2. Watch silat, the Malay martial arts
  3. See how gasing or the spinning top is launced
  4. Learn how to fly wau

Admission is free.
Tel: 09 748 5534 / 3543

Pasar Siti Kahdijah

Pasar Siti Kahdijah

This bustling bazaar is a landmark attraction and one of the most photographed building in the state. A section of the building is devoted to local desserts and goodies. Locals flock here for a profusion of items, from fruits, vegetables, pickles to freshly ground spices.

Must Eat Foods of Kota Bharu

Being a food blogger here at Kota Kinabalu, how can I let go this golden opportunity to do quick round up of the best foods of Kota Bharu? Besides visiting interesting places, our second most spend time was on food. Makan makan makan! Kelantan food memang sadap!

Photo
What is it?
Where?
Baba Ice Cream
Lovely snack while walking around Rantau Panjang. Colorful dessert made up of ice cream, bread, corn, grass jelly, peanuts and different color of jelly.
Rantau Panjang Street Stall
Buah Ciku
Seasonal local fruit of Kelantan.
Hotel Perdana
Buah TanjungBuah Tanjung
MUST TRY - One of the staple dessert of Kelantan. Made of egg, flour and sugar. Served during special events only.
Grand River View Hotel
Butter UdangUdang Butter
Deep fried prawn with butter floss on top.
New Horizon Hotel
Deep Fried Cat FishDeep Fried Cat Fish
Tastes like KFC. Meat is tender and surprisingly tasty.
Nasi Ulam Cikgu
Fried Chicken with MangoFried Chicken with Mango
Deep fried chicken with sliced raw mango on top.
New Horizon Hotel
Gulai UdangGulai Udang
Prawns in spicy coconut cream.
Grand River View Hotel
Ikan PatinIkan Patin
Flesh is soft and a bit heavy with the "fishy smell" taste.
Nasi Ulam Cikgu
Jala EmasJala Emas
One of the must try dessert in Kelantan. Usually served to royal family only. Nowadays only for special events like weddings.
Grand River View Hotel
Keropok IkanKeropok Ikan
Same process into making Lekor, but cooked with different method. Crunchy and savoury.
Keropok Cap Kapal factory
Kuih SunaiKuih Sunai
N/A
Grand River View Hotel
LaksamLaksam
Made with rice flour and served with 'kuah'
Grand River View Hotel
Lompat TikamLompat Tikam
MUST TRY - Famous at East Peninsular, made with rice and coconut milk. Literally means "jump and stab"
Grand River View Hotel
Masak LemakSomething Masak Lemak
Vegetables cooked with coconut cream. Very creamy.
Nasi Ulam Cikgu
MurtabakMurtabak Raja
Served at Royal family during 1950. Usually in chicken or beef.
Grand River View Hotel
Nasi DagangNasi Dagang
Combination of rice and glutinous rice. Often accompanied by spicy tuna fish curry pickled vegetables
Grand River View Hotel
Nasi Laut Air DinginNasi Laut Air Dingin
Rice served with spicy fish and sambal, special at Kopitiam Kita.
Kopitiam Kita
Nasi TumpangNasi Tumpang
Multi-tiered meal of rice and dishes. Packed specially for farmers who want to "dapao" to work.
Min House Camp
Pinang Tapai Ubi KayuPinang Tapai Ubi Kayu
Fermented tapioca cake
Grand River View Hotel
Poli Ubi KayuPoli Ubi Kayu
One of traditional desserts of Kelantanese. Made with tapioca.
Grand River View Hotel
RojakRojak Kelantan
Mix all the cekodok, kuah and ulam together and eat! Different from Singapore or Penang rojak.
Grand River View Hotel
Roti Jala and Gulai AyamRoti Jala and Gulai Ayam
MUST TRY - Coconut milk chicken curry and lacy coconut milk pancakes
Grand River View Hotel
Roti TitabRoti Titab
MUST TRY - French toast + egg benedict + kaya. Enough said.
Kopitiam Kita
SayurSayur
This one is too difficult to write about - I'll skip. Hahahhaha.
New Horizon Restaurant
serundingSerunding
MUST TRY - A local savoury snack where thinly sliced meat is cooked until it is light and fluffy. It can be eaten as a snack or served with rice and bread.
Kampung Laut
Sira Labu
Braised pumpkin with gula melaka.
Grand River View Hotel
SotongStir Fry Sotong
Stir fried with Thailand flavour
New Horizon Hotel
Stir Fry BeefStir Fry Beef
Tastes like Chinese stir fry to me
New Horizon Hotel
Sup Kepala IkanSup Kepala Ikan
MUST TRY - Braised fish head soup with lots of bursting flavour. Must try dish in Kelantan.
Warung Pak Mot
Tahi ItekKuih Tahi Itek
Literally means "duck's shit". Made side by side with Jalas emas cause used similar ingredients. Egg whites and egg yolks accordingly.
Grand River View Hotel
teh tarik maduTeh Tarik Madu
MUST TRY - Milk tea with honey. Creaminess is lower compared to Taiwan milk tea but the honey made up the taste.
Warung Pak Mot
Tepung Boko Ubi KayuTepung Boko Ubi Kayu
Sweet tapioca with salty coconut milk
Grand River View Hotel
Tepung PelitaTepung Pelita
Traditional Malay "kuih", soft, creamy, sweet with hint of saltiness. Steamed in banana leaf.
Grand River View Hotel
Tom YamTom Yam
MUST TRY - Spicy clear soup typical in Thailand and Laos. Hot and soup soup. Very appetizing!
New Horizon Hotel
yati ayam percikAyam Percik
MUST TRY - Crispy, barbecued chicken that has been marinated in spices and coconut gravy.
Yati Ayam Percik
BuduBudu
MUST TRY - This is a fermented anchovies sauce with hint of lime juice, chilly and onions. According to locals, budu adds that extra zing and taste to an otherwise regular meal.
Nasi Ulam Cikgu

Where Are The Foods?

Grand Riverview Hotel (Hi-Tea)
Jalan Post Office Lama, 15000 Kota Bahru, Kelantan, Malaysia.
Tel: +609 743 9988 / Fax: +609-743 8883
Website: http://www.grv.com.my

New Horizon Garden Restaurant
Lot 891, Batu 4, Jalan Pasir Mas-salor, 15100 Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Tel: +609- 744 7177 / Fax: +609 744 8177
Email: [email protected]
Business Hour: 12 noon – 3:30pm. 6pm – 11pm. (Sat – Thurs) / 4:30pm –11:30pm (Fri)

Yati Ayam Percik Restaurant
1549, Taman Bentara Kiri, Chabang 4 Cherang, Jalan Hospital, 15200 Kota Bharu. Kelantan
Tel: +609 747 9867 / Mobile: 017 – 935 1591 (YEE)

Serunding Cottage Centre
425, Hulu Market Kg. Laut, 16040 Tumpat, Kelantan
Tel: 019- 856 7171 / 019 – 956 7111

Perdana Hotel (Hi-Tea)
Jalan Mahmood 15200 Kota Bharu. Kelantan.
Tel: +609 745 8888 / Fax: +609 748 8855
Website: http://www.hotelperdanakotbharu.com

Kopitiam Kita
4357-A, Taman Desa Jaya. Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, 15400 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Tel: 019-981 0888 N.H. Wong

R Renaissance Kota Bharu Hotel
Kota Sri Mutiara, Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, 15150 Kota Bharu. Kelantan, Malaysia.
Tel: +609 – 746 2233 / Fax: +609 746 1122
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.renaissancekotabharu.com

4 Days 3 Nights Kota Bharu Travel Itinerary

Kota Bharu – Day 1

1.00pm ETA Kota Bharu
Check in Hotel Perdana
3:30pm Tour to Kota Bharu Tourism Zone by Trishaw:
– War Museum
– Islamic Museum
– Merdeka Square
– Masjid Muhammadi
– Istana jahar
– Craft Village
5.30pm Transfer to Grand Riverview Hotel for Hi-Tea
8.00pm Depart to New Horizon Restaurant for Dinner
9.30pm Depart for Wayang Kulit Pak Daim
10.00pm Arrive Wayang Kulit Pak Daim
11:00pm Return Hotel

Kota Bharu – Day 2

8.00am Breakfast at Warung Pok Mat, Kuala Besar
9.30pm Depart for:
– Kampung Laut (Serunding) by boat
– Dragon Boar Temple, Tumpat
1.00pm Lunch at Yai Ayam Percik Restaurant
2.00pm Depart for Nordin Batik & KB Permai Silverware
5.00pm Back to hotel
Hi-Tea by Perdana Hotel
Hotel Site inspection
8.00pm Depart to Min House Camp
8.30pm Dinner at Min House Camp
Firefly Sight Seeing
9.30pm Depart to Wakaf Che Yeh Midnight Bazaar
10.30pm Return to hotel

Kota Bharu – Day 3

8.30am Check-out
9.00am Breakfast at Kopitiam Kita
10.00am Depart for:
– Che Minah Songket
– Wau Maker in Kg.Badang
– Keropok Maker
12.00pm Lunch at Nasi Ulam Cikgu Restaurant
1.00pm Depart to
– Rantau Panjang Free Duty Zone
– Masjid Beijing
2.30pm Arrive Rantau Panjang Free Duty Zone
3.30pm Return to Kota Bharu
5.00pm Check in Renaissance Hotel
Hi-tea
Cultural Show by JKKN Kelantan
8.00pm Depart to Captain-T Restaurant for dinner
9.30pm Depart to Cultural Centre (Dikir Barat Show)
10.00pm Arrive Cultural Centre
11.00pm Return to hotel

Kota Bharu – Day 4

7.30am Breakfast at hotel
Check out
8.00am Depart to Pasar Siti Khadijah
10.00am Depart to Sultan Ismail Petra Airport
11.25am Depart for Kota Kinabalu

Kota Bharu Hotels/Accommodation

 
Hotel
Price
Reviews from Agoda
Hotel Perdana Kota BharuHotel Perdana Kota Bharu

(✮✮✮✮✮ 5 Stars)

Jalan Mahmood, Bandar Kota Bharu, Kota Bharu, Malaysia 15200
Starting from RM450+Fantastic 8.4
based on 43 reviews
Grand Riverview HotelGrand Riverview Hotel

(✮✮✮✮ 4 Stars)

Jalan Post Office Lamakota Bharu, Bandar Kota Bharu, Kota Bharu, Malaysia 15000
Starting from RM318+Good 7.4
based on 487 reviews
Renaissance Kota Bharu HotelRenaissance Kota Bharu Hotel

(✮✮✮✮✮ 5 Stars)

Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, Kelantan Darul naim, Bandar Kota Bharu, Kota Bharu, Malaysia 15150
Starting from RM600+Very Good 7.8
based on 280 reviews

Useful Contacts

Position Name Contact Company Name
Tourist Help Tourism Malaysia Kelantan 09 747 7554 -
Tourist Help Tourist Information Centre 09 – 748 5534 / 3543 -
Travel Agent Rosdi B Ibrahim 013 – 984 8957 / 012 – 951 8992 Doremi Travel & Tours S/B
Travel Agent Tuan Naza Tuan Man 017 – 939 8899 / 019 – 915 8899 Naza Travel & Tours S/B
Travel Agent Mohd Iskandar Bin Hassan 013 – 926 5195 Imtiyz Travel & Tours S/B
Kelantan Tourism HJ Azhisham Hj Mustapa 019 – 919 4404 / 011 1081 6800 ANF Holidays S/B
Emergency Police 999 -
Emergency Kota Bharu Police Station 09 748 5522 -

Connecting Flights to Kota Bharu

AirAsia is the only airline to operate this 3x weekly direct flight connecting East Malaysia directly to Eat Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

This new route from KK into Kota Bharu also aims to connect international travellers from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Taipei.

Special Thanks

  • AirAsia – Sponsoring my flight and itinerary
  • Tourism Board Malaysia – Sponsoring the trip
  • Kelantan Matta – Sponsoring the trip
  • Saiful (tour guide) – for being such entertaining tour guide
  • Ashman (AirAsia) – for representing AirAsia and make sure our trip is awesome
  • Hayden Chan (blogger) – for recommending me for this trip
  • Ms. Gan Yeong Shuoh (Grand Riverview Hotel) –  for telling me the name of the foods!

Bloggers Who Travelled Together

Conclusion

Is Kelantan worth visiting?
Yes.

Will I go back again?
Nope. Once is good enough.

How many days should I go?
3 days 2 nights are good enough.

Is it true male and female have separate seats in cinema?
Yes.

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Comments

  1. fat miao says

    ~ got here from grv fb ~
    well, sad to say u still missed something … Wakaf Che Yeh Bazaar – most only go for their replica jersey if they cant go to rantau panjang (guess u know that already) … the food is at Padang Bas (was to be exact, the night bazaar food court was moved to a back alley of a flat housing area infested with rats – thats y u werent there) There u will find lotsa great stuff to eat, even Yati Ayam Percik started from here.

    Well some of those traditional food prepared by GRV, you could get it at Pasar Siti Kadijah for those fret that u ate Murtabak Draja but u missed out their Akok ~

    At least it will be for your next trip here again ~~

    P/s: soemthing special that I think u will like, for local we have belut may it be sup or patpet (fried in chillies thai style), as a special dishes. Hotel dont serve them, might scared away western guest … kekeke

    • says

      Thanks for dropping by fat miao!
      No wonder I can’t find any food at Wakaf Che Yeh Bazaar. That’s the reason why! I thought only Ramadhan period where everyone come out cook. lol. Akok is which one again ah? Well at least I know where to get these must-eat kuih muih next time without requesting GRV to prepare for us.

      No chance eat belut at Kota Bharu! =\

      -Daniel

  2. says

    haha, u need a local people without business advert purposes to find nicer food local food perhaps…
    Nasi Kerabu, i think is a must try besides Nasi Ulam… it’s their signature, Nasi Kerabu=Kelantan ~ very hard to find nice Nasi Kerabu in other states, the best I ate was during a stop otw to Tanah Merah, but any pasar malam there should be good enough :D
    Nasi kukus also should try.. haha
    and there are more temples, also quite famous :D
    have a look at my album.

    Thai food shop, somewhere in Wakaf Bharu… sry It’s been long time, can’t remember the name >.<
    https://www.facebook.com/tee0204/media_set?set=a.446442044510.244095.621074510&type=3

    temples, some you have gone :D
    https://www.facebook.com/tee0204/media_set?set=a.429228809510.200125.621074510&type=3https://www.facebook.com/tee0204

    find local kelantanese for food guide or those who have been there for quite some time.. haha

    • says

      The tour guide is the closest Kelantanese we could get :) It’s a great experience nonetheless and we had great time there. Goyang kaki, hold camera and eat eat eat.. nothing else gets better than that!

      Daniel

  3. Peace says

    I’ll be there for 2 weeks (study related). Thank you for your post. I was afraid it is a boring city. Not so boring after all

  4. Zai says

    Hi Daniel …. u said u had a tour guide with u while at Kelantan …. may i know the tour guide is from which travel agency ….

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