Kelantan: Journey to Malaysia’s Hidden Charm (Part 2)

After that quick visit to Tak Bai, we went back to Malaysia. The taxi that we hailed waited us and drove us again around Kelantan. This time we visited some museums, mosque and a big souvenir shops.

Istana Jahar and the House of Weapons
Jalan Sultan, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
+60 9-748 4477


This palace houses the museum of royal traditions and ceremonies since 1992. The name is derived from the tree that grows in the palace ground. The inauguration of Istana Jahar is formally officiated by the Sultan of Kelantan.

There is also a marker at the entrance that says “The palace was built in 1887 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II as a gift to Long Kundur. who was Raja Bendahara and third in the line to the thrones. It was known as Raja Bendahara Palace. Long Kundur succeeded Sultan Muhammad II in 1889 and became Sultan Muhammad III. Istana Jahar was a royal residence during the reign of Sultan Muhammad III and several other sultans.”


Beside the palace is the place where the collections of weapons are being displayed as well as the boats and kereta kuda that was used in different occassions before.


Istana Balai Besar
Jalan Tengku Seri Akar, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia


Excerpt from the marker ” The Grand Palace (Istana Balai Besar was built in 1844 along Malay acrhitectural lines that were hugely popular in the 19th century. Skilled carpenters from all over Kelantan constructed the palace from the choice of “cengal” timber.

Kampung Kraf Tangan (Craft Village)
Jalan Merbau, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
+60 9-747 7554

Kampung Kraf Tangan 2

This is the best place to buy a wide range of souvenirs handcrafted by the locals. This place does not only shows the artistry of every people from Kelantan but their rich cultural history which they have learned from their ancestors.

Kampung Kraf Tangan 1

This located in the cultural zone Jalan Hilir Kota, it was opened in 1991. Here you will be able to find Balai Getam Guri (handicraft museum), Balai Bayam Peraksi etc. The village also houses the production areas for handicrafts such as batik, ceramics and silver.

Masjid Muhammadi
Location: Jalan Sultanah Zainab, 15000, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
+60 9-744 6495

Masjid Muhammadi 002

It is the state mosque of Kelantan Darul Naim. The mosque was built in 1867 from premium wood during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II. It was renovated from wood to concrete in 1922 and was officially opened in July 1931 by His Royal Highness Sultan Ismail and names Masjid Muhammadi. It is maintained by the Islamic and Kelantan Malay Culture councils.

Bank Kerapu | World War II Memorial
Jalan Pejabat Pos Lama, 15300, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
+60 9-748 2266

Bank Kerapu 001

Built in 1912, this building was first used as a commercial bank, The Merchantile Bank of India Limited. The word “kerapu” refers to the rough exterior walls of the buildings. The building was used as headquarters of the Japanese secret police from 1942-1945, the Kempetai. After the war, it was reused as a bank. In 1981 the 1st floor of the building was converted into an Art Gallery while the ground floor was used to display handicarfts. The building was turned into a memorial dediacted to the WWII in 1992 and was officially opened by the Sultan of Kelantan in 1994. Some of the items on exhibit includes artifacts, photographs, and other war memorabilia.

Bank Kerapu 002 Pameran Luar

Beside the building is the outdoor exhibit called Pameran Luar. This is where you can find a war tank, propeller etc. One of the exhibit outside is a replica of a barricade which was used during WWII called Pill box. It was made of concrete cement that could accommodate 9-12 soldiers. each box has a narrow hole at every corner which is meant for observing and shooting enemies.

Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah
Jalan Buluh Kubu, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
+60 9-748 4477

Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah 002

The best way to discover how the people live and interact with each other in a community is to visit their local market. One of the most interesting and perhaps the most colorful market I have seen in my travels is the Siti Khadijah Market (Pasar besar Siti Khadijah) in Kota Bahru, Kelantan, Malaysia. Named after the wife of Prophet Muhammad whom is known for her entrepreneurial skill, this market is mostly run by women. Here, you can find the usual fresh goodies like vegetable, fruits, seafoods, spices etc.

Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah 001

The People

The people of Kelantan, based from my impression are generally nice and helpful. Even if sometimes we dont understand each other because of language barrier, we were still able to communicate with each other approriately. This is also one of the few places where people do not take advantage of a tourist. I remember the guy who assisted us to the bus station, the guy who look for a taxi for us, the taxi driver who patiently showed the rich culture of his place for the whole day and the street vendor who gave me a drink because I was really thirsty.


Based from our experience, hailing a cab is the best way to get around even if there are buses as it is very convenient and will save much of your time. There are also cars for rent.
There are different airlines that offer cheapest flights to Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kota Bharu, the city state of Kelantan, Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Firefly are some of those airlines that usually offer impressively cheap flights fare.

In general our trip to Kelantan is one of the best trips I had outside the country. I got the chance to know Malaysia more aside from what I have experience in Melacca and based from what I have read and heard from TVs and friends. If you are going to ask me if I will still visit the country, of course I would. And I will be very happy to explore other states like Terangganu, Sabah, etc.

Kelantan Tourism Information Centre

Kelantan Tourism Information Centre

When you are traveling in a place for the first time, it is always best to approach the tourism center in that particular area to know more about the places that you can visit and see. For your reference, I have posted below the contact details of Tourism Centre in Kelantan. This is located behind the State Museum near the clock tower.

Kelantan Tourism Information Centre
Tel: +609-748 5535 | +609-748 3543
Fax: +609-748 6652

Working Hours

THURSDAY 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM
FRIDAY – SATURDAY 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM