Kota Bharu, Malaysia

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Kota Bharu, Malaysia

Region: Kelantan

Geographic Coordinates: 6.133300, 102.250000
Temperature Range: 25.0°C to 35.0°C (77°F to 95°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with high temperatures and rainfall throughout the year.
Population: 491237
Language: Malay

Kota Bharu, The capital of Kelantan state in Malaysia, Is a city that boasts rich tradition and culture. Situated on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Kota Bharu is renowned for its vibrant night markets, Traditional crafts and religious sites. One of the city’s most popular attractions are its night markets. Pasar Malam Wakaf Che Yeh is one such market that attracts visitors from all over Malaysia. It offers a wide range of affordable goods including clothing, Accessories, Souvenirs and food. The market comes alive after sunset with brightly lit stalls and bustling crowds.

Another must-see attraction in Kota Bharu is the Istana Jahar Museum which was once a palace belonging to Sultan Muhammad II but has now been transformed into a museum showcasing traditional Malay architecture and artefacts from Kelantan’s cultural heritage. For those seeking to learn about Islam, There are several mosques worth visiting such as Masjid Muhammadi which features beautiful Moorish-inspired architecture or Masjid Kampung Laut which dates back to the 19th century. Visitors can also explore local crafts at places like Kraftangan Malaysia or relax by the sea at Pantai Cahaya Bulan (Moonlight Beach).

Food lovers will be thrilled with Kota Bharu’s culinary offerings which include nasi dagang (rice cooked with coconut milk), Nasi kerabu (blue rice served with herbs) and ayam percik (grilled chicken marinated in spices). These dishes can be found at local restaurants or street food stalls throughout the city. visitors should not miss out on experiencing traditional Malay culture through performances such as wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) or silat (Malay martial arts). Kota Bharu provides visitors with an opportunity to witness Malaysian culture through its night markets, Museums, Religious sites and delicious cuisine.

With so much to see and do in this unique city, It is definitely worth a visit for anyone seeking to experience the diverse culture of Malaysia.

Important Landmarks

  1. Istana Jahar is a museum that showcases traditional Malay culture and artifacts.
  2. Pasar Siti Khadijah is a bustling market that sells local produce, handicrafts, and food.
  3. Kota Bharu Cultural Centre is a venue for cultural performances and exhibitions.
  4. Sultan Ismail Petra Arch is an iconic archway that marks the entrance to Kota Bharu city center.
  5. Kelantan State Museum displays historical artifacts, traditional crafts, and art.
  6. Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB) Beach is a popular beach with beautiful scenery.
  7. Wat Photivihan Buddha Temple houses one of the largest reclining Buddha statues in Southeast Asia.
  8. Gunung Stong State Park is home to Malaysia’s tallest waterfall and great hiking trails.
  9. Kampung Laut Mosque is an ancient mosque built on stilts over the sea.
  10. Tengku Anis Heritage House is a restored heritage house showcasing traditional Malay architecture.

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Kelantan is known for its agriculture, particularly rice cultivation, palm oil production, and fishing.
  2. Tourism: Kota Bharu is a popular tourist destination due to its cultural attractions such as museums, mosques, and traditional markets.
  3. Education: Kota Bharu has several universities and colleges that attract students from all over Malaysia.
  4. Retail: The city has many shopping malls and retail outlets that cater to locals and tourists alike.
  5. Manufacturing: There are several manufacturing industries in Kota Bharu including food processing, textiles, furniture making, and electronics.
  6. Services: The city also has a thriving service industry with businesses providing banking services, healthcare facilities, transportation services among others.

Noteable History

  1. Kota Bharu was founded in 1844 by Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan.
  2. During World War II, Kota Bharu was occupied by the Japanese from December 1941 to September 1945.
  3. Kota Bharu played a significant role in the independence movement of Malaysia, with many rallies and protests held there during the 1950s and 1960s.
  4. The city is home to the Kelantan Sultanate, which has a rich history dating back over five centuries.
  5. Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra is the current Sultan of Kelantan and was born in Kota Bharu in 1969.
  6. Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was a prominent politician and religious leader who served as Chief Minister of Kelantan from 1990 until his death in 2015.
  7. Istana Batu Palace is an iconic landmark located in Kota Bharu that serves as the official residence of the Sultan of Kelantan.
  8. Royal Museum (Istana Jahar) displays royal artifacts including clothing, weapons, furniture, and jewelry belonging to past sultans.
  9. Pasar Siti Khadijah is a bustling market named after Prophet Mohammad’s wife known for its fresh produce including exotic fruits like durian.
  10. Wakaf Che Yeh Night Market is a lively night market that sells everything from clothes to souvenirs to street food.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Istana Jahar is a royal museum that showcases the culture and history of Kelantan.
  2. State Museum (Muzium Negeri Kelantan) exhibits the history, culture, and heritage of Kelantan.
  3. Handicraft Village and Craft Museum (Kampung Kraftangan dan Muzium Kraf) is a cultural village where visitors can observe traditional handicrafts being made by artisans.
  4. Central Market (Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah) is a vibrant market where visitors can find local produce, crafts, and food.
  5. Wat Phothivihan Temple houses the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia.
  6. Sultan Ismail Petra Silver Jubilee Mosque (Masjid Jubli Perak Sultan Ismail Petra) is an impressive mosque with unique architecture style.
  7. Gunung Stong State Park is home to Malaysia’s highest waterfall, Gunung Stong Waterfall which stands over 900 meters tall.
  8. Pantai Cahaya Bulan Beach is a beautiful beach along the South China Sea.
  9. Kelantan Islamic Museum contains various artifacts related to Islam such as Quran manuscripts from different periods.
  10. Kelantan Cultural Centre showcases Malay culture through traditional performances for visitors to enjoy.

Sports Teams

  1. Kelantan FA (Kelantan Football Association) – a professional football club that was established in 1946 and plays in the Malaysia Premier League.
  2. Kelantan Hockey Team – the state’s hockey team that has participated in various national tournaments.
  3. Kota Bharu Eagles Rugby Club – a rugby club founded in 2015 that competes in the Malaysian Rugby Union league.
  4. Kelantan Basketball Association – an association formed to promote basketball among youths and organize local tournaments.
  5. Kota Bharu Golf Club – a golf course established in the 1930s located near Pantai Cahaya Bulan beach.

Although there are no significant sports teams with long histories, locals can still participate and enjoy various sports activities through these clubs and associations available in Kota Bharu.

Cultural Events

  1. Kelantanese Cultural Festival celebrates the unique culture and traditions of Kelantan, including traditional music, dance, and food.
  2. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a major Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. It is celebrated with feasting, prayer, and family gatherings.
  3. Kota Bharu International Kite Festival features kite flying competitions from around the world.
  4. Pesta Nasi Dagang celebrates the popular local dish of nasi dagang (rice cooked in coconut milk with fish curry) with food stalls, cultural performances, and competitions.
  5. Royal Floria Putrajaya Flower and Garden Festival showcases beautiful floral displays from around Malaysia nearby Kota Bharu itself.
  6. Sultan Mahmud Bridge Run is an annual marathon taking runners across the scenic Sultan Mahmud Bridge over the Kelantan River.
  7. Chinese New Year Celebration involves lion dances, fireworks displays and traditional foods like dumplings and rice cakes for Chinese community in Kota Bharu to celebrate their new year.
  8. Hari Gawai Dayak is a cultural festival celebrated by Sarawakian natives living in Kota Bharu to mark the end of rice harvesting season which falls on 1st June every year.


  1. Nasi Kerabu – a blue-colored rice dish served with various herbs and vegetables. Some popular places to try this dish are Kak Yah Restaurant and Warung Pak Mat.
  2. Ayam Percik – grilled chicken marinated in spicy coconut milk sauce. Some popular places to try this dish are Restoran Sri Suphian and Warung Tok Wan.
  3. Laksam – a type of noodle dish made from rice flour served with fish gravy, shredded coconut, and herbs. Some popular places to try this dish are Gerai Laksam Wak Pahang and Gerai Laksam Pak Ya.
  4. Nasi Ulam – a mixed herb rice salad usually served with fried fish or chicken. Some popular places to try this dish are Warung Pak Su, Nasi Ulam Cikgu, and Restoran Seri Keningau.
  5. Roti Canai – a type of flatbread usually served with curry or dhal dip. Some popular places to try this dish are Roti Bakar Kopitiam and Restoran Suriya Maju.
  6. Kuih Muih – traditional Malay desserts such as kuih lapis, kuih keria, kuih talam can be found at many roadside stalls or night markets such as Pasar Malam Wakaf Che Yeh or Pasar Siti Khadijah Night Market.
  7. Seafood- Fresh seafood dishes like grilled fish,squid sambal,and prawn curry can be found at restaurants like Restoran Ikan Bakar Pantai Timur or Medan Ikan Bakar Kuala Besut because Kota Bharu is located near the coast.
  8. Nasi Dagang- A traditional Kelantanese breakfast food made from glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk,and is usually served with Gulai Ikan Tongkol or fish curry. Some popular places to try this dish are Nasi Dagang Kak Yah, Nasi Dagang Atas Tol, and Nasi Dagang Pak Malau.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Taman Rekreasi Sultan Ismail Petra
  2. Taman Jubli Perak
  3. Taman Muhibbah
  4. Taman Bandaraya Kota Bharu
  5. Pantai Cahaya Bulan Beach Park
  6. Kelantan Cultural Centre (Kraftangan)
  7. Gunung Stong State Park and Waterfall Trekking
  8. Pasir Pekan Rafting Adventure
  9. Istana Jahar Museum
  10. Siti Khadijah Market (traditional market)


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