If you thought Sungai Petani was small Kuala Kedah is practically non existent! Apart from the jetty terminal where boats for Langkawi depart, there are only fishing boats and warehouses in the immediate village centre. Its locals earn their main income from fishing, which is made apparent from the strong fishy smell along the riverside.
Historically though the town was once a major stronghold and defended the state from sea invasions. Today its main attraction is Kota Kuala Kedah, the old fortress dating back to the 18th century, standing over the other side of Sungai Kedah. It was badly damaged during the 1821 war against the Siamese when Kedah was lost and transferred to Thai suzerainty, where it remained until 1909. The partially restored fortress can be seen from the jetty but reach it by car or taxi as the walk is quite far.
At the Langkawi ferry terminal is a row of shophouses standing parallel to the car park in front of the blue terminal building, There's an ATM, 7-eleven and two restaurants selling Chinese and Indian-Muslim food at either corner of the row. Following the main road down from the terminal will only take you to residential areas with little to see. The village is mainly used as a departure point to get to the islands, making the terminal the main commercial area.
Take a taxi either from your hotel or a taxi stand in Alor Setar. It costs 18 ringgit to Kuala Kedah, or hop on one of the many local buses that leave opposite Pekan Rabu Market. The bus will have a sign in the front window announcing its destination. Buses run every 10-15 minutes from about 06:30 to 22:00 and the ride takes only 15 minutes, costing 1.50-2 ringgit. It's a great ride on a straight road passing through smaller villages and endless green paddy.
As you come in on the bus from Alor Setar there's a green mosque at the main intersection where the bus turns left. Just 50m ahead is the blue Langkawi ferry terminal. The bus will stop on the main road in front of the terminal car park. Follow the row of shophouses on your left as you walk towards the terminal or go straight through the car park.
Tickets to the ferry are sold inside at Ferry Line Ventures counter, the first in a row of five. The ticket to Langkawi is 23 ringgit for adults and 17 ringgit for children. A signboard will tell you when the next boats leave. Don't get confused by the different names of the boats: they are the same ferry service and will all go to Kuah Town in Langkawi.
The ferries leave daily on the following schedule:
07:15, 08:00, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30, 17:30, 19:00
Getting away from Kuala Kedah is easy as taxi drivers wait like hawks outside the terminal arrival hall, and buses run every 10 to 15 minutes at the bus stop out on the main road, heading back to Alor Setar.
Text and/or map last updated on 21st August, 2009.
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