Photo: Old and new in Kota Bharu.

Things to see and do

Kota Bharu Cultural Centre
?Near the corner of Jalan Mahmood and Jalan Bayam?
T: (09) 744 3124

Playing drums, learning traditional self-defence moves and learning the strategic manoeuvres of spinning heavy wooden tops -- visitors are encouraged to give them all a go. The performers at the centre are also quite enthusiastic, which can be contagious. Programmes are run for a gamut of traditional games including rebana (giant drum), silat tari (self-defence), gasing uri (top spinning), ... Read more about Kota Bharu Cultural Centre .

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
Jalan Hospital and Jalan Sultan Ibrahim
T: (09) 748 2266

Today this is the go-to place to learn about the history of Kelantan, from its historic places to the arrival of Islam and the royal lineage of its rulers. Exhibits include displays of various local leisure activities such as mak yong, gasing and wayang kulit. If pressed for time, this museum covers a lot of territory in one convenient location and should be at the top of your list. Muzium ... Read more about Muzium Kelantan (Kelantan State Museum) .

Pasar Basar Siti Khadijah
Jalan Pintu Pong
T: (01) 7 983 9981

Depending on which entrance you take, you could slide your way past fish entrails or exotic herbs and spices, but either way it’s all worth investigating. There are also several stall-type kitchens upstairs that serve up some serious local eats, like nasi Kkerabu, fresh crab and curries. You’ll find the market to the south of Jalan Pintu ... Read more about Pasar Basar Siti Khadijah .

Muzium Perang (Bank Kerapu) War Museum
Across from Merdeka Square
T: (09) 748 2266

The building itself started life as the Mercantile Bank of India and later (1941-1945) was used as a lock up and interrogation centre by the Japanese Intelligence Police. Considering Kelantan was the invasion point of the Japanese military forces, the exhibits are authentic and artefacts are in superb condition.Even non-historians will find a visit here to be of considerable ... Read more about Muzium Perang (Bank Kerapu) War Museum .

Muzium Diraja Istana Batu (Royal Museum)
Located across from the Kraft Village, Jalan Tok Semian
T: (09) 748 7737

It was passed onto Sultan Ismail Petra as his official residence and then declared a museum in 1991. As simple as this building presents itself it has quite a colourful history and is jam-packed with collectibles and royal possessions, such as gifts, paintings, clothes and even hunting ’trophies’ such as a tiger skin rug and a stuffed ... Read more about Muzium Diraja Istana Batu (Royal Museum) .

Muzium Kraftangan (Balai Getam Guri), Handicraft Museum
?Kampung Kraftagan (Handicraft Village), Jalan Seri Akar, behind the Tourism Malaysia office on Jalan Hilar Kota, Kota Bharu
T: (09) 748 2266

There are a few interesting antiquated bits on display that make for nice photo ops and with more space to manoeuvre for the perfect Instagram I-was-here moment. While Muzium Kraftangan doesn’t hold a candle to the glory of the other museums in Kota Bharu, but for the price of entry it’s worth popping in to help support their efforts. The village itself has some souvenirs for sale and you ... Read more about Muzium Kraftangan (Balai Getam Guri), Handicraft Museum .

Muzium Islam (Islamic Museum)
Just east of the War Museum, Kota Bharu
T: (09) 748 2266

In 1917 it became the official office of the Islamic Religious and Malay Culture and Ceremony Department, eventually being turned into the Islamic Museum in 1991. There is quite a collection of religious artefacts as well as an abundance of Islamic information. The well-organised displays and photos leave no stone unturned and even touch on prehistoric man, complete with a reproduction of ... Read more about Muzium Islam (Islamic Museum) .

Muzium Adat Istiadat Diraja Kelantan (Royal Ceremonies Museum)
Near Istana Balai Besar and Merdeka Square
T: (09) 748 2266

All the finery involved in royal weddings can get a bit tedious and redundant, especially if you have already had your daily dose of royalty at Istana Batu. But for those interested in the romantic side of culture, it’s worth a peek. It also displays textiles and the traditional pre and postnatal care for the wee royals. The inattentive staff at the door may help explain why the Royal ... Read more about Muzium Adat Istiadat Diraja Kelantan (Royal Ceremonies Museum) .

Wat Machimmaran
Kampung Jubakar, Tumpat, Kelantan
T: (09) 725 6769

Nonetheless, this imposing Buddha is a jaw-dropper and stands in stark contrast to the surrounding flat landscape. Even more astonishing is the artwork and imagery inside the temple, with Buddhist depictions of heaven and hell reminiscent of the visionary works of Hieronymus Bosch adorning the interior walls. The #27 bus from Kota Bharu central terminal will stop at the temple and you can ... Read more about Wat Machimmaran .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kota Bharu? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

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