Rising high on the slopes of Gunung Korbu, the second highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia, yet this state in Malaysia has been decades separated from the rest of Malaysia’s vibe due to its predominantly Islamic teachings. Although Kelantan is not showered with stunning skyscrapers and modernization, rest assure that this state has much more culture, nature, authenticity of Malaysian experience and shopping heaven which would make a well worth the visit. Just like their motto “Kelantan di Hati” which means “Kelantan in our heart”.
Kelantan is located on the northern east of Peninsular Malaysia bordered with Thailand to its North and towards its north-east is the South China Sea. The name Kelantan, was probably derived from either the stories from the North of India Ptolemy inscription claiming that it is the name from Gautama Buddha’s mother, Koli plus the word Thana equivalent to Kolithana which then became Kelantan; or Chinese Ma Tuan Lin writing about Calantan Rio or Calantao which can be seen in his map De’eredia; or some even say that it was named based on many trees during that time at the beach called “Gelam Hutan”.
The population in Kelantan comprises more Islamic worshippers in comparison to other religions thus, more mosques can be seen such as the State Mosque, Masjid Langgar and Masjid Kampung Laut but living in a multi-religion country, one of the most popular temple in Malaysia located in Kelantan would be Wat Photivihan in Tumpat District. The temple with a typical chinese pavillion and tibeten style hall, houses the longest reclining sleeping Buddha in South East Asia with 40 metre length.
It would be impossible for us not to mention the hidden shopping spree which the locals can go mad about in Kelantan. Of course we are not referring to luxurious branded products instead the colorful cultures of haggling in both the Rantau Panjang and Siti Khadijah Market which the latter mainly sells food product. Rantau Panjang is a tax free zone, with people stopping here before continuing their travel to Golok, Thailand. It would be the best place to purchase imported materials especially kitchenwares.
If you’d feel like you need some nature fixing, ensure to visit some interesting places here such as Kuala Koh National Park, Lata Rek and Kuala Kria waterfalls. Amazing activities with beautiful landscapes can be done here. Not forgetting the famous beaches in Kelantan such as Pantai Cahaya Bulan, Pantai Tok Bali and Pantai Sabak. Pantai Sabak is also famous with its fishing village where could see colorful and charming forms of fisherman boats and nets. Best visiting time would be around 14:30 hours.
Before leaving the state, definitely, food tasting would be a must. The food haven here represents the traditional, exquisite recipes and definitely mouth watering to anyone who tries it. Relax, laid back and try exotic dishes such as Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Dagang, Ayam Perick, Nasi Ulam and Keropok. Best desserts would be akok, dodol, nekbak, jala mas and also lompat tikam. Ops..by the way, Kelantanese food are much sweeter than other states so try drinking coffee without sugar before eating your desserts or vice versa.
Unfortunately Kelantan is also affected by the yearly monsoon season between October-April. Thus, our suggestion on the best time to visit Kelantan would be between May to September to avoid being caught in heavy rain or flashing floods. Almost forgot, if you have the chance, come and visit Kelantan in the month of May to see the International Kite Festivals which are held every year since 1982. Windy and cool!