Bucket List: Best Tourist Spots in Kelantan
Kelantan in Malaysia will always be any traveler’s dream destination – thanks to its architecture, natural haven, historical places, temples, jungles, paddy fields, rustic fishing villages, and beaches.
The state is located in the northeastern corner of the peninsula, which translates as the “Land of Lightning.” And although it’s a part of Malaysia, Kelantan’s culture and lifestyle are somewhat different from the rest of the peninsula.
The capital city of Kota Bharu is a hub of traditional markets, museums, and historical landmarks, while Istana Jahar offers a glimpse into the state’s cultural heritage. The Taman Negara National Park, the oldest rainforest in the world, and Gunung Stong State Park are popular natural attractions for jungle trekking, river rafting, and wildlife watching.
Additionally, visitors can explore Kelantanese cuisine, which is influenced by the Malay, Chinese, and Thai cultures. Kelantan is a perfect destination for those who are interested in experiencing the traditional way of life and exploring the natural beauty of Malaysia.
Did you know that Kelantan is one of the top destinations for archaeologists and history buffs? Read along to give an overview of the best things to do in Kelantan, Malaysia!
Visit the Reclining Buddha in Wat Photivihan
Kelantan is very near to Tak Bai, Thailand, which explains why you will see many Buddhist temples in some parts of Kelantan.
Wat Photivihan also called the Phothivihan Buddhist Temple or Wat Yamu, is a Thai temple in Tumpat District, Kelantan, Malaysia.
It is one of 25 temples in Tumpat and one of the most popular in Malaysia.
Explore Princess Cave Pulai
If you happen to visit Kelantan in the future, don’t miss out on Kelantan’s famous Princess Cave Pulai, Zhia Xia Dong.
Most international tourists visit this site to see the Guan Yin statue carved from a large stalagmite and the Chinese-style shrines and altars inside the cave. For you to reach the cave, you need to climb its 150 concrete steps.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to see the village and its surrounding countryside. Just make sure to wear your most comfortable footwear when you visit here.
Day trip in Taman Negara Park
Hailed as one of Malaysia’s most popular ecotourism destinations, enjoying a day trip in Taman Negara Park may just be the perfect experience to commune with nature and interact with the native tribe families living in the forest.
Some of the activities you can enjoy are canopy walking, jungle walking at night, rapid shooting, boat cruising, fish feeding at Kelah Sanctuary, spelunking, birdwatching, fishing, and cave exploration.
Visit the tallest waterfall in Southeast Asia.
As residents of a tropical country, it’s been a common practice to take a dip in the waterfall and have a picnic afterward.
Luckily in Kelantan, you can expect several cascading waterfalls visited by locals and international travelers, especially during summer.
One of these fantastic falls worthy of a visit is the Jelawang Waterfall, which can be found in Gunung Stong State Park in the town of Dabong in Kelantan. It is also claimed to be the tallest waterfall in South East Asia.
Spending the day at Min House Camp
Located 6km away from Khota Bahru lies Min House Camp – where you can do all things outdoors from water sports activities such as kayaking, river bathing, fishing, clam digging, and even firefly watching at night.
Not only is it located in lush tropical greenery, but anyone can also engage in many cultural activities, including handicraft-making, cooking lessons, traditional games, and watching cultural performances.
Breakfast at Restoran Capital in Kota Bharu
Many locals suggest trying their famous nasi kerabu at Restoran Capital in Kota Bharu. This dish combines flavored rice with various Kelantanese curries and extras, including eggs and crunchy crackers, for that unique texture.
Make sure to pair it with coffee or tea to make it more satisfying.
Riding the Jungle Railway
Be one with nature and ride the jungle railway, which runs along the east coast, through Malaysia’s center, and through Kelantan.
The railway is said to have been built between 1910 and 1930. It’s going to be a trip to remember. Why? Because you get to enjoy the fantastic view of the jungle and the scenic nature as it traverses to Kelantan.
Take a boat ride at the Galas River.
There are lots of places in Kentalan that are simply begging to be discovered. Most tourists book a boat ride down the Galas River, which serves as the major river in Kelantan, Malaysia.
It’s a perfect destination if you want to escape the building scenery and be one with nature.
Buy exotic spices at Pasar Siti Khadijah
Live like the locals and buy some local goods at Pasar Siti Khadijah – one of Malaysia’s most famous wet markets.
It’s very vibrant, and most sellers are dominated by women – wearing veils and selling anything from textiles, kitchen wares, colorful wares, fruits, crackers, vegetables, fish, and spices.
A side trip at Istana Jahar
Taking a side trip and photographing at Istana Jahar is one of the best things to do in Kentalan. Not only is the state very conservative, but it also preserves its priceless culture, most especially its architecture.
The Istana Jahar is an excellent example of this tourist attraction, originally a palace turned into a museum.
Inside is a weapon gallery, ceremonial dresses, decorations, and monuments that depict royalty culture. Read more here.
See some artifacts at Muzium Islam Kelantan
Trace the roots of Islam in Kelan when you visit Muzeum Islam situated at Jalan Masjid in Kota Bharu.
It’s a mosque-like building that displays artifacts and inscriptions documents on how Islam was introduced in the state. Take note that it’s closed every Friday and is open daily from 8.30am to 4.45pm.
Admire woodcarvings at Kampung Kraftangan
Drop by Kampung Kraftangan “Balai Getam Guri” and witness local activities such as batik-making or woodcarving.
It’s considered one of the must-sees in Malaysia as one gets to have a deeper knowledge of the locals’ fine handwork.
Here, they’ll also demonstrate weavings, traditional embroidery, and wood carvings created by skilled craftsmen.
Join the industries tour in Khota Bahru
Since the town is home to highly skilled artisans and its diverse cottage industries, it may be best to roam around and explore the local batik factory, the kite factory, and the silver craft center.
One of the best places to check out incredible crafts is at Handicraft Village & Craft Museum, displaying traditional and regional crafts and local crafting techniques. Make sure to add this to your itinerary.
Don’t miss out on the great fun and adventure if you plan to visit Kelantan. They take pride in preserving their culture and devouring visitors with their world where the past, present, and nature meld to give way to its fruitful future. Make sure to include these on your itinerary!
Kelantan Travel and Tour Packages
Searching for the best hotels and affordable flights? Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
How to get there from Kuala Lumpur?
You can take a bus ride from KL to Kota Bharu until 11pm. Traveling by Bus to Kelantan from KL is the cheapest mode of transportation, but it may take 9-10 hours.
You can catch a KL to Kota Bharu bus anytime, making this an excellent option for spontaneous trips. There are multiple buses an hour throughout the day, and the last night bus usually departs between 9 and 11 p.m.
You can look for bus companies like Mara Liner, Queen Express, Transnasional, Express Mutiara, Express Perdana, Sani Express, Lienadaia Express, and Transnational MY. These buses are available at TBS Kuala Lumpur and Terminal Bersepadu Selatan.
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