Visiting Istana Balai Besar – The Grand Palace in Kota Bahru Kelantan

Within the same area, we headed to Istana Balai Besar after exploring Istana Jahar also in Merdaka Square. Istana Balai Besar –The Grand Palace is located in Kota Bahru Kelantan. The palace is a single story building which was constructed by Sultan Muhammad almost 170 years ago.

Istana Balai Besar
Istana Balai Besar

The palace was known to be the official residence of former sultans of Kelantan. Bull fights were a normal activity in this palace until late 1900’s. The architecture and the huge front gate of the palace was a visual treat for those who wants to see an authentic Malaysian Architechture. The palace is also believed to be one of the oldest palaces in Malaysia.

Istana Balai Besar Historical Marker
Istana Balai Besar Historical Marker

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When we reached Istana Balai Besar, the fort that was surrounding the palace particularly caught my interest. Upon checking my guide book I learned that the fort is spread across a total of 1627 square metres. The complete wooden structure was made up of timber. I would love to checkout whats inside but public access to the fort is restricted. It will be open only for official state functions and investiture ceremonies.

Merdaka Square
Merdaka Square

Istana Balai Besar –The Grand Palace comprises of a main house, middle house, kitchen area and a veranda. The tiles used in the palace are red tiles popularly known as ‘Patini tiles’ which are the same kind of tiles that are manufactured in the southern Thai province. I also found the wood work of the decoration in the palace to be marvellous, especially the designed panelling and embossed piercing. The amazing picturesque beauty of this palace was beyond words. I would have missed something if I had not visited Istana Balai Besar –The Grand Palace, as suggested by my friends from Tourism Malaysia.

After visiting this palace, I gained a unique perspective of tradition, culture and history of Malay people. The scenic beauty of the fort and surroundings left me charmed…. It gave me more than a hundred reason to come back.

*This trip was sponsored by ZestAir and Tourism Malaysia!

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