Think you know Kota Bharu?
Here are top 10 must eat and do things in Kota Bharu, Kelantan tht will make you think again.
Fireflies, street art, a Harry Potter themed cafe, and so much (so much!) delicious rice. Forget everything you thought you knew about Kota Bharu – this hidden gem in Kelantan has a plethora of attractions waiting to be discovered.
Did we mention the rice?
1. Dig into a plethora of nasi dishes
Top of the picks when it comes to Kelantan food is Nasi Ulam Cikgu for its traditional nasi ulam, a simple dish of piping hot rice served with your choice of ulam (leafy herbs), and of course, a deliciously fiery budu (a popular Kelantanese sauce made with anchovies). You can complement your meal with an array of traditional kampung food such as asam pedas patin, ikan keli goreng, gulai tempoyak patin, and tempoyak.
And we haven’t even gotten to the nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, nasi kukus, and nasi tumpang… you will find these famous Kota Bharu dishes at many stalls and restaurants in the city, so try as many versions as you can! If you’re short on time, Kopitiam Kita offers all the different rice dishes pre-made for breakfast, along with its signature Roti Titab, toast topped with kaya and a perfect soft boiled egg.
You’d be remiss if you didn’t try (more!) nasi kerabu at Yati Ayam Percik. The 40-year-old restaurant serves the quintessential Kota Bharu delicacy with its signature ayam percik, tender and flavourful roast chicken marinated with coconut milk and spices. You can also check out more nasi offerings at Hayaki Restaurant, located on Level 1 of Kota Bharu’s Tune Hotel.
2. Alemy Meggi Ketam
If it’s late at night and you’re itching for a different type of carb, Alemy Meggi Ketam in Cherang Ruku is just an hour’s drive away from Tune Hotel Kota Bharu. Open till 2am, the humble Maggi noodles are cooked in a claypot and served with a huge portion of fresh crabs. It’s the perfect nightcap to put you in the mood for a good night’s sleep back in your super comfy 5-star bed.
3. Brunch and coffee joints
While the traditional fare is a definite star, Kota Bharu is also home to its share of modern cafes. Kopi Mesin, Arnold Cycling Café, and The Bold Lab hit the spot if you’re aching for your daily cup of latte or in need of a lazy Saturday brunch
4. Hedley Books & Café
Believe it or not, Malaysia’s very first Harry Potter themed café is also located in Kota Bharu! Hedley Books & Café is inspired by the famous books – there are even robes, wands, and other wizard-themed accessories available for your Instagram snapshots. The best part? The café is home to tonnes of books and board games that will keep you entertained for hours.
5. Street Art Gallery
For more modern art, you must check out the gorgeous street art along Jalan Dato Pati . The entire alley is decorated with brightly coloured murals that are simply breathtaking, easily rivalling Singapore’s famous Haji Lane or Berlin’s Hackescher Markt courtyard. There’s even a painted carpet on the street! Kota Bharu is a surprisingly artsy place, with more art along the riverside and near the KB Mall.
6. Cultural Centre (Gelanggang Seni)
Just a 10-minute walk away from Tune Hotel is Kota Bharu’s Cultural Centre or Gelanggang Seni. It’s hard to miss – just look for the giant, green wau outside! Here, you can watch or participate in traditional activities like the seni silat tari, dikir barat, batik painting, wau flying, top spinning, or plain ol’ congkak. There’s also a Wayang Kulit show every Wednesday night. Other than the batik painting, all activities are free!
7. Trio of Buddha Statues
Located in Tumpat, Wat Photivihan is the most famous of the three Kelantanese attractions, as its home to a massive 40m long (yes, 40m!) statue of the Reclining Buddha. Just as impressive is the giant 30m Sitting Buddha statue that sits atop Wat Machimmaram. Then there’s the Golden Standing Buddha – looming at more than 60m from its base, it took 10 years to complete. The temples are ideal for quiet, reflective time or just a chance to admire some truly spectacular art.
8. Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah
Number one on most must-see lists is this wet market where you can find fresh meats and produce, as well as ready-to-eat food – more nasi! The market is named after Prophet Muhammad’s wife who was known for her business skills; the market itself is primarily run by women.
9. Pantai Cahaya Bulan
Even if Kota Bharu is serving you as a gateway to Perhentian Islands, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some beachy fun before that. Once known as Pantai Cinta Berahi or Beach of Passionate Love, the beach is not suitable for swimming but makes for a great day trip anyway. Indulge in local delicacies, fly a kite, ride a bicycle along the scenic route, or just take in that sweet sea breeze.
10. Min Fireflies Garden
The highlight of your trip, especially if you’re travelling with children, could be night time firefly watching. Min House Camp runs the rides on a daily basis from 8pm – 11pm, in which you’ll be taken out by boat to the firefly area where you can watch the little creatures light up the trees.
Min House Camp is also home to a bee farm and mini petting zoo, and even offers kayaking for lots of family fun. Rest assured that a powerful, high pressured hot shower is waiting for you at the end of the day back at Tune Hotel Kota Bharu.
Book Your Accommodation Today!
Kota Bharu is an exciting mix of traditional and modern that makes it the perfect getaway. Whether you intend to take it easy or enjoy more of its beautiful outdoors, you can rest assured that there’s a place waiting for you that’s All in Tune. Make your trip more comfortable by booking a room with Tune Hotel Kota Bharu, which is just a convenient 5 to 10-minute drive away from most attractions. We offer unrivalled, budget-friendly guest accommodation with state-of-the-art furnishings and modern amenities.