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Kota Bharu, Kelantan<Previous Page
Kota Bharu is Kelantan's busy capital, the centre of its culture, and is set on the banks of the Kelantan river. Old and new cultures sit side by side, and modern buildings are set among landmarks of past eras, with trishaws jostling with the traffic.
Beaches - Kelantan is blessed with some of the best beaches on the Peninsula.

Pantai Cahaya Bulan - Kelantan's most famous beach, about 10km north of Kota Bharu is the Moonlight Beach, which has sparkling, shimmering sand. It was once called the Beach of Passionate Love and is fringed by swaying casuarinas and coconut palms.

Pantai Seri Tujuh - The Beach of Seven Lagoons is another popular beach just 7km from Kota Bharu at the border with Thailand. It is the site of the international Kite Festival when top kite or wau flyers meet in competition.

Pantai Bisikan Bayu - About 58km from Kota Bharu at Dalam Rhu, is the Beach of the Whispering Winds, named after the casuarinas that grow close to the waterline. Here will be found clear waters ideal for snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming and fishing.

Pantai Irama - The Beach of Melody is situated about 25km south of Kota Bharu in the district of Bachok. Considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Peninsular Malaysia, it has stretches of clean, white sand, swaying palms and casuarinas.
Central Market - One of the key attractions of Kota Bharu is the colourful Central Market (Pasar Besar) on Jalan Pintu Pong. Women conduct the majority of the businesses here, selling the items they produce, including ornate handicrafts and woodcarvings, Kelatan silver, baskets and gold embroidered cloth, which are some of the best in the peninsular. Rows of vegetables, fruit and meat, kitchenware, baskets and other goods are set out on display.
Cultural Centre - The Cultural Centre on Jalan Sultan Mahmud showcases Kelantan's cultural heritage. At various times visitors are treated to the sight of top spinning, shadow puppetry, cultural dances or kite flying competitions. Shows featuring the large drums known as Rebana Ubi are frequently staged, and there are also giant top competitions and displays of the colourful giant kites in flight on the beach.
Eating - Kota Bharu is full of delicious Kelantanese food, a unique cuisine influenced by Thai and Indian styles, among others. Lots of goodies are to be found in the pasars and in coffee shops throughout the city.

Among the local specialties are Ayam Percik, chicken which is roasted over a wood fire and combined with coconut/peanut sauce and delicious local herbs and greens; Nasi Ulam, rice with fragrant, fresh-picked leaves and shoots, traditionally dipped into budu (fish sauce), sambal belacan (shrimp paste with hot pepper, et al.) or/and tempoyak (fermented durian sauce); Murtabak, savory or sweet crêpes; and a wide variety of Kuih (little cakes). If you visit around Hari Raya time, don't miss the chance to try Tapai, which is sweet fermented cassava or rice. If you like tea, wash everything down with Teh O (tea with sugar) or Teh Susu (tea with sweetened condensed milk).
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