As day one was the travelling journey from Johor Bahru to Wakaf Bharu, the real exploration of Kota Bharu only began on day two. Since I arrived at Wakaf Bharu quite late, I took the cab for the price of RM25 to Jalan Padang Garong, which could be considered backpacker’s street in Kota Bharu. There are aplenty guesthouses along this road. It is also within walking distance to the main attractions in Kota Bharu.
Abang Jimi Mung recommended Sabrina Court for my accommodation. Since it was late, I didn’t think much and agreed to stay in Sabrina Court. I paid RM60 per night for a room with single bed, decent bathroom and television. They have strong wi-fi too.
First thing in the morning, I asked the receptionist where could I go around the hotel. I was given a map and some directions to guide me around. It was on-foot day trip around Kota Bharu. It was scorching hot in Kota Bharu as it is located near the sea. My skin burnt and agitated. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen lotion and a cap, an umbrella comes handy too.
It was said that this market was mostly runned by Kelantanese women who are known for their entreprenuerial skills. It was name after the name of Prohet Muhammad’s wife who is also known for her entreprenuerial skill. Apart from seafood and fishes, vegetables, wide variety of fruits, there are also pickles in huge containers, turtle eggs and many other weird goodies.
These days, from my observation, the market is runned by fairly equal number of men and women. The lower ground sells the wet products meanwhile the dry ones such as dry fishes, dates, clothings and toys are sold at second floor. While you are at the second floor, look down and you shall see the famous landmark of Pasar Siti Khadijah.
Next to Pasar Siti Khadijah is Laman Siti Khadijah where the food stalls are. There are sumptuous food like ‘nasi ulam’, ‘nasi kerabu’, ‘nasi tumpang’, ‘ayam percik’; all in flavours and taste of Kelantan. Don’t forget to buy the kuih muih of Kelantan especially ‘jala emas’. The food are mostly sweet.
Bazar Buluh Kubu, Kota Bharu was the first bazaar built in Kelantan by the State Economic Development Corporation in 1980. Here you could get varieties of batik, local souvenirs and handicrafts on sale.
A weird square building near Istana Jahar is the money bank known locally as ‘Bank Pitis’. It was built and used during the rule of Sultan Muhammad III(Long Kundor bin Sultan Ahmad) between 1899-1890. It was used as the strong room to keep the state treasury and important documents to the Kelantan governent at that time. In 1906, Kelantan began to produce its own currency called ‘pitis’. Made from tin, the ‘pitis’ was circular with a hole in the middle.
Kota Bharu is famous for its old kopitiam. I had late breakfast at one kopitiam in front of Masjid Muhammadi, by the name of Kedai Kopi White House.
I ordered Roti Kaya (2 pieces), half-boiled eggs and nestum tarik. I had never tasted nestum tarik, but it tasted good.
Muzium Kraftangan is where you could learn about Kelantanese craft. Some of the crafts I learned at Muzium Kraftangan are embroidery, woodcarving, weaving and silversmith.
Photography is not allowed in Muzium Kraftangan.
Once home to Kelantan royalty, Istana Batu was built in 1939 and home of the crown prince from 1969 until it was donated to the state and turned into a museum. Inside the museum, you will be able to see the heritage line of the current Kelantan royalty, the royal arts and artifacts as well as items and furnishing belonged to the former sultans. The walls in the museum portray life-size pictures of the current king of Kelantan.
Istana Jahar was built in the 1880’s for the use of Long Kundor, the grandson of Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan. He continued to live in the palace even after becoming the Sultan in 1889.
Masjid Muhammadi is the state mosque which is located in the centre of Kota Bharu. Previously known as Masjid Besar Kota Bharu, it was built in 1967. Originally, it was a wooden mosque moved from Sungai Budor Seberang Paloh due to flooding problem. It is located within walking distance from Istana Jahar, Tambatan Diraja – the royal jetty and Padang Merdeka.
This is where the royal jetty is. You can go up to the watch tower if you wish. I didn’t go up for it was really hot.
Bank Kerapu is a historical building which is located near Padang Merdeka. In 1912, Bank Kerapu was completed and used as “The Mercantile Bank of India Ltd”. This is the first bank which was opened in Kelantan. Now, Bank Kerapu serves as a war museum. I find this museum very interesting. Never ever skip this museum if you are on a rush tour of Kota Bharu. There’s a lot to learn here. In fact, Kelantan was first attacked even before Pearl Harbour.
I made friend with a pakcik from Bank Kerapu who wanted to bring me to Kopitiam Kita, which was not within walking distance from where I stayed. He did not turn up, so I was left with the night market.
Apart from the street food and the clothes, there were nothing much at the night market.
After blasting a random tweet on where to lepak at night in Kota Bharu, some of my twitter friends suggested Wakaf Che Yeh. It was far and I had to take a taxi from Sabrina Court. I asked the receptionist girl to book the taxi for me, the costs of going to Wakaf Che Yeh from Jalan Padang Garong at 9.45pm was RM40.00. (to and fro).
Pretty expensive but for the fun of it.
That concluded my first day of backpacking in Kota Bharu. The places I covered are within walking distance from Jalan Padang Garong except for Wakaf Che Yeh.