In the Sultanate of Kelantan and close to the Thai Border on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia, Kota Bharu is often visited as the first stopping point for those arriving overland from Thailand.


Situated alongside the old palace, Istana Belai Basar, the colourful Pasar Besar is one of Malaysia’s most famous markets, selling food produce and local crafts. The adjacent flat area beyond transforms after sunset into the town’s night market.

Local history and culture can be explored at the Istana Jahar Museum of Royal Tradition and Customs, Istana Batu (Royal Museum), Muzium Islam (Islamic Museum), Pusut Kraftangan (Handicraft Village), and through cultural performances at Gelanggang Seni (Court of Arts).

The city’s beach, Pantai Cahaya Bulan is a great place to enjoy the sun and find local handicrafts such as Batik and kites.

It is also possible to use Kota Bharu as an alternative to Kuala Terengganu as a departure point for travel to the Perhentian Islands.


The road that cuts across country from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur on the west passes through some high jungle terrain, its route demarcated by the occasional ‘Tiger crossing’ road signs, and far inland from Kota Bharu, but still within the Kelantan State boundary, Mount Stong State Park is a revered area for the conservation of tigers, elephants, bears and gibbons.

The park is also the site of South-east Asia’s highest waterfall, the seven-tiered Stong, tumbling a full 305 metres (1,000 ft).