May 14, 2015

The Perdana Trail - a discovery of Kelantan's background....

The Perdana Trail was initiated by Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu’s General Manager Muhammad Taha
Zainal to allow guests to learn more about the beautiful culture, heritage and history of Kelantan. As the saying by Anna Letitia Barbauld goes, "We can only love what we know"...

The Perdana Trail encourages guests to explore Kota Bharu by foot, getting some good exercise while at the same time visiting various places of interests including Tourist Information Centre, and the State Museum. While we were on our on our Perdana Trail, the State Museum was having a very intriguing exhibition which was focused on one of the top traditional performance Wayang Kulit.

Wayang kulit or Shadow Play is a one of its kind form of traditional performance employing lights and shadow. The puppets are usually crafted from buffalo hide and mounted on bamboo sticks. When held up behind a piece of white cloth, with an electric bulb or an oil lamp as the light source, shadows are cast on the screen. The plays are typically based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The plays are can also be based on some local stories and such. It is up to the tok dalang or master puppeteer to decide his direction.

The tok dalang is the brain behind the overall performance. He will sit behind the screen on a small built up stage, and tell the story while manipulating the puppet according to the stories. With a traditional orchestra in the background to provide a resonant melody and its conventional rhythm, the tok dalang modulates his voice to create suspense thus heightening the drama. Invariably, the play climaxes with the triumph of good over evil.

There is even a Star Wars inspired Shadow Puppet /Wayang Kulit....

After we have finished checking out the State Museum, we popped over at the Clock Tower round about to take some pictures of the dates tree, one in particular which was bearing fruits...lots of them by the look of it... Now when these date trees were planted, no one expected them to start bearing fruit, so to every one, especially the Kelantanese surprise, the date trees at this particular round about started bearing fruits during the month of Ramadan last year....

So there we were, a group of grown ups monkeying around at a round about in the middle of the town, much to the amusement of some of the locals......

When we had enough fun at that roundabout, we headed to a local Coffee shop ‘Din Tokyo’ situated along Jalan Tok Hakim, enjoying some of the old city's buildings. 

We had quite some fun there trying out "Teh Tarik"(pulled tea), "Teh Halia Burung Puyuh" (Ginger Tea with Quails Eggs) which was kind of a Fear Factor challenge to some of us, me included... "Teh DangDut", "Telur Taliban" (Half Boiled Eggs and "Telur PingPong" (3/4 Boiled Eggs)...

Our little trip continued as we followed the trail towards Istana Jahar (Museum of Cultural Royal Rites / Ceremonies) with a quick stop at Bank Pitis.

Bank Pitis is the oldest building built during the administrative rule of Sultan Muhammad III located at the entrance of Istana Balai Besar. The building measuring approximately 12 feet in height and 12 feet width was where they kept the government’s money. 

Then naturally being kay-poh-chee aka busybodies, we went to take a peek at the crack in the gates of the Istana Balai Besar.....

Istana Jahar (Jahar Palace) is simply amazingly beautiful. It was a Royal Residence, built by Sultan Muhamad 11 in 1887 for his grandson Long Kundur. It has luxurious woodcarvings that showcase the excellent Kelantanese craftsmanship. The museum displays photographs, artifacts and traditional handicraft reflecting Kelantan’s rich and sophisticated heritage.

The trail then takes you to visit The Royal Museum (Istana Batu) which displays the traditions and
customs of Kelantan Royal Families as well as how they lived...

We headed then on to Handicraft village, just right opposite, where if you like, you can visit the Craft Museum there, which is also known as Balai Getam Guri.

We got to try out a local favorite lunch ‘Nasi Ulam Cikgu’ at the Kampung Kraftangan. Nasi Ulam Cikgu serves local delicacies among others are Budu, Sayur Lemak, Ikan Keli Goreng which is a must to try, as well as another Fear Factor challenge for a few of us who never tried some of these food before...However at a glance, you can see how popular the place is with the many people thronging the restaurant..which is right under the Balai Getam Guri

After our sumptuous lunch, take a brisk walk passing by the state mosque, Masjid Muhammadbefore proceeding to the Islamic Museum also known as the Balai Syura, a beautiful double story mansion that used to be the Chief Minister's home back in 1902, then it was Kelantan's office of the Religious & Malay Cultural and Ceremonial Department 1917, and since 1991, a Museum showcasing interesting relics and things related to Islam. 

A Quran Manuscript written on parchment

Manuscript of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)
When we were there, they were also having an exhibition for former Chief Minister, the late and beloved Nik Aziz

For my foreign friends reading this, Tok Guru Dato' Bentara Setia Haji Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was a very humble man well respected by everyone in Malaysia and the world, and naturally, most especially in Kelantan, he is a very straight and righteous Malaysian politician and Muslim cleric. He was the Menteri Besar of Kelantan (Chief Minister) from 1990 to 2013 and the Mursyidul Am or Spiritual Leader of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) from 1991 until his death in 2015.

The War Memorial Museum (Bank Kerapu) is just right next door. Bank Kerapu is a historic building located in the downstream side of Padang Merdeka, Kota Bharu

This building, built in 1912 was first used as a commercial bank and believed to be the first  building/bank opened in the state known as the Mercantile Bank of India Limited, thus the name Kerapu Bank. The word ‘Kerapu’ refers to the rough exterior walls of the building, not "Ikan Kerapu"(garoupa fish) ok, as my daughter did ask me why did they keep "ikan kerapu" in the bank, and how many "ikan kerapu" can you find there... 

During the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945, this building was used as the headquarters of the Japanese secret police ‘Kempetai’. After the war, the building was then reused as a bank. Finally, the building was turn into a memorial museum displaying pictures, memorabilia and artifacts of World War II.. you can even find a wax figurine of General Yamamoto there welcoming all visitors near the entrance... hehehe

After visiting the museums, we took a slow ride back to Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu by trishaw and catch a glimpse of Kota Bharu on a totally different angle, from the trishaw.... Kelantantese trishaw are different from the trishaw you can find in Penang or Melaka, Kelantanese trishaw is pretty small and can sit only two small sized/ petite people or one normal size or bigger size individual....

This eye opening trip of mine to Kota Bharu Kelantan was jointly organized by Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu and also Destination Malaysia magazine by TM Info-Media... Thank you for this amazing and unforgettable experience that really surpassed my expectations...

Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu has also received accreditation from for achieving 8.6 on guests review, making it the best hotel in Kelantan.

For your next stay and event bookings, be sure to check out Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu....

For bookings or reservations, call 609.7458888 or fax 609.748 8855
Instagram : @hotelperdana_kotabharu


  1. Seronok baca entry ni..
    Kedai Kopi Din Tokyo mmg terbaik.. belum pernah jumpa kedai kopi yang macam ni kat tempat lain.

    1. Satu lagi teh halia.... dan satu telur taliban !!!!

  2. rindunyer..... rindu masa di sana... rindu budu.... huhuhu....


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