The capital of Kedah, Alor Setar is rich in Malay culture. Kedah is the largest rice producer in the country. Hence, a visit down Kedah is never complete without a tour to the scenic paddy plantation located on the outskirt of Alor Setar. Backpackers, holiday makers or business travelers can easily reach the city by taking the train or bus.
Monumental and Architectural Buildings
Despite the fact that Kedah is the largest rice producer in the country, besides the picturesque paddy plantation, you can actually visit other buildings with architectural value situated everywhere around town. Since Kedah is located nearby neighbouring country, Thailand, some magnificent temples with Thai influences can be seen around town.
In terms of population, the numbers of Malay population surpassed Chinese and Indian people than other west coast cities. Here are some of the famous places you need to include in your trip itinerary – Menara Alor Setar, Zahir Mosque, Balai Besar, Balai Nobat, Museums and the birthplace of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Menara Alor Setar, the gem of Alor Setar
First stop of the day, Menara Alor Setar which is located in the middle of the city is one prominent tower that represents development of the state. Once you get to the top of the tower, you can enjoy the view of the city. The tower is an important landmark in the state serving as a tourist attraction and telecommunications tower.
Meanwhile, after checking out the city’s seasonal view from the tower, drop by at Malaysia’s most outstanding mosque, Zahir Mosque. Incorporating Moorish architecture, this holy place is the venue for Kedah’s annual Koran reading competition.
Paddy Plantation Museum
Of course, you have never really been to Kedah unless you visit the paddy plantation museum. An educational trip down the museum enables you to learn everything about paddy plantation from the process of planting to harvesting as well as the grades of rice produced in the country.
You just have to check out the main attraction of the museum which is a 360 degrees mural illustrating four phases of paddy plantation. First-time visitors shall wait during the weekend as the museum offers an opportunity for you to experience riding the traditional mode of transportation, kereta lembu (cow caravan).
Art Galleries at Alor Setar
There are few galleries in the state namely Nobat and the State Art Gallery. Nobat Gallery displays various Royal Orchestra sacred instruments such as gong, drum and flute while the State Art Gallery is the home to paintings, musicals instruments, handicrafts and photography.
Shopping in Alor Setar
For shopaholics, do not miss out the chance to shop for wide array of value-for-money quality items and souvenirs in several street markets and shopping centres such as Pekan Abu, City Plaza, Alor Setar Mall, Star Parade and Souq Al-Bukhary.
Pekan Abu offers souvenirs, handicrafts and traditional food. Located adjacent to the government offices in the city, the market is open all week long due to popular demand from locals and tourists.
Believe it or not, Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was once a trader at the market! Due to popular demand, the government has spent a sum of money to refurbish and renovate Pekan Abu Complex to appeal to more patrons.
Currently, there are almost 350 stalls selling inexpensive items. So, take a trolley along your trip down the market and start bargain hunting.