Kota Bharu Heritage Trail
A great place to start the Kota Bharu heritage trail is on Jalan Hospital where the Kelantan State Museum is located in an old colonial building.
The Handicraft Village and Craft Museum is just a short walk north of from the state museum and you can take the opportunity to see the skilled Kelantanese craftsmen creating their works of Kelantan arts.
Next door is the Belai Besar Palace that was originally built in 1840 and has been the home to many of the states Sultans.
Next door to the palace is the Buluh Kubu Bazaar which is also known as the Fort Bamboo Bazaar and is three floors of handicraft bargains with a low price tag, well worth browsing around.
Close by is the Royal Museum that archives the history of the Kelantan royal family showcasing palace items belonging to former sultans, prized silverware, royal furniture, royal pictures and royal regalia.
Further along the same street is the Jahar Palace that was constructed in 1887 by Sultan Mohamad II for his grandson, Long Kundur.
With Kelantan being one of the Malaysian centres of Islamic learning it is appropriate that Kota Bharu is home to the Islamic Museum documenting the history of Islam in Kelantan.
Opposite the Islamic Museum is Merdeka Square that was formerly known as Padang Bank and renamed in Malaysias' independence year 1957, it is home to a World War 1 Memorial.
The War Museum was originally built as the states first bank in 1912 and during the 2nd world war it gained infamy as the headquarters for the feared Japanese secret police.
The sights and sounds of the Kota Bharu heritage trail does not stop here as there is the Silversmith on Jalan Sultanah Zainab, then there are the Batik and Songket Centres, the Batik Factory, the Cottage Market as well as the Old, New and Night Markets.
There is a whole street devoted to Kelantan arts and crafts with handicrafts and souvenirs for you to enjoy on Jalan Temenggong. Everything from gold and silver jewellery, wood carvings and brassware to knick knacks and souvenirs can be found here and they have all been proudly made by local artisans.
Wandering around the cultural quarter of the Kota Bharu heritage trail indulging in the photogenic buildings and enjoying the warmth of the friendly conversation with the locals is a reminder that Kelantan really is the Cradle Of Malay culture.
There are some exquisite works of wood carving, silverware, embroidery, songket and batik on display here and you also get the option to purchase these items.
The Palace is now only used for state functions where a large royal audience hall is required so you will have to admire architecture from the outside. The palace is also home to a rich collection of royal regalia and its impressive throne room is truly fit for a Sultan.
Constructed in 1939 its history has seen royal weddings staged here as well housing various visiting dignitary including royalty.
The architectural splendour of the building itself is a museum piece in its own right showcasing some of the finest examples of classical Kelantanese wood carving.
Exhibits include Islamic art, crafts and photographs as well as some personal belongings of the Prophet Muhammad.
The museum displays various pictures, documents and memorabilia pertaining to the Japanese occupation.
The artefacts on show here date from prehistoric Kelantan to remnants of the early trade with China in ancient ceramics and continue by documenting the Kelanatan arts, crafts and musical traditions of this culturally rich northern state.
It is fitting that such a magnificent building has been transformed into a museum displaying the finest legacies of Kelantans arts and rich cultural heritage.