The era of shopping malls being the dominant force influencing the spending trends of the modern day consumer has been an established line of thought for a long time.
To fully appreciate the true Kelantan shopping experience your first port of call should not be the latest Kota Bharu shopping mall but the vibrancy of the Kota Bharu Central Market.
The diverse selection and atmosphere of the Kota Bharu central market is fantastic and I sincerely hope that it can withstand the inevitable push of the hypermarkets in their attempt to increase their market share in Kelantan.
Towards the outer edges of the ground floor the glint in the eye of the carnivore shopper is realised with an abundance of red or white meats and shoals of various seafoods to select from.
Kelantanese women rule the roost here as they dominate the majority of stalls enjoying the banter with customers and their zest for haggling adds to the atmosphere of the market.
The octagonal interior design of the building looks like a cross between an indoor colosseum and an arena but the only battles played out in this colourful commercial market is the friendly bartering over cost of the produce.
This wet and dry market is a photographers dream with a cacophony of vivid colours mixed with pastel shades illuminated by the natural light from the giant overhead skylight adding to the ambience of a most delightful Kelantan shopping experience.
Kota Bharu Central Market
Kelantan Duty Free Shopping
Pengkalan Kubur is another border town with a tax free zone that attracts bargain hunters from both sides of the border after the cheap prices for electrical items, kitchenware, glassware, accessories, clothes and shoes.
The Kota Bharu shopping mall or KB Mall as it is locally known is one of the most popular in the state capital. Opened in 2005 it has a 98% occupancy rate with 180 retail outlets selling a wide variety of merchandise, the Pacific Department Store and Hypermarket is the anchor tenant at this strategically located shopping mall.
The Kota Bharu Trade Centre (KBTC) is the latest Kelantan shopping complex to open in KB as recently as 2009 to become the largest shopping mall in the state.
The KBTC is also the lifestyle mall of choice on the east coast offering many diverse and modern products that compliment the anchor store Parkson Grand and so benefitting shoppers to a vast array of local and international brands. All that shopping can be tiresome so what better way to recuperate than in the trendy alfresco side walk cafes of the KBTC.
Other Kelantan shopping malls of note in Kota Bharu are Kota Seri Mutiara Shopping Centre, Pelangi Mall and the Tesco Kota Bahru hypermall. Popular Malaysian department stores such as Mydin and The Store have a sizeable presence in Kota Bharu as does the Giant Supermarket.
The KBTC is a specialised commercial platform for entrepreneurial Kelantanese to sell and distribute local handicrafts such as batik, songket, wood carvings, gold and silver jewellery.
Kelantan And Kota Bharu Shopping
The Kelantan shopping scene is home to many such shopping malls, however, they do not always have it their own way as they still face healthy competition from traditional markets that are still firm favourites of the Kelantan consumers.
The town of Rantau Panjang is the main Kelantan border crossing between Malaysia and Thailand and it is also a popular duty free shopping zone selling electronic goods, toys, cigarettes, clothes, cosmetics, perfume, chocolate, watches and general goods.
The central floor area is devoted to fresh produce with rambutans, durians, mangoes, water melons, mangosteens, pineapples and papayas strikingly displayed before a hue of vegetable greenery.