On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia

Tripoto
22nd May 2014

9 Emperor Gods Festival

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

9 Emperor Gods Festival

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

9 Emperor Gods Festival

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

9 Emperor Gods Festival

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Kota Bharu: Clock Tower

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Kota Bharu: Istana Negeri

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Kota Bharu: Istana Negeri

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Tok Bali Beach

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Tok Bali Beach

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Wat Photivihan, Tumpat

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Wat Photivihan, Tumpat

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Wat Photivihan, Tumpat

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Wat Photivihan, Tumpat

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Wat Macchimmaram, The Sitting Buddha

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Istana Balai Besar

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

Istana Jahar and House of Weapons

Photo of On Assignment: To Kelantan, Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano

I hate assignments! But I’m not saying I’m gonna hate “all” assignments that will be given to me especially if I see it exciting. Say a trip somewhere? Yeah sounds cool! But what about a trip abroad for free! Right, that sounds even better! haha

Checking my email is already a daily routine for me. But that not as special as last Oct 17. I got an email from someone with a “KL trip” as subject. At first I thought it was just a spam or bogus email but not until I saw the sender which happened to be a fellow blogger, Jonel. I gave my confirmation upon approval of my vacation leave. And the rest is histo– confidential!!???haha

Prior to this meeting, I have already read blogs of few friends who already did the same tour. Little did I know that this time an exciting twist will be offered to us. So scratch all that readings. Haha! Because we will not be going to the centre or southern part of Malaysia, we will explore remote states up north instead. After some series of presentations, I found this one very much exciting and exhilarating. We will go to the places where tourists do not usually go. And I must say, after seeing that photos and hearing brief backgrounds, they are missing a lot of wonderful sights and experiences.

There were only 7 destinations chosen by Tourism Malaysia. They are Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Terangganu, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. Among those seven options, we have chosen Kelantan. Not only because it is near Thailand and we are planning to cross the border but this estate is said to me the “Cradle of Malay Culture”. Why? Well that’s for me to find out. That is my big assignment.

Wait! Meaning we’ll gonna take less than 10 hours of bus ride from Kuala Lumpur??

We were already in our room when suddenly I heard some beating of drums. I quickly peeped through our windows to see what’s happening outside. And to my surprise I saw a flock of people all dressed in white. Some of them were doing a lion dance, while others were swinging a carriage. But the most intriguing among those participants were those at the end of the line, they seemed like doing a sacrifice. We hurriedly ran out of the hotel to see it closely. I was terrified when I saw a metal rod pierced from one of their cheek which passes through the other. I still have no idea how was it called. So I asked someone from them but she can barely speak English but she was trying her best to explain. We went back to our room researching what celebration or what is that parade for? I heard again drum beats led by a dragon dance and doing exactly the same of the first group that we saw. But this time it had more participants and more colorful. They have a grand float (which resembles a boat) lit with colorful fixtures and smoking incense sticks. We later found out that the celebration is called 9 Emperor Gods Festival. And it was the 9th and the last day of it, that’s why there is a parade which will go all the way to the riverbanks. It is a Chinese festival to celebrate the return of the 9 emperors from heaven to earth. At first we thought that it was one of the Buddhist Festivals but we were wrong. It was Taoist’s celebration which begins on the eve of the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. This festival is celebrated particularly in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and also the Riau Islands. This is how they celebrated it here in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. 

There are different airlines that offer cheapest flights to Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Kota Bharu, the city state of Kelantan, Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Firefly are some of those airlines that usually offer impressively cheap flights fare.

Clock Tower: The clock tower is one of the iconic landmark that will tell you you’re already in the capital of Kelantan, Kota Bharu. This clock tower is erected in the middle of the traffic circle also known as “roundabout”. The streets that points toward this roundabout are Jalan Sultan Ibrahim, Jalan Gajah Mati, Jalan Temenggong, Jalan Ismail and Jalan Hospital. This is one of the most busiest streets in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Istana Negeri: Istana Negeri is located in Kubang Kerian, a sub-district of the City of Kota Bharu. Istana is a Malay term for palace. This is the official residence of the Sultan of Kelantan and the royal family. Some important events that are being performed here are official appointments and enthronement ceremonies. The facade of this palace is quite big which can be easily seen along the street. The entire area is covered with high concrete fence. Cannonballs were also used to design both sides of the main gate. Plants are shaped into an extraordinary work of of art, a proof that Kelantanese are really talented when it comes to craftmanship. Since this is the official residence of the Sultan and royal family, no one can just easily enter the gate of this palace.
Photo of Kota Bharu Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Photo of Kota Bharu Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Photo of Kota Bharu Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
After Istana Negeri, we went to Tok Bali, almost an hour away from Kota Bharu. I took advantage of that long travel to sleep and rest. I opened the taxi’s window for the fresh air. When we arrived, we felt that its not the Tok Bali Beach that is shown in the map that we have. Where we at seems like a fish port name Tok Bali. The taxi driver talked to some of the fishermen in the area to ask where is that picture. We found out that we were on the wrong side of Tok Bali, so without any time to waste we left the place and head to Tok Bali Beach which is just 10 mins away from the Tok Bali Fish Port. Tok Bali Beach: Going to Tok Bali Beach is easy when you have you’re own car. Though its roughly 45 minutes away from Kota Bharu, I cant see any public transport passing by the area. What we did is we rented a taxi for the whole day for a tour around Kota Bharu and nearby districts, which for me is very much convenient. It is also best done in a group so you can split expenses. After we parked and got off the car, I can completely feel how serene the place was that time. It was very quiet that only the crashing waves and the chirping birds are making the sound. We’ve also seen a group of students having their lecture under the trees beside the sea. I was not sure if during peak seasons and holidays the place will still feel the same. There line ups of stores which were closed when we arrived. But for me, at that very moment I felt so calm and relax.
Photo of Tok Bali Pasir Puteh Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Photo of Tok Bali Pasir Puteh Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Tumpat in Kelantan is famous for its Buddhist temples. In fact, there are 25 temples in the place and Wat Photivihanin kampung Jambu is said to be the famous among all of them. Simply because it houses the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia measuring 40 meters in length and 9 meters in width. Since Tumpat is near the border of Thailand, you can obviously say that the temple itself in this area are typical examples of Thai Buddhist Temples. I haven’t been to a Buddhist temple before, that is why I make sure that it will be included in our itinerary. Its very visible upon entering the compound. Even if it doesn’t look colorful compare to other Buddhas and temples in the area, it still remains as the center of attraction because of its size.
Photo of Tumpat Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Photo of Tumpat Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Photo of Tumpat Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Photo of Tumpat Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
After being amazed with the largest reclining Buddha, we headed to another temple. This time, its in Wat Machimmaram located in Kampung Bunuhan which is popular for its Sitting Buddha. They said that it is the second largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. Upon entry to its gate, we cant help but say “wow!”. Its really big and beautiful. It is also surrounded with other Buddhas and temples.
Photo of Kampung Bunohan Tumpat Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
Tumpat in Kelantan is famous for its Buddhist temples. In fact, there are 25 temples in the place and Wat Photivihanin kampung Jambu is said to be the famous among all of them. Simply because it houses the largest reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia measuring 40 meters in length and 9 meters in width. Since Tumpat is near the border of Thailand, you can obviously say that the temple itself in this area are typical examples of Thai Buddhist Temples. I haven’t been to a Buddhist temple before, that is why I make sure that it will be included in our itinerary. Its very visible upon entering the compound. Even if it doesn’t look colorful compare to other Buddhas and temples in the area, it still remains as the center of attraction because of its size.
Photo of Istana Balai Besar Jalan Tengku Seri Akar Kota Bharu Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
This palace houses the museum of royal traditions and ceremonies since 1992. The name is derived from the tree that grows in the palace ground. The inauguration of Istana Jahar is formally officiated by the Sultan of Kelantan. There is also a marker at the entrance that says “The palace was built in 1887 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II as a gift to Long Kundur. who was Raja Bendahara and third in the line to the thrones. It was known as Raja Bendahara Palace. Long Kundur succeeded Sultan Muhammad II in 1889 and became Sultan Muhammad III. Istana Jahar was a royal residence during the reign of Sultan Muhammad III and several other sultans.” Beside the palace is the place where the collections of weapons are being displayed as well as the boats and kereta kuda that was used in different occassions before.
Photo of Istana Jahar Jalan Sultan Kota Bharu Kelantan Malaysia by Darwin Cayetano
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