Malay culture and traditions - Kelantan Darul Naim


Come to Kelantan, and enjoy a lovely holiday immersed in Malay culture and traditions.


One of the northernmost states in Peninsular Malaysia, Kelantan Darul Naim has an area of 14,920sq km. It borders Thailand in the north-east, Perak in the west, Terengganu in the east and Pahang in the south. Kota Bharu is the capital of Kelantan and the main towns are Bachok, Pasir Puteh, Tanah Merah, Tumpat and Gua Musang. Kelantan is a unique travel destination because of its splendid beaches, rich cultural heritage, ornate handicrafts and wood carvings. Women have always played a major part in the economy of the state and the handicraft they produce, from Kelantan silver to baskets and cloth are some of the best in the peninsular. The Kelantanese seem to favour huge items and everything is big from the kites to the tops and the drums known as Rebana Ubi.


Kota Bharu, the capital, is a bustling town exuding an old-charm. A number of the state?s museums and historical attractions are situated in its vicinity. Other main towns are Bachok, Pasir Puteh, Tanah Merah, Tumpat and Gua Musang. Away from the towns, scenic views of riverine settlements, houses with thached roofs and buffaloes grazing In the fields give the state a laid-back atmosphere and rustic charm. Look beyond Kelantan?s simplicity, and you can see the graceful beauty that has withstood the test of time. The heartland of Kelantan beckons nature lovers with a. myriad of adventures. One excellent way to take in the sights is via the local train, which traverses the scenic countryside's. The friendly locals speak Bahasa Malaysia, the national language, with a local dialect and lilt. However, English is widely understood.

Kelantan village people


Kota Bharu - Kelantan




Recent discoveries at two caves known as Gua Musang and Gua Chua in Kelantan show that there were human settlements dating back to prehistoric times. Historical records show that Kelantan was influenced by the Funan Kingdom on the Mekong River. Chinese records indicate contact with Kelantan which was referred to as Ho-Lo-Tan and which appeared to be an influential kingdom in the region. Kelantan was also a vassal of the Srivijaya empire and later the Siamese. In the 15th century, the Malacca sultanate held sway over Kelantan and eventually the Johor sultanate and the Terengganu sultanate took over. In the 18th century the provinces came under a powerful warlord known as Long Yunus, whose descendants make up the present royal family. In 1900 Kelantan became a tributary state of the Siamese. With the signing of the Anglo Siamese Treaty in 1909, control was passed over to the British.



  • Banks, government offices and most businesses in Kelantan operate from Sundays to Thursdays. Fridays and Saturdays are public holidays. Banking hours are from 9.15am to 4.30pm (Sundays to Wednesdays) and 9.15am to 4.00pm (Thursdays).

  • Museums are closed on Fridays.

  • On Fridays, there is a long lunch break from 12.15pm to 2.45pm to allow Muslims to perform their prayers at mosques. Shopping malls, service counters and most shops will be closed from 1.00pm - 2.00pm.

  • When entering places of worship such as mosques or temples, shoes should be removed. Most mosques provide robes and headscarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission first.

  • The majority of Muslims in the state dress modestly. Visitors are advised to do the same.

  • Most Malaysians refrain from displaying affection in public (i.e. embracing or kissing). It would be appropriate for visitors to do the same.

  • Muslims do not drink liquor or alcoholic beverages. Liquor is not served in restaurants or eateries in Kelantan, but is available at major hotels.

  • Shopping malls in Kelantan operate until 10.00pm and most street shops close earlier. Several open-air eateries in the capital are open until late at night.

  • There are no entertainment outlets in Kelantan, but rest assured, the many delightful pastimes will keep visitors occupied and entertained. Dining is a popular activity for those who like staying out late.

  • Five-star and four-star accommodation is only available in Kota Bharu. In all other towns, there are comfortable chalets and modest accommodations.

  • The sea can be rough during the monsoon season between October to February. Visitors are advised to practice caution while at the beach, especially if accompanied by children. Only established beach resorts continue to operate during this season.

  • During boat rides, please request for safety jackets from your boat operator.