Kelantan - The Cultural Capital

One of the northernmost states in Peninsular Malaysia, Kelantan Darul Naim borders Thailand in the north, Perak in the west, Terengganu in the south-east, the South China Sea to the east and Pahang in the south.

As the state shares a border with Thailand, and, indeed, was once under Thai rule, it's not surprising to find a strong Thai influence here in the local cuisine, architecture, and, of course, among the local population. The capital, Kota Bharu, is a good place to sample this culture and cuisine, and also makes a good base to explore the surrounding countryside. Kelantan is a unique travel destination because of its splendid beaches, rich cultural heritage, ornate handicrafts and wood carvings.

The traditional sports of giant kite-flying, top-spinning, silat, wayang kulit, bird-singing competitions and the making of exquisite handicrafts such as songket, batik, silverware and mengkuang products still remain fixtures here, offering a glimpse of tradtional Malay culture in truly spectacular setting.

Women have always played a major part in the economy of the state. The handicrafts they produce, from Kelantan silver to baskets and cloth, are are some of the best in Peninsular Malaysia and are much sought after by both foreigners and Malaysians themselves. The Kelantanese seem to favour huge items and everything is big from the kites to the tops and the drums known as Rebana Ubi.


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