Jale Jale Kota Bharu – Part 2 (Masjid Kampung Laut, Restoran Wau, Waqaf Che Yeh, Kopitiam Kita, Menara Tinjau Tambatan Diraja, Masjid Muhammadi, Pantai Cahaya Bulan)

Our journey doesn’t stop at Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah. Right upon hotel check in and a short rest, we hit the road again. Did I mentioned earlier that FF’s came up with a mission to track down Masjid Kampung Laut right after we got to know about it at the Islamic Art Museum. The history of the ‘masjid’ enthralled us and wish that we could perform our afternoon prayers there too.

Without enough research, we blindly headed to Kampung Laut in Tumpat where it was originally located. As we drove down the road half way, I suddenly remembered that it was clearly mentioned that the ‘masjid’ was then relocated to a new strategic location due to a frequent flood tragedy in the past which threaten the existing structure. I quickly highlighted FF that we were actually going to the wrong location as we shall headed to Nilam Puri.  Saving all the drama, we then reached the location which is approximately 25km away from the city centre. It’s very much easy to spot the ‘masjid’ as it is located right in front of the Universiti Malaya Nilam Puri Campus and shared the same compound with Kolej Islam Antarabangsa Sultan Ismail Petra (KIAS).

Masjid Kampung Laut is reputed to be the oldest in Malaysia even though no one could actually confirmed on the actual age of the structure.

The architectural design of Masjid Kampung Laut was indeed unique. No steel nails were used. Instead wooden or bamboo pegs replaced them. Masjid Kampung Laut had many features in common with mosque in Java (Masjid Demak) and Champa (Masjid Kono). In almost aspect, the designs were aimed at retaining the Islamic concept of the religion. The famous Islamic design of Masjid Kampung Laut is especially its unique roofing structure and other related characteristics had always been a source of pride to the people of Kelantan”

Source : Masjid Kampung Laut Information Board

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Right after that, we then opt for an early dinner and decided to lavish ourselves. After looking through a wide selection of list on those popular restaurant in Kota Bharu, we decided to try one of it which is Restoran Wau! It was actually a ‘WOW’ moment for us as we’re looking at the long list of the restaurant menu. Besides,  it was a good decision to reach there early since the restaurant is full house in less than an hour.

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With a full stomach on, we then headed to the only market in Kota Bharu that never sleeps, Wakaf Che Yeh. It is located about 5 to 7 kilometres away from the city centre. It first started about 10 years ago and it is unique. Reason? It’s a wet market by day, a night market till midnight and a wholesale wet market selling fresh fruits and vegetables from midnight to early morning. All in one place.  You can find a lots of stuff here from a cheap Thai made clothing, textiles, local foods and even gold. Yes, gold! We don’t shop much here as the price seems to be overrated. The only thing that we bought is the roasted cashew nuts.

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Gold anyone?
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We started our 2nd days journey with FOOD! Yes, everything is all about food in Kelantan! We drove all the way to Kopitiam Kita, the most sensational kopitiam in Kota Bharu. It’s the most popular breakfast spot in the city centre. If you guys are wondering where it’s located, do find your way to Taman Desa Jaya at Jalan Pengkalan Chepa. We’ve been spoilt when the food counter is lined with dozens of popular meals in Kelantan, from Nasi Air Dingin, Nasi Kak Wok, Nasi Tumpang and others collected all around Kelantan town. Therefore, you can have everything in Kelantan just in one place. You’re all covered! 😀 Another signature dish of the coffee shop is definitely Roti Titab, a nice french toast bread with half boiled eggs and kaya.

The line up!
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The famous Nasi Kak Wok. Missed this so badly eventhough it’s just a simple meal which come with a white rice, gulai lemak, sambal and fried chicken. Everything was so nice!
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Roti Titab, but we very much preferred Roti Goyang in Ipoh.
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Since exercise is the most effective way to burn calories, so here we are at Menara Tinjau Tambatan Diraja. With just RM1 as an entrance fees, we climbed up to the highest level, which is the 6th floor.  With 150 meter height, the tower is located just by the Kelantan river bank and it’s open to public from 8am to 5pm. You can actually see the overall panorama view of Sungai Kelantan and the town itself. We spent a lil bit of our times been on top of the world appreciating the whole view by our Almighty God. Alhamdulillah.

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At one side, this is the view from 6th floor which is Padang Merdeka.
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Another side of it, Sungai Kelantan.
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Still linger around the Kota Bharu town, we got caught up with the state mosque, Masjid Muhammadi situated at Jalan Sultanah Zainab. What amazed us that the mosque is busy at all time and not limited to prayer time.  We can see people going in and out as we passed by the mosque.

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Last but not least, we then headed to Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB) or formerly known as Pantai Cinta Berahi, located 10km away and it was the closest beach to Kota Bharu town. We wanted to go there just to feel the Kelantan sea breeze. Sekali sekala lepak tepi pantai, kena angin pantai memang best. A local friends told us that it’s a crowd puller location especially during the weekends. We just found out the fact that one of the historical significance of the beach that nearby location used to be the initial landing point of the Japanese Imperial Army in Malaya during World War II.  From our personal view, it’s not suitable for swimming as you can see breakwater structure laid along the stretch.

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We wrapped up our journey by getting ourselves a bit of taste of the local fried chicken at EddLee as our tea time and Nasi Air at MakSu Nab for dinner. Phewwww! This is definitely our so-called ‘gastronomic’ adventures.

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So, it’s a wrap to our Kota Bharu journey? Kelantan anyone?

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Jale Jale Kota Bharu – Part 1 (Istana Batu, Kompleks Kraftangan, Nasi Ulam Cikgu, Istana Jahar, Muzium Kesenian Islam, Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah)

Relatively, Kelantan is all unique! Yes, unique! You can actually spotted Kelantenese everywhere bringing with them their local dialect eventhough it is hard to understand for those who are not familiar with. What we can see is that, Kelantan did not experienced any rapid industrialization making it keeping the Kelantan’s cultural rich legacy till today. They even managed to keep alive the old customs and traditions. Not to forget, they are gifted too with a high number of population of local craftsmen that can be seen in the cottage industries producing local textiles from ‘Batik’ and ‘Songket’, silverware, local kites ‘Wau’, brass ware, wood craft and many more.

That’s the reason why we decided to spend our weekend for a short trip to Kota Bharu just for 2 days 1 night. As it tucked away in the Northern Eastern corner of Peninsular Malaysia and gonna promised us a 7 to 8 hours drive all the way from Kuala Lumpur, we then decided to take the fastest mode to get there which is via flight and the best is to rent a car at the airport too. With just a RM60 per day, you can actually secured yourself a decent automatic transmission car. And this is what we got.

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With this 2 weapons on, let’s hit the road! Moh kite.

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Our first destination of the day is the Istana Batu at Jalan Hilir Balai. It was transformed as a Royal Museum in a grand ceremony by Sultan of Kelantan in 1991. Previously, it used to be an official residence to some of the Tengku Mahkota Kelantan. Nothing much you can see here except the official family tree and throne, clothes used, equipment, souvenirs and others. No photograph shall be taken inside the museum too.

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Right in front of the Istana Batu is the Kampung Kraftangan (Kelantan Craft Village). Our main agenda here is to get ourself the famous ‘Nasi Ulam Cikgu’. Serious tak sabar nak makan. Since we’re too early for it, no harm of exploring. It offers a wide range of handicraft produced by the local craftsmen and it can actually spurs the development of the traditional handicraft industry of the state too.

What actually attracted us is definitely how they named every each building of the complex after a popular name of flowers and plants. The main building, Balai or hall is called ‘Getam Guri’, is a handicraft museum. ‘Balai Bayam Peraksi’ houses the office of the handicraft foundation meanwhile ‘Balai Kenerak’ ‘Balai Kecubung’, ‘Balai Tapak Leman’ and ‘Balai Saga Kenering’ are where handicraft are retailed. This is where we got ourself a selection of fridge magnet to bring back home. A local friends challenged us that we won’t find any fridge magnet around but she was definitely wrong.

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And this is the highlight of all! ‘Nasi Ulam Cikgu’! Nasi ulam is normally served with white rice and a whole variety of local greens comprises of vegetables, herbaceous plants, edible wild plants, shoots, leaves, and stems. Amazing! And not to forget the most important ingredient which is ‘Budu’ and ‘Tempoyak’! This is a very mouth-watering experience. We was surprised as we only paid RM10 for just 2 of us. How cheap is that? And super healthy too. We started to love Kelantan bit to bit. 😀

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Next is definitely Istana Jahar. Istana Jahar is located right in front the ample parking lots provided by the local municipal and near to Bank Pitis. You definitely won’t miss this. It has been a regal museum of Kelantan since July 1992. It takes its name from the Jahar tree grows in the palace compound. The palace was built-in 1887 during the reign of Sultan Muhammad II as a gift to Long Kundur, who was a Raja Bendahara. It was a royal residence during the reign of Sultan Muhammad III and a few of other Sultans too.  What makes us enthralled is definitely the intricate wood carvings showing a superb craftsmanship of the Kelantanese. It open everyday except Friday with a small amount of entrance charges.

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The front view of Istana Jahar.
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One of the gift from King of Thailand, Your Highness Bhumibol Adulyadej
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A very very old and rustic spiral staircases that really attracted us.

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We later moved to Muzium Kesenian Islam (Islamic Art Museum) where it houses the Islamic artefacts and inscriptions. Kelantan believe to be one of the centres of Islamic learning in the ancient history. Without doubt, it is also called as ‘Serambi Mekah’. Again, another thing that attracted us is definitely the history of ‘Masjid Kampung Laut’. FF came up with some crazy idea to find our way to the original masjid too. Let see how it goes. Besides, we considered as another mission accomplished as we finally witnessed the original piece of ‘Pitis’. ‘Pitis’ is a tin coin issued in several states of South East Asia such as Brunei, Terengganu as well as Kelantan.

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And now, shopping time! Naaaah, we don’t shop that much while we travel but FF got hooked up buying a new songket as we got it at a bargain price. Like seriously! We just couldn’t resist but to purchase it immediately. Bargain hunters will definitely have a great time here too. Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah is the most vibrant sites in Kelantan where you can actually experience and see how traders display their brilliantly fresh garden products. It’s not something new to see that majority of the stalls are run by women. Perhaps, this is a throwback where Kelantan was once ruled by a princess, Cik Siti Wan Kembang. The market offers local handicraft including ‘batik’, ‘songket’, silverware and local snacks too.

The famous octagon aerial view of Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah.

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We couldn’t resist to the most super cheap Nasi Kerabu that we had which only cost RM1 at the food court. Oh my! It taste good with enough gravy and condiments.

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Kota Bharu is treating us good so far!

We will continue our journey on Part 2 soon.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Road Trip to Ipoh – Part 3 (Jalan Jalan Cari Makan)

Another reason to travel all the way to Ipoh is definitely the FOOD and this is why people keep coming back. Oh my, we have been spoilt with all the delicious local foods there. Since we were there for just a short trip over the weekend, we only have to 2 days just to fulfil our appetite. So, this is it!

Nasi Ganja

Once reached the town, we started with our first selection which is the famous Nasi Ganja or Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah or Nasi Vanggey or whatever local called it for our lunch. Did we missed any of their name? We opt for the one in Restoran Yong Suan (yes the stall is located inside the Chinese Coffee Shop) at Jalan Yang Kalsom which is near to the Pekan Baru Police Station. It will be easier if you could spot Hotel Bajet Memori Ipoh (painted in yellow) and the restaurant is just in front of it. As mentioned by locals, the meal could be addictive at times and that’s the reason why it was called as ‘Nasi Ganja’.

Verdict? Ermm, is just not the best nasi kandar that we had in our life. But, doesn’t harm trying.

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Mee Kari / Kicap Daud Mat Jasak

We found out about this place as we read through ThatSoFarah blog talking about how she and the whole family used to have this whenever they are in Ipoh . It’s her family’s favourite eatery. It’s a little bit tricky to find this small shop as this is our first time there and we have to make a few big rounds at Jalan Dato Onn Jaafar just to find the shop. We waited for about 15 – 20 minutes just to secure a table and we reminded ourself that ‘this better be good’ as we’re super hungry at that point of time.  We choose to have both which is the ‘Mee Kari’ and ‘Mee Kicap’. We dig into the bowl once it was served and it’s gone in just a few minutes. Everything was so good! The gravy, the fresh ingredients, the taste. Ohhhhh. Missing it so much.

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Medan Selera Dato Sagor

We randomly choose to have our breakfast here as we wanted to do the Ipoh Heritage walk right after that. Medan Selera Dato Sagor is located exactly behind the Ipoh Town Hall and near to Ipoh State Mosque. This is where you’ll experience the 1 Malaysia theme when multi racial are under the same roof. You got to taste a little bit of Malay cuisine, Chinese cuisine and even Indian cuisine too just to kick off your day. Amazing!

Freshly made hot “Apom”, one of our Indian cuisine. When it is hot, the edge of the apom is very crispy while the center is soft. Normally eaten with sweet or spicy thick coconut gravy. But we just love to have it with plain curry.
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Nasi Lemak Rendang, a complete meal for both of the guys.
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Roti Goyang, the highlight of all! Crispy bread toast topped with half boiled eggs. The taste was awesome!
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Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice

Last but not least, the Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice. It wouldn’t be complete if you did not try a plate of Hainan Chicken Rice before leaving. This is one of the Halal Chicken Rice in town and it’s located at Jalan Anderson (just a short distance away from the Hospital roundabout) and another shop just behind the Greentown Mall (next to DWJ Hotel).  We opt to have our lunch at the Greentown Suria shop lots as there are ample parking lots provided.

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Ipoh Pamelo / Limau Bali Ipoh

Last but not least, our next hunting was the Ipoh’s famous fruit which is Ipoh Pamelo or ‘Limau Bali Ipoh’ just to wash away and detox everything that we had earlier. Naaaah, just kidding. It was mentioned that the best and juiciest pamelos are reputed to be from Tambun. There are stretches of stalls selling pamelos along Jalan Raja Nazrin Shah (Jalan Gopeng) adjacent to Sam Poh Tong Temple to cater tourist driving in and out of Ipoh. We bought a numbers of it at En. Muhammad Ridhuan stall (Stall No.28) at a very good good good deal! He and his wife was so generous.

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So, what are you guys waiting for then?

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Road Trip to Ipoh – Part 2 (Masjid Muhammadiah, Ipoh Heritage Trail, Pasar Karat)

Masjid Muhammadiah, Taman Tasek Jaya

While googling on where to go in Ipoh town, we stumbled across a newspaper article of the ‘First Chinese Muslim Mosque in Perak’ which was recently completed in September 2013. As we had reached our afternoon prayers time, we decided to make a stop there in order to perform our prayers. So, here we go! This unique little mosque is located in Taman Tasek Jaya, Ipoh. How does it all started? Masjid Muhammadiah has its origin from a small ‘surau’ which was built-in the 80’s and this was a brain child of Allahyarham Tuan Haji Abdul Latif bin Haji Mohd Kassim and the early residents of the neighbourhood too. What makes us so impressed is that we spotted a multi racial community stopping by just to snap a photos in front of the building. From Chinese, Indian, Malay even Bangladesh and Nepalese too. In a way, we could see that it already emerged as an important tourist attraction for all races, including the non-muslims.

In order to successfully convey the image of the ‘First Ever Chinese Muslim Mosque in Perak’, the mosque was built with a complete Chinese architectural design. The roof tiles were imported all the way from the Land of China, whilst the assembly of the roof was supervised by a specialist technician from China too. As mentioned by the Management, the primary objective of having this architectural design is to make it clear to our multi racial society that Islam does not prohibit the cultural practice of any particular race provided that the cultural practice does not conflict with Islamic teachings, just as Islam does not prevent anyone to excel in their own language and culture respectively.

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Ipoh Heritage Trail

Yes, this town is made for walking! You can leisurely stroll along the historical buildings with colonial architecture and the pre World War II which took about 2 -3 hours of your time. A self guided tour is possible with the helpful map. We managed to visit only a few of it as we’re running out of time.

Ipoh Heritage Trail leaflet_Sep09

Source: Ipoh Paradise

If you intend to do this, put on your most comfortable sneakers on and your most trusted sunblock. And now, you’re ready for it!

As we had our mouthful breakfast at Medan Selera Dato Sagor, we basically kick off our heritage trail from there. So, our first pit stop is definitely the Ipoh Town Hall and Old Post Office.

The beautiful building of Ipoh Town Hall and Old Post Office
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The most iconic building in Ipoh which is the Ipoh Railway Station. Those days in the past, it is known as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh and it houses the hotel called the Majestic Hotel. When we were there, it was sad to see that the hotel was no more in operation. In fact, half of the building was left unattended and was not properly maintained. It was such a waste!

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Next spot are the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, standing just in front of Ipoh State Mosque. This memorial tower was built dedicated to the first British Resident in Perak, J.W.W Birch. He was killed in Pasir Salak by a group of Malay way back in the year of 1875.  In the ancient stories, it was told that Mr. Birch was such an arrogant man and showed no mutual respect and sensitivity towards the local customs and religions.

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Right after that, we randomly walked and spotted the Straits Trading Building (OCBC), The Standard Chartered Bank, Perak Hydro Building which is now used by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and many mores. But what attracted us was the art work near to Jalan Dato’ Maharajalela. We ended up heritage trail and walked back to our car near to Medan Selera Dato Sagor. Penat gak lar. 😀

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Pasar Karat

Next was Pasar Karat! Yes, Pasar Karat Ipoh or formerly known as Pasar Loken located at Jalan Horley. The market started as early as 7.00am till afternoon. You can find almost everything from the olden days. ALMOST everything! The next things that we knew is that we keep reminding and talking to each other that ‘I used to have that’, ‘this is what we had masa kecik kecik’, ‘macam pernah tengok jek kat rumah Atuk and Nenek dulu?’ and all kind of statements and questions that popped out from our mouth. It was like walking through the time machine and going back to the old days. Everything was so VINTAGE & RARE. It come to the extend that you never thought that you will find those stuff there at the market. But they look very differently as everything are so valuable.

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The portrait on the right is kind of scary. The eyes especially.

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We spent so much time here as FF’s is really into the Volkswagen Station Wagon Model.

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That Volvo grills reminded me of Arwah Ayah car.

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In overall, Ipoh is definitely a place if you want to run from the city area just to get a short getaway over the weekend. Explore and discover yourself!

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma