The Perdana Trail Programme : A Heritage & Historical Walk around Kota Bharu, Kelantan2:30 PTG
Hello, peeps, as promised, today, I’ll share more info from our trip to Kota Bharu, Kelantan. In my previous post, we’ve seen the best hotel to stay when you visit Kota Bharu, none other than Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu.
Now, let’s talk about their newly introduced Perdana Trail: A Heritage and Historical Walk. This programme was initiated by the General Manager of Hotel Perdana Kota Bharu, Encik Muhammad Taha Zainal who wants to introduce the rich cultural heritage and history of Kelantan, against the more famous hotspots like Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah and Pantai Cahaya Bulan. You get to explore many interesting places yet to be discovered on foot as these places are only within walking distance from the hotel. Besides, what better way to burn back the calories you’ve piled on after binging on delicious Kelantanese dishes such as Nasi Dagang, Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Tumpang, just to name a few.
After having breakfast at Cerana Coffee House, we started walking across the street from the hotel to the first destination: Gelanggang Seni which literally translates into ‘The Arts Arena’. It would’ve taken us less than 3 minutes to reach the Gelanggang Seni if we didn’t make too many stops to take photos with the media gang.
Anyway, the Gelanggang Seni is the centre of cultural activities in Kota Bharu. Find out on their website the schedule for different activities such as top-spinning (gasing), wau-making, Silat (traditional Malay martial arts) and Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) demo for a personal, hands-on experience unlike any other. Most of the activities are conducted in the afternoon. Some like the wayang kulit is scheduled at night for the nature of the performance itself.
After the Gelanggang Seni, we passed by the public library. It was really interesting to see the multi-coloured paint works on the building, something that you don’t see every day.
Next up is Bazaar Tok Guru, a shopping haven for the ladies especially. This place opens at 10 am and it was a good thing that it was still closed when we passed by. Or else, we might be carrying bags of baju kurung, jubah, telekung, tudung and many other clothing and fashion accessories.
Kelantan is known as the Serambi Mekah (Verandah of Mecca) and it shows in the hints of Islamic art in the architecture in Kota Bharu. In fact, we came across the Kiblat direction in the middle of town during our long walk which was indeed a pleasant surprise. What better way to remind Muslims of the five prayers a day and to guide them with the Kiblat direction! Many notice boards and street signs were also written in both Roman letters and Jawi script all over town. No name is ever too Western for the Kelantan State Government to translate into Jawi. Even international brands such as Chevrolet, KFC, Honda and many more have their own Jawi scriptures.
For those who are new to Kelantan and Kota Bharu, why don’t make a stop at the Tourist Information Centre? You can get some brochures and pamphlets about the interesting places and happenings around town. You may also sit down and ask the Tourism Officers in charge for some tips. Who better know the state other than their own ‘oghe Klate’?
Not too far from the Tourist Information Centre, stood the proud Muzium Negeri or the State Museum. Divided into several sections, one can start visiting the prehistoric section of Kelantan where the earliest population was found in Gua Cha, Kelantan.
During our visit, the museum was organizing the International Shadow Play Festival which displays a collection of puppets from three countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Since Malaysia is situated between Indonesia and Thailand, the shadow puppets that we have here are somewhat influenced by those two neighbouring countries. For example, Kelantanese wayang kulit shares similarities with the Thai Wayang Kulit. While the Johorean Wayang Kulit has influences of Indonesia when it comes to the designs and colours used to produce the puppet.
Upstairs, you will find more exhibits which are also part of the identity of Kelantan. For example, the traditional musical instruments used in performances such as rebab (a string instrument), rebana ubi (drum), ketok (a special drum made of coconut husk) and many more. Since performances such as Mak Yong and Menora are prohibited in Kelantan, you can still see paintings that depict the dances on the wall of the museum.
Across the State Museum is the Bulatan Jam or officially called Bulatan Medan Tuan Padang.
The last time I visited Kelantan somewhat 4 years ago, I remember visiting this roundabout. The most interesting part about this roundabout it the Menara Rehal or Clock Tower which was modelled after the stand used to put the Holy Al-Quran during recital. This monument is gold in colour and was surrounded with about 37 date trees planted around it.
We were informed that the date trees bore fruits for the first last during Ramadhan in 2014 after 7 years. It turned out that we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the date trees as they started to bear fruits. In fact, these dates are expected to be ready for harvest this coming Ramadhan. If you haven’t seen a real ‘pokok kurma’ before, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. You will feel like you’re in Mecca.
After some time walking and exploring the city, it was time for us to take a break for a while before continuing our journey. We were brought to Kopitian Pak Din Tokyo which is one of the famous coffee shops in Kota Bharu.
Din Tokyo has been operating for over 30 years and it was known for its unique menu such as Teh Tarik Halia (Ginger Tea), Telur Taliban (Taliban eggs), Telur Pingpong (Ping Pong eggs) and Teh Tarik Telur Puyuh (Ginger Tea with quail eggs).
It was my first time drinking a full glass of ginger tea, and I have to admit, it was indeed the tastiest ginger tea ever. When some people may not favour the spicy, tangy gingery taste in milk team, surprisingly Pak Din’s homemade ginger tea was a class of its own. You will be blown away with the deliciousness of the drinks.
In case you’re wondering, what is Telur Taliban, well it is a dish with two half boiled eggs. However, unlike the regular half boiled eggs which are mostly in liquid form, Telur Taliban are boiled at a certain temperature to produce much firmer and rounder yolks. To top it up, Pak Din makes his own black pepper powder to complement the Telur Taliban. As usual, add a dash of soy sauce to give it more ‘Oooomph’ and we’re good to go!
Being the third generation to operate Kopitiam Din Tokyo, Pak Din gets the support from his wife and several assistants. The best part is, he can take orders without any notes. On top of that, Pak Din uses long benches similar to those we used to see in schools for the U-shape setting. So, customers can sit facing one another for a casual conversation even among strangers. For us, it was just perfect, 16 of us shouting at one another asking how did each other enjoy their brunch at Pak Din. This is what happens when media people get together.
To be continued....