As we arrived at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kota Bharu,Kelantan we were greeted with smiles from our tourist guide, Bukhari Mat, along with other Tourism Malaysia Kelantan Officers. We had lunch at Restoran Nasi Ulam Cikgu, Kg. Kraftangan which is not far away from the airport. Kelantan delicacies are hard to miss. We had masak lemak tempoyak ikan patin, fried catfish, budu and ulam.
After we had our meal, we went straight away to Gunung Stong State Park Resort, which took approximately two and a half hours from Kota Bharu, located at Hutan Simpan Dabong, Kelantan. That evening, we went hiking up the Stong Hill, which is 1433m above sea level but we only reached until till the first point. The freshness of the famous Jelawang Waterfall was waiting for us to freshen up ourselves after hiking. The water was cool surroundins were relaxing. It is 305m in height and known as one of the tallest waterfalls in Asia.After checking-out of our hotel the next day, we went straight to Jeti Kok Majid and took a boat to Homestay Kampung Nelayan Pantai Suri, Tumpat, Kelantan. Our arrival were received joyfully by the villagers with procession of bunga manggar. After enjoying the welcoming drinks and some sweet Kelantanese kuih, we went to the house that was hosting us that night, considered as out foster family.
Our foster mother was Nisah bt Seman and our foster father was Ilias bin Muhammed both 45 years old. They had been participating in the homestay programme since 2002. Throughout the nine years, they have been hosting tourists who has been coming from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and France. We were treated like their own children, and given a spacious and comfortable bedroom and served with delicious Kelantanese dishes. The family made us feel so at homeThat evening, all of us cruised along the river accompanied by Nor Fadhila Hanim Ramly, the Manager of Homestay Nelayan Pantai Suri who told us a lot about the activities to be had here and also about the beautiful village itself. We watched the demonstration on fishing and crab-hunting (membubu ketam). For crab-hunting, the bubu or trap is placed underwater early in the morning. If we’re lucky, we can get two crabs in a single bubu, or just one or maybe none at all. We also witnessed demonstration on how to make local delights such as kuih melaka and kerabu nipah, besides handcrafts by using old newspapers.
The next morning, we left Kampung Nelayan Pantai Suri and went straight ahead to Wat Photivihan. Wat Photivihan is a Buddhist temple located in the district of Tumpat, Kelantan. The temple is one of 25 temples to be found in Tumpat and is one of the most popular in the country. The temple houses a 40-metre statue of a sleeping Buddha, which is the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia. The journey continued and we had the chance to visit the Dragon Boat Temple and the Standing Buddha.Pasar Siti Khadijah is a must-visit attraction that you never would want to miss when you’re in Kelantan. The real name of this market is Pasar Besar Buluh Kubu. But then, Y.A.B Tuan Guru Dato’ Nik Abdul Aziz Bin Nik Mat changed it to Pasar Siti Khadijah due to the majority of sellers here are women. This market is a 4-storey octagonal building and you can definitely find many things here! From fruits and vegetables, meat, keropok lekor, Kelantanese handicrafts such as rattan baskets, cheap and colourful ‘Kelantan’ keychains, batik and scarves.
This Kelantan trip is a fun, exciting and eye-opening for me. The beauty of nature, the mouth-watering delicious foods, unique culture and heritage, including the friendliness of the people make Kelantan a must-visit destination in Malaysia.