RMCO Travelling Guide: Kelantan, the Blissful Abode

RMCO Travelling Guide: Kelantan, the Blissful Abode

Previously, we have covered Perlis. Now, let’s take a look at Kelantan Darul Naim, the Blissful Abode—that’s what “Darul Naim” means. Like Perlis and Kedah, Kelantan is bordered by southern Thailand. Compared to Kedah, it is almost twice the size in landmass, but it has fewer people, which makes for a much lesser population density. Despite its lack of popularity as a place for tourism, there are many features unique to this place that it would be a huge miss for anyone skipping Kelantan as a destination for tourism.

Destinations

Kota Bharu Observatory (Balai Cerap Kota Bharu)

Thanks to its lower population density, Kelantan is a great dark site, a place where you can observe the night sky free from light pollution that is all too common in urban areas. Head out to the Kota Bharu Observatory in the middle of a paddy field, and you might encounter the friendly astronomer, Prof Dr Mahamarowi Omar, who is also the president of the Amateur Astronomy Society of Kelantan. If anyone wishes to organise an astronomy programme, e.g. stargazing, they should contact the Society via their Facebook page, Persatuan Astronomi-Falak Amatur Negeri Kelantan.

  • Entrance fee: N/A
  • Opening times: By prior arrangement
  • Contact: 019-926 6619

Kampung Sungai Sok

Kampung Sungai Sok is a peaceful and quiet village by a hill. At the village, you can wake up to misty mornings, which is a breath of fresh air away from city life. Make friends with the locals, and they will bring you to the beautiful nature spots in the vicinity. The best time to visit this place is during the fruit harvesting season, where you can get fresh fruits straight from the orchard.

  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Opening times: N/A
  • Contact: N/A

Stong State Forest Park (Taman Hutan Negeri Stong)

The Kelantan State Forestry Department has gazetted a forest reserve around Gunung Stong, a.k.a. Gunung Setong, as a state park and eco-tourism site since 2007. Even along Jalan Jelawang, on the way to the park, you can see the majestic Jelawang Waterfall. Stong State Forest Park is a great place for hiking, trekking, and birdwatching—130 species of birds, including five different hornbill species, were counted in surveys between 2003 and 2005. Among endemic species, there is a species of small bamboo and a species of fan palm not found anywhere else in the world. It is a place for both experienced and inexperienced hikers; though one could simply walk to the base of Jelawang Waterfall, there is also a seven-day circuit covering seven different peaks in the park. Huts here can be rented at RM10 per head per night, while campsites are rented at RM3 per person per night.

  • Entrance fee: RM2 to the waterfall; RM5 to go further
  • Opening times: N/A
  • Contact: 012-968 1554

Lata Rek

Lata Rek is a cascade, which is a series of small continuous waterfalls, but it is a very powerful cascade. At the base, the waters are shallow and pristine, which is why it is highly-favoured by visitors, especially the small children who can safely and comfortably soak themselves in there. Basic amenities are also provided nearby for visitors. While the cascades are scalable, it is not encouraged, as there is no guarantee that you would keep your life if you lose your balance and fall into the turbulent waters. Getting there may be a bit of a hassle for those who don’t drive there, seeing as there are no public buses, and it’s a 30-minute drive from Kuala Krai. A one-way taxi from Kuala Krai would set you back about RM30.

  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Opening times: N/A
  • Contact: N/A

Kuala Koh National Park (Taman Negara Kuala Koh)

This national park is quite unique as it is situated in the middle of three state borders: Kelantan, Pahang, and Terengganu. Compared to Stong State Forest Park, Kuala Koh National Park has recorded over 300 different bird species, which gives you an idea of the diversity of the flora and fauna which can be found here. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks regularly organise activities here, which include birdwatching, fishing, photography, canoeing, etc. In fact, there are seven different places in the park that are recommended for fishing. The biggest challenge faced by this park is similar to Lata Rek, which is lack of accessibility, as no public transport is available. This makes it an ideal destination for local tourists who have their own vehicle to travel by, as this means the pricing is competitive instead of gouging.

  • Entrance fee: RM1. RM10 per fishing rod for aishing license. RM5 per camera for camera fees.
  • Opening times: N/A
  • Contact: 017-900 9522

Travel

Flight

One could take flights to the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport which is in Kota Bharu. From there, take buses or taxis to reach the other parts of Kelantan.

Bus

Many options are available if one were to travel by bus to Kelantan from any point in West Malaysia, but it can take anywhere between 8 to 13 hours to travel from Johor to Kelantan, while the same journey by flight would require less time than that, including a layover at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport; a non-stop flight from Johor to Kelantan requires only an hour and a half.

Train

While it is possible to take the KTM from Johor to Kelantan and it is the cheapest mode of transport, it takes anywhere between 10 to 15 hours to get there by train.

Accommodation

The Kelantan Tourism Info Centre provides several recommendations for homestays:

  • Homestay Batu Papan, Gua Musang – 019-9123400 (Zamri Bin Zakaria)
  • Homestay Renok Baru, Gua Musang – 019-9921432 (Pn Syamsiah Binti Yusoff)
  • Homestay Pantai Suri, Tumpat – 011-25568984 (Pn Fadilah Binti Ramly)
  • Homestay Jelawang, Dabong – 09-9362698 (Mohd Fauzi Bin Mohd Noor)
  • Homestay Seterpa, Kota Bharu – 013-9393553 (Dr Mohamed Saat Bin Ismail)
  • Homestay Kubang Telaga, Bachok – 013-6789893 (Awang Bin Mat Salleh)
  • Homestay Kemuchup, Machang – 014-2128889 (Mohd Nawai Bin Shayal)
  • Homestay Bukit Jering, Jeli – 019-9061911 (Mohd Pauzi Bin Muhammad)

And there you have it, these are some of the highly-recommended places to visit in Kelantan during the RMCO. Are there other places that you think deserve more attention? Let us know in the comments below! But before you go, we just want to remind you that even though travel restrictions have been lifted, it is good to always take precautions for health and safety, not just for yourself but also those around you. So take care, and travel safely!

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FlyKLIA

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