Balai Besar

Beautiful architecture of Balai Besar

The beautiful vernacular architecture of Balai Besar in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

The beautiful vernacular architecture of Balai Besar in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

The more I see of Alor Setar, the more I think that it is an architecture enthusiast’s city. There are just many notable Asian and modern architecture in the city. Thai/Chinese at Wat Nikrodharam, Zahir and Albukhary mosques, as well as modern Menara Alor Setar.

But there’s another one with its Asian with heavy Thai influences, part of the royal palace, the Balai Besar. Originally built in 1735 as the Royal Audience Hall, it was where weddings, state assemblies and royal gatherings, including the installation of two sultans in 1805 and 1959, were held. During the Bugis and later the Siamese invasion, it was damaged that in 1896, was restored.

The Balai Besar is a gem of an architecture. The floors, poles and roof are made of wood. It has interesting Thai motifs and a beautfiul twin staircase leading to the second floor. While the front is really Asian architecture, with its airiness and lightness, the back is more of concrete and wood.

Facade of Balai Besar with its airy and multi Asian architecture

Facade of Balai Besar with its airy and multi Asian architecture

Beautiful yellow walled structures at the back of Balai Besar

Beautiful yellow walled structures at the back of Balai Besar

At the back of the Belai Besar with its Asian colonial architecture

At the back of the Belai Besar with its Asian colonial architecture

This trip made possible by Tourism Malaysia and AirAsia Zest.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

2 Comments

  1. Micole l Philippine Traveler
    November 26, 2013 @ 21:32

    That facade is wonderful. Feels open and free. No wonder it is used for special occasions. =)

  2. sofia
    April 24, 2017 @ 9:52

    hi im doing a reports on The Balai Besar. So i was wondering could you please explain to me the types of form or architecture used for the facade.

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