At the main city center just within a stone’s throw from the Masjid Zahir and Balai Besar is a beautiful octagonal tower which looks more like a church belfry in the Philippines. The Balai Nobat is actually a storage place for royal musical instruments used in ceremonies. It was first built in 1735.
Just near the Balai Besar is the beautiful colonial structure of the Balai Seni Negeri, the State Art Museum. Its a stately architecture that used to be a courthouse and now hosts art exhibitions. This was built in 1893.
The beautiful clock tower of Alor Setar was built in 1912 and is a stunning structure with its blend of Muslim and Hindu architecture. It is just across the Balai Nobat and Masjid Zahir. In the olden times, it was where the muezzin will base the timing for the Muslim prayer times.
The replica of the archway that used to be located at the Kota Tengah Palace has been rebuilt after the original was demolished and a newer structure was built.
At opposite far end where the Balai Seni Negeri stands is another beautiful structure built in 1922, the Galeri Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah. This used to be a high court but is now a museum dedicated to the reigning Sultan of Kedah.
Between Masjid Zahir and Balai Besar, Balai Nobat and Balai Seni Negeri, is a park with a fountain at the center. It was constructed in 1983 for the Golden Jubilee of the Sultan of Kedah’s reign.
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister and visionary leader, Dr. Mahathir Mohammad is from Alor Setar and it is here that his birthplace, the family house has been painstakenly restored and now open to the public. The area not only preserves the old structure but the other buildings within the complex shows his memorabilia and life. He used to sell fried bananas at Pekan Rabu.
An imposing but beautiful gate, the entrance to the Istana Anak Bukit, or the royal residence of Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah is located around 7 kilometers from the center of Alor Setar.
The State Museum of Kedah is a repository of artefacts, history and culture and royal heritage of Kedah. There are also important archaeological materials from the Bujang Valley, an important, UNESCO World Heritage site.
Located several kilometers from Alor Setar, Gunung Keriang (Mount Keriang) is an imposing, elephant shaped mountain that is 218 meters tall. It is a popular spot for adventures like hiking, trekking and camping. Its numerous caves are sources of crystals of different shapes and colors.
Anything about the rice plant, its culture, cultivation and role in the Asian diet is detailed here in Muzium Padi. It’s architecture resembled bushels of rice as well as rice motifs in its many details. Inside is a rotating diorama, facts and all about rice. It’s one of a few museums devoted to rice in the world.
This trip made possible by Tourism Malaysia and AirAsia Zest.