Malaysia’s northeasternmost state is often considered to be a waypoint between Thailand and the white-sand beaches of Pulau Perhentian, Redang or Kapas. Those who don’t linger miss out experiencing a stronghold of traditional Malay culture and one of Southeast Asia’s great buffer zones, combining a distinctive blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai cultures.

Ride the jungle railway inland to feast on blue rice and spot siamang gibbons, or join the bustle at Kota Bharu's markets and Chinatown. Kelantan is one of Malaysia’s most conservative regions, and the state has been ruled by the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) since 1990. It is one of only two states left under PAS rule after the 2018 elections. PAS has made ongoing attempts to introduce strict sharia laws, but this has been continually overruled by the federal government. Despite the conservative political environment, the Kelantanese are friendly and welcoming to visitors.

Explore Kelantan

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kelantan.