Kota Kuala Kedah


This fort, completed in 1780, is opposite Kuala Kedah town on the far bank of Sungai Kedah, a 10-minute taxi ride from the ferry terminal. It was once used as a base by the Portuguese in Melaka and was later a bastion of Malay independence against the Siamese until finally falling to the invaders in 1821. On the well-kept site there is also a museum providing background on the history of the fort and Kedah state.

Look out for Meriam Badak Berendam (the Wallowing Rhino), a cannon believed to be the abode of the fortress’s guardian spirit.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kedah attractions

1. Mahathir’s Birthplace

5.23 MILES

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s seventh and longest-serving prime minister, was born the youngest of nine children in Alor Setar in 1925. Rumah Kelahiran…

2. Masjid Zahir

5.43 MILES

The Kedah state mosque instantly impresses with its richly decorated arches and five broad domes, which represent the pillars of Islam. Built in 1912,…

3. State Art Gallery

5.45 MILES

Closed for renovation when we stopped by, on previous visits, the elegant structure of this gallery, built in 1893 as a courthouse, was enough of a reason…

4. Balai Besar


This open-sided structure was built in 1896 and is still used by the sultan of Kedah for royal and state ceremonies, though it is not open to the public…

5. Clock Tower


This clock tower was erected in the early 1900s so that the muezzin at the neighbouring mosque would know when to call the faithful to prayer.

6. Muzium Diraja Kedah


Now a museum, these connected structures with creaking wooden floorboards formerly served as the royal palace for the sultan and other members of the…

7. Balai Nobat

5.53 MILES

Built in 1906, this is a striking octagonal tower topped by an onion-shaped dome. It’s the repository of the nobat (royal orchestra), principally composed…

8. Galeri Sultan Abdul Halim

5.56 MILES

The former High Court, erected in 1922, is today a museum dedicated to Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, twice Malaysia’s head of state, the Yang Di Pertuan…