Kota Bharu

The northernmost major city in Malaysia is also one of its most devoutly Muslim and it is deeply grounded in traditional Malay heritage. Kota Bharu has all the energy of a midsized city with the compact feel and friendly vibe of a small town. There are excellent markets and ample opportunities to taste superb local cuisine. There is also a good spread of accommodation options from backpacker hostels to business hotels. This is a logical overnight stop between Thailand and the resort islands of neighbouring Terengganu: Perhentian and Redang.

Kota Bharu is the gateway for exploring the geography and culture of Kelantan. Many traditional Malay villages and colorful Thai Buddhist temples are within day-tripping distance, and local crafts, cuisine and culture can be found while strolling in the city itself. For exploring the interior, the enticing jungle railway passes by Kota Bharu's doorstep.

Explore Kota Bharu

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Top attractions

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