Located to the north of Kota Bharu, the Tumpat district is Malaysia’s culturally diverse hinterland, neither wholly Malay nor Thai, with a dash of Chinese culture thrown in. Tumpat is a major agricultural area with picture-postcard villages fringed by a lush green sea of rice paddies. Bordering Thailand, the Thai influence is conspicuous with numerous colourful Thai temples rising above the trees. Tumpat town is also the end or beginning of the jungle railway line that stretches along the spine of Peninsular Malaysia to Johor Bahru.
Numerous Buddhist temples, such as the fascinating Wat Phothivian, with its extraordinary reclining Buddha statue, are found scattered throughout the region. Wesak Day (a celebration of Buddha’s life, usually held in April or May) is a good time to visit the district's temples.