[ INTRODUCTION ]
The state of Kedah spans approximately 9, 425 sq. km in the northern part of the Peninsular and together with Perlis, Perak and Kelantan, shares a common border with neighbouring Thailand. It has the distinction of being the "Rice Bowl of Malaysia", the Kedah-Perlis rice plains produce more than half of the country's home grown rice supply. Alor Setar, the state capital, is the seat of Government and the business centre of the state.
The flat expanse of padi fields against a backdrop of rolling hills provides a picture of utter serenity that lulls the senses. Off its western shore, are clusters of sun-drenched islands that comprise the legendary islands of Langkawi. Kedah also owes its fame to the archeological discoveries at the Bujang Valley, which furnished evidence of the existence of an early civilisation dating back to the 6th cebtury A.D. With its islands, legends, historical relics, hill stations and scenic aterfalls, Kedah offers the visitor a variety of sights, sounds and fun-filled activities - from beach combing to diving, water skiing, picnicking or merely to take in the sights.
[ LOCATION MAP ]
[ GETTING THERE ]
By Air :
Three doors lead one into Kedah Darul Aman: The domestic carrier, Malaysia Airlines, flies into Alor Setar every day from Kuala Lumpur either via Penang or Kota Bharu, and out of it. From Monday to Thursday, there are three flights into Alor Setar and out. From Friday to Sunday, there are only two flights into and out. Check with MAS (Alor Setar) 04-721186, 721287 or 721106, 721462 for flight schedules.
MAS also flies daily into Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur via Penang. Call Malaysia Airlines at the Bayan Lepas International Airport in Penang (04-62001 1) for flight schedules and fares for the Penang-Langkawi flight. Langkawi Airport at Padang Mat Sirat is about 20 km from Kuah and 14 km from the beach resorts in Pantai Cenang.
By Rail :
Malayan Railway operates daily runs into Alor Setar and out of it as the fares varies from class to class, ranging from RM80 to as cheapest as RM35.
For any further enquiries and reservation kindly contact Malayan Railway 03-2747435Bus ServicesExpress bus services operate daily from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar. For further enquiries and reservation kindly contact Puduraya, Kuala Lumpur.
By Road :
Kedah is well-linked by road from Kuala Lumpur and a really great way to see Kedah is to take a leisure drive and explore the countryside for yourself. It is a leisurely-drived with the opening of new North South highway. It is about 5 hours driving from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar.
The largest of these islands is called Langkawi Island and is bigger than the Penang Island.The other islands in this group are Island of Pregnant Maiden (Pulau Dayang Bunting), Lion Island (Pulau Singa Besar) and Beras Basah Island.The smallest of these islands are atolls roughly the size of an ordinary house!
Langkawi is coined from the Malay words Lang and Kawi. Lang is a brown eagle and Kawi is a local manganese stone.The ancient fishermen must have seen eagles flying clutching the manganese stones! A giant monument of a brown eagle clutching the manganese stone greets all visitors to Langkawi near the Kuah Jetty.
The main tourist attractions of Langkawi Island is its virgin white sandy beaches.The beaches have very gentle continental slope and the water is crystal clear.
This island is unique in the sense that it has so many legendsand myths associated with it.Langkawi Island is therefore also called Pulau Lagenda or Legendary Island.
The most talked about legend is that of Mahsuri who is said to have laid a curse on this island for seven generations.Luckily the period of this curse is over now and Langkawi Island is fast becoming an internationally recognised tourist destination.
The government of Malaysia has declared the entire Langkawi Island as a duty free zone. Hence this island is also termed Duty Free Island.All goods sold in this island are exempted from government tax.Therefore this Legendary Island is a haven for the shoppers.You only need to stay in Langkawi for a minimum of 48 hours to take back home a reasonable amount of tax free goods.
♥ Payar Island Marine Park ♥
The Pulau Payar Marine Park is situated in the northern part of the Straits of Melaka, 19 nautical miles south of Langkawi and encompasses the islands of Pulau Payar, Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang and Pulau Kaca which are surrounded by coral reefs. The marine park teems with a fascinating diversity of marine life and vegetation.
Many endangered species of fishes and marine organisms live within the sanctuary. Measuring 2km long and 1/4 km wide, Pulau Payar is the most popular of the islands as its sheltered waters are ideal are for snorkeling, diving and swimming. Among the enchanting dive spots is the "Coral Garden", an area covered with bright, multi-hued soft corals.
There are several sandy beaches on Pulau Payar island for picnics as well as hiking trails for those who wish to explore the island. Just off the beach, one can indulge in the thrilling experience of feeding baby sharks. Facilities include gazebos, picnic tables, barbecue pits and restrooms at selected areas. There is also a Visitors' Centre that provides information about the marine park.
Visitors can get to Pulau Payar from the Kuah jetty point by catamaran or speed boat. The catamaran services operated by Langkawi Coral, takes about 45 minutes to get to Pulau Payar while the speed boat takes an hour. It is advisable to book the catamaran service a day before the trip. Enquiries can be made with any travel agent in Kuah or at the jetty point for those intending to travel by speed boat. Apart from the fare, a levy of RM5.00 for adults and RM2.50 for children is charged for entry to the marine park.
♥ Gunung Jerai ♥
This magnificent mountain is has its own share of history and fascinating legends.The discovery of the ruins of Hindu and Buddhist temples at the foot of the hills established its importance as an ancient centre of Hindu civilisation within the region. Varied tales also abound about the famous 'Raja Bersiong' ( the king with fangs ) who once held sway over an ancient kingdom within the Bujang Valley at the foot of the mountains. Recent archeological findings reveal the existence of the Temple on the Ninth Water pool ( Chandi Telaga Sembilan ) - many believe this pool to be the private pool of Raja Bersiong. Indeed , amidst such majestic surrounding, its would be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
♥ Air Terjun Puncak Janing ♥
The 1.5 km stretch of Sungai Janing and its unique landscape of rocks provide an ideal place for swimming, picnics and recreation. A wide variety of flora and fauna that encompassed lowland dipterocarp forest could be found here. There is a 3 km track that surrounds this recreational area and also a 15 km track that leads to Bukit Wang Recreational Forest.
Built in 1912, the building was first used as the High Court before becoming the headquarters of several state government departments. Its architecture has strong Roman influence, which is evident also in the Temple of Fortune Rivals.On July 25, 1983, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah proclaimed it as the Balai Seni Negeri Kedah Darul Aman (Kedah Darul Aman State Art Gallery).
♥ Balai Seni Negeri ♥
The gallery comprises five sections, and is home to antiques, historical relics and several arts collections including some fine Malaysian landscape watercolour paintings by AB Ibrahim. Other facilities include a souvenir shop where one can buy postcards and artist tools.
Kota Kuala Kedah at the mouth of the Kedah River is also known as Kota Kuala Bahang. Kota means fort and this was actually a fort that was built to ward off Kedah's enemies who came from the sea. It was reportedly to have been built by stone masons especially brought in from India.Today, it is a fishing village, known for the variety of seafood that is served by the numerous restaurants that have since carved their business at the old historic site.
♥ Kota Kuala Kedah ♥
♥ Lata Asam Jawa ( Lata Bayu ) ♥
This is a very old recreation area and also a renowned spot in the northernmost part of the country. The famous Baling area, a town where meetings with the then Communist insurgents were held!Some 3 kilometers out of town and a branch road to north Kedah, places like Sik, Weng etc. On the way [15 kilometers later] in the village of Assam Java, good and prominent signage directs you to 3 kilometers Park road!
The Waterfall is a finale to series of rapids ending up with a cascades. Total height of the continuous slide is about 30 meters high.A beautiful pathway follows the left bank all the way until a level plain on top of the rapids.There is only one small vertical fall of 2 meters at the end of this stretch.
♥ Lembah Bujang ♥
Lembah Buiang, lying between Gunung Jerai in the north and Sungai Muda in the south, is regarded as Malaysia's richest archaeological area.
The Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum in Pengkalan Bujang, Merbok houses numerous artificial stone caskets, gem stones, beads, etc. Fifty (50) candis or temples were found along Sungai Bujang and to date eight (8) of them have been restored to their original form using the same original materials, visitors interested in history and archaeology should not miss out on this area in Kedah
♥ Muzium Negeri / State Museum♥
As a state museum, it houses a large collection of Kedah's historical, culture, and royal heritages. The collection includes early Chinese porcelain, artefacts from the archaeological excavations in Lembah Bujang (Bujang Valley) and a fabulous pokok bunga emas or 'gold tree' produced as a tribute to the Thais.
The museum is also a research centre on Kedah's civilisation. Before the present premise was built in 1936, the museum - officially opened by the then Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Tunku Ismail Tunku Yahya (Tunku indera Setia), on February 3, 1957 - was located in the Balai Besar (Grand Hall).
♥ Pantai Merdeka ♥
Kedah is also endowed with a beautiful 1 km stretch of white sandy beach known as Pantai Merdeka, approximately 60 km south of Alor Setar. This enchanting beach is shaded by tall swaying palms, under which one may spend leisurely hours - picnicking or just lazing the hours away, Water skiing and sailing are also popular along this stretch of coastal water. The mountains and hills of Kedah offer a number of lovely picnic spots set within verdant greenery, cool mountain streams and the invigorating freshness of the mountain air.
♥ Pedu Lake ♥
Pedu Lake is Kedah's newest tourist attraction. Among the recreational activities available here include fishing, water-skiing, swimming and picnicking.It is a retreat of lush jungle surroundings, home to a wide spectrum of flora and fauna as well as a great place for nature lovers. Here, one will be able to see how wild bees gather honey.Among the facilities provided are parking, restrooms, rest huts, picnic spots and a suspension bridge. Also, there is a jetty for tourists and fishermen who want to go out to the lake.
♥ Pekan Rabu ♥
"Pekan Rabu" which literally means Wednesday Market which is located in the middle of Alor Setar is well known among the local population and tourists from outside Kedah. The business complex is not only the pride of Malay entreprenuers in Kedah but also the pride of all Malay's in Kedah. Moreover the fourth Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, once was a trader in Pekan Rabu. Most tourists visiting Alor Setar make it a point to shop around at the Pekan Rabu Complex.
The complex costing RM 3.2 millions and was built in 1975 and renovated in 1995 with cost RM 6.5 millions. Phase 2 complex was built in 1990 with cost RM 2 millions. Pekan Rabu complex has 347 stalls with a variety of business and it has become one of the important landmarks of Alor Setar.
This shopping Complex which is situated in Jalan Tunku Ibrahim was officially opened on 25th. February 1978. Prior to the construction of this complex, the traders did their business in on open building with no walls and trading stalls were not properly arranged and scattered.
♥ Perangin Sik ♥
Perangin Sik is located 3 km from Sik or 80 km from Alor Setar. Situated nearby is the Kedah Economic Development Authority (KEDA) Training Centre.
This area is also popularly known as 'Rimba Taqwa' and it is the earliest recreational forests that has been established in the state of Kedah. It gains its popularity after the official launching of Semarak Negeri Kedah in 1986.
Along the journey to this recreational forest, visitors would have the opportunity to observe fruit orchards, rubber estates and traditional Malay villages.
It has a large campsite that could conveniently accommodate some 1000 campers. This site has been earmarked for the next International Scout Jamboree.
There is a wide variety of flora and fauna of lowland dipterocarp forest.
By Suet Teng , 5 Alpha