Alor Setar

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Ideal duration: 1-2 Days

Best Time: December - February Read More

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Also Refered As:

Alor Star

"Land of Architectural Treasures"

Alor Setar Tourism

Known as Alor Star from 2004 to 2008, Alor Setar is the state capital of Kedah, Malaysia. It is the second-largest state in the city and one of the most important cities on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. A famous stopover between Langkawi and Southern Malaysia, Alor Setar is known for its architectural treasures. 

Alor Setar is a city that houses multiple places of interest. The Mahawangsa River Cruise for Alor Setar is a must ride river cruise along the Kedah river, giving you an opportunity to witness beautiful calming scenery, and Malay villages first hand. Besides this, the places of cultural interests include - Balai Besar, Balai Nobat, The Tou Mu Kung Temple, and Kota Kuala Kedah.

Blessed with a rich culture and heritage, Alor Setar also gives you the opportunity to witness beautiful art in the form of museums and art galleries. Muzium Negeri, Pusat Sains Negara, Muzium Padi, Balai Seni Negeri, and Galeria Sultan Abdul Halim are a few of the many present. In fact, Muzium Padi is the first paddy museum in Malaysia and fourth in the world. The state mosque of Kedah, Zahir Mosque (Masjid Zahir), enjoys a royal history and patronage. Reflecting strong Thai elements with minor Chinese motifs in its architecture, it offers a quiet oasis in the city centre.

Although Alor Setar is overshadowed by its neighbour, Langkawi Islands, the city’s rich history and heritage that provides some of the best examples of Islamic architecture is still worth a thought!

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Alor Setar Highlights

1. Mahathir's Birthplace

Mahathir's Birthplace
Located in Alor Setar, late Prime Minister Mahathir's Birthplace a.k.a. Rumah Kelahiran Mahathir serves as a museum for visitors. This museum provides an insight into his life. He was born in a house (Read More)located in Alor Setar on December 20, 1925 and was the longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. The museum gives an account of his schooling years up until the time he became a doctor. The museum is also a great example of a typical traditional Malaysian house. The house is made out of wood and its roof is made from Nipah palm. 

2. Nobat Tower

Nobat Tower
Located beside the Clock Tower in Alor Setar, the octagonal Nobat Tower is a true architectural marvel. The tower is also referred to as Balai Nobat or the Hall of Drums. Nobat Tower rises to a height (Read More) of about 59 feet and features a unique onion-shaped dome that is painted in yellow. Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah used this tower to store his royal musical instruments (Nobat). The Nobat Tower houses drums, gongs and a traditional flute. As of date, the royal orchestra i.e. Nobat is used only for ceremonial purposes.

3. Balai Besar

Balai Besar
Balai Besar is a royal audience hall whose history dates back to the 1700s. It is known for its traditional Malay architectural features and Victorian and Thai architectural elements. T (Read More)he roof of the hall is adorned with golden carvings and mirrors whereas the pillars are adorned with iron lacework. Although entrance to the hall is forbidden you can admire its beauty from the outside. Balai Besar was constructed by Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin Mu'adzam Shah II to host royal ceremonies. 

4. Kedah Paddy Museum

Kedah Paddy Museum
Fourth paddy museum in the world, Kedah Paddy Museum is dedicated to the rice and paddy crop. The museum defines a very informative side of paddy cultivation showcasing its historical stories, al (Read More)ong with rice varieties and the tools used for its cultivation. The staircase on the entrance is made in the cave shape inspired by the Gunung Keriang caves giving a beautiful view. The must see part of the museum lies on the first floor which has a 360 degree revolving platform with forty cinema seats to explore the panoramic view of the wall murals. 

5. Fort Kuala Kedah

Fort Kuala Kedah
Fort Kuala Kedah, also known as Kuala Bahang Fort, is a historical treasure located at the northern facet of Kedah River. Rich in history, the fort has survived many battles and has been rebuilt after (Read More) several destructions by Bugis, Acehnese, and Siamese. The prime entrance of the fort, Pintu Gerbang Kadapun is grand and faces towards the north of Alor Melaka on a commanding position and equips some government offices. Explore the large weapons, cannons, shields and even the antiques which were used in the 17th century during Sultanate reign. 

6. Gunung Keriang

Gunung Keriang
Gunung Keriang, popularly also known as Mount Keriang is an age old mountain range stretched along a paddy field to the northwest of Alor Setar. At an elevation of 218 meters, the 250 million year old (Read More) mountain of Gunung Keriang is shaped like an elephant and is majorly composed of limestone. Gunung Keriang equips various sized caves, the larger one being Gua Keriang. The terrain is small yet beautiful and perfect for an easy trekking to capture some interesting photographs of the paddy fields.

7. Galeri Sultan Abdul Halim

Galeri Sultan Abdul Halim
Formerly the high court, Galeri Sultan Abdul Hamim is located in Alor Setar, Kedah. The building constructed in neoclassical architecture, is a beautiful colonial style building. It is an exhibition m (Read More)useum showcasing over 2000 brilliant artifacts of Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, then ruler of Malaysia. The museum displays a vast array of collection of the Sultan of Kedah’s jewellery, official documents, cars, old mobile phones and photographs depicting his life. 

8. Wat Nikrodharam

Wat Nikrodharam
As one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Alor Setar, Wat Nikrodharam is often visited by locals to pray and visitors to explore its beauty. The outside of the temple has a magnificent fusion of Thai a (Read More)nd Chinese architecture with fascinating statues and sculptures. Interiors are well-designed with wonderful art and paintings along with a buddha statue and other religious relics. The temple has a rather large peaceful area where visitors are free to roam around and admire the general splendour. 

9. Muzium Diraja Kedah

Muzium Diraja Kedah
Also known as the Kedah Royal Museum, it is located next to Balai Besar in Alor Setar. Previously a Royal Palace for the Sultan of Kedah, it now displays a large selection of relics, artifacts and oth (Read More)er exhibits that was once the property of Kedah Royalty. The magnificent structure of the building was initially made of wood and then rebuilt in 1856 with a resemblance of Thai architecture. 

10. Menara Jam Besar

Menara Jam Besar
Menara Jam Besar or the Clocktower is a tall upright building in the center of Alor Setar. It initially served as a ringing bell to summon and gather all Muslims for their prayer time. The big clockto (Read More)wer is highlighted by the bright coloured dome structure along with a crescent shaped moon on the roof signifying its impressive Islamic architecture. The bottom of the building and the entrance however, is influenced by the rich Hindu sculptures and design. 

11. Kedah State Art Gallery

Kedah State Art Gallery
The alluring white building of the State Gallery is situated in the main town area along with other attractions. The building has a beautiful fountain right in the centre with a large open space that (Read More)makes for a picturesque backdrop. The gallery is well-maintained with works of Jawi writing and art along with several paintings and special exhibits from local artists. 

12. Zahir Mosque

Zahir Mosque
Nestled in Kedah, the Zahir Mosque is one of the oldest and grandest mosques in Malaysia. It is also considered as one of the 10 most beautiful mosques in the world. Masjid Zahir is regarded as an arc (Read More)hitectural gem whose history dates back to the early 1900s. Its five black domes, unique colour combinations and intricate carvings make it a true sight to behold.

13. Alor Setar Tower

Alor Setar Tower
Situated in Alor Setar, the Alor Setar Tower is the second-tallest telecommunication tower in Malaysia. The magnificent tower rises to a height of about 165.5 meters. Though the main purpose of the to (Read More)wer is to provide broadcasting and telecommunication services, it houses an observation deck which is a popular tourist spot.

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Alor Setar
Alor Setar Tower
Gunung Keriang located near Alor Setar
Wat Nikrodharam

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