Everything you Need to Know about Kedah
The state of Kedah is the most ancient in Malaysia with records dating back to the 5th Century. It was once a prosperous centre for traders in the early days, especially those from India and China. This is reflected in the numerous ruined-temple sites and artifacts recovered in Kedah.
Kedah was originally a vassal state of the Sumatran Kingdom Srivijaya. After Srivijaya's downfall, Kedah went under the protection of the Siamese before being conquered by the Malacca Sultanate in the 15th century. Kedah was later fiercely attacked by the Portuguese and Acheh in the 17th century.
In 1821, Kedah fell to the Thais. In 1907, the Thais handed Kedah over to the British and it would only be in 1957 that Kedah would become independent as part of Malaysia.
Today, modernisation proceeds at a slow pace. Rural areas abound in Kedah and the people have a peaceful, laid-back mentality. As you travel through Kedah, vast paddy fields will greet you, stretching over the horizon like a carpet of green.
For the visitor, Kedah holds some charming attractions in terms of nature and their biggest money-spinner, Langkawi Island. For a good taste of northern Malaysian culture, you won’t go wrong with Kedah.
Today, the state thrives on agriculture as its source of income. Kedah produces the most rice among the other states but the Government is attempting to diversify its economy, namely in industrial development.
Hence, Kedah is fast developing its manufacturing industry, with numerous industrial parks being built to sustain this growth. A sizable portion of the state's economy is contributed by tourism, most particularly through Langkawi island.
The cuisine of Kedah is all about specially prepared dishes using a combination of spices, herbs and market fresh ingredients. Rice is, of course, the staple of Kedah's diet, but variety is still the spice of life.
Tempting traditional dishes are gulai nangka, a spicy dish of jackfruit, sayur keladi and pekasam. Pulut or glutinous rice is the northerner's all time favourite. It is usually eaten with fruits like mangoes, durians and bananas. Pulut also make fine deserts. Other pulut-based delicacies are the mouth-watering pulut sambal, pulut inti and tapai pulut.
And when in Kedah, never forget to schedule a stop at the Pekan Rabu in Alor Setar for the much sought after sweetmeats of baulu and dodol!
Geography & Climate
Kedah is located in the northwest corner of the Peninsular Malaysia, bordered by Perlis in the north, by the Straits of Malacca on the west, and by Penang and Perak in the south. Kedah covers an area of 9,425 sq. km, and its highest peak is Gunung Jerai, standing at 1200 meters.
The climate of Kedah is tropical monsoon, with a uniform temperature between 21°C to 32°C throughout the year. It is generally dry and warm from January to April, and wet from May to December. Humidity is consistently high in the lowlands, averaging 82-86 percent per annum. Kedah's average annual rainfall falls between 2,032 mm to 2540 mm.
Town & Districts
The capital is Alor Setar, a bustling city progressing gradually into the future. All in all, the state of Kedah has eleven main districts called Kota Setar, Baling, Kubang Pasu, Kuala Muda, Bandar Bharu, Kulim, Langkawi, Padang Terap, Sik, Yan and Pendang.