Everything you Need to Know about Ketantan
The state of Kelantan is known as the ‘cradle of Malay culture’ for having an overwhelming population of Malays (93 percent) and the rest made up of Chinese, Indians and Thai. The Kelantanese have preserved their customs, traditions and cultures well over the years. Some of their most memorable activities are flying giant ‘Wau’ kites and playing ‘Gasing’, a game of spinning tops.
History dates the origin of Kelantan from the ascension of a Thai prince Long Yunus to the throne. The state then went through Thai and British influences before becoming part of Malaysia in 1957. The name ‘Kelantan’ means ‘Land of Lightning’ evident by the many thunderstorms that rock the state each year.
While the economy of Kelantan is based on agriculture such as rice, rubber and tobacco, the state is much more famous for their Malay handicrafts which include ‘Batik’, a silky garment woven with intricate patterns, ‘kain songket’, a cloth made from gold and silver thread, mats, silverware, paintings and wood carvings.
Tourism is a growing industry as more and more people flock to see the rich Malay culture that is inherent in the lifestyles of Kelantan’s people. A trip here will surely absorb you into the knowledge of Malay culture and traditions in Malaysia.
The state's economy is predominantly agrarian with paddy, rubber and tobacco as cash crops. Fishing along its coastline and livestock-rearing are also two important contributors to the economy. Other economic activities are cottage industries, like batik painting, woodcarving and songket-weaving. As mentioned earlier, tourism is fast emerging as a major money-spinner.
Kelantan's unique cuisine has produced delicious dishes such as Ayam Percik, Nasi Kerabu and Nasi Dagang. Ayam Percik is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. This barbecued chicken marinated with spicy coconut gravy is truly mouth-watering.
Nasi Kerabu is a tasty rice-based dish, served with coconut milk, flaked fish, desiccated coconut and a variety of herbs and sauces, while everyone's favourite Nasi Dagang is actually a type of rice with a brownish tinge steamed to perfection with coconut milk and served with rich fish gravy.
Kota Bahru abounds with restaurants and food stalls, and hawkers with their tasty snacks can be found almost anywhere. Visitors looking for an outdoor Malaysian dining experience in the evening should not miss the food stalls open from 6pm to midnight at Padang Bas, in the town centre.
Geography & Climate
Covering a total of 14,922 sq. km, Kelantan is rich with lush green forests. Its climate is tropical monsoon, with a stable temperature within the range of 21°C to 32°C.
From January through April, expect dry and warm weather with consistently high humidity on the lowlands ranging from 82-86 percent. Kelantan's average yearly rainfall falls between 2,032 mm to 2,540 mm, with the wettest months being from November through January.
Town & Districts
Kelantan's capital is Kota Bharu, performing all the administrative duties over the state. Kelantan is divided into 10 main districts, which are called Kota Bharu, Pasir Mas, Tumpat, Pasir Puteh, Bachok, Kuala Krai, Machang, Tanah Merah, Jeli and Gua Musang.