Monday, January 28, 2008

Kota Bharu In Pictures - Part 3

Kota Bharu In Pictures Part 3 is a continuation of the previous 2 posts on the same subject. If I can keep this post to a reasonably short length, it will be the concluding part, otherwise a sequel will ensue. We are taking todays ride in a car as the distance covered will be longer. I apologize for the picture quality in terms of composition due to some shots being taken from the car window or even through the car windscreen as it ain't as easy to park compared to when I was doing it on the bike. The baby was strapped in the baby seat behind too so I cant leave the car much. Some of the pictures were taken on my earlier bike trip.

For those who are not familiar with Kota Bharu please do the followings:
1. Click on the URL below to see a map of Kota Bharu at the bottom of the page. Please enlarge the map, focussing on Kota Bharu until you can locate the first junction to Kota Bharu from the direction of Sultan Yahya Bridge. The junction to the right will take us to Kampong Sireh, straight on into Jalan Hamzah and to the left is Jalan Sultanah Zainab. When the traffic light turns green we are taking the left turn into Jalan Sultanah Zainab. Follow the direction as I ride on. Please open Life As I See It in another browser window to read this post and refer to this map from time to time to see where I am leading you. Enjoy the rideabout.

You can't miss the imposing glass building on the left. It is Bangunan Sapura. Tan Sri Shamsuddin of Sapura Holdings must have built this building as a monument of his love to his wife Puan Sri Sapura. A blogger wanisan later informed me that the couple moved to Kota Bharu after being transferred to Kota Bharu soon after their marriage in Kampong Baru (then in the state of Selangor). Kota Bharu must have endeared to them so much to accord a monument of such proportion.

Across the road you may have missed this diminutive bulding now with a signboard of KB Permai. The building was previously an even smaller wooden building that houses the crafstman doing intricate work on silverwares. They must made good and are able to build a better place complete with showrooms and proper workplace for the workers. The next time you come to KB check out this place and many other places for your silverwares.

The next building can't be missed too as its ornate gates and fencing will make your eyes look at the building inside. Its the Istana Kota Lama. I guess it is used as guest house to VVIP's the like of a visiting royalty from another state. Istana Teliput was once a VVIP guest house too. Unfortunately it was torn down and in its place the new Istana Mahkota was built when Tengku Mahkota married the princess from Patani Thailand.

After the traffic light at the juntion to Jalan Gajah Mati, you can see the Dynasty Hotel. Its a popular 2 or 3 star hotel in KB.
Jalan Sultanah Zainab becomes a one way street at this point so we have to turn left into Jalan Che Su. The imposing sight of a towering building next to the multi storey car park will greet you. This is Plaza Menang Intan is a condominium tower block and commercial center. It is yet to be opened.

It now dwarfs the Menara PKINK that houses the Jabatan Pembanguna Persekutuan Kelantan which Datuk Mustapha Mohamad is Chairman. Datul Pa as he is locally know is ofcourse The Minister of High Education.

This was the landmark skyline from accross the river before but it is dwarfed by many taller buildings nearby.

Turning right into Jalan Post Office Lama we could see a new building nearing completion. Remember the Rex cinema by the Kelantan River?. It was still standing when Riverview Hotel was opened but now this building replaces the cinema. Next to it is Riverview Hotel. The tall building next to Riverview Hotel as in the picture is none other than the yet to be opened Pelangi Mall tower block.

So now you know how to get to Pelangi Mall when it is opened soon.

At the junction of Jalan Tok Hakim you can see the old Lee Rubber Building. Lee Rubber had a hand in the development of the agriculture in Kelantan both in rubber production and processing it into SMR and RSS rubbers.

To our right slightly into Jalan Tok Hakim is Wisma Dato Nachi which houses TA Securities (formerly Lee & Kee Securities) where many millionaires were made and some later became bankrupts or at least were made to suffer the servitude of huge debts which may not be repaid if they were to be born again even for another three times.

Going to the end of Jalan Che Su, we would pass infront of the entrance to Pelangi Mall before reaching Jalan Tengku Besar near Padang Merdeka. Hey there is a new hotel in town. It is Ridel Hotel. It must have a quiet opening as I didn't hear about it. Who would want to tell me anyway?

The hotel is connected to Pelangi Mall via a walkway so guests dont have to go down to the ground floor to get to Pelangi Mall. How convenient.

Due to curiousity, I walked over to the edge of the river. Ahhh it has the river view. Guests in the room fronting the river will be happy to enjoy the sight of the forever yellowish water of the Kelantan River where the 'etak' once flourished.
A view of Ridel Hotel from across the river.(Picture courtesy of En. Mazlan of Ridel Hotel)

Looking down the bank I saw the sight of this floating restaurant. I guess the Kelantanese around this area love the tipsy feeling of being on water when drinking their tea or coffee. This restaurant acts as the jetty for people to cross the river by boats. The colour of the water in the river used to be the color of water but now has taken the hue of 'teh susu'.

Across the river is Palekbang where dodol, serunding daging and serunding ayam are made. Take a boat trip across and you are at the doorsteps of the serunding makers place.

Moving on we saw the Tambatan Di Raja now more famed for its flood reference point than its being a royal jetty because the royalties dont ride boats anymore. Further more Kelantan don't have to send its 'Bunga Emas' to Siam (Thailand) by sea anymore. Ahh those are history.

Moving away from the jetty I went towards Dataran Kota Bharu. Looking left I saw the War Museum and took mental note to write about it one day. It was used as a bank was once known as Bank Kerapu for the obvious reason that it was once a bank and the walls have the rough textures. Padang Merdeka infront of it is also known as Padang Bank.

Beside it is a Beautiful wooden building with intricate carving with distinctly malay motives on the fascia board. It is the Islamic Museum but unlike the war museum, it was closed. I guess this museum was a victim of the last flood.

Right ahead across Jalan Sultanah Zainab you can see the arch with the distinctive Quran on a rihal.

The huge wooden gates below is the entrance to Istana Balai Besar. This palace is still used for all official ceremonies such as the investiture ceremonies or the yearly title awards.

Below is Istana Jahar which is another museum. Taking into account Muzium Islam all in all Kota Bharu has 4 museums. Quite a number for me to write on.
Everybody must have heard of the White House, the one in Washington DC of course. This one is in Kota Bharu. Before it was rebuilt it was made of wood and painted white. That gives the kopitiam its name. The name is retained. Business starts only in the evening.

If you don't believe me it is called the White House, look at the sign below.

If you asked the regulars to this kopitiam what is so great about the kopitiam, they would swear that the kopi O and half boiled eggs served here is the best in town if not the world. When I tried it, it tasted just the same as the one prepared by my wife at home.

The Odeon Cinema must be nostalgic for those couples who in their younger days must have taken their girlfriends for dates. The cinema was located on the other side of Jalan Sultanah along a road that is called what else but Jalan Odeon. The building was converted into an office block and now is called Bangunan UMNO Negeri Kelantan.

Walking by Jalan Istana located between Istana Balai Besar and Istana Jahar, I cant help noticing the intricate carving above the door of the side entrance.

The Royal Guest House is on the left as we walk along Jalan Istana towards Kampung Kraftangan.

Jalan Hilir Kota on our right is now closed to traffic and is a pedestrian mall with the entrance to Kg Kraftangan from it. Kampong Kraftangan can also be accessed via Jalan Tengku Seri Akar.

Walking towards Jalan Tengku Seri Akar, I cant help noticing this giant tasbeh made of wood hanging on the wall to a building in Kampong Kraftangan. It is definitely more than 6 feet high.

At the junction of Jalan Tengku Seri Akar I saw this billboard indicating the building of a new bazaar by the name of Bazaar Tenku Anis.
Most of these areas used to be occupied by old wooden houses which was an eyesore. It is definitely time for them to be developed.

The view of Muhammod Mosque with the Pelangi Mall and Ridel Hotel is simply great from this point.

Walking along Jalan Seri Akar towards Jalan Belakang Kota, I saw the office of Majlis Tindakan Pelancongan Kelantan with The Tourism Development Corporation office on the ground floor below it and they are located within the Kampong Kraftangan complex. Very convenient location compared to their former office along Jalan Dusun Muda.

Directly infront of this complex is a bus stop. If you see such red colored bus moving around town, take a ride on it and it will lead you to Kampung Kraftangan.

Pushing the pram with my daughter Balqiss in it, I came to Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah. I won't bore you with the picture of the center inside the pasar where it has been so much photographed. Let us see the new extension from the Pantai Timur Shopping complex side instead.

Note this section of the pasar as it is where the food section is on the upper floor. Be here during lunch hour and you will find all kinds of authentic Kelantanese kuihs and dishes to go with your lunch. Treat your family to lunch here and have the best fried crabs or large fresh water prawns (udang galah), it won't cost you and arm and a leg.

Trodding on around the circular Pasar Siti Khadijah brought me to Laman Siti Khadijah where there are food stalls selling freshly cooked food.

Beside it stands the Pasar Buluh Kubu. Dont worry if you are out of money as some shops do accept credit cards. No credit cards? Don't worry too, the Ar Rahn islamic pawnshop is just across the road. Only gold are accepted though.
From Bazaar Buluh Kubu we have to take abit of walking to go to Bazaar MPKB right smack in the middle of town. If you know how to bargain you can get many things cheaply here. Be prepared for stuffiness and if there is a big crowd as it is usually is during a long holiday, movement can be quite restricted as the walkways between the shoplot are on the small side. So if you have a big body, dont mind too much if people tend to squeeze by you. Hopefully they dont smell too much.

The buildings within the old town center are typical buildings of old. They should be rahabilitated and preserved as these are the buildings that give Kota Bharu its image and character. Build new buildings but build them elsewhere away from the town center. The building below is along Jalan Ismail. They definitely need sprucing up and painted over with a new coat of paint.

The row of shop houses below is along Jalan Temenggong.
Medo Photo Studio is like the Royal Photographer. I remember seeing the photograph of the Deputy Prime Minister displayed in the shop. Next to it is Restoran Kota Bharu. Only while taking the photograph that I realized that the Kota Bharu Hotel was upstairs. I doubt that it is still a hotel, not even a guesthouse I guess.
If your father had been using a car a long time ago, this was where he got his spare parts. When my wife's grandmother need medical treatment, she would always ask to be taken to this clinic going by the name of The Bates Dispensary. The clinic is still operating but I wonder if Dr. Bates is still seeing his patients there. I think Dr. Bates is a former British citizen who settled in Kelantan a long time ago. Will somebody from Kota Bharu enlighten me?
My grand daughter is crying. I will have to take her home. I will have to continue the rideabout in Part 4 and hopefully that will be the finale.

When Balqiss is comfortable, this is how she will look.

I will be putting all of my pictures in my public gallery when my friend Akmal of Wiseup88 comes back for Chinese New Year. So worry not if you can't see much details from the current pictures. You will be able to see them better in the public gallery.


zaitgha said...

Pak Zawi,

Balqis is so adorable...and thanks for this down memory lane posting for me with the pictures...

remember once i told you that i got bitten by a hornet before? that was when i was digging the earth to get worms as bait for my dad fishing udang galah....we ate that almost every other day until we got tired of them and my mum just gave them away ...but now udang galah is so expensive even it its so puny little ones.....

Zawi said...

I don't recall you telling me about being stung by hornets but you did mention about digging for worms to be used as bait.
Udang galah seems to be still plentiful in the Kelantan River.
You will love balqiss if you were to meet her. She is definitely adorable.

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

Ridotel? If I am not mistaken it replaces another hotel which closed down some 4-5 years ago.

If this is the same hotel, then there is a warong quite nearby selling nasi daging salai or daging bakar...I can't remember which. I think the warong close by 2pm or so as the food is a real good and there a sellout!

And the White House, there's some good nasi tumpang there. But off course, the roti bakar is absolutely fabulous together with the kopi-o! Ooolala!

Thanks Pak Zawi :)

Zawi said...

Ridotel is a brand new hotel. It was built at the same time as Pelangi Mall.
The hotel that was reopened is Riverview. The new owner is a logging family from Kuala Krai, an exlogger.
I rarely go out to KB at night so I dont know much about the eating places. As to the nasi tumpang at White House they are made by the people from Kubang Pasu.
Yes their roti bakar is superb. Your future wife can do as well if you ask her to do it.
I am glad you enjoy the post. Sorry cant cover Pengkalan Chepa yet, too loooooonnnnggg.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
All right! The next installment is here!
That Ridotel, my gut tells me that it will be a competitor to Riverview. Had a dinner at Riverview once, it is a 4 star hotel right?
I have a lot of revenge to claim this CNY. Hehehe. Lucky my sis and bro will be home too (don't ask me to define lucky there ;P).
Keep well ya.

Zawi said...

I can guess why you think you will be lucky when your sis and bro is coming home too for CNY. (Tambang free?)
I need your help to set up my Public gallery for my pictures. Hope you can drop by at my place during CNY. I can fetch you from anywhere ok?
Tolong ya.

Nightwing said...

"If you asked the regulars to this kopitiam what is so great about the kopitiam, they would swear that the kopi O and half boiled eggs served here is the best in town if not the world. When I tried it, it tasted just the same as the one prepared by my wife at home."

Hehe...this is funny..:)

Another great post..:)

Balqis so cute!!!!!

Thanks again for sharing..:)

Zawi said...

Actually the ambience and company when you have drinks at kopitiam is different. That is the one most important ingredient that is missing at home that make people go out for drinks.
I always try to inject some humour in the post to make people like you smile abit hehehehe.

Maverick SM said...

This is not the Kota Baru I knew of some 20 years ago. It has changed so much. There's so many new buildings and if I go there again, I might get loss.

I surely want to make a trip there soonest possible.

Thanks for showing me the pictures which leads my thought back to memory lane.

Zawi said...

20 years is along time indeed. You may lose your way abit but dont worry just take any city bus and they will bring you back to the town center. Its just a small town and not much changes in the road alignment except that they are much wider than before. many a lane has been built with a divider and some becomes one way route.
The becas are still around to take you back to wherever you want to go to only dont forget to shout "teksi" when calling them.
Please come back again.

J.T. said...

Hi Zawi

Wow.. more familiar names of the KB. As mentioned in my blog, Bates Dispensary is the one place I remember most among others. I am not sure what happened to the Bates family after we left KB. My parents knew Dr Robert Bates. If my parents were alive today, I would call them immediately to ask about Dr Bates and how he got to KB to set up his practice.

Medo photo studio sounds familiar. I think that is where our family and personal photos were taken. I need to check the back of some old photos. It has been too many years. :)

Oh Zawi, even with limited memory of KB, I could go on and on about some of the street names and who and what I remember of those places.

Thanks for another walk down memory lane.

Zawi said...

I think Dr. Bates is still around. Email me your fathers name so that I can use that name to tickle Dr. Bate's memory of the old times when I approach him to allow me to do a write up on him.
Did tahe a picture of the Merican Dispensary at the corner of the shop near to Bazaar MPKB. Dr Ezanee was the proprietor but I doubt that he is still practicing as the last time I saw him, his eyesight was so bad that he could hardly see. That was a decade ago.
The joy is mutual j.t. Me happy to make somebody like you happy :). Please come back to Kota Bharu.
I will check on your site about the Dr. Bates.

awang said...

Pak Zawi. detail,so my trip to KBR will be easier with my laptop just visit yr blog & with map some more.
Anyway very informatic indeed..don't forget to rent me yr Honda cupchai 70CC.Have a nice day.

Zawi said...

The idea is to give informations and that is what I am doing. I am happy if it is of use to u.
When are you coming? Keep me informed so that I can tell you more of where to go. Some areas outside of Kota Bharu are not covered yet.
No problem about the bike.

Mohd Adib Noh said...

Pak Zawi,
Thank you for leaving your comments at my blog.I am new to mountain bike-need more tip from more experience person like you.
Btw, you had a good write-up about KB and with some photos to remind me.

Zawi said...

Pak Adib,
Welcome to my site.
Had a mountain bike once but gave it to my son in law (Balqis's father) who use it in Labuan. At the moemnt I am just using roadbikes and city bikes just to move about. Anyway I just know abit after buying a few second hand bikes that need to be repaired and replaced with new parts. Thats how I know about the parts hahaha.
If you need good second hand mountain bikes please come to Pasir Mas. Saw a few such brands such as Canondale going for RM1,000 which is very cheap compared to the new ones.
Have a good day.

Hussin said...

Sallam Sdra Zawi,

An informative piece as always. I can't wait to be there this CNY. Only thing is I dread the traffic along the way.

Is it easy to get a teksi from Sutera Inn to the pasars? Then I don't have to bother driving. Sometimes kesian kak Pakcik yang bawa teksi tu.
Hope to be able to call you when I reach there. But you are in Pasir Mas, it is quite a distance from KB kan?


Zawi said...

I don't know which traffic you are dreading, whether the traffic to KB or the traffic within KB.
If you are thinking of flying in, it will be easier for you to rent a car here. Driving within the town is dreaded by everyone especially during holiday season like CNY. Crossing the Sultan Yahya Petra Bridge across to Pasir Pekan and later the return trip is another worry as almost all the 3 bridges will be clogged up. The worst is ofcourse the Sultan Yahya Bridge.
I am 18 km away and I would like to meet you, so dont worry, call me and I will find a way to meet you up. With the baby around I can't help to take you around much. Please study the map and know the places you need to go to so that it will be easy for you to get them to take you to those places. I will be posting Part 4 soon so you can learn up abit more about Kota Bharu befor you come.
To move within town, it will be better if you befriend any of the pirate taxi and get him to chaufeur you around for the specific time you need his service. That way you don't have to worry about losing your way and parking which I presume will be most difficult. How I wish you would have asked me to look for a hotel room within the town as it would save you the trouble. I dont know how many other hotel beside Ansar that you called up before deciding on Sutera Inn.

Zabs said...

Salam Zawi,
Thank you for the picturesque tour. Your grandaughter is so lovely. No wonder you look forward to have her with you. Have a nice day. Salam

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi,
I just love those beautiful wooden Istanas so Malay and so beautiful. Hopefully it will be preserved as KB heritage and not demolished for new western design sky creepers.

Balqis is so Comel and Gebu !!!!!!

Zawi said...

All children are lovely. Their smiles are innocent smiles and always penetrate any parents or grandparents heart. I am lucky to have her 'on loan' to me for 6 months. After 6 months she begin her practical and will be taking her daughter back to Labuan.
Thanks for the visit zabs.

Zawi said...

D. Jaff,
Wooden buildings are very difficult to maintain. Unless done on routine basis they will not be able to withstand the weather. Hopefully the powers that be knows what the value of these buildings and allocate sufficient fund for their upkeep. Visitors should write in telling the state their appreciation of the old buildings and tell them that they are an attraction to the state.
Balqiss is only 6 months and she is 9 kg plus already. Memang tembam dia.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
It is me again.
Re the public gallery, don't worry about that. I'll be happy to help you out :D
BTW, to make things clear, I have no DSLR la. Hahaha. Kalau saya beli, terpaksa la saya makan pasir kat sini :) Visit uncle Awang again to know more ya ;)
Have a nice evening :)

Zawi said...

Thanks for the willingness to help.
DSLR tu saya silap baca kot hahahaha. Jangan bimbang satu hari nanti kita beli.

Rita Ho said...

Zawi ... Thank you again for continuing the guided tour. Looks like cutie-Balqiss is enjoying most of it too!

It seems like KB is developing fast. Is the state heavily involved in it or do they allow private establishments and individuals to secure land and building on it? I ask because there seem to be continuity in some parts of town but total contrast in most. Typical of speedy development I suppose, and could make for great character in the end when all the cosmetics are in place.

I wonder if Dr Bates phone # still works. 4 digits only?

Thanks again, Zawi for a delightful read and view.

Are the Istanas open to visitors? I have more questions but most will be answered when I view the Public Gallery. :) Can't wait, especially those food pics. Now, I remember why our group spent several hours just at the food stalls.

Zawi said...

Balqiss will enjoy the ride as long as the aircond is functioning well.
KB is developing due to private enterprise. I think the state government just fascilitate it just to show that they can develop Kelantan as well as any other state government. Meanwhile the Federal government still fund other infrastructure development like road and bridges and they have to keep the contractors who support the government happy too.
Dr. Bates phone number is actually 6 digits and they tried to scrape it to accomodate the extra new digit. Istana Jahar being a museum is ofcourse accessible. I dont think the rest is accessible but if there is a group tour arrangement can be made with the authority to allow visitors into Istana Balai Besar as it is only a ceremonial palace and used occassionally.
I have tried to do the public gallery but somehow I haven't succeed. If I can't do it on my own soon I will have to wait for Akmal to come and help me. I think the crux is just a minor one.
Happy to be able to make people know more about my state capital. Hopefully people will make it a destiantion for holidays with all the additional rooms available soon.

changgeh said...

If you asked me I'd definitely say that KB has all the requisites for a city status..not KT at the moment.I might be accused of being 'ddrake' but the facts speaks for itself. Have a nice day Wi.

U.Lee said...

Hi Zawi, Holy Smoke! Bila I balek Kota Bahru, I need to bring not only my GPS unit, but maps, radar too.
I sure can't recognise KB now. And to think those days in the 70's I never got lost.
Gosh! Your pics are beautiful, Zawi...and they sure tell a lot by looking at them. You're a good photographer.
By the way, saya nanti your Pantai Cinta Berahi pics...send me telegram bila you take them. Keep well, Zawi. Lee.

Zawi said...

I did say somewhere in my first blog about KB in pictures and now you are saying again. But again what is in a name? Elviza by any other name is still a Malay. Plagiarized from Shakespeare hehehehe.
Thanks for the visit.

Zawi said...

Brother Lee,
The GPS will do. You can buy the map at Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan. I already showed the place or use the interactive map in the URL given above. Radar? No need. There is one left behind by The Australian Army at the war museum. It maynot be functional anymore though.
Ala those pictures are taken with a fix focus olympus where all I need to do is point and shoot. Need to wait for the right position of the sun cos the camera can't compensate any strong backlight. So if the sun is in the wrong position I have to come another time. So if you make it big on the stock market please bring me a Nikon DX2 or a Canon D400 with a wide angle lens and I will take you around Kelantan for as long as you want me to hahahaha.
PCB which is now Pantai Cahaya Bulan will ofcourse be solely dedicated to you and I will wake you up even in your deepest slumber so that you will be the first to view it unless Akmal beats you to it because Akmal has a program that alerts him when we publish a new post. Further more Akmal doesn't sleep much so he is always lurking somewhere for our new posts.
You too keep well my friend.

Raden Galoh said...

Salam Pak Zawi...Your post highlights the Kelantan today and I found it to be so different than what I picture in my mind Pak. You know, the last time I visited Kelantan wa in the year 1992 when both MH family's and I went there to shop for our wedding items...

Isn't Balqis adorable? I can understand now, she makes your world more blissful...

Take care Pak.

Zawi said...

That was more than 15 yrs ago. So much has changed even though it is under a different state government vis a vis KL.
Balqiss gives me so much joy nowadays that I am already thinking how it will be when in another 5 months she will be going back to her mum in Labuan.
I guess it is time for you to visit Kelantan again.

wanisan said...

Pak Zawi

I read in yr blog about Sapura Building - The late Puan Sri Sapura was never from Kota Bharu. She was born in Kg Baru, Kuala Lumpur. A very kind hearted lady - al fatihah to her.
However, Tan Sri Shamsuddin and Puan Sri did stay for a short while in Kota Bharu when he was posted there in the early 60's.


Pak Zawi said...

Thank you for the information. It was careless of me to assume that she was from Kota Bharu. I thought Tan Sri must have married a local when he was posted in Kelantan.

wanisan said...

Pak Zawi,

They were happily married when he was posted to KB. If it is of no problem for you, may i suggest that you amend your text to reflect the actual fact.
Thank you and salam

Pak Zawi said...

I will do it now. Thanks.

wanisan said...

Pak Zawawi

Many thanks.

Pak Zawi said...

You are most welcome. Thanks again for the info.

Anonymous said...

Dr Bates is a close family friend of mine. He's from Australia. He's still around. The two sons last i knew were studying medicine in London.