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Country  Malaysian
Capital  Kota Bharu

Area  15,099 km2
Population  1.675 million (2013)
Kelantan in the past, History of Kelantan

Colleges and Universities  Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Kubang Kerian Nursing College
Destinations  Kota Bharu, Kuala Krai, Pasir Mas, Tanah Merah - Malaysia, Gua Musang
Points of interest  Istana Jahar, Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah, Temenggor Lake

Map of Kelantan

Kelantan ([kəˈlantan]; Jawi: کلنتن; rtgsKalantan, Kelantanese: Kelate) is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The honorific of the state is Darul Naim, (Jawi: دار النعيم, "The Blissful Abode"). Kelantan is positioned in the north-east of Peninsular Malaysia. It is bordered by Narathiwat Province of Thailand to the north, Terengganu to the south-east, Perak to the west, and Pahang to the south. To the north-east of Kelantan is the South China Sea.


Kelantan Culture of Kelantan

Kelantan is located in the north-eastern corner of the peninsula. Kelantan, which is said to translate as the "Land of Lightning" (see alternate theories below), is an agrarian state with green paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches. Kelantan is home to some of the most ancient archaeological discoveries in Malaysia, including several prehistoric aboriginal settlements.

Kelantan Tourist places in Kelantan

Due to Kelantan's relative isolation and largely rural lifestyle, Kelantanese culture differs somewhat from Malay culture in the rest of the peninsula; this is reflected in the cuisine, arts, and the unique Kelantanese Malay language, which is unintelligible even for some speakers of standard Malay.

Kelantan Cuisine of Kelantan, Popular Food of Kelantan

The Kelantan government has been marketing the state by proudly proclaiming it to be the "Balcony of Mecca" or better known in the Malay language "Serambi Mekah." This proclamation has been poked fun at by the general public by calling it "Serambi Golok" after the neighbouring Thai town Golok, infamous for its widely available drugs, prostitutes and drinking joints to cater to the Kelantanese.


Tsem rinpoche visits buddha temples in kelantan malaysia


There are a number of suggestions for the origin of the name Kelantan. One theory, according to historian Mohd Rosli Bin Ismail, proposes that Kelantan is a corruption of gelam hutan, i.e. the Malay word for the cajuput, or swamp tea tree (Melaleuca leucadendron). Other theories claim that the name comes from the Malay word kilatan, 'shiny/glittery' or kolam tanah, 'clay pool'. Kelantan was called Kalantan (Thai: กลันตัน) by the Siamese when it was under their influence.

Another occasionally quoted suggestion is that 'Kelantan' derived originally from the Indian 'Kolaan Thana' or 'Kolaam Thana', which meant 'Land of Kolaan' or 'Land of Kolaam', the term 'kolaan' or 'kolaam' referring to the floor paintings/diagrams in the numerous Hindu temples which dotted the land in the very ancient days. 'Kolaan Thana' or 'Kolaam Thana' gradually became 'Kelantan' to fit in better with the speaking dialect of the local people.

The early history of Kelantan traces distinct human settlement dating back to prehistoric times. Early Kelantan had links to the Funan Kingdom, the Khmer Empire, Sri Vijaya, Majapahit and Siam. Around 1411, Raja Kumar, the ruler of Kelantan, became independent of Siam, and Kelantan became an important centre of trade by the end of the 15th century.

In 1499, Kelantan became a vassal state of the Malacca Sultanate. With the fall of Malacca in 1511, Kelantan was divided up and ruled by petty chieftains, paying tribute to Patani, then the supreme Malay Kingdom of the eastern peninsula. By the early 17th century, most of these Kelantan chiefs became subject to Patani.

The legendary Cik Siti Wan Kembang was said to have reigned over Kelantan sometime between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Around 1760, Long Yunus, an aristocratic warlord of Patani origin succeeded in unifying the territory of present-day Kelantan and enthroned by his father-in-law Ku Tanang Wangsa, Regent of Terengganu as Yang di-Pertuan Muda or Deputy Ruler of Kelantan. Long Yunus was succeeded in 1795 by his son-in-law Tengku Muhammad Sultan Mansur of Terengganu. The enthronement of Tengku Muhammad by Terengganu was opposed by Long Yunus' sons, thus triggering a war against Terengganu by Long Muhammad, the eldest son of Long Yunus. The pro-Terengganu faction was defeated in 1800 and Long Muhammad ruled Kelantan with the new title of Sultan as Sultan Muhammad I. Nevertheless, the death of childless Long Muhammad triggered another civil war among claimants to the throne. His nephew and son of Long Tan (Temengggong), Long Senik Mulut Merah, triumphed over his uncles and cousins and assumed the throne in 1835 as Sultan Muhammad II.

Sultan Muhammad II leveraged on his loose alliance with Siam to form the modern Kelantan state, centered in his new fort on the eastern bank of the Kelantan river, which became Kota Bharu in 1844.

Under the terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, the Thais relinquished their claims over Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis to Great Britain, and Kelantan thus became one of the Unfederated Malay States with a British Adviser.

Kelantan was where the Japanese first landed during their invasion of Malaya, on 8 December 1941. In 1943, Kelantan was transferred by the Japanese to Thailand and became a province of Thailand. Kelantan reverted to British protection upon the end of World War 2 in August 1945.

Kelantan became part of the Malayan Union in 1946 and then the Federation of Malaya on 1 February 1948, and together with other Malayan states attained independence on 31 August 1957. On 16 September 1963, Kelantan became one of the states of Malaysia.


Rising high on the slopes of Gunung Korbu, the second highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia, the Nengiri River flows east to merge first with the Galas, and then with the Lebir — the latter born in the wilds of Taman Negara National Park — before turning decisively northwards and emptying into the shallow waters of the South China Sea. From Kuala Krai the conjoined streams become the Kelantan River, a broad, mud-coloured stream which dominates the fertile coastal plains and defines the geography of the region. The Kelantan River valley is a fertile rice-bowl, rich in hardwoods and rubber and lush with tropical fruits.

For centuries, Kelantan was all but separated from the rest of the country by the Titiwangsa Mountains, a mountain range running from north to south through the peninsula. Weeks of hard travel were required to reach Kelantan. The "easy way" to Kelantan was to sail around the peninsula, braving the sea and pirates. For this reason Kelantan's history often involves the sea, and boats. Even today, many of its people are very much tied to the sea. A discussion with many coastal residents will confirm that their ancestors, as far back as they know, were "of the sea."

In the early 1980s, trunk roads were built to link it with nearby states. Presently, one can travel by road from the capital city Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bharu through the mountain range within 8 hours.


Kelantan has a chiefly agrarian economy dominated by rice, rubber and tobacco. Fishing along its 96-kilometre coastline is also an important economic activity. Cottage industries which employ traditional skills in handicraft production such as batik, woodcarving and songket weaving are also evident. Logging activities are active given the vast remaining area of forest. In recent years, tourism, especially to offshore islands, has increased in importance. A few reputable hotels have been established and more modern shopping malls have been opened to cater for urban folks.

Kota Bharu, the capital, is the major urban centre, and there are also plans to open up the southern portion of the state under an ambitious multimillion-dollar development project. The main market at the city centre is a top attraction.

Kelantan has a GDP per capita in 2006 at RM7,985, which is about a fraction that of other richer states like Selangor and Penang.

Kelantan has become the first state to introduce the gold dinar and silver dirham as official currency.


Kelantan has a tropical climate, with temperatures from 21 to 32 °C and intermittent rain throughout the year. The wet season is the east-coast monsoon season from November to January.


The Constitution of Kelantan came into force in 1949 and is divided into two sections:

  • The first part of the laws
  • The second part of the laws enforced upon the people
  • Sultan of Kelantan

    The Sultan of Kelantan is the Constitutional Ruler of his State. The role, duties and powers of the Sultan are as laid out in the State's constitution and other state laws. The Constitution proclaims that the executive power of the state is vested in the sultan, that he is the Head of the Religion of Islam in the state and that he is the source of all honours and dignities in the state. The current ruler of the State is Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Muhammad Faris Petra Ibni Sultan Ismail Petra.

    State Executive Council

    The State Executive Council is established by the constitution. It is composed of the Menteri Besar, who is its chairman, and ten other members. The Menteri Besar and other members of the council are appointed by the Sultan of Kelantan from members of the State Assembly. The current Menteri Besar is Datuk Ahmad Yakob. He succeeded the Menteri Besar 22 years ruled, Dato' Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat (Tok Guru), a religious teacher and former Mursyidul Am (spiritual leader) of PAS.

    Political background

  • See also: *Breakdown of State Seats Representatives elected 2013
  • A part of the deeply conservative Malay heartlands, Kelantan has been ruled by the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) since 1990. It is currently one of three Malaysian states not ruled by the Barisan Nasional coalition after the 2013 elections.

    Almost all PAS members are Malay Muslims, as are about 95% of Kelantan's population.

    The state of Kelantan is almost synonymous with PAS, as Kelantan has been under PAS rule for two lengthy periods. (Neighbouring Terengganu has also been under PAS rule twice, but for short periods each time [1959–1962 and 1999–2004].) The first period of PAS rule in Kelantan began two years after independence, in 1959, and lasted 18 years (1959–1977); the current period is 25 years long and counting (1990- ). In November 1977, a state of emergency in Kelantan was declared by the federal government following a political crisis and street violence. An election took place soon after the emergency which was won by UMNO.

    The interval between the two periods of PAS government, when the Barisan Nasional coalition ruled the state, was only about 12 years (11 March 1978 to 21 October 1990). In the 1990 General Election, PAS returned with an overwhelming victory, winning all the 39 State and 13 Parliamentary seats. The victory was achieved through the PAS-led coalition, called Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah (APU). In the following General Election in 1995, PAS won again, though with a reduced majority. PAS won big in 1999, due in significant part to Malay anger over the treatment of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim by then–Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and other officials of the national government. However, PAS very nearly lost control of Kelantan, retaining it with only a 1-seat majority, in 2004, when Barisan Nasional, under the new leadership of Abdullah Badawi following Tun Mahathir's retirement, won by a landslide nationally. However, after the Malaysian general election, 2008, PAS regained the two-third majority of seats in the state assembly.

    For years, PAS has attempted to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic Law on Kelantan. It has succeeded in imposing certain social strictures such as single-sex queues in supermarkets; separate public benches for men and women; and limiting entertainment centres to prohibit "salacious behaviour". Proposals to institute punishments such as amputation of limbs for thievery and execution for blasphemy (collectively known as Hudud Law), however, have been blocked by the national government on constitutional grounds.

    One of the most controversial steps PAS has taken in Kelantan is to place tough restrictions or outright bans on the traditional performance of syncretic Malay theatrical forms, such as Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong, Dikir Barat, and Main Puteri. PAS also took action to vanish any sculpture that looked like human or animal, modified versions without the traditional references to Hindu dewa–dewi and traditional Malay hantu (spirits or ghosts) and otherwise in keeping with orthodox Islam are, however, tolerated in certain cases. Also restricted are public performances by women: Aside from Quran recitals, such performances are completely banned if any men are in the audience. While PAS has maintained that these steps were essential to promote Islam and put an end to immoral behaviour among the Muslim population, many consider them an act of defiance against Barisan Nasional's laws — which are more tolerant or laxer, depending on one's viewpoint — and also a major loss to Malay traditional arts.

    Assignment deed

    On 9 May 1975, an agreement was signed between the Kelantan Chief Minister of the time Datuk Mohammad Nasir, and the Chairman of Petronas, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. According to the terms of the agreement, Kelantan was to receive cash payment ('bayaran tunai', the term 'royalties' was not used in the agreement) of 5 percent a year biannially, for any oil found in Kelantan or its coastal areas. In return, Kelantan grants Petronas to exclusive rights to "petroleum whether lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia".

    As to the issue whether Kelantan has the right to claim oil royalties from federal government as enumerated in the Assignment Deed. The question arises put so much legal complication and it is trans-border many relevant statues namely Petroleum Development Act 1974, Petroleum Mining Act 1966 and requires legal interpretation on some provisions in Federal Constitution. Being the supreme law of the land, any law or any agreements enacted inconsistent with Federal Constitution is void. Since, Malaysia is a federation of 13 states, the division of powers between two level of governments (central government and state government) are the most important feature in the federal constitution. Relevant with the issue, Article 76 gives powers to two level of governments accordingly set out in Schedule Ninth. In Schedule 9, List I of the Federal Constitution, the following topics are assigned to the Federal Government:

  • Except as to State rights over permits and licences, the Federal Government has rights over development of mineral resources, mines, mining, minerals and mineral ores, oils and oilfields, petroleum products, safety in mines and oilfields
  • Gas and gasworks, production and distribution of power and energy
  • Foreign and extraterritorial jurisdiction
  • Treaties, agreements and conventions with other countries and all matters which bring the Federation into relations with any other country
  • As for the state government:

  • Land: Schedule 9 List II, Para 2(a). Under the Interpretation Acts, 1948 and 1967, Section 3, land includes “the surface of the earth ... all substances therein... all vegetations and other natural products... whether on or below the surface... and land covered by water”. The territorial waters of Kelantan will come within the definition of “land covered by water”. Territorial waters are defined by Section 4(2) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No 7, 1969. Subject to some exceptions, they refer to three nautical miles.
  • Revenue from lands: Schedule 10, Part III Para 2.
  • In addition to the income from land, one notes that in Article 110[3A] there is provision for discretionary payment on such terms and conditions as maybe prescribed by or under federal law of the export duty on “mineral oils” produced in the state. Petroleum comes within the meaning of “mineral oils” under Section 10 of the Petroleum Development Act.
  • It is clear, from the Schedule, Peninsular Malaysia states has the constitutional right to fees for permits and licences for extraction of any petroleum that is derived from their land and territorial waters. Anything beyond territorial waters, such as on the continental shelf, is entirely in federal hands. However, because exploration of oil and gas is approximately 150 km from Kota Bharu and beyond the territorial water of Kelantan. Relying on that, Emeritus Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi concludes Kelantan has no constitutional right to regulate it and to receive compensation for it. He further argued given the agreement deed to support Kelantan rights over royalties will render as unconstitutional and void under the doctrine of severability (constitutional parts of the law remain even if other parts are unconstitutional), as the Assignment by Kelantan gives to Petronas the ownership of all petroleum "whether lying onshore or offshore of Malaysia" was an overstatement, and Kelantan has no rights to what lies off the shores of the whole of Malaysia. Indeed, it is the rights of federal government guaranteed by constitution that extraterritorial operations are in their hands.

    States cannot transfer rights over something they do not own. In the case of Kelantan and any other Peninsular Malaysian state, the Deed should have been worded to refer only to onshore petroleum. Unfortunately for Kelantan, the matter cannot end with the two agreements. There is a supreme Constitution in Malaysia with a federal-state division of legislative and financial powers. The constitutional allocation cannot be altered except by constitutionally permitted procedures and amendments. Even mutual agreements cannot override the constitutional scheme of things because jurisdiction is a matter of law and not of consent or acquiescence.

    Current action

    The Kelantan state government is owed between RM850 million and RM1 billion from oil revenue royalties from the central government, according to the Petroleum Act 1974. In 2009, the central government offered 'compensation' or Wang Ehsan, a fraction of the sum actually owed. Discrimination of Kelantan on the matter has led the state government considering action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Support for Kelantan and the local government in defiance of the central government includes the group Kelantan Peoples' Movement Demanding Petroleum Royalties or Gerakan Menuntut Royalti Petroleum Rakyat Kelantan (GMR).


    The largely rural state preserves rich Malay traditions such as kite-flying contests, top-spinning contests, and bird singing competitions, and traditional handicrafts such as batik, songket, and silver crafts. As a border state and former vassal state of Thailand, Kelantan has absorbed influences from Thai customs and traditions that help to make the state's culture distinct from those of other states of Malaysia. The Kelantanese people, regardless of ethnic origin, are proud of their state and its unique local culture and dialect.

    All the ethnicities generally live together harmoniously in Kelantan. For example, members of the Thai community received a permit to build a very large statue of the Buddha without any objection from the Malay community or the PAS government that granted the permit.


    Kelantanese Malay people are the predominant ethnic group in the state. They speak Kelantanese Malay which is distinguished from standard Malay as well as other Malay varieties in Malaysia by its unique grammar, pronunciation and figures of speech.

    Kelantanese Malay are somewhat partially intelligible with other Malay variants. Whilst the Arabic script called Jawi has less influence in the other parts of Malaysia, it is still widely used in writing and printing the Malay language in Kelantan. Signboards in Kelantan are written in both Jawi and Rumi. To a certain extent, Thai is also used.

    94% of Kelantan's population are ethnic Malays, and under the Malaysian Constitution, all Malays are Muslims; therefore, Islam is the most influential religion in the state.

    To most Malaysians, Kelantan is synonymous with Malays arts and crafts. Kota Bharu, as the state capital, is a popular centre for such pursuits as silat, martial arts, and kertok drumming. Here, too, more than any other place in Malaysia, the traditional pastimes of top-spinning — known as gasing — and the flying of giant, elaborately decorated kites called wau, are still much in evidence.


    The minority ethnic Thai inhabitants of Kelantan are mostly centred in an area around the coastal town of Tumpat, site of most of the state's two hundred or so Buddhist temples, and noteworthy for its number of relatively well-off Siamese villages.

    The dialect of the Thai language spoken in Kelantan is called "Tak Bai", after the southernmost coastal town Tak Bai of Narathiwat Province, just across the Golok River from Malaysia. Tak Bai dialect differs substantially from standard southern Thai and other regional Thai dialects, and it seems certain that the Kelantan Thais are the descendants of an original enclave of Narathiwat settlers established in sparsely populated Malay territory as long as four centuries ago.

    Buddhism is also visible, in that hundreds of Thai wats also known as 'ketik' can be found throughout the state. The longest statue of a reclining Buddha in Southeast Asia can be found in Wat Photivihan, in Tumpat.

    The reclining Buddha at Wat Photivihan in Kelantan opened in 1980. This temple is very popular with pilgrims and devotees. The Metta Chanting is using the original language (Pali), or in Thai translation.

    The Thai group will conduct the religious celebration at the Wat such as Tok'katinna, Loy Krathong, Saibat, Songkran, and so forth. One thousand visitors will attend this function.


    In Kelantan, the Kelantanese Chinese see themselves as either Cina Kampung (village Chinese) or Cina Bandar (town Chinese). Famous Chinese villages in Kelantan include Kampung Tok'kong (300-year-old temple), Batu Jong, Kampung Jelatok, Kampung Joh, Kampung Temangan, Kampung Mata Ayer, Kampung Tawang, Kampung Balai, and Gua Musang. Descendants of the earlier waves of small-scale migration are known as Orang Cina kita (our very own Chinese) and the elders are seen as Orang Kelantan betul (true Kelantanese).

    Cina Kampung assimilation in Kelantan is manifested as: "Malay behaviour as frontstage and Chinese behaviour as backstage". "Frontstage" or public behaviour includes speaking Kelantanese Malay even when among themselves, adopting Malay-style clothing, and observing certain Malay customs and holidays. "Backstage" or private behaviour includes maintaining certain traditional Chinese beliefs and customs confined only within the home. A pattern which they also associate as Peranakan Chinese, nonetheless they are culturally different in some ways from the Strait-Chinese Peranakan of Malacca, Penang and Singapore or even the Indonesian Peranakans.

    The Cina Kampung in Kelantan have native speaker competence in the Kelantanese dialect. It is impossible to tell a Malay from a Chinese by listening to his speech in the Kelantanese dialect, without looking at the person.

    Much of Chinese culture still continues until today; such as Lion Dance and Dragon Dance during the Chinese New Year, temple celebration, eating bakchang (meat dumpling), mooncake, baby fullmoon, pulut kuning, telur merah, eat 'e' (tangyuan), religious celebration including praying Na Tuk Kong. They also cook 'bak hong', 'uang (meatball)' during the wedding ceremony and ' kiam mai' during the funeral.

    The village of Kampung Tok'kong in the Kelantan state of Malaysian is well known for a historically significant Chinese Temple known as Seng Choon Keong. 25 km from Kota Bharu, it is located within a paddy field village with a population of around 500 person. The temple is approximately 300 years old. It is dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Matsu. Every year on the equivalent date to 23 March on the Chinese Calendar, the birthday of Mazu is commemorated with concerts, lion dance, Carrying god ride 'Kheng kiu', 'siam hee' and also wayang kulit show for three days. Chinese and Mazu followers visit the temple to pay homage to Mazu, to offer prayers for health and wealth, as well as for personal safety and security and eat Kampung Tokkong most famous 'Bak hong'.

    Unlike the Chinese in other parts of Malaysia, Kelantanese Chinese prefer to conduct their wedding party at home rather than at a restaurant. This reflects their mindset that their presence to celebrate the newly weds is more important than the wedding banquet. And also make it a gathering ceremony to celebrate the angsu 'red/ happiness'. the more guest mean the house owner is more respectable. This is further proven by their generosity of the money gifts from the newly weds. Usually the wedding ceremony begins on Thursday night and proceeds until the next morning because the weekend holiday is Friday in Kelantan. For good luck, the groom has to bring home the bride before 12 noon on the Friday with flowers decorate car.

    Most Chinese villagers bury their deceased ones at the local town cemetery. Others cremate the dead at the nearest Wat. If the deceased is old, a three-day funeral ceremony and memorial is conducted, complete with chanting from the monks. But if the deceased is of the younger generation, they are either buried or cremated as soon as possible. They also offers prayers for anniversary for the death. example: for Villager in Kampung Tok'kong also have cemetery known as 'Chiakka sua' located nearby Kampung Tok'kong. and one of the biggest cemetery in kelantan is 'Fu long sua' located in nearby kem desa pahlawan.

    Orang Asli

    Orang Asli, mostly Temiar are people who have lived in the forests of Kelantan and Perak for thousands of years. Some of the Temiar maintain traditional beliefs in their natural surroundings and other forms of animist elements. Other Orang Asli ethnic groups that lives within the state are Jahais, Bateks and Mendriqs.


    As of 2010 the population of Kelantan is 95.2% Muslims, 3.8% Buddhism, 0.3% Christianity, 0.2% Hindu, 0.5% follower of other religions or non-religious.


    The Kelantanese cuisine, heavily influenced by Malay cuisine. Kelantanese food makes more use of coconut milk than anywhere else in the country. Curries are richer, and creamier.

    Local specialties

    Apart from consumable items from local and also imported from Thailand. There are dishes which have developed through the rich culture of the Kelantanese themselves, such as:

    Contrary to popular belief, Colek is not just a dipping sauce, but can also refer to a snack eaten with the sauce. Colek comes in various forms, including meaty cholek, colek ayam (chicken), colek perut (cow tripe), colek pelepong (cow or lamb lung; usually fried plain), and also a variety of colek buah(fruits; usually unmatured, thus crunchy and taste sour) such as colek pauh (mango).

    The sauce or "the colek" comes in various forms. • Colek manis (with brown sugar). • A sweet, sour and very mildly hot version. This colek is different from other chili sauces because colek is very thin and rather sweet. This dipping sauce is used for chicken, and also goes well with shrimp, fish cake, spring roll, sausage, etc.

    Budu is a salted (fermented) anchovy sauce eaten mainly as flavouring with rice, grilled fish and vegetables/salads (ulam). A bit of lime juice, hot chilis and shallots are added on for taste. Also, tempoyak (fermented durian) or fresh durian is added for good measure. Once so combined, the purple-brownish condiment has a blend of salty and sour taste. Sometimes, Budu is used in cookings as part of the ingredient.

    Nowadays, other types of fish are also used to create Budu. Famous Budu maker villages are Kg. Tawang, Bachok and Kg. Penambang near Kota Bharu. Similar sauces are found in the Philippines and Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia).

    Thai-influenced dishes

    Perhaps the most characteristic Kelantanese-Thai dish is 'kaeng matsaman'—a mouth-watering beef curry cooked with peanuts, potatoes and chopped red onions in a thick coconut milk sauce. Other Kelantanese-Thai specialties include: 'kaeng phanaeng kai'—savoury chicken and coconut curry. 'Kaeng som nom mai dong'—hot and sour fish ragout with pickled bamboo. 'Pla see siad haeng thawt'—deep fried semi-dried pla see fish. 'Khao yam pak tai'—an intriguing breakfast salad. The presentation is exquisite. A small pile of fragrant boiled rice, accompanied by finely chopped heaps of lemon grass, peanuts, bean sprouts, green beans, sour mango and chopped kaffir lime is served with spicy chili pepper, fresh lime and a piquant sweet-sour sauce. It's unusual, elegant, and very typical of Kelantan. Kelantanese dishes, like central Thai, are usually accompanied by generous helpings of 'khao suay', or "beautiful rice"—the best of which, 'khao hawm Mali', or jasmine-fragrance rice, is steamed until each grain is tender but separate. When something tastes this good, the Thais utter in full emotion:-"Pisek!"

    Somtam is a green papaya salad with a salty, spicy, and sour taste. The main items in it are young, unripe papaya, soy sauce, groundnuts, fish sauce, lime juice, and chilies. These items are combined in a mortar, pounded with a pestle for few seconds and served. The salty and lime juicy taste is very popular. This light dish is widely available in regions with large numbers of ethnic Thais, such as Tumpat and Siamese wats.


    Kelantan is known as the cradle of Malay culture based on the diverse cultural activities practised by Kelantanese. Among the popular cultural practices are Dikir Barat, Wayang Kulit Kelantan, Wayang Kulit Melayu, Mak Yong, Menora, Main Puteri, Wau Bulan (kite-flying), Gasing (top-spinning), Silat, Tomoi, bird-singing competition and handicrafts.

    Among the handicraft products that are songket, batik, silverware and mengkuang. The Kandis Resource Centre provides information on the Kelantanese wood carving.


    Districts in Kelantan are called Jajahans, though actually the direct translation of Tanah Jajahan in Malay to English is 'Occupied Territories'. Kelantan was a divided feudal state, a common situation in the Malay Peninsula, with separate petty local rulers. However, a strong one managed to rise and conquer all these small petty territories. In the end, Kelantan became united under one Sultan.

    The eleven jajahans, from left to right, are written in Rumi and Jawi:

    1. Jajahan Kota Bharu (كوتا بهارو)
    2. Jajahan Pasir Mas (ڤاسير مس)
    3. Jajahan Tumpat (تومڤت)
    4. Jajahan Pasir Puteh (ڤاسير ڤوتيه)
    5. Jajahan Bachok (باچوق)
    6. Jajahan Kuala Krai (كوالا كراي)
    7. Jajahan Machang (ماچڠ)
    8. Jajahan Tanah Merah (تانه ميره)
    9. Jajahan Jeli (جيلي)
    10. Jajahan Gua Musang (ڬوا موسڠ)
    11. Jajahan Kecil Lojing (لوجيڠ) - autonomous sub-district under Gua Musang

    Ranking Population Kelantan.


    Historically, Kelantan had a strong relationship with the Pattani Kingdom. Pattani and Kelantan are geopolitically divided but culturally united. Kelantanese and Southern Thais cross the border frequently to visit their relatives and transport goods for small business.


    Among the popular tourist destinations in Kelantan are:

  • Siti Khadijah Market – Named after Prophet Muhammad's entrepreneurial wife, it's a fitting name for a market mostly run by women
  • Gunung Stong State Park – Home to one of the highest waterfalls in Malaysia, the seven-tiered Jelawang Waterfall
  • Pantai Bisikan Bayu (Beach of Whispering Breeze) – also known as Pantai Dalam Rhu, the gentle breeze at the beach produces a hushed sound that, locals say, sounds like a soothing whisper
  • Handicraft Village and Craft Museum – Also known as "Balai Getam Guri", it houses many fine examples of Kelantanese craftsmanship such as traditional embroidery, songket weaving, batik printing, silver work and wood carving
  • Notable Kelantanese

  • Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat (1931-2015), former Chief Minister of Kelantan (1990-2013) and spiritual leader of Islamic political party PAS.
  • Misha Omar, singer and actress.
  • Neelofa, actress, TV presenter, model.
  • Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, professional football player.
  • Fatin Zakirah Zain Jalany, Malaysian rhythmic gymnast.
  • Ibrahim Ali, the founder and president of Perkasa.
  • Loh Sea Keong, road racing cyclist.
  • P. Uthayakumar, legal advisor of HINDRAF.
  • Tok Janggut (1853–1915), the famous Malay warrior in Kelantan during British protectorate.
  • Wee Choo Keong, former Member of Parliament for Wangsa Maju.
  • Zang Toi, fashion designer.
  • Ng Yen Yen, politician.
  • Trymasak kelantan food promo


    Kelantan Wikipedia