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Alor Setar


Telecommunications Tower

Alor Setar is the state capital of Kedah, on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is arguably the state capital on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia that is richest in Malay culture. Alor Star is easily to reach by the North-South Expressway, which goes from Singapore to the Thai border. A bus trip from Kuala Lumpur should cost you around RM40 and will take about 6-7 hours of travelling time. Bus services from Bukit Kayu Hitam are also available for visitors from Thailand.

The city looks a bit sluggish. The times I was there, it was always very hot. When you drive on the highway to Alor Setar, you get a beautiful view over the rice fields. The country is flat and it's green or yellow (depending on the harvest time). They call Kedah (and Perlis) the "rice bowl" of Malaysia and that's true.

Alor Setar (pronounced: Alor Star) is a modern city and has many new buildings.
Most shopping centers are also new, but there are of course many small picturesque markets.
You should not think, that the city has only new buildings, because that is absolutely not true. There are also many old buildings!

The city looks a bit sluggish. The times I was there, it was always very hot. When you drive on the highway to Alor Setar, you get a beautiful view over the rice fields. The country is flat and it's green or yellow (depending on the harvest time). They call Kedah (and Perlis) the "rice bowl" of Malaysia.
Alor Setar (pronounced: Alor Star) is a modern city and has many new buildings. Most shopping centers are also new, but there are of course many small picturesque markets.
You should not think, that the city has only new buildings, because that is absolutely not true. There are also many old buildings!

The city is served by the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport, which began operations in 2006. The airport is currently not serviced by any commercial international flights; however, during the Haj season, there are special flights available for Muslim pilgrims journeying to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj.


Masjid Zahir

Masjid Zahir
The Zahir Mosque is Kedah's state mosque. It is located in the heart of Alor Star, the state capital of Kedah, Malaysia. It is one of the grandest and oldest mosques in Malaysia, built in 1912. The design was inspired by the vision of the late Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin II. The state's Quran reading competition is held annually within the premises of the mosque. This mosque has been voted the top 10 most beautiful mosques in the world.

Pekan Rabu ( Wednesday Market )
Pekan Rabu is located near the government offices in Alor Star. Although the name literally means “Wednesday Market”, this bustling market is open all week long, thanks to popular demand. Its services extend from morning till night, and you can find many stalls here selling a variety of items from delicious tidbits to beautiful handicraft.
When one is in Alor Setar, paying a visit to Pekan Rabu is a must if not for shopping, but also for its fame. The former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was once a trader here, The complex is an interesting venue offering all sorts of Thai products, prayer items, dried goods, traditional cakes and cookies.
What to buy: Specialities that can be bought here include batang buruk (Kedah's traditional cake); kuih bakar and kuih bangkit; kerepek bawang (crackers); sagun (made of sago flour); dodol Kedah and pekasam (preserved ikan sepat, ikan puyuh and ikan lampanI).

Star Parade: Alor Setar Popular Shopping Mall
While you can shop at the many small stalls all around Alor Setar including the night market at Jalan Stadium, it is probably convenient to drop by Star Parade Shopping Mall, airconditioned with the Pacific Supermarket and range of shops with advertised prices.
Although there is queue getting into parking, there is ample space. Also there is a food court to try local fares like Kedah Laksa or a fast food chain.
Place is popular and can be noisy. But a nice quick stop to get some basic essentials or local products before continuing your travel around Alor Setar or to Perlis or Langkawi and neighbouring Thailand.

 

 

The name Alor Setar
The name came from the combination of two Malay words which is "Alor" which mean ("small stream") and from the name of a tree "Setar" ("Bouea macrophylla Griff").

 

 

  Ben van Wijnen

 

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