Friday, 31 August 2018

Istana Batu Royal Museum in Kota Bharu

See how the Royals live in Kota Bharu. You can go check out Istana Batu Royal Museum, see period rooms, piles of gifts. The historic building was erected in 1939 by Sultan Yahya Petra as a gift to his bride Raja Perumpuan Zainab II. Baby, let's play house.

They did, raising generations in the place until vacating in 1960. No dishwasher, no A/C, no place to live. By 1991, it was turned into a museum.


Big dining room. Small bedroom.

Another bedroom, with royal trappings.

Gifts, toys for boys. The military doesn't bring kitchen mixers when they come calling.

Family history on the wall.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Wat Maisuwankiri

If you have a temple in the Tumpat area, you gotta have a unique theme, something catchy to gather the flock. Wat Maisuwankiri is known as the dragon boat temple. Who isn't curious now?

What we came to see: the big boat. And dragon design. Sighting confirmed.

Other fun details: lions guarding an entrance, complete with tails curling around to attach to the porch posts. Nice touch.

Outside prayer area.

More animals, complete with tropical setting. And appropriate expressions.

Another wax monk.

Monday, 27 August 2018

The Art Of Rice

Everyone would agree that rice is a basic commodity, especially in Asia. If what's in the package is the same, then your only chance of snagging new customers is to have the outside be better than your competitor's product.

Behold the rice packaging label wars!

What works? Can't go wrong with animals, everyone thinks about good rice when watching a nature documentary. Evidently, birds mean good rice.

Or go big and regal. Gajah is elephant in Malay.

Or go all in on cute.

Rice seller at the central market in Kota Bharu.

Done with animals? Let's go with fruit.

Now we're really branching out, identifying with a country and its patriotism. Not sure the United States means excellent rice, especially since this rice comes from Thailand. It's all about the marketing. 

Friday, 24 August 2018

A Visit To Kota Bharu's Central Market

Another town, another colorful market. Kota Bharu made sure its traditional market wouldn't disappear by constructing a snazzy new building to house everyone. Like in Kuching.

The central atrium, not afraid of bright color.

A little stall entertainment. One of the big regional foods in Kota Bharu, keropok lekor. It's a fish sausage, meant to be cut into bite-sized pieces and fried.

Local spice packets. Nice labels, especially the ones in the lower right, Superman-esque. Bam!

So, what's it going to be, chicken or beef?

Let's go chicken, the presentation is better.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Wat Machimmaram

Just West of Kota Bharu is the town of Tumpat, an area rich in Buddhist temple complexes. It makes sense, you're practically at the border with Thailand.

One of the more grand places is Wat Machimmaram, commonly known as the sitting Buddha temple. Why?


He's a biggie, said to be about 30 meters tall. We're not sure about that measurement, maybe they're including the temple base. No matter, he's the biggest sitting Buddha in Malaysia.

Checking out some of the interiors, filled with icons and history.

Monk in wax, eerily realistic. And well lit!

Interior details. Camera and icon watching you and some fantastical, historical warnings. Hey, didn't we see some of those animal humans in Thailand? We did!

Gold Buddha in a completely unnatural setting. Green with envy?

Monday, 20 August 2018

Istana Jahar Museum In Kota Bharu

Wanna live like a royal in Malaysia? If you abide by all of the requirements proudly displayed at the Istana Jahar Museum of Royal Traditions, heavy will hang the head that wears the crown. There's no end to traditions that must be abided.

The museum is housed in an impressive former royal residence. It was built in 1887 by Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan for his grandson Long Kundur. The museum opened in 1981.

Beautiful woodwork throughout and an impeccable restoration. On to ceremonies. Many examples are displayed, frequently for reasons that seem exhausting. There's an Earth Stepping ceremony, a Bathing ceremony, the required Seven Month Pregnancy ceremony and so on. You want to be royalty? You're gonna be busy.

Your wardrobe, like living atop a wedding cake. Sweet.

More displays of ceremonies. One consistent feature: a big, rubber chicken.

Royal bed, with instructions. You did not just encourage people to...move along.

Friday, 17 August 2018

A Look At The Town Of Kota Bharu

Kota Bharu is a city in the northeast corner of peninsular Malaysia, a mostly Muslim section of the country. There are a handful of historical landmarks to see when wandering around town.

Central gate, Koran holder in the middle.

Square with clock tower. Much of the city architecture is 1960's Soviet-looking brutal concrete buildings.

Promenade on the muddy river Kelantan.

More looks, colorful balcony, top of another tower, overlooking the river (and reaching into the sky).

Bold look for the stadium.