Kedah is the northernmost state in Malaysia. Besides the continental part, an island archipelago called Langkawi is part of Kedah too. It only borders with one other Malaysian state and that’s Perlis but it has an international border with Thailand and these ties with Thailand are notable especially in the border area.
It doesn’t cover a large area (9000 km2) but it has a population of 1.900.000 people which makes it a densely populated state. The populace is constituted by the three main ethnic groups in Malaysia – Malays (77%), Chinese (14%) and Indians (7%) with small Christian community too, which makes it very heterogeneous state when it comes to ethnicities. The diversity comes as a result of the historical events that took place here rather than modern time migrations because Kedah doesn’t have such strong economy.
Kedah can be proud of its history and the first archeological evidence about presence of a civilization here dates back 2100 years ago when a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom was established in this region. According to some experts Kedah was the home of the oldest civilization in Southeastern Asia. A lot of civilizations settled here during the last two millennia. Hindu, Chinese, Srivijaya, Siam, Malacca Sultanate, Portuguese, Aceh, British all left their influence here. It was the beauty of this country that made it so popular. Since 1963 it is part of Malaysia as a Sultanate.
Because of the beautiful Langkawi Island, Kedah is now recognized on the tourist map. Langkawi Island is also known as the jewel of Kedah. Langkawi is actually a group of more than 100 islands most of them are uninhabited. It has a World Geopark status given by UNESCO. There are a lot of parks here and beautiful beaches too and this is what makes Langkawi popular for both home and foreign tourists.
The mainland has its own attractions which will bring attention of every visitor of Kedah. For example Bujah Valley is a perfect place to visit if you love history and archeology. Ruins that are hundreds of years old lay on the ground and waiting for people to explore them. Since rice is the main product that is grown here Kedah has its own Rice Museum called Paddy Museum. Another interesting place is Gunung Keriang – a limestone hill with unusual shape where you can explore caves, visit a recreational park and buy some crystals. For people that love hiking visiting Gunung Jerai is a must. Here you can feel the fresh air from the mountain and have a view on the region (Straits of Malacca). Forestry Museum is also located nearby. While you wait to go Langkawi you can visit the Kuala Kedah Fort, a place with rich history where few battles took place in the past.
When it comes to ethnic and religious diversity it is not unusual to see people from different religions celebrating some festival together. It’s been like this for decades and the modern times didn’t change that. People are very traditional but tolerant too.