Kelantan is a state in Malaysia that is located on the north of this beautiful Southeast Asian country. It is bordering three other Malaysian states - Terengganu, Pahang and Perak. Kelantan also has an international border with Thailand. It has a small but important exit on the South China Sea.
Kelantan doesn't belong to the group of states that have high density when it comes to population - 1.450.000 people live in an area of 15.000 km2. Almost 95% of the people living there are Malayan Muslims, with smaller Buddhist (Chinese and Thai) minority and Christian and Hindu communities too. What is interesting about Kelantan is that there are indigenous people living in this state too called Orang Asli (the literal meaning is natural people).
Although Kelantan is more homogenous state (when we talk about ethnicity) there are few things that make Kelantan people special. For example they have a specific dialect of Malayan language that can't be found anywhere else. The number of Thai people living here is minimal but yet Thai language is also used in some places. Chinese live both in some of the cities and in the villages too.
Another thing that Kelantan is famous for is its cuisine. People across Malaysia enjoy Kelantan's cuisine. Kelantanese kitchen tastes great and it looks like a perfect combination of Malaysian and Thai recipes. This cuisine is especially known for the sweet food because sugar is a must in all Kelantan dishes. They also use coconut milk, curry and other spices. Some local traditional specialties include - Nasi dagang, nasi kerabu, ayam percik etc.
Some say that Kelantan is the cradle of Malay culture because of the diverse cultural activities practiced by the people that live here. You won't see so many well preserved numerous traditions anywhere else in Malaysia. Some of them include - Dikir barat (singing in groups, often has competitive character), Mak Yong (traditional form of dance-drama recognized by UNESCO), Menora (another type of dance-drama which originates from Thailand), Wau bulan (kite flying, obviously influenced by the Chinese community), Silat (a form of martial arts), bird singing competitions and much more. Kelantan is also known for various handicraft products that are produced here like songket, batik, mengkuang and others.
Besides the harmony among the population of Kelantan and their beautiful traditions there are many objects and places worth visiting while you are there.
Istana Jahar - Istana Jahar was once a palace and nowadays it is a museum that presents the Kelantan's culture. You can see various photographs, artifacts and exhibits there.
Handicraft Village - Since Kelantan is famous for its handicrafts it is a good idea to visit the handicraft village in Kota Bharu. You can see for yourself how all those items are made.
Kota Bahru - The capital of Kelantan is considered to be the center of Malayan culture. People that live here are very pleasant and friendly toward strangers and they will do anything they can to help you.
Kuala Koh - A place where you can take a hike in the jungle or watch various exotic birds. Visiting and staying in Kelantan will definitely change your life.