Paddy Museum (Muzium Padi) is the first paddy museum in Malaysia, and the fourth to be opened in the world after Japan, German and Philippine. It is located at the foot of Gunung Keriang, which is about 8 km to the northwest of Alor Setar's city.
It is one of Kedah's pride as an important tourist destination in the state, which is known as the Rice Bowl state of Malaysia due to its important economic contribution to the country. The museum serves as an honour to the history, culture and significance of paddy farming in Kedah.
It was officially opened by KDYMM Tuanku Sultan Haji Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, the Sultan of Kedah on 12th October, 2004 at a cost of RM24.7 million.
Paddy Museum features unique roof design that portrays bushels of harvested rice stalks. And not only that, throughout the building, visitors will also notice that the rice motifs are repeated almost everywhere on gate, fence and even the staircase banisters.
The museum consists of three levels, exhibits materials and items related to paddy that includes the culture, research and development as well as the extension of paddy technology.
Its spiral staircase leads visitors to the top most portion that offers a spectacular bird's eye view of a revolving wall galleries. The mural displays the stages of rice cultivation from ploughing, planting, threshing and winnowing. Visitors will be mesmerized by the reverse effect of the revolving platform that they are standing on while enjoying the view of the mural without realizing that in actual fact the scenery is not rotating around them.
This massive circular mural has an overall length of 103 meters in circumference and with a height of 8 meters tall, was a masterpiece artwork of 60 artists from North Korea.
Open Daily :
Saturday - Thursday 10.00 am - 6.00 pm
Friday 10.00 am - 12.30 pm
2.30 pm - 6.00 pm
Admission Fee :
Adult - RM 3.00 / Child- RM 1.00
Camera - RM 2.00 Per item
Muzium Padi - Tel : +604-7351315
Lembaga Muzium Negeri Kedah - Tel : +604-7331162
Bukit Hijau Recreational Forest
In the district of Baling, Kedah.
Coordinates of the park are N 5 30.083 E 100 46.333
You can access the Google Map here.
Natural Heritage Status:
The park is famous for its seven-level cascading waterfalls.
Sg Mempelam from Gunung Inas flows through the park.
The park situated within Gunung Inas Forest Reserve.
Evidence of ancient geological formation at the cascading waterfalls need more research. It could be from Cambrian age. Possible finding includes rock debris and fossils.
There is a herb garden within the park.
Huge tualang (Koompassia excelsa) tree with bee hives found in the park.
Bukit Hijau Recreational Forest
Bukit Hijau Waterfall
Present status as recreational forest.
To the park: The level of accessibility to the park is relative easy and straight forward.
Paved road and easily accessible with land transport. Signboards were placed from the Butterworth-Grik highway until the park.
There is no public transport service. A taxi can be hired from Butterworth or the nearest town (eg Kulim and Kuala Kertil) to Bukit Hijau Recreational Forest.
In the park: Accessibility in the park is with the cement walkway crisscrossing Sungai Mempelam until the top waterfall.
Bridge over the waterfall
Entrance to the park is privatized.
Motorcycle - RM1
Car - RM2
Van/ MPV - RM4
Bus - RM8
Level of Development:
The park has been over developed to cater for the public as eco-tourism area.
Huts, rest areas and bridges were built to cater for picnickers as well as campers.
There were also developments for groups in team building, eco-tourism and group activities.
There are 2 villages near the park – Kg Jerenang and Ulu Bakai with an estimated 300 households.
Average arrival figure per day :
Public Holiday is about 2000 persons.
Weekend is about 500 persons.
Weekday is about 150 persons.
The park is frequented by the local community as well as tourists from other states in Malaysia. Foreign tourists occasionally drop by the park. The carrying capacity of the park has saturated. Parking spaces and picnic areas could not cater especially during the public holidays. The Forestry Department does not have any control on the influx of figures. Parking and accommodation are under a private company. Rubbish can be seen everywhere within the park.
To help increase the popularity, the Forestry Department is building more sheds and access road cutting into hill slopes. No mitigation control seen.
(as at May 2008)There are 16 well furnished chalets. The chalets are isolated from the public area.
A large campsite for at least 300 campers is provided within the park.
Chalets and campsite are frequented by locals.
Chalet per night is RM100. Campsite per tent is RM9.
Camp rental at RM25 per tent that can accommodate only 4 pax.
Signboards on the availability of chalets can be seen along the route to the park.
Brochures are widely distributed at the park entrance.
Chalets at the park
Garbage: The biggest threat of the park is garbage disposal. A large heap of rubbish was found hidden away from public view within the park.
Attitude: Attitude of local picnickers in discarding garbage without any consideration of the cleanliness of the park.
Over-development: Cutting of hill slopes to make way for heavy machinery to reach the upper reaches of the waterfall is detrimental to the fauna and flora of the park. The park should be left in the pristine state with minimum development. Ironically there was an open burning at the construction site near a signboard disallowing open burning.
Enforcement by the park authority.
More rubbish bins should be placed at strategic areas.
Declaration of water bottles and food packages brought into the park.
Disallow food into the park (this mitigation was very successful in the national park of Thailand)
An on going conservatory projects by the Forestry Department include planting rare local fruiting trees and medicinal herbs.
There are plan to increase the herbs in the herb garden to more than 100 species.
A hectare of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) has also been planted.
Development should not be over done against the conservation of flora and fauna.
Ancient geological formation
Benefits to Local Communities:
Local communities involved in retail outlets – food stores and sundries inside the park. Outside the park, the locals also set up stores to sell drinks, swimming apparatus and fruits. The bulk of benefit goes to the private company that manages the accommodation, campsites and garbage collection.
How to Get There
If you are coming from North-South Highway (PLUS), you should exit at the Butterworth – Grik Highway and head towards Grik. Follow the highway all the way towards the east. Some 45 km from Butterworth, you should see the signboard to Bukit Hijau Recreational Forest. Turn right at the traffic lights. You will travel another 12 km from the junction to the park following the signboards all the way.
Map to Bukit Hijau Recreational Forest
Pegawai Hutan Daerah,
Pejabat Hutan Daerah Kedah Selatan,
Tel : 04-49003760
Pejabat Hutan Lipur Bukit Hijau,
Hutan Lipur Bukit Hijau
Kedah Darul Aman
Nur Bukit Hijau Chalet
Perkampungan Latihan & Rekreasi
Hutan Lipur Bukit Hijau
Kedah Darul Aman
Kedah Fort (Kota Kuala Kedah) is situated at the mouth of the Kedah river, less than 10 kn from Kedah's capital Alor Setar. Rectangular in shape, its sits on the northern bank of the river, with its west wall facing the Straits of Melaka, the south wall overlooking the river towards the town of Kuala Kedah, the north wall facing a thick mass of mangrove swamps and the east wall facing a small fishing village and padi fields. Surrounding the landward facing walls is a water-filled moat, known locally as Alor Melaka.
While it was still a functioning military outpost, it housed buildings for a royal palace, guard houses, canteens, an arsenal and numerous thatched huts where they soldiers lived. A drawbridge at the main gate spanned the Alor Melaka on the east side. It was ringed with brass cannons on all sides except the wall facing the mangrove swamps.
It is ironic that a fort that was to become the scene of so many last ditch struggles for Kedah's independence, actually began life as an outpost for the Malay Peninsula's first Western colonizers - the Portuguese. Formerly called Kuala Bahang and the fort was built during the reign of Sultan Sulaiman of Kedah (1602-1619) with the help of the Portuguese. Its very rectangular shape indicates that it probably served more as a trading factory for use by the Portuguese rather than a military fortification designed with bastions, strong points and fields of fire. Nevertheless, being an outpost occupied by the Portuguese, it certainly became a target for their main adversary during the period - Acheh. The Achehnese Sultan Mahkota Alam attacked the fort in 1619, expelling the Portuguese from the fort. Mahkota Alam went on to conquer the rest of the State, bringing back with him over 7000 captives to Acheh, including the unfortunate Sultan.
Kedah purchased over 30 cannon from the Portuguese in 1650, some of which were used to strengthen Kota Kuala Kedah's defences. These were to indeed prove useful during the Bugis period of dominance in the next century. The Bugis leader Daeng Parani, with a strong force of 62 war boats from Riau and Selangor, invaded Kedah in 1724 and took an active part in the power struggle between Sultan Muhammad Jiwa and the Sultan's younger brother who was plotting to overthrow him. Daeng Parani sided with the ruling Sultan, while the Sultan's younger brother invited Raja Kechil and his Minangkabau followers to oust the Bugis from Kedah. Raja Kechil occupied Kota Kuala Kedah but another fleet of warboats led by Daeng Parani's brother, Daeng Merewah, succeeded in driving Raja Kechil and his forces out of Kedah back to Siak. The war lasted two years and devastated Kedah.
The Bugis were again playing kingmakers when, in 1771, they supported dissident forces in Kedah out to depose the ruling Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah. They captured Kota Kuala Kedah that year and it is said they seized over 300 brass cannons of all calibres in the battle. However, the Sultan obtained the help of the English trader-adventurer Captain Francis Light, who re-captured the fort for the Sultan and used it as a base. In return, Light promised to use the fort to protect the Sultan from any attacks that might take place from the Kedah river estuary. It was probably this promise that led the Sultan to believe for so long that English would provide him with military aid against his enemies - in particular his overlords the Siamese. This promise that was never kept.
The fort had earlier been constructed of hardened clay and earthworks, reinforced with stout timber beams. In 1771, Sultan Abdullah decided to strengthen it further - particularly to take into account the much larger calibre cannon now being used by his adversaries the Bugis and the Siamese, as well as the new siege tactics of the time. Its walls were made stouter with stonework and brickwork and incorporated 'modern' features such as parapets and peepholes for firing muskets. The cannon were also replaced with bigger calibre guns purchased from the English, Dutch, Achehnese, Minangkabaus and Brunei Malays. Construction was finally completed in 1780.
Earlier fears of the Siamese was realized when, at noon on Sunday November 12th, 1821, a large fleet from Siam sailed into Kuala Kedah. Not knowing their intentions, the Siamese were welcomed with great ceremony when they landed by the fort commander Bendahara Dato' Paduka Maharaja Sura. While being lead around for a tour of the fort, the Thai commander, the Raja of Ligor, Phya Buri Sakmuton, suddenly ordered his men to attack. Taken completely by surprise, the garrison was massacred. The Sultan fled to Penang and, from there, planned a war of resistance to the Siamese.
In 1831, the Sultan's son Tunku Kudin led 3000 Malays out of Prai and drove the Siamese from Kedah. However, facing a Siamese army of 7,500 men and 3,000 elephants, Ku Din was driven back and cornered in Kuala Kedah fort with only a few hundred men. The Siamese could not breach the fort's stout walls and had to build wooden siege towers overlooking the fort, from which they released murderous musket fire upon the defenders. After a bloody siege lasting three months, the fort was stormed and Ku Din's head was sent to Bangkok.
Alor Star / Alor Setar is located in the Kota Setar District, northern Kedah and is the capital of the state. This settlement became the capital in 18th century under the reign of 19th sultan, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin Muazzam Shah .
The town was originally called Kota Setar until 1943 when it was changed to Alor Star. Alor Star is the administrative capital and seat of the state government and legislative assembly. Located here are the government departments, royal palaces, many heritage buildings, museums and cultural centres. Alor Star is the historical enclave of Kedah.
Alor Star is said to be derived from the words ‘alor’ which mean river channel and ‘setar’, a tree called pohon setar (Bouea macrophylla). The pohon setar grew along the river banks that flows pass the settlement of Alor Star. In the old days, visitors traveling by boat to the settlement would rest under these trees along the riverbanks. Thus the resting place became known as Alor Star. The local Chinese population refers to the town simply as ‘Ketah’ (Kedah).
Alor Setar is located on the northern part of Kedah, about 90km from Butterworth, 60 KM from Sungai Petani and over 250km from Kuala Lumpur. A short drive from Alor Star takes you to Kuala Kedah, where you can take a boat to island. There is a domestic airport nearby.
Balai Besar, or Great Hall, is a heritage structure in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia. The original structure dates back to the founding of Alor Star in 1735, and was built by Alor Star's founder, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Abidin (1710-1778), the 19th ruler of the Kedah Sultanate, as the Balai Rong Seri, or Audience Hall.
The Balai Besar was destroyed and rebuilt a few times. It was brought down by the Bugis invasion of 1770, and the same happened in the Siamese invasion in 1821. The present structure dates back to 1893, during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah.
In 1904, the Balai Besar was the venue of a lavish wedding ceremonies for the Sultan's five eldest sons and daughters. The extravagant affair lasted three months, from June to September, and almost bankrupted the state.
The Balai Besar was also the venue of the installation of a new sultan, namely Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Halim Shah II (1804-1845) and Tuanku Sultan Haji Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah on 20 February 1959.
How to go to Balai Besar
Balai Besar is located along Jalan Pekan Melayu, just face to face with Masjid Zahir, in the middle of the city of Alor Star.
Balai Nobat (Nobat Hall) - This octagonal-shaped tower houses the nobat, the instruments of the state royal orchestra.
Although this 18 metre-tall and 5 metre-wide building is closed to the public, its interesting to know that its sole purpose is to house the royal musical instrument set known as the Nobat. The Nobat is played only by the Royal Orchestra during royal ceremonies including inaugurations, royal births, weddings, and funerals. It is believed that the Nobat originated from the Hindustani culture centuries ago when one of the brothers of the then ruling Sultan made a visit there.
This nine-piece muscial set is comprised of three drums, a gong, two flutes, two instruments called the cheng-cheng, and and a trumpet-like instrument called the Nafiri, which produces the haunting strains of nobat music.
Balai Seni Negeri, or State Art Gallery, is one of the first modern government buildings constructed in Alor Star, Kedah. The person responsible for the project was Muhammad bin Lebai Tambi, an architect with the Kedah State Public Works Department who was also responsible for the reconstruction of Balai Besar.
The Balai Seni Negeri was originally used as the High Court. Construction began in 1893, and it was opened by Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah. From 1912 until 1983, it housed various government departments. It was eventually turned into the State Art Gallery, or Balai Seni Negeri on 25 July 1983 in conjunction with the Silver Jubilee of the reign of Tunku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah. When I visited the Balai Seni Negeri to document it for AsiaExplorers, I saw that the building was under restoration, and had just been given a fresh coat of paint.
Dr. Mahathir’s Place of Birth - this simple wooden house was the birthplace of the former Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Dr. Mahatir Mohammad.
Masjid Zahir- One of the most beautiful mosques in the country, Masjid Zahir was officially opened in 1912.
Menara Alor Star(Alor Star Tower) - At 165.5 meters, the Alor Star Tower is the second tallest communications tower in Malaysia. There is also a restaurant above.
Located in the heart of Alor Setar, this tower, standing at 165.5 metres tall is a prominent and modern landmark that signifies the rapid development in the state of Kedah. It functions as both a telecommunications tower and a tourist attraction. The Tower's platform allows visitors to enjoy a breathtaking view, that stretches from Gunung Jerai (formerly known as Kedah Peak) to the Strait of Malacca. From the tower, you will see vast expanses of paddy fields which lies outside of Alor Setar - an amazing view especially during harvest time. It's the second tallest tower in Malaysia.
Muzium Di Raja (Royal Museum) - Eight Hindu Maharajas is believed to have ruled Kedah from the 4th century AD before the ninth maharaja who converted to Islam in 1136 and ruled as Sultan Muzaffar Shah. The Sultanate of Kedah is usually traced back to this first sultan and the royal line has been intact for more than eight centuries.
Muzium Negeri (State Museum) - The State Museum holds many of the state’s historical treasures some donated by the people of Kedah.
Nikradharam Buddhist Temple - located in the centre of the city is of typical Siamese architecture.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial - Tunku Abdul Rahman was the first prime Minister of Malaysia.
Wan Mat Saman Canal - This was longest and most renowned canal built in Kedah.
Pekan Rabu Bazaar - the most renowned bazaar in the state. In the Malay language, Pekan Rabu name means ‘Wednesday Market’, but this bazaar opens throughout the week from morning till midnight. The bazaar sell clothing, Asian and local handicraft, and typically Kedah local foodstuff.
Tour of Kedah River Kedah River cuts the city of Alor Star; a tour will take you pass kampong, and see some of the historical sights of Alor Setar. Take a river ride from the jetty near Masjid Zahir.
The charm of Kedah also lies in the blissfully golden beaches and paradise islands. The very mention of beaches and islands one’s mind would naturally linger to the legendary isle of Langkawi. One of Langkawi’s best beaches is Tanjung Rhu which is located 22 km from Kuah.
Pantai Cenang, about 18.4 km from Kuah is the liveliest stretch on the island with restaurants and food outlets offering wide selection of local treats as well as continental fare. This long stretch of white sandy beach flanked by coconut palms provide ample lodging facilities ranging from simple A - frame huts to five star luxury hotels. Further south of Pantai Cenang is Pantai Tengah with more lodgings and souvenir outlets. The most ideal retreat for sunbathing and swimming is Pantai Kok which is 24.8 km away from Kuah.
The crystal clear water and the white powdering sand infringed by swaying palms are indeed a natural haven for those seeking solitude. The 1.5 km long stretch of white sandy beach of Datai Bay is another tranquil retreat. The Golf Club, Datai Bay offers players breathtaking beauty as well as a quality golfing experience. The main island of Pulau Langkawi is no doubt famed for its breathtaking landscapes, ancient myths and legends. Similarly the 104 isles that make up Pulau Langkawi are endowed with unexplored wonders. Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Tuba, Pulau Singa Besar and Pulau Rebak to name a few are among the most well-known.
The islands are perfect venues to indulge in water – based recreational pursuits such as wind surfing, canoeing, snorkelling, scuba diving and sailing. There are also island cruises or expeditions and visitors can enjoy the archipelago while sitting back and enjoying the scenic view. You can also explore the marvels of these islands yourself by means of mountain biking or jungle trekking. Or if you choose to engage in less vigorous activities, you may enjoy the wide variety of indoor activities that are offered. For those who want to be pampered after a long day of exciting activities, the service of masseurs is available. The beaches of mainland Kedah are equally spellbinding.
Most popular is Pantai Merdeka which has been an ideal tourist venue even long before Langkawi's fame. Located about 26km from the town of Sungai Petani, there are adequate facilities for water sport activities. The beach is also excellent for swimming at high tide.