PICTURE : Gunung Jerai in the background
KEDAH DARUL AMAN
Kedah Darul Aman, covers an area of 9,425 sq. km., has a population
of approximately 1.8 million. The state consisted of 12 districts
namely Kota Setar, Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Langkawi, Kuala
Muda, Yan, Sik, Baling, Kulim, Bandar Baru, Pendang and Pokok
Sena and its major towns include Alor Star, Langkawi, Sungai Petani,
Baling, kulim, Bukit Kayu Itam, Kuala Kedah, Yan, and Sik. Kedah
together with the neighbouring state Perlis are traditionally
known as the "Rice Bowl of Malaysia". Vast stretches
of rice fields dominate Kedah's panoramic landscape. Kedah offers
exotic natural attractions, the serenity of rural villages, and
endless spread of paddy fields, golden beaches, tropical rainforests
and tropical islands. Together with Perlis, Perak and Kelantan,
shares a common border with Thailand. It has the distinction of
being the "Rice Bowl of Malaysia" because the Kedah
and Perlis plains produce more than half of the country's home
grown rice supply. Alor Setar being the state capital, is the
seat of Government and the business centre of the state. With
its islands, legends, historical relics, hill stations and scenic
waterfalls, Kedah offers the visitor a variety of sights, sounds
and fun-filled activities - from beach combing to diving, water
skiing, picnicking or merely sightseeing. Kedah State has different
business hours than most of the other states. Banks and government
offices are closed on Friday. Saturday is a half-day and Sunday
is a working day. Although Kedah is Malaysia's "rice bowl",
the state is currently undertaking new fields, mainly industrial
and tourism. Industrial estates have sprung up in Kulim, Alor
Setar, Kuala Kedah, and Sungai Petani.
History of Kedah Darul Aman
Kedah is the most ancient state in the country. It dated
as far back as the 5th century AD, traders who plied the East-West
trade route stopped at Kuala Muda, using Gunung Jerai as a navigational
point. The center that attracted traders who traveled between
China and India and was an ideal resting destination then while
waiting for the monsoons to change. Early Hindu-Buddhist civilization
also left their marks in the form of temples around Lembah Bujang
(Bujang Valley). The economic abundance of Kedah drew, throughout
its history, the attention of many outside forces. Before coming
under the rule of the Malacca Empire in the 15th century, Kedah
was a reluctant vassal of the Siamese. Achinese attacks in 1618
led Kedah to seek protection from its former Siamese overlords,
causing it to fall under the latter's influence again.
In the 18th century, external pressures from Bugis, Siam and Burma
increasingly weakened Kedah. The situation was exacerbated by
a power struggle that sparked off a civil war in 1724. Raja Haji,
a Bugis leader, took advantage of the internal chaos and invaded
Kedah in 1770. To counter the continuous threat from Siam, Sultan
Abdullah Mukarram Syah appealed to the British for protection.
Sir Francis Light was appointed as his representative to achieve
this, armed with the guarantee of the exclusive leasing of Penang
to the British East Indies Company. On 11 August 1786, Light was
sent to Penang to found the first British settlement there.
In 1788, when it became apparent that the British had no intentions
of aiding him, Abdullah tried to expel Light from Penang. Light,
anticipating such a move, managed to repel this challenge and
consequently forced Abdullah to sign over Penang on 11 May 1791.
In 1800, a tract of land on the peninsula mainland, Butterworth,
was signed over to the British as well. In 1821, the Siamese conquered
Kedah and ruled it for the next 20 years. Kedah itself remained
a Siamese vassal state until 1909.
On 9 July 1909, the Bangkok Agreement, which was ratified by the
British and Siamese, effectively delivered Kedah to the British.
Upon the appointment of Sir George Maxwell as Kedah’s British
adviser, Kedah officially became a British colony. This lasted
until the Japanese Invasion in 1941. British rule resumed on 1
September 1946 and Kedah was placed under the British Military
In London the British formed the Malayan Peninsula Planning Unit
in 1943, and on 10 October 1945, the Malayan Union scheme was
laid out before the British Parliament. A day later, Sir Harold
MacMichael was sent to the Malayan Peninsula to obtain the agreement
of the Malay Rulers. According to this agreement, Penang, Malacca
and nine other Malay states were united under the Malayan Union.
Malay opposition groups derailed the Malayan Union plan, and the
Malays formed the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) under
Dato' Onn Jaafar's leadership on 11 May 1946. The Malay Federation
was founded on 1 February 1948 and on 31 August 1957, independence
At the foot of the mountain lies Lembah Bujang (Bujang Valley),
hailed as the most significant archeological site in Malaysia.
Archeological findings in the Bujang Valley such as the ancient
tomb temples called 'candi' and the statues of Indian deities
similar to those uncovered at the historical cities in India as
well as numerous other artifacts furnish evidence of a Hindu-Buddist
Kingdom dating to the 4th Century AD. Bujang Valley Archaeological
Museum in Pengkalan Bayang Merbok opens from 9.30am-5pm daily.
Gunung Jerai (1,206 metres) is the highest spot in the northern
region of Peninsular Malaysia. Myths and legends abound around
this peak, including that of a 'king with fangs' (Raja Bersiong)
who resided at the foothills of the mountain.
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Located in one of the fastest growing urban centres in Malaysia,
Swiss-Inn, Sungai Petani is a shining example of comfortable modern
accommodation coupled with gracious old-world Northern hospitality.
With 101 large rooms and fully-equipped meeting facilities, the
hotel, conveniently tucked away in the booming industrial town of
Sungai Petani offers the perfect location for business meeting and
Golf & Contry Club and Cinta Sayang Hotel is a hotel and recreation
club located 70 feet above Sungai Petani.There is a total of 210 rooms
and almostsuites. All rooms are equipped with modern ammenities and
the suites comes with its own balcony. CLICK
The Sungai Teroi Forest Recreation Park,
offers jungle trails, waterfalls and camping spots.
Air Terjun Puncak Janing
Located in Padang Terap, 25 km from Alor Setar. A
waterfall and unspoilt mountain scenery beckons.
Pedu Lake & Golf Resort
Pedu Lake & Golf Resort comprises an expanse of lake framed
by undulating hills. Located near the border of Thailand,
it is 90 km from Alor Setar. The lake teems with fresh water
fish while the tropical rainforest nearby offer birdwatching
Balai Nobat (Hall of Drums)
Balai Nobat belongs to the old Sultanate of Kedah. The Hall
features the nobat, the orchestra of royalty. It comprises
drums, gongs and a traditional flute.
Situated near Balai Nobat and facing Masjid Zahir, Balai Besar
is an impressive wooden edifice built in 1898 embodying certain
aspects of Thai architecture. This 'great hall' is used frequently
for royal and state functions.
Officially opened in 1912, this mosque is an architectural
landmark. With black domes set off against slender minarets,
its numerous arches and columns are an architectural wonder.
The Royal Museum (Muzium Di Raja) is another fine example
of local architecture hinting strongly of Thai influence in
its majestic design. Built in 1936, it houses a veritable
collection of Kedah's royal and cultural heritage.
Pekan Rabu, translated means 'Wednesday Market' but its popularity
with locals and visitors has made its business hours to be
extended throughout the entire week, from morning till midnight.
Stalls sell handicrafts as well as food. Located in Alor Setar.
Rumah Kelahiran Mahathir
This is the birth place of Malaysia's Prime Minister, Dato'
Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Other places of interest in Kedah includes Menara Alor Star,
Royal Boat House, Balai Seni Negeri ( State Art Gallery),
Nikradharam Buddhist Temple, Kuala Kedah Fort, Bukit Meriam,
Gunung Kerian Recreational Park, Gunung Jerai, Bukit Hijau
Recreational Park, Junjung Waterfall, Janing Peak, White Water
Rafting- Sungai Sedim, River Cruise-Sungai Kedah, Pantai Merdeka
Beach, Air Terjun Punchak Janing, Batu Hampar, Bukit Kayu
Hitam, Bukit Pinang, Kota Kuala Kedah, Lata Asam Jawa, Peranginan
Sik, Lata Mengkuang and Sri Perigi.
Being a border state with Thailand, Kedah has a border
entry point at Bukit Kayu Hitam. The Malaysian Railway Services
link Alor Setar with various big and small towns along the
North South track across the peninsula. North bound express
bus service and taxis operate daily from Kuala Lumpur to Alor
Setar. The North South PLUS highway leads visitors from Kuala
Lumpur up to Bukit Kayu Hitam-Hutan Kampung Toll plaza, over
a distance of 490.4km and to Alor Setar at 458.2km or a five
The airport is located approximately 11km north of Alor Setar.
Malaysia Airlines flies daily to and from
Alor Setar from Kuala Lumpur via either Penang or Kota Bharu.
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