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
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
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
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 was declared.
Places of Interest
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.
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 and
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 hours drive.
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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