Top 9 Alor Setar Attractions (2022)

alor setar

(source: theislanddrum.com)

Alor Setar is the capital of Kedah, a state located in Peninsular Malaysia. This city is also the second-largest in the state after Sungai Petani. The name Alor Setar is derived from two Malay words: “alor”, which means small stream, and “setar”, the plum mango. If you are planning for a holiday in this city, here are some of the Alor Setar attractions popular among locals and foreigners.

1. Zahir Mosque

Zahir Mosque

(source: 20umme.com)

The royal mosque of Kedah, Zahir Mosque, is situated in the state of Alor Setar. It is one of the grandest and oldest Alor Setar attractions that has been voted as one of the top 10 most beautiful mosques in the world. Inspired by the Azizi Mosque of Bandar Langkat, North Sumatra, this mosque built in 1912 was once a burial cemetery for Kedah warriors who died defending the city from Siamese invasions in 1821.

However, today, this magnificent mosque awes people with its grand and elegant architecture, with its striking black domes as its main feature. They are designed with Malay-Islamic influence, where you would be able to see the five pillars of Islam being represented through the five domes. As you explore this mosque, you will come across the highlight of this mosque: the inner dome that is beautifully adorned with carvings of verses from the Holy Quran.

2. Alor Setar Tower (Menara Alor Setar)

Alor Setar Tower (Menara Alor Setar)
Alor Setar Tower is recognised as a popular tourist attraction in the north and as the third tallest telecommunication tower in Malaysia. This 165.5 metres tall skyscraper is a working telecommunication and broadcasting tower maintained by Telekom Malaysia Berhad to serve the nation. The tower’s shape mirrors “serumpun padi” or tied rice clusters dedicated to Kedah as the state is known as the “Jelapang Padi” or “rice bowl” of Malaysia. This structure is supported by an enormous pillar that implies tiang seri, which signifies the strength of the people of Kedah.

Apart from its elegant exterior, you can also observe the whole of Alor Setar and its surroundings at the observation deck. Located 88 metres above sea level, you would be able to see through every nook and cranny of the city through the automated binoculars available to all visitors here. For those who are braver, there are two glass box units constructed on the Open Deck at the height of 105 metres to give visitors a novel “Star View” experience.

3. Kedah Paddy Museum

Paddy Museum
The Kedah Paddy Museum is huge, with three levels and a total area of 12,000 square metres. The museum is dedicated to rice and paddy, the world’s most important crop, and was erected on land owned by the Malaysian Agricultural Development Authority. The structure of the building is intended to represent bushels of harvested rice stalks.

This museum explains the process of cultivating paddy and exhibits numerous rice varieties and the equipment and tools used in paddy cultivation throughout history and various nations. However, the highlight of this Alor Setar attraction is the 360 degrees realistic 3D mural paintings. There are also several photo locations where you may snap photos in costume and edit them to incorporate a paddy field background.

4. Mount Keriang (Gunung Keriang)

Mount Keriang (Gunung Keriang)

(source: Amazing Kedah/facebook)

Mount Keriang is a 217.92 metres high ancient limestone mountain that dates back to the Permian and Early Triassic conodonts in northwestern Peninsular Malaysia. It is located in the middle of a rice field close to the Kedah Paddy Museum, about 2 hours from Alor Setar, the capital city of Kedah. To get to the summit of one of the tallest Alor Setar attractions, you will only need to walk along the trails with concrete railings for 30 minutes.

The view from the top of the mountain will remind you why Kedah is known as the “rice bowl” of Malaysia. Unlike everywhere else, an early morning hike will allow you to watch the golden sun slowly rise over the green paddy fields. The breathtaking sunrise from this vantage point is not to be missed.

5. Birth Home of Tun Dr Mahatir (Rumah Kelahiran Tun Dr Mahathir)

Birth Home of Tun Dr Mahatir (Rumah Kelahiran Tun Dr Mahathir)
Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, better known as Tun. M was a Malaysian politician and medical doctor who served as the Prime Minister for two terms. The Birth Home of Tun Dr Mahathir is a museum dedicated to several of his contributions and services, including guiding the country’s transformation into an industrialised nation. It is located in Jalan Kebun, where he was brought up.

This Alor Setar attraction is divided into two sections: the birth house of Tun Dr Mahathir and the gallery building, which displays Tun Mahathir’s possessions. The museum depicts his life from childhood till he became a politician and finally his retirement due to health concerns. The museum retains the allure and ambience of the 1960s and 1970s, which will ensure that all of his admirers and followers would enjoy a visit to the museum.

6. Nobat Hall (Balai Nobat)

Nobat Hall (Balai Nobat)

(source: tripadvisor.com.my)

This three-level octagonal Nobat Hall building serves as a storage facility for Nobat musical instruments, among Malaysia’s oldest and most historical musical instruments. These musical instruments are played to accompany major ceremonial events such as the coronation, royal funeral, and other official events in the country. The Nobat Hall, initially made of timber, was restored by the late Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah using stone and metal.

7. Wat Nikrodharam Temple

Wat Nikrodharam Temple

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One of the most significant Alor Setar attractions is the cross-cultural Wat Nikrodharam Temple located between Telok Wanjah and Jalan Stadium, near the roundabout. The architecture of the temple features vital Thai elements with minor Chinese motifs. Both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions are practised and respected here.

The best time to visit this temple is during Wesak Day, the full moon day of the Vaisakha month. The temple will be crowded with worshippers from all over the country making their annual pilgrimage to worship and ask for joy and happiness, and to offer their gratitude to the gods.

8. Al-Bukhary Mosque

Al-Bukhary Mosque

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Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, a local businessman who made his fortune in the transportation sector, built the Al-Bukhary Mosque as one of his numerous charitable deeds. It is located near the Albukhary International University and shares space with Albukhary Complex, a prominent Islamic centre. Muslims can visit the mosque for prayers and hear sermons and religious talks that could help them unwind. As for the non-Muslims, you are welcome to photograph in one of the most beautiful Alor Setar attractions as long as they adhere to the dress codes.

9. Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon
If you’re looking for one of the most popular Alor Setar attractions to take beautiful pictures, you can head to the Blue Lagoon. The primary irrigation system for the neighbouring paddy fields is responsible for the blue water in the lake. Depending on the time of day and the weather, the lake’s colour changes from blue to slightly grey. On a cloudy day, the lake will appear greyish and bright blue on a sunny day.

So, be sure to check the weather app before coming here so that you get to take a photo of the lake in the colour of your choice. The stunning reflection of the sky can be perfectly captured if the camera is placed at the right angle.

With so many things to do in this city, Alor Setar is a pleasant city with a welcoming population. Though it is not as well known as other Malaysian cities, it retains its rural beauty and the northern Malay dialect. Not only that, the culture is preserved in landmarks, history is presented in museums, and magnificent nature can be seen virtually anywhere. So take a chance and visit the many natural and historical Alor Setar attractions.