Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kota Bharu In A Nutshell

I just returned from Kota Bharu, the state capital of Kelantan and a visit here is definitely an eye opener as this is my first time here.

From the air, Kota Bharu pretty much reminds me of my hometown with its brownish river. Upon questioning the locals, I found there is quite a timber activities upstream around Gua Musang.

What I like about Kelantan is the carefree life and slower pace of life compare to the bigger cities. Its uneven road also had a lot of resemblance to my hometown. There aren't many cars around the town centre which make walking an ideal way to explore the town.

It also has ample of walkway by the shop and roadside for pedestrian to navigate through the town. Grab a map and one should able to find their way around.

The Siti Khadijah market is one of the most prominent landmarks here where the locals can get their fresh vegetables and meat.

The Sultan Ismail Arch is another well known structure here. The royal palace and several museums are located around this area.

One will notice it is almost mandatory to have the jawi characters on all of the shop signboards.

This clock tower is another prominent landmark for the town at the intersection of Jalan Gajah Mati, Jalan Hospital and Jalan Sultan Ibrahim.

The open night market along Jalan Pintu Pong is another attraction here. Food, clothes, batik and pirated DVDs are available here and the price can be bargained.

There is also a Chinatown at Jalan Kebun Sultan. Even though this is an Islamic state, beers are sold at Chinese restaurant around the town.

Kota Bharu Trade Centre is one of the more modern shopping mall in the town centre. The biggest shopping mall would be the KB Mall which is a bit further away.

I also notice while paying at the cashier counter here, there are segregated payment counters for man and woman.

I was lucky to be here when the football fans here are all pumped up because their team made it to the Malaysia Cup Final for the second consecutive year. Most of the activities centred around the Sultan Muhamad IV stadium, which also happen to be the home ground for the "Red Warrior".

For the record, the state is under the control of the Opposition Government and I think they did a decent job for Kota Bharu and the people here.

I really have a nice time here. The people are friendly and the life style here is pretty much what I been looking for.

There will be more posts about Kota Bharu in the next few weeks.

Friday, October 29, 2010

IOI Boulevard

IOI Boulevard is probably the latest entertainment outlet I came across recently. It is just located opposite the IOI Mall along the LDP Highway.

Its has an open air concept where patrons could either seat outside or sit inside the air conditioned restaurants and bars located here. The spacious concourse here is suitable for a big events and exhibition.

Most of the bars here served German wheat beers with pork based meals. Japanese restaurants can also be spotted here. I believe this place is created for the city folks to unwind after a hard day at work.

I have no idea how the atmosphere here looks like at night as I usually come for beers during happy hour (before 7pm) in the weekends. I reckon it must be a happening place especially during weekends night.

There is a public toilet outside the complex which is pretty posh and the best part is that the toilet is air conditioned.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Munich Gastro Bierhaus

I finally manage to visit Munich Gastro Bierhaus in IOI Boulevard, Puchong as I was dying for some German wheat beer. It has quite a relaxing atmosphere as the place is not noisy and crowded in the afternoon.

I ordered Erdinger Hefe (which means unfiltered wheat beer in German). Erdinger beer is mostly served in German bars here recently and I have yet to taste it.

Erdinger is served from draught in a 500ml glass (RM 28). I must say I am quite disappointed with Erdinger as it is a good wheat beer but not as stunning as the other wheat beers I had tasted so far. Somehow, it is hard for me to detect the key banana and clove notes in the flavour. However, Erdinger Hefe is easy to drink and refreshing on a hot afternoon.

I ordered another wheat beer, the Franziskaner Dunkel (which mean dark wheat beer in German). Again, this came from a draught and served in a 500ml glass (RM 28).

This is again another disappointing drinking experience as Franziskaner Dunkel failed to lived up to my expectation (as I previously drank Franziskaner Hefe and I was impressed). Its taste was subtler than the Hefe version but still has the underlying flavours which distinguished it as a wheat beer.

Maybe I had made the wrong choice but I will definitely try the Weihenstephan which I heard very good review about this wheat beer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

National Mosque Malaysia

The National Mosque, located in Kuala Lumpur is an architecture tribute to Islam, the official religion of Malaysia.

Situated on 13 acres, the mosque houses a central courtyard measuring 153 sq feet and a tower with over 245 steps. The mosque was completed in 1965 and capable of accommodating up to 15, 000 worshipers during prayers. It also houses a library, offices and mausoleum for the nation's heroes.

The prayers times are conspicuously displayed.

It also has a spacious square with Islamic influence and architecture.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Merdeka Square

Just opposite the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a large field which hold a significant value for the country.

It was here that the Malaysian flag was raised for the very first time at 0001 on 31st August 1957 to replace the Union Jack, thus signifying the end of British rule over Malaya and the end of colonisation.

It is also here that Malaysians regardless of race and belief, throng in the thousands on the eve of 31st August every year to usher in yet another year of independence.

At the very end of the square, stands a 95m flag pole which is among the tallest in the world

The Merdeka Square was previously known as the Selangor Club Padang which was built in 1884 by the British during their colonisation of Malaya. The strategic site and exclusive location resembled the atmosphere and environment of their homeland. The field was a popular venue for social activities and occasionally used for the game of cricket.

The club house is still operational until this very day and the figure "125" on it indicate that it just celebrated its 125th anniversary.

At the corner of the square stands a beautiful fountain which was built in 1897 and adorned with dog figures all around it.