INTRODUCTION TO ALOR STAR
DIRECTIONS TO ALOR STAR
Alor Star is approachable by all transport means. Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia serve daily flights from Kuala Lumpur, with the period of 45 minutes of travel time. Alor Star is also accessible via North-South Expressway from all major cities including Kuala Lumpur, approximately 6-8 hours away. There is an inter-city train station located in the city that serves trains to all major stations.
GETTING AROUND ALOR STAR
Once you are in the city, taxis or cabs are available at the airport and throughout the city. Rental cars are available at the airport. Local bus services serve around the city and almost all towns in Kedah.
THINGS TO DO
- Muzium Padi - It is a museum about all you want to know about paddy. Paddy is what rice are come from.
- Balai Seni Negeri (State Art Gallery) - The Kedah State Art Gallery was set up with the objective of fostering interest in and an appreciation of art in the state. Its collection includes paintings, photographs, musical instruments and handicrafts. Temporary exhibitions are held at regular intervals.
- Masjid Zahir (Zahir State Mosque) - The Zahir Mosque occupies a site of approximately 124,412 square feet. Its center hall (Prayer Hall) measures 62 x 62 square feet and surrounded by verandahs of 8 feet wide with 4 mezzanine areas of each has a dome. The main dome is located at the north-east of the mosque building. It is one of the grandest and oldest mosques in Malaysia.
- Menara Alor Star (Alor Star Tower) - 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 are a rotating restaurant named Restoran Sei Angkasa.
- Mahathir Birthplace - The fouth Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad was born on 10 July 1925 at the house near ice factory at Kampung Seberang Perak.
- Car tour of Yan - only if you arrive by car from south, exit North-South Expressway at Sungai Petani (30 km to south), drive to Merbok to see archealogy museum, then to Tanjong Dawai fishing village, buy belacan (shrimp paste used for cooking), then to Yan town, proceed to Kuala Kedah fort then have dinner at Perindu, a seafood place. Then to downtown hotel. This tour takes leisurely 6 hours.
General shopping can be made around the city. Alor Star offers a wide variety of goods, whether they are local or imported. Souvenirs can be purchase at Alor Star's main tourist destination.
Main shopping spots are:
- Pekan Rabu - Located in front of Pekan Rabu's main bus stop. It offers local goods such including traditional food and crafts.
- City Plaza - The major shopping complex in Alor Star. Sitting together with Holiday Villa Hotel, the complex offers entertainment, shopping and food. It has restaurants, bowling alleys, arcade center, cineplexes and shops that sell cloths, shoes, mobile phones and souvenirs.
- Star Parade - Another major shopping spot in Alor Star. It has Malaysia's very own Pacific Departmental Store. The mall offers a wide variety of shops.
- Alor Star Mall - The mall is located near the North-South Expressway EXIT Alor Star Selatan/South. It is one of the newest malls in Alor Star which has another Pacific Store. Alor Star Mall's Pacific Store offers a wide range of clothing for men, women and children. The brands include Levi's, Adidas and Diesel.
- Souq Al-Bukhary - The newest mall and bazaar in Alor Star. It is considered as the modern version of Pekan Rabu.
- Persiaran Sultan Abdul Hamid (Sultan Abdul Hamid Drive) - Located in Jalan Pegawai, it is the best drive in Alor Star. The drive has spas, boutiques, restaurants, antique shop etc. Anything you can imagine.
- Fishermen's Ikan Kembong, famous warong (roadside eatery)on road to Kuala Kedah, at junction of road to Yan. Place only open from 11am and close at 1pm. Real fishermen's cuisine liked by the townfolks.
- Laksa Telok Kechai, midway on the Alor Star - Kuala Kedah road. Famous local rice noodle in fish gravy. Inconspicuous shop, ask locals. Open from 7pm until midnight.
Choices of hotels in Alor Star is very small but you still can get some pleasant sleep in these modern hotels:
- Holiday Villa, located in the middle of the city. It is adjacent to City Plaza shopping center. This is the best hotel in the city with 4-star rating.
- Grand Continental Hotel, located in the middle of the city, sits beside Kedah Supermarket and near Pekan Rabu. The hotel is well-known for its food, especially during Ramadan (fasting) month.
There are other alternative to hotel: home stay houses. Located at major residential areas (taman in Malay) such as Taman Uda. Other relatively cheap hotels are:
- Regency Hotel
- Grand Crystal Hotel
- Sentosa Hotel