Alor Setar

HISTORY

A plaque near Dataran Alor Setar commemorates the spot where the city was founded. ‘Alor’ is the Malay word for channel while ‘setar’ is the name of the fruit-bearing trees that grew on the side of the riverbed. ...Continue

Discover more

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

Alor Setar’s lifestyle reflects its tradition of socio-cultural diversity that is build around its strong and distinctive Malay/Thai roots.

These roots are reflected in the local variation of the Malay language with its own slang and dialects. as well as in the food, songs and dances. ...Continue

Discover more

ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

The mainstay of the state and Alor Setar’s economy are tied up with its agricultural base and the tourism industry. The state has long been the rice bowl of the country and also has a popular local and foreign tourist attraction in Langkawi island ...Continue

Discover more

KOPITIAM AND EATERIES


Iman Kuey Teow

Sultanah Bahiyah Highway, Taman Pandan, 05250 Alor Setar, Kedah

+6 013-674 9320


Restoran Atap Rumbia

No. 29, Jalan Teluk Wanjah (224.91 Mi) Alor Setar 05200

+6 017-563 6743


Mat Cucur Udang

White Palace 919, Jalan Sultan Badlishah, Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

+6 012-558 5592

 

...Continue
Discover more

SHOPPING

No. Shopping malls/plazas Address & Contact
1. Alor Setar Mall Lot F29(Ground Floor) A/S Kawasan Perusahaan, Tandop, 05400 Alor Setar, Kedah

04-772 9233

...Continue
Discover more

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES

No. Tourist attractions and places Address & Contact
1. Mahawangsa River Cruise Alor Setar Kampung Lubok Peringgi, 05150 muzium, Kedah

019-379 9512

...Continue
Discover more

PERSONALITIES AND CELEBRITIES

HALL OF FAME

PROMINENT HOMETOWN FIGURES

Tunku Abdul Rahman Former Prime Minister of Malaysia
Mahathir Mohamad Former Prime Minister of Malaysia
Daim Zainuddin Politician
...Continue
  • Previous ProjectMalacca

  • HISTORY AND PEOPLE

    HISTORY

    golden rice paddy

    A plaque near Dataran Alor Setar commemorates the spot where the city was founded. ‘Alor’ is the Malay word for channel while ‘setar’ is the name of the fruit-bearing trees that grew on the side of the riverbed. Alor Setar was founded by Kedah ruler Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin Mu’azzam Shah in 1735. The settlement appears to have been the state’s eight administrative center since the beginning of the Kedah sultanate in 1136.

    The state’s history goes even further back. Kedah has one of the oldest civilizations in the country. Its Bujang Valley was an early home to Hindu cultural and Buddhist-influenced Malay societies which lasted for nine centuries. Ancient tomb temples called ‘candi‘ have been unearthed in this rich archaeological area of the country. In the latter half of the first millennium, Kedah was ruled by Srivijaya – a regional power based in Palembang on Sumatra island. Srivijaya was a Buddhist kingdom which peaked in the eighth century.

    Kedah then fell under the control of the Tamil Chola kings who were the ruling dynasty of southern India. In the mid-11th century CE, the Kalinga empire had flourished on the eastern coast of the Indian subcontinent. The people of Kalinga had also been merchants who conducted seaborne trade with neighbours to the east. A busy meeting place along the trade route at that time, Kedah traded pepper and spices which were sent to China through ships that crossed the Straits of Malacca.

    In the 14th century, suzerainty over Kedah was transferred to Majapahit – a Hindu kingdom centered on Java. After Majapahit’s decline, Kedah was attacked by the Achehnese in 1619, the Bugis in 1770 and the Siamese in 1821. Kedah adopted Islam and commenced a Muslim sultanate in 1136 CE, according to old Malay literary texts. The Kedah royal house is also the longest surviving royal bloodline in Malaysia.

  • SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

    Alor Setar’s lifestyle reflects its tradition of socio-cultural diversity that is build around its strong and distinctive Malay/Thai roots. These roots are reflected in the local variation of the Malay language with its own slang and dialects. as well as in the food, songs and dances. Among the local traditional songs and dances which are reflective of daily lives are Tarian Cinta Sayang, Lagu-lagu Berendoi and Wayang Kulit.

    The Silat, a form of traditional Malay self-defence comes in various forms and is performed at occasions such as weddings and formal or traditional functions. One of the best ways to experience the local culture and heritage is through homestay. Homestay programmes in the villages around Alor Setar provide an opportunity to experience the hospitality and traditional lifestyle of the locals at the rustic kampung.

    Visitors can also sample a more urban lifestyle in the limited bar and pub culture scattered in the city though its main center is at Langkawi where foreigners and beach goers congregate in sizable numbers.

    Proclaimed a city on 21 December 2003, Alor Setar, the Kedah capital, sits only 45km away from southern Thailand and serves as the main northern gateway to Thailand. Thailand is a Buddhist country and it is  not surprising to find the cultural and religious influence of Thailand as well as a sizable Malay-Thai community in the city and all across the state. Indians and Hindus have long been an integral part of Kedah history and their legacy still remains.

    Kedah’s most famous son Mahathir Mohamad is reported to have said in June 2018, “There are a few spoonfuls of [Indian] blood left in my body, but otherwise, I am a Malay”. Today ‘bumiputera’ and Indian Muslims make up three-quarters of the city’s population of over 400,000 according to the 2010 census while non-Muslim Indians are five percent and Chinese are twelve percent of the total. Kedah is a Muslim state that observes a Friday–Saturday weekend, where Sunday is a working day.

  • ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

    Alor Setar City

    The mainstay of the state and Alor Setar’s economy are tied up with its agricultural base and the tourism industry. The state has long been the rice bowl of the country and also has a popular local and foreign tourist attraction in Langkawi island.

    More recent growth which has benefitted Alor Setar has taken place in the education and manufacturing sectors, although neighbouring Kulim in the south with its mushrooming industrial parks has been the main beneficiary of recent government-driven economic development. Alor Setar is also an important transit point for road, bus, air and railway north or south bound travellers.

  • KOPITIAM AND EATERIES


    Iman Kuey Teow

    Sultanah Bahiyah Highway, Taman Pandan, 05250 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 013-674 9320


    Restoran Atap Rumbia

    No. 29, Jalan Teluk Wanjah (224.91 Mi) Alor Setar 05200

    +6 017-563 6743


    Mat Cucur Udang

    White Palace 919, Jalan Sultan Badlishah, Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 012-558 5592


    TAT Nasi Ayam

    No 22, Ground Floor, Kompleks Perniagaan Utama,, Lebuhraya Sultanah Bahiyah, 05350 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 012-422 7940


    Restoran Dinalang Ais Kacang Salji

    Jalan Utama Alor Setar-Sungai Petani, Kampung Selarong Panjang, 06650 Simpang Empat, Kedah

    +6 012-215 6743


    Nasi Lemak Royale

    424/A, Sultan Abdul Halim Highway, Lebuhraya Sultan Abdul Halim, 05300 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 012-409 6360


    Laksa Ikan Sekoq

    255, Taman Wira Mergong, 05350 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 012-439 1313


    Hai Kee Kedai Kopi

    15 & 17, Jalan Bunga Tanjung 8b, Taman Putra, 68000 Ampang, Selangor

    +6 010-217 2920


    Restoran Top Alor Setar

    05400 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 019-547 0240


    Restaurant RT

    Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim, Taman Tunku Habsah, 05100 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 016-418 8575


    Hoe Chuan

    54, Pekan Tokai, 06660 Pendang, Kedah

    +6 014-348 5469


    Kim Seang Cafe

    55 Jalan Tunku Ibrahim, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 04-730 6612


    Nasi Lemak Ong

    No. 24, Jalan Putra, 05100 Alor Setar, Kedah

    +6 012-498 3660

  • SHOPPING

    Pekan Rabu literally means Wednesday Market’ but it is open all week long although there might be fewer stalls operating on Friday.

    The traders sell a variety of items from titbits and snacks to traditional handicraft to clothing. Aman Central is the happenin’ mall; other shopping complexes are City Plaza, Star Parade and Alor Setar Mall.

     

    No. Shopping malls/plazas Address & Contact
    1. Alor Setar Mall Lot F29(Ground Floor) A/S Kawasan Perusahaan, Tandop, 05400 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-772 9233

    2. Aman Central No.1, Darul Aman Highway, Kampung Lubok Peringgi, 05100 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-735 2626

    3. City Plaza Alor Setar Jalan Tunku Ibrahim, Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-733 5992

    4. Star Parade Jalan Teluk Wanjah, 05000 Alor Setar

    04-735 7357

    5. Kedah Shopping Centre No. 1520, 4th Floor, Jalan Sultan Badlishah, 05000, Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-733 4899

    6. Pekan Rabu Jalan Sultan Badlishah, Alor Malai, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    017-778 2767

    7. Amber Walk Alor Setar 493-D, Jalan Langgar, 05460 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-730 6918

    8. Mee Ca Mee Shopping Center Jalan Tunku Ibrahim, Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-731 3054

    9. Bagunan Areana 55 Jalan Gangsa, Kampung Lubok Peringgi, 05150 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-732 3199

    10. C-Mart, Ampang Business Centre Jalan Ampang Jajar, Taman Bahagia, 05050 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-917 2386

  • TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES

    The Big clock building (Bangunan Jam Besar) in downtown Alor Setar city in northern Malaysia

    From Alor Setar, visitors have easy access to the largest paddy irrigation scheme in the country. Partially financed by a loan from the World Bank, the first stage of the Muda Irrigation project scheme started in the early 70s and initially covered an area of 33,600 hectares. The scheme area covers over 100,000 hectares today and is also home to various agro-based tourism activities including homestays and fruit and animal farms which have their starting point from Alor Setar.

    Visitors can check out the Paddy Museum to find out more, including historical details like the Wan Mat Saman canal which was dug in 1885. Alor Setar’s Chinatown is among the most preserved in Malaysia and its rows of shophouses evoke a 1950s nostalgia. Along the southern flank of Chinatown is a waterfront that stretches for a few hundred metres.

    The tallest structure in the state is Alor Setar Tower. The design atop this 543-feet telecommunications tower has been described as looking like a spaceship from a vintage sci-fi movie, and it provides a viewing platform where one can have a panoramic view of all four corners of Alor Setar.

    Dataran Alor Setar is the city centrepiece. The Kedah state art gallery housed in a historical building is here, as is Nobat Tower which dates all the way back to 1906. This three-tier, domed tower is where the classical musical instruments used during royal functions are kept. Within walking distance is Rumah Merdeka (Independence House) — the half brick, half wooden home belonging to the much loved late prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman who read the Malayan proclamation of independence from the British in 1957.

    The house where Tun Dr Mahathir grew up in

    Another house open to the public is the Malay rumah kampung where Mahathir – Malaysia’s past (1981-2003) and current (2018-  ) prime minister – grew up. The family home of Mahathir’s father (Mohamad son of Iskandar Kutty) has been turned into a mini museum honouring the premier. The No.1 attraction featured on all Kedah must-go tourist lists is Zahir Mosque, for good reason. Masjid Zahir, also functioning as the state mosque, is more than a hundred years old but remains beautifully preserved in its ornate architecture.

    Next to the Zahir Mosque is a big clock tower and opposite the mosque is the Balai Besar — a grand Malay traditional-style building that has hosted coronations and royal weddings.

    Another and newer mosque is the Al-Bukhary Mosque which has been praised for its architectural design and imposing outdoor water feature.

     

    No. Tourist attractions and places Address & Contact
    1. Mahawangsa River Cruise Alor Setar Kampung Lubok Peringgi, 05150 muzium, Kedah

    019-379 9512

    2. Kota Kuala Kedah 06600 Kuala Kedah, Kedah

    04-741 2152

    3. Muzium Negeri Darul Aman Highway, Bakar Bata, 05100 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-733 1162

    4. National Science Centre Northern Region Jalan Gunung Keriang, 06570 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-720 7700

    5. Paddy Museum Gunung Keriang, 05150 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-735 1315

    6. Kedah State Art Gallery Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-732 5752

    7. Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Sham Gallery Medan Bandar, Jalan Raja, 05100 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-730 3664

    8. Wednesday Market Jalan Sultan Badlishah, Alor Malai, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    017-778 2767

    9. Rumah Merdeka Jalan Putra, Bandar Alor Setar, 05150 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-720 4214

    10. Menara Alor Setar Darul Aman Highway, Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah

    04-720 2234

    11. Wan Mat Saman Canal Address: Taman Pesisiran Tanjung Chali, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah
    13. Kedah Royal Mausoleum

    The Kedah royal mausoleum is located in Langgar, near the city centre.

    Address: K133, Kampung Padang Wat, Langgar, Kedah
    16. Nobat Tower Alor Setar (Balai Nobat) Address: Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah
    17. Kedah Royal Museum Address: Bandar Alor Setar, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah
  • PERSONALITIES AND CELEBRITIES

    PROMINENT HOMETOWN FIGURES

    Tunku Abdul Rahman Former Prime Minister of Malaysia
    Mahathir Mohamad Former Prime Minister of Malaysia
    Daim Zainuddin Politician
    Fadzil Noor Politician
    Tunku Sofiah Jewa Jurist
    Yuna (Yunalis Zarai) Singer
    Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary Businessman
    Tan Zaki Tun Azmi Former Chief Justice
    Marina Mahathir Social Activist
    Khir Johari Politician
    Syed Sheh Hassan Barakbah Former Lord President
    Mohamed Azmi Mohamed Former Lord President
    Abdullah Hussain Writer
    Shahnon Ahmad Writer
    Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary Businessman
    Mansor Othman (Pendang) Politician
    Asmah Haji Omar (Jitra) Linguist
    Din Merican Blogger
    Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (Gurun) Cartoonist
    Siti Hawa Salleh Academic
    Irene Fernandez (Sungei Petani) Activist
    Kassim Ahmad (Bukit Pinang) Writer
    K.J.John (Sungei Petani) Activist
    Chandra Muzaffar (Bedong) Activist