Malaysia // The east coast //

The markets of Kota Bharu

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Kota Bharu has a fine array of markets, reflecting its role both as the state capital and as a centre for Malay culture and handicrafts. In addition to those listed here, see shopping for details of the night food market.

Central market

Just east of the historical centre. Kota Bharu’s humming central market (aka Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah) is a focal point of the city. The main building, an octagonal hall, has a perspex roof casting a soft light over the multicoloured patchwork of the main trading floor – a mass of fruit, vegetables and textiles. The whole scene is worth contemplating at length from the upper floors. Trading continues east of here in an extension to the original market, with yet more stalls spilling out onto the surrounding pavements. Daily 8am–6pm.

Bazaar Buluh Kubu

A couple of minutes’ walk west of the central market. Though lacking in atmosphere, this market does have a good range of batik, songket and other crafts on sale. Daily 8am–6pm.

Friday market

Jalan Ismail south of Jalan Hulu Pasar. A visit to the informal, morning-only Friday market is recommended as a way to witness the rustic heart of Kelantan laid bare, as traders and shoppers pour in from the surrounding kampungs on their weekend day out in the city. Fri 8am–noon.

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