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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in kelantan
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Kelantan is the most deeply conservative of all Malay states and has with just one interruption been governed by the opposition Islamic Party of Malaysia (Parti Islam SeMalaysia or PAS) since 1958, whose green flag with a white full moon flutters throughout the state. Highways seem to have more signs with quotes from the Koran than actual traffic instructions, many signs are written in Jawi, the old Arabic script for Malay and even Chinese women tend to wear headscarves.
While Malays make up 94% of the population of 1.4 million and there is also the usual smattering of Chinese and Indians, Kelantan is also home to the Orang Syam, a group of 7000-8000 Buddhist Thais. The Thais have lived in Kelantan for centuries and, in fact, were a part of Siam until Kelantan was ceded to the British in 1909.
The Kelantanese dialect of Malay is famously incomprehensible to outsiders, so much so that Kelantanese and non-Kelantanese alike jokingly refer to it as German (pronounced gher-man with a hard G, but yes, it means German).
The Orang Syam also speak a dialect of Thai called Tak Bai, but this is also quite different from standard Thai or even the forms generally spoken in southern Thailand.
Kelantan's main gateway is Kota Bharu, which has a busy little airport and has a station on the railway's Jungle Line nearby.
Kelantan is famous for its Malay arts and handicrafts (mainly batik). The state's most instantly recognizable symbol is the wau bulan ("moon kite"), which has been adopted by Malaysian Airlines as its logo.
Famous Kelantan dishes:
Fresh coconut is RM1.
There are many questhouses & homestays (RM15-RM80/night), in town and around the beaches.
More than anywhere else in Malaysia, in Kelantan it's important to respect local mores, especially if you head out into the countryside. Women should dress conservatively and, as a mark of respect, wearing a headscarf would be appreciated.