This blog will be dedicated to my four friends who missed Kota Bharu so much. They are U Lee, Zaitgha, Cakapaje and Hantu Laut. Kota Bharu was U Lee's palyground when he was living in Malaysia and was often mentioned in his blogs. He was last here in 1985. That was almost 23 (corrected from previous 13. Thanks U Lee) years ago. Zaitgha used to grow up in the police quarters right smack in the middle of town. Fortunately most of the places she remembered are still there but no more in the state that she used to see. Hantu Laut had the experience of a flood while visiting Kelantan some 23 years ago. Cakapaje grew up here when he was small and was last here 3 years ago.
Tan Sri Muhamad Yaacob the then Chief Minister of Kelantan wanted to make the floods of Kelantan as a tourist attraction and put it on the calendar of events for tourists to enjoy like the Kelantanese do. The idea remained an idea as only God knows how to bring the flood without fail so that tourists will not sue anybody for not being able to experience the promised flood when they are here.
Flood 0f 2004, picture courtesy of Raykinzoku
To enable you to navigate with me on my motorcycle ride around Kota Bharu, please open this interactive map of Kota Bharu in another browser window so that you can refer to the map when you need to locate my position. I find this map quite accurate and pretty recent. Start with me from The Sultan Yahya Petra bridge coming from Pasir Pekan along Jalan Wakaf Baru on route 134.
Please note that the above map is an interactive one so you must enlarge it to show details of all the roads in Kota Bharu.
From across the river, Kota Bharu can be seen as a town with a dynamic skyline from the distance.
Close your eyes to the colour of the water as it is no more of the same colour as you have seen it in the seventies. Look at the yellow coloured building that is a new addition to the Kota Bharu skyline as seen from across the river, its the spanking new and yet to be opened Pelangi Mall.
As I neared the end of the bridge on the Kota Bharu side I can't miss the sight of the recently opened KB Tesco in that striking blue color with the word tesco spelt in Jawi as well as English.
(Will put picture of bulatan Kijang when found)
The right turn at this traffic light would have led me to Jalan Kampong Sireh where the unoccupied official residence of the Chief Minister was located. Nothing was said when the then Chief Minister Tan Sri Mohamad Yaacob didn't stay there preferring his new wooden mansion in Taman Uda Murni. Lots of noise were made when the current Chief Minister Tuan Guru Nik Aziz choose to stay in his humble wooden abode close to his mosque where more often than not he will lead the morning Suboh prayers before giving the morning sermon which I once had the opportunity to attend.
Ain't four lanes on each side is wide enough for Kota Bharu?
The left turn would lead me to Jalan Sultanah Zainab where there are many interesting landmarks await those who care to venture.
Jalan Sultanah Zainab as seen from the junction.
Since I am taking the straight wide road ahead via Jalan Hamzah, we are bound to meet the Express Bus Stand which is dwarfed by KB Mall. When night comes people leaving for various destinations in Malaysia will leave by the bus loads. Transnational busses have their own bus terminal in Jalan Langgar.
The Kota Bharu Express Bus Terminal beside KB Mall in Jalan Hamzah.
Those familiar with the Bulatan Wakaf Siku will be in for a surprise as the roundabout is no more there as it was replaced by the traffic light.
KB Mall as seen from the other side of Jalan Kula Krai junction.
KB Mall occupies the site once known as Biaritz Park. In the olden days Biaritz Park was the equivalent of BB Park in Bukit Bintang KL. Kota Bharu was then known for a town of real fun where joget and other forms of entertainment were always available. Everything is gone after PAS took over the ruling of the state from UMNO for the first tim. (Date to be verified)
I could have taken a right turn here and the right turn would have taken me to see the old JPJ Kelantan office where many old drivers obtained their driving licence. It is now an academy.
The old JPJ office on Jalan Kuala Krai. It is now The JPJ Academy
By the way I obtained my driving licence from JPJ Johor Baru in 1974, which was then in Larkin. Do you think I know anybody there who could help me secure my license without doing the test?
Did you notice the new block of condominiums beside the old JPJ office? Its too prominent to miss.
Condominium living is the in thing in Kota Bharu now.
Kota Darul Naim (Picture courtesy of Raykinzoku)
I spotted a new bank in town by the name of Al Rajhi. Its an Arabian Bank. They deemed it fit to open a branch in Kota Bharu.
The Al Rajhi Bank
A closer view of the entrance.
This was once a Petronas building. They must have built the building for their used as the base when oil or gas was to be landed in Pantai Senak, Kelantan. I guess the proposal never see the light of day and this bulding was used as a petrol station and the upper floor was let to PTPL an Open University. Today the building is undergoing massive renovation. Maybe the ownership of the building has changed hands. Its just a hunch.
The building that was once a Petronas Petrol kiosk undergoing renovations. The Open University signboard is on top of the building.
We are still riding my motorbike along Jalan Yahya Petra
Mofaz is owned by some Kelantanese and the CEO and President is Tuan Haji Mohamad Fauzi Abdul Hamid. If one were to drive around Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, you wouldn't have missed the once popular More Exoticar, it was one of his babies. Mofaz is coming home real strong by opening up this new outlet beside its hotel and a few other businesses already in operation. Afterall they started their business in Kota Bharu before moving base to strike it big in KL. This is their latest addition to what they already have here.
Next to Mofaz Exotic Car is their Mercedez Show room with the Mercedez flags flying high.
The next prominent landmark along this route is Mesjid Kubang Kerian. This beautiful structure was initiated by Tan Sri Ibrahim Mohamad, a Kelantanese who once owned Promet. He must have went into a bad patch as the mosque was for sometimes neglected. I wonder who complete the construction later.
The Kubang Kerian Mosque
The new JPJ Complex.
Hey it is already noon and it is too hot to continue riding a bike. I am hungry too. Let us stop for lunch and continue the journey another time OK?