A Day at the Cultural Centre of Kota Bharu, Malaysia

A Day at the Cultural Centre of Kota Bharu, Malaysia

 Exploring the cradle of culture


About Kota Bharu:

As promised a few months ago, I have started compiling clips and excerpts on the city I currently live in, i.e. Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan, Malaysia. Kelantan is the cradle of Malay culture and Kota Bharu truly lives up to the values of the State. It focuses on traditional art forms and stays close to its roots, thereby coming up with initiatives to keep the ethnicity and culture alive. Besides that, the city is known for its food and warm people. Hop right in to understand one of the reasons for visiting this sweet little city.

Kelantan – your unique destination

Cultural Centre:

I recently visited the Cultural Centre (diagonally opposite Hotel Perdana) also called Gelanggang Seni. The government and tourism board hold events here to promote the traditional forms of art, dance, martial arts and more.

Welcome to “Gelanggang Seni” Cultural Centre
The culturally-rich compound

Virtual tour: 

Are you ready for a tour of the activities that take place at the centre? Although a lot of events and games are lined up one after the other, here are glimpses of a few of them that happened earlier this week. Hop right in…

1. REBANA UBI -> Drums

*Drum rolls*
Rebana Ubi – The drum beating ceremony generally marks the opening and closing of the cultural shows
Such a warm welcome

2. Seni Silat Tari -> Malay Martial Arts

Beautiful & strong performance for commencing the Silat session

Various stages of martial arts

3. Congkak -> Game of Marbles 

The traditional game involves rubber seeds, however, we used marbles

4. Batik Painting

5. Wayang Kulit -> Shadow Play 

This show takes place only at night (Wednesday: 9-11 P.M.)

Shadow puppet show depicting stories of Ramayan and/or Mahabharat                      (Please note that the narration is in the local language, Bahasa Melayu)

6. Other activities: 

Dedicated spots for top spinning (gasing), shadow play and wau/kite flying


  • Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 3/3.30-5.30 P.M. – a mix of activities ranging from Gasing (top spinning), Silat (martial arts), Rebana Ubi (drum beating), Batik painting and demo on request, Congkak (game of marbles), Wau Bulan (moon kite making and flying), Dikir Barat (singing and music) and Kertok (coconut husk percussion) on a rotation basis.
  • Wed: 9-11 P.M. Wayang Kulit (shadow play)
  • Closed: November-January, Ramadan month20170821_175221


  • Check more details with the Tourist Information Centre at Jalan Sultan Ibrahim or visit the official website or Facebook page for updates on activities and re-checking the schedule before heading out.
  • Entry: free
  • Activities: free
  • Hands-on batik painting – RM 15 onwards (per piece)
Batik area, near the entrance 

At the Cultural Centre: 

At the Cultural Centre, you will find…

  • Different sections for various activities
  • Auditorium for cultural shows
  • Souvenir shop
  • Café serving local delights
  • Iced beverage for visitors

It’s free of cost, but sad to see some of the tourists and younger locals disinterested 😦 Please visit the centre and encourage these local forms of art and culture. 🙂

Write-ups on various art forms
The cafe (this was clicked post 5.30 PM)
The area next to the auditorium

I need your help to promote it as much as you can. Please do share, visit and spread the love. Use the hashtags #kelantandihati #kelantanculture and #lyfandspice … and spread the word.


Upcoming event:

International Kite Flying Festival: 24-26 August, 2017 at Pantai Geting (Geting Beach, near Pantai Sri Tujuh), Tumpat.

Wau = beautifully designed ‘Moon Kite‘ – a unique kite that serves as the national symbol of Malaysia

Image may contain: text

Check out more video clips & stories on our Instagram, Twitter & Facebook pages.

Use the hasthtag #kelantandihati #kelantanculture and #lyfandspice… and spread the word

**Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It has been compiled purely to promote these well-preserved forms of art at Kota Bharu, Kelantan.. and to ask visitors to spend just 1-2 hours at the centre to encourage these forms.

Book my book on Kota Bharu:



Click on the image to buy the book

Read -Travel – Enjoy 

20170821_164824-by Aditi Shukla (Lyf&Spice) 

120 thoughts on “A Day at the Cultural Centre of Kota Bharu, Malaysia

  1. I visited Kota Kinabalu long back. It’s so beautiful. Would love to visit again as I’m currently in this city I’ve written about 🙂 (Kota Bharu)


  2. Planning our short vacation in Malaysia later this month – and this blog-post helped convince us to include Kota Bharu on our itinerary! 🙂
    By the way, do you know if there is there anyway to find out ahead of time which performances they will have on a given day (the official website and facebook pages seem to be in Malay language)? My husband would really love to see Silat.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s