Alor Setar is the state capital of Kedah, otherwise known as the rice bowl of Malaysia. It is one of the major states in the northern part of Malaysia where it is one of the gateways heading out towards Thailand. One of the significant factors about Alor Setar is that it is known for its rich Malay culture.
Unlike other state capitals, Alor Setar is not as bustling with activities and traffic. Alor Setar is often the transport hub for travelers to get to other places like Langkawi Island and towards the north to Thailand.
To get to the city centre of Alor Setar from the airport, you can hail a taxi which starts from about RM45 per ride. Otherwise, you can choose any of the ride sharing options like Uber and Grab which are easily available.
As Alor Setar is mostly known for its culture and religion, you can expect to see a lot of these structures around the city and its suburbs. Among the highlights here include:
Around Alor Setar, look for the following:
Alor Setar’s most expensive places to stay are within the city center itself as it is very convenient and connected. Jalan Langgar and the intersection with Jalan Sultan Badlishah is where you can find places like the Holiday Villa Hotel and Suites Alor Setar. Meanwhile, new developments like the Bellview Alor Setar are among the up and coming new areas that offer places to stay as well.
At The Sentosa Regency Hotel, prices start from RM118 per night while located in within the city center is Hotel Seri Malaysia which is an affordable accommodation choice from the nationwide network of Seri Malaysia hotels. Another popular cheap place to stay is at the Bee Garden Motel which is known for its location which is very convenient. Here is also where you can stay at many home stay choices located in Taman Uda, a common favourite among tourists.
Further out in Kulim, there are also many choices of affordable accommodation that includes Tune Hotel Kulim operated by Tune Group, with promotion rates going as low as RM0.99sen per night. Motel Poon Soon Green Park, Rose N Lily Motel and Sri Impiana Inn also offers rooms that start from below RM99 per night. Other popular choices include Kulim Tune Homestay, Merak Hotel and Kulim Inn.
The price range for rental of rooms and apartments starts around RM800 per month for a 3 bedroom apartment within the city center while this rate is lesser around the outskirts which are around RM600 per month.
The most popular educational institution here is the Albukhary International University. This university takes up a large area within Alor Setar circulated by Jalan Langgar and Jalan Tun Razak, 2 of the most important roads here. As such, it is expected that rooms and apartments around these areas are quite in demand as they are usually rented by students from all over the world.
In terms of entertainment, Alor Setar does not have much nightlife mainly due to the conservative nature of the state. The most recent shopping malls here is include the Souq Al-Bukhary while other popular centers include the Alor Star Mall, the Star Parade, City Plaza Alor Setar which is connected to the Holiday Villa Hotel and Tesco Hypermarket which is located in Bandar Baru Mergong. Meanwhile, the Aman Central Mall has cinemas and a department store when it is completed as well as the Mydin Hypermarket located in Taman Saga.
As Alor Setar is the main administrative center of Kedah, there are several government offices around here. The Bangunan Persekutuan Alor Setar is located along Jalan Langgar while the Bangunan Wisma Persekutuan is at the opposite end along the Persiaran Sultan Abdul Hamid. Around these areas are where you can find many offices and corporate spaces located.
The architecture of Alor Setar is very traditional. This is mainly because it is home to the Balai Seni Negari, Balai Nobat, Balai Besar while there are many buildings which have Thai motifs due to the close proximity with the northern neighbor.
Transportation around Alor Setar
As compared to other capitals around Malaysia, Alor Setar is very easy to get around without the need to use public transportation. Taxis are easily available around the town center and especially at entertainment outlets like shopping malls and hotels. Bus services are quite limited to inter-state express.
Mat Rempit/ Lepak Culture rampant
The city center of Alor Setar offers a lot of interesting places to visit which include the birthplace of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, notably the most successful prime minister of Malaysia.
Thursday nights are very exiting nights mainly because it is where the Mat Rempits come out in numbers. The illegal racing motorcycles will come out and buzz around the likes of Jalan Pegawai, Jalan Kancut, Jalan Lencong Barat and Jalan Putra where they will perform stunts with their daredevil skills. Due to his, they ‘attract’ a lot of youngsters who come out in groups to watch the stunts. This is known as the ‘lepak’ culture.