Formerly known as Alor Star, Alor Setar is the capital city of the state of Kedah in Malaysia. It is often just a stopover for people visiting Penang and Langkawi but in this travel guide, we will give you enough reasons to stay in Alor Setar for a couple of days and explore this undiscovered city on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
TRAVEL GUIDE CONTENTS
- 1 How to get to Alor Setar from Kuala Lumpur
- 2 Top Tourist Attractions in Alor Setar
- 3 Day Tours from Alor Setar
- 4 Where to Stay in Alor Setar
- 5 Where to Eat Alor Setar
- 6 Sample Alor Setar Itinerary
- 7 Follow Us!
How to get to Alor Setar from Kuala Lumpur
From Kuala Lumpur, you can either take a flight for about an hour or ride a train for about 5 hours. AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar 3x daily so you should be able to go there easily. If you prefer to take a train, KTM has multiple daily schedules to Alor Setar from Kuala Lumpur. You can book your flight or train ticket here.
Top Tourist Attractions in Alor Setar
Masjid Zahir (Zahir Mosque)
Located in the city center, Masjid Zahir is one of the top tourist attractions in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia. Built in 1912, it is considered to be one of the oldest and grandest mosques in Malaysia. It has five large domes that represent the Five Pillars of Islam.
Menara Alor Setar
Another must-visit tourist attraction in the city is Menara Alor Setar. This telecommunications tower also serves as a tourist destination in Alor Setar. For 18 Ringgit (USD 4.3), visitors can have an overlooking view of the city from its observation deck. If you want a better view, you can dine at the Starsky Restaurant and Lounge, it’s a revolving restaurant at the top of the tower. If you choose to dine, you no longer have to pay for the entrance fee.
Gunung Keriang or Mount Keriang is a rock formation that reaches a height of about 218 meters. It is situated near Kedah Paddy Museum and visitors can hike up to get a great view of the paddy fields.
Kedah Paddy Museum
Situated about 15 minutes away from the city center, Kedah Paddy Museum is was built to showcase the paddy cultivation process in Malaysia. This top tourist attraction in Alor Setar features a collection of rice grains from all over the world. It has three levels with different themes. The first level houses its collections of rice cultivation tools and equipment. The second level features six gorgeous paintings. And, the third level is the main attraction of the museum. trust me, you will be amazed as soon as you see the 360-degree mural painting. It’s beautiful and it looks real. There are seats available in a revolving platform for a better experience. This is a perfect place to chill and relax in Alor Setar.
The entrance fee is only 5 ringgit and it opens from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Masjid Albhukhary may not be as grand as Masjid Zahir but it definitely has its own charm. Its impressive architecture makes you want to strike a pose for your IG feed. It’s a relatively new landmark and it’s one of the tourist attractions in Alor Setar you shouldn’t miss.
The city of Alor Setar is relatively close to the Malaysia-Thailand border so it’s not surprising that Thai influences are common in the city. Wat Nikrodharam is a significant Thai Temple in the city and is considered as the primary Buddhist house of worship in Alor Setar.
Alor Setar’s Paddy Fields
When in Alor Setar, do not forget to strike a pose in its vast paddy fields. The best time to do a photo shoot is during sunset and golden hour. Unfortunately, it was raining the whole time when I was there so I did not get a chance to capture amazing shots.
Birthplace of Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He is considered as the country’s “Father of Modernisation” for his major role in transforming Malaysia into a modern, industrial powerhouse. In 2018, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad returned in the political scene and was elected as Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister at the age of 93. You can visit his birthplace for free in Alor Setar.
Balai Besar or the Royal Hall is a traditional kampong style structure situated in front of Masjid Zahir. It was used by the Sultan of Kedah for important state ceremonies.
Nobat Tower is another iconic tourist attraction in Alor Setar. It is located close to Zahir Mosque, the Alor Setar Clock Tower and Balai Besar.
Masjid Al Ghufran
Masjid Al Ghufran is another mosque you should see when you visit Alor Setar. It’s not as picturesque as the two mosques mentioned above but it has its own beauty worthy of a visit.
Day Tours from Alor Setar
Bakau Hijau Sungai Merbok
Located around an hour away from Alor Setar, Bakau Hijau is another interesting place in the state of Kedah, Malaysia. This is a must-visit attraction especially for those who love oysters. They have an oyster farm so you can eat freshly harvested oysters to satisfy your gastronomic cravings.
Pusat Interpretasi Pelancongan
If you want to explore the Merbok River (Sungai Merbok), you can head over to Pusat Interpretasi Pelancongan and rent a boat for a river cruise. It was initially planned to serve boats to and from Langkawi but the plan was not realized due to some constraints.
Where to Stay in Alor Setar
One of the most convenient places to stay in Alor Setar is at StarCity Hotel. It is located in the city center and is just a walking distance to Aman Central Shopping Center, Menara Alor Setar, and Masjid Zahir. There are many dining options in the are where it is located. Check rates and availability.
Where to Eat Alor Setar
There are a lot of dining options in Alor Setar. You can easily find Malay, Chinese, Thai, and Western food in the city. If want something local, you can head to Restoran Ikan Bakar Top for an authentic Malay dining experience. It’s an open-air restaurant which serves local Malay cuisines.
For a romantic dinner, head over to Starsky Restaurant and Lounge at the top of Menara Alor Setar. You can dine in style with an overlooking view of Alor Setar City.
If you want seafood, there are places near StarCity Hotel that allow you to pick fresh seafood and cooked them according to your preference. It’s affordable and definitely yum!
Sample Alor Setar Itinerary
Day 1 Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar
7:00 AM – Take a KTM train to Alor Setar
12:00 NN – Arrive in Alor Setar
12:30 PM – Check-in at StarCity Hotel
1:00 PM – Lunch at Restoran Ikan Bakar Top
2:00 PM – Head to Pusat Interpretasi Pelancongan
3:00 PM – Arrive and explore Pusat Interpretasi Pelancongan
4:00 PM – Head to Bakau Hijau Sungai Merbok
4:30 PM – Arrive in Bakau Hijau and tase some fresh oysters
5:30 PM – Back to Alor Setar
7:00 PM – Dinner at Starsky Restaurant and Lounge
9:00 PM – Off to hotel
Day 2 Alor Setar
8:00 AM – Breakfast at the hotel
8:30 AM – Go to Gunung Keriang
9:30 AM – Explore the Kedah Paddy Museum
12:00 PM – Lunch in the city
1:00 PM – See Masjid Zahir, Balai Besar, Nobat Tower
2:30 PM – Visit the Birthplace of Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad
3:00 PM – Visit Wat Nikrodharam
3:30 PM – Go to Masjid Albukhary
4:00 PM – See Masjid Al Ghufran
5:00 PM – Visit some of the paddy fields in Alor Setar for photo ops
7:00 PM – Dinner (fresh seafood)
Day 3 – Morning flight to Kuala Lumpur via Air Asia!
Thank you Tourism Malaysia, Sunway Pyramid Hotel, and AirAsia!