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Travel from Johor Bahru to Kota Bharu by Bus
If you’re making a trip from Johor Bahru at the Southern tip of west Malaysia, to the northern most town which is Kota Bharu, Kelantan, you’ll be travelling along the eastern coast of the Peninsula and probably making the longest journey possible. On average, a direct trip from JB to Kota Bharu can take anywhere from 8 hours to 14 hours. At Johor Bahru’s Larkin Terminal, there are three bus companies that travel up north, namely Transnational, Perdana Express and Cepat Ekspress. All three offer overnight trips beginning at about 8pm to 9pm, meaning you’ll reach Kota Bharu the next morning at 4.30am and 5.20am for Perdana Express and Transnational, and at 10.30am if you take Cepat Ekspress. All buses stop at TESCO Kota Bharu, except for Transnational that goes all the way to Kota Bharu bus terminal.
Things to do in Kota Bharu
If you are not a Kelantan native, you’ll find that life up north can be a bit of a culture shock, since everyone tends to speak an entirely different dialect unrecognizable by foreign ears. However, you’ll find the people there warm and welcoming. In addition to visiting major cultural and historical sites in the centre of down town Kota Bharu, such as Istana Jahar, the War Museum, the Handicraft Village and Craft Museum, the Kelantan State museum and Bank Kerapu, you’ll want to walk around town which is a haven for shoppers looking for a bargain. The area around Pasar Beasr Siti Khadijah or the Siti Khadijah marketplace is rife with bargain goods including clothing, kitchenware, accessories, menswear and bedding. At night, take a 15 minute drive south of downtown Kota Bharu and visit Wakaf Che Yeh, a well known local bazaar where you can get most things cheap, and they vendors are open to haggling with you. Here you can find fresh fruits and local snacks as well, and they’re open until the wee hours of the morning, which is 2-3am. During Ramadhan and the Hari raya season, Wakaf Che Yeh opens until dawn.
What to eat in Kota Bharu?
You shouldn’t miss the chance to try unique Kleantanese dishes while you’re here, including the faous Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Dagang, Laksam, and local kuihs or snacks. For those who want a chance to savour east coast beaches, you can visit Pantai Cahaya Bulan which is about 10 minutes out of town. There you’ll be able to go for walks on the beach and stop by one of the nearby restaurants for some excellent seafood.