Kota Bharu, city of traditions

Kota Bharu food Market, Malaysia

We stopped for few days in Kota Bharu, newt to the Thai border, in the north of Malaysia.
Here also the History of civilisations is far from being simple, as they were influenced by their powerful neighbour the Thai (Siam), by the sultanate ruling the area, and the numerous foreign traders.
That’s how Kota Bharu inhabitants have became and are still fiercely Muslims.

Yet another time a very unique islam, mixed with previous beliefs, and, for example, rural traditional past times are flying gorgous paper kites, spinning wheel of several kilos, and shadow puppets show .

The locally famous food market is incredible and makes us wonder what the Halles de Paris (the big food market which used to supply Paris) were looking like? Ground floor : vegetables, fishes and chicken, 1st floor it is more about dry products : grocery, spices, dry fishes, 2nd floor : clothes and tissue. Odors, colors, our senses are saturated, so are our nerves while seeing rats (Rattus norvegicus) running trough garbage.

Less furtive, the black bird colony which settled in town (by by Black Bird), and loudly make you aware of this!

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Dryed fishes, Kota Bharu market, Malaysia

A good place to discover new culinary specialities, like dried and flattened cuttlefish.

Please allow us a little deflection : we have been experimenting shoe issue since several months (at no cost buy the Merrel Chameleon Mid GTX).
In Latin America we often used cobblers or craftsman to fix our equipment. Virtually every town had its artisans with their shop full of spare tissu and piece, hundreds of orders waiting their owners.
Since Singapore we have been desesperatly looking for a decent cobbler, as well as in Malaysia. Suprisly enough the very few cobblers are not well considered, and are maybe more chiffonier than artisan.
Here things are different because Malaysia and Singapore are like the factories of SOuth East Asia, and so most people like better to buy new item and drop old ones.

Let’s get back to Kota Bharu, a cobbler-free city!

The war museum is very interesting, although too much verbose, which explain a bit this often forgotten part of the 2nd WW history, like the “Death Railway”. This is the legendary railway that the Japanese made the POW and the local inhabitants build to link Thailand and Burma, trough the “the bridge over the River Kwai” (in fact the river was renamed to Kwai to compensate the mistake made by the famous film).

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