The name “Kedah” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Kadaram” or “Kataha,” which refers to the northern region of the Malay Peninsula. The state’s rich history and strategic location in ancient maritime routes have given it various names throughout history.
Kedah, often referred to as the “Rice Bowl of Malaysia” due to its vast paddy fields, is located in the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia. It is bordered by the states of Perlis to the north, Penang to the west, and Perak to the south. The Andaman Sea graces its western boundary, and Thailand lies to its northeast.
Kedah’s history stretches back over 2,000 years, with archaeological evidence suggesting early trade with India and China. The state was once a thriving center of Hinduism and Buddhism, as seen from the artifacts and structures in the Bujang Valley. It later became a part of the Srivijaya Empire and subsequently the Sultanate of Kedah, established in the 12th century. The state faced various challenges over time, from Siamese invasions to British colonization, but retained its unique identity.
Highlights of Things to Do
- Langkawi Archipelago: A cluster of 99 islands, with Langkawi Island being the largest, offering pristine beaches, luxury resorts, and various attractions like the Sky Bridge and Underwater World.
- Bujang Valley: An archaeological wonder, this is the richest archaeological site in Malaysia, showcasing ruins, relics, and temples from ancient Hindu and Buddhist eras.
- Alor Setar: The state capital, a blend of modernity and tradition with attractions like Alor Setar Tower, Zahir Mosque, and the Kedah Royal Museum.
- Paddy Museum: Providing insights into the importance of rice cultivation in Kedah, with fascinating exhibits and panoramic views of paddy fields.
- Mount Jerai: Located in the district of Yan, this mountain offers trekking opportunities and breathtaking views of the surroundings.
How to Get In and Out
- By Road: An extensive road network links Kedah to the neighboring states and the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.
- By Train: The KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) rail service connects several towns in Kedah to other parts of Malaysia, with the main station in Alor Setar.
- By Bus: Intercity buses operate regularly between Kedah’s major towns and other cities in the peninsula.
- By Air: Langkawi International Airport serves both domestic and international flights, while Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Alor Setar caters mainly to domestic routes.
- By Sea: Ferry services are available between the mainland and Langkawi, as well as from Langkawi to places like Penang and Thailand.
Kedah, with its rich history, lush landscapes, and beautiful islands, offers travelers a blend of cultural experiences, natural beauty, and modern amenities. From exploring ancient archaeological sites to relaxing on the world-famous beaches of Langkawi, Kedah is a destination that promises diverse experiences and memories to cherish. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or just in search of relaxation, Kedah has something to offer to every traveler.