Kedah Travel Guide: All You Need To Know Before A Trip To Kedah

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Kedah, a Malaysian state steeped in history and natural beauty, lies on the northwest coast of the Malay Peninsula. With its capital Alor Setar as its cultural heart, Kedah offers a mix of ancient charm and modern vibrancy. Home to the renowned Langkawi archipelago, its stunning beaches and lush landscapes draw tourists seeking relaxation and adventure. Kedah boasts a rich cultural heritage, seen in its historic sites, traditional arts, and diverse cuisine. Agriculture, particularly rice cultivation, plays a vital role in its economy. This multifaceted state captures the essence of Malaysia’s cultural and natural diversity.

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Where is Kedah located

Situated approximately 470 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur, Kedah’s geographical location boasts both coastal beauty and lush landscapes. Its proximity to Thailand adds a touch of cultural diversity to the state, influencing its cuisine and festivities.

When To Visit Kedah

The best time to visit Kedah is during the dry season, which typically spans from December to March. This period offers pleasant weather with lower humidity levels and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the region’s attractions.

The months of January and February are particularly favourable, as the weather is cooler and more comfortable for sightseeing, hiking, and beach activities. However, it’s important to note that this period also coincides with the peak tourist season, so it’s advisable to plan and book accommodations in advance.

The shoulder months of November and April can also be considered, offering a balance between manageable crowd levels and enjoyable weather. To make the most of your visit to Kedah, aiming for the dry season ensures a more pleasant and memorable experience.

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How to Get to Kedah

Getting to Kedah is relatively convenient, with multiple transportation options available due to its strategic location in Peninsular Malaysia. Whether you’re arriving from within the country or internationally, there are various ways to reach this captivating state:

By Plane:

The most common way to access Kedah is by air. Langkawi International Airport (LGK) serves as the primary gateway to the state. It’s well-connected to major cities within Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru, with frequent domestic flights operated by several airlines. International flights from neighbouring countries, such as Thailand and Singapore, also provide direct access to Langkawi.

By Train:

Kedah is connected to the national rail network, making train travel a scenic option. The main railway station in Alor Setar provides connections to various destinations, including Kuala Lumpur and Thailand.

› For more information, or to check a train timetable, please visit KTMB website.
› To purchase ticket online, you can purchase your ticket via official website.

By Bus:

Kedah is well-connected by an extensive network of buses that run from major cities and towns across Malaysia. The central bus terminal in Alor Setar, the state capital, serves as a hub for intercity and interstate bus routes.

› To purchase ticket online, you can purchase your ticket via

By Car:

If you prefer the freedom of a road trip, Kedah is accessible by car from neighbouring states. Well-maintained highways and roads connect Kedah to major cities like Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

› If you’d like to hire a car, be sure to compare car rental prices via to get the best deals.

Top Attractions in Kedah

Langkawi Island

Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands, is a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. Its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and crystal-clear waters provide a perfect backdrop for relaxation and adventure. Don’t miss the Langkawi Cable Car, which takes you to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang, offering breathtaking panoramic views.

Langkawi Island
Photo by Vivify

Gunung Jerai

Gunung Jerai, standing majestically as Kedah’s highest peak, offers an invigorating escape into nature’s embrace. This iconic mountain not only provides an exhilarating hiking experience through lush rainforests and captivating flora, but also rewards adventurers with breathtaking panoramic views from its summit. As a sacred site steeped in local legends and folklore, Gunung Jerai holds a spiritual significance for the residents of Kedah. The journey to its peak unveils the rich biodiversity of the region, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a deeper connection with Kedah’s natural wonders.

Gunung Jerai
Photo by Kosmo Digital

Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum

The Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum is a captivating destination for history enthusiasts, offering a fascinating window into Kedah’s ancient past. Located near Merbok, this museum houses a remarkable collection of artifects and relics that shed light on the region’s vibrant prehistoric and early historical civilisations. Visitors can explore intricately crafted sculptures, ancient inscriptions, pottery, and other archaeological finds, providing insights into the trade, culture, and religious practices of the Bujang Valley’s early inhabitants. The museum’s well-curated exhibits and informative displays make it a must-visit site for those curious about Kedah’s rich heritage and its role as a significant maritime trading hub.

Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum
Photo by Nalanda Buddhist Society

Tourist Information
› Address: berhampiran dengan Sungai Batu, Bukit Batu Pahat, 08400 Merbok, Kedah (Google Maps)
› Opening hours: Monday – Sunday : 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
› Contact: +604-4572005
› Tickets : Free Admission
› If you’d like to know more, kindly visit the official website

Pantai Merdeka

Pantai Merdeka, a hidden gem nestled along Kedah’s coast, offers a tranquil escape from the bustling world. This serene beach boasts soft, golden sands and clear turquoise waters, creating an idyllic backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation. The gentle sea breeze whispers through the casuarina trees that line the shore, providing a soothing ambiance. Visitors can indulge in leisurely strolls, picnics, and sandcastle building with loved ones. As the sun paints the sky with hues of orange and pink during sunset, Pantai Merdeka becomes a canvas of natural beauty, leaving an indelible impression on those who seek solace in its quiet embrace.

Pantai Merdeka
Photo by Mai Singgah

Tourist Information
› Address: 08500 Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah (Google Maps)
› Opening hours: 24 hours

Pedu Lake

Nestled within the lush embrace of Kedah’s rainforests, Pedu Lake is a serene oasis that beckons nature enthusiasts and tranquility seekers alike. Its placid waters mirror the surrounding verdant landscape, offering a picturesque setting for a variety of activities. Boating across the calm lake’s surface provides a chance to soak in the breathtaking views while fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines to catch a variety of local fish species. Jungle trekking trails around the lake offer a deeper immersion into the region’s biodiversity, making Pedu Lake a true haven for nature-lovers.

Pedu Lake Boat House Kedah travel guide
Photo by Pedu Lake Boat

Tourist Information
› Address: Kuala Nerang, Kedah (Google Maps)

Rumah Merdeka

Rumah Merdeka, also known as Independence House, holds a pivotal place in Malaysia’s history. Situated in Alor Setar, Kedah, this historic residence was once the home of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the revered Father of Independence and Malaysia’s first Prime Minister. Preserved as a museum, Rumah Merdeka offers a poignant journey through time, allowing visitors to step into the life of Tunku Abdul Rahman and the critical moments that led to Malaysia’s freedom from colonial rule. The exhibits, personal belongings, and photographs within its walls paint a vivid picture of the struggle, sacrifices, and ultimate triumph that shaped the nation’s destiny.

Rumah Merdeka
Photo by Tripadvisor

Tourist Information
› Address: Jalan Putra, Bandar Alor Setar, 05150 Alor Setar, Kedah (Google Maps)
› Opening hours: Tuesday – Thursday, Saturday – Sunday : 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Closed on Monday and Friday
› Contact: +604-7204214

Kuala Kedah Fort

Kuala Kedah Fort, a historical gem located near the mouth of the Kedah River, offers a fascinating journey into Kedah’s past. Built in the 18th century by Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the fort was strategically positioned to guard against potential threats from the sea. Its well-preserved walls and bastions stand as a testament to the region’s colonial history, bearing witness to battles and maritime trade. The fort’s architecture reflects a blend of local and European influences, making it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts seeking insights into Kedah’s rich heritage.

Kuala Kedah Fort
Photo by The Island Drum

Tourist Information
› Address: 06600 Kuala Kedah, Kedah (Google Maps)
› Opening hours: Monday – Sunday : 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
› Contact: +604-7412152
› Tickets : Free Admission

The Most Notable Annual Events in Kedah

Kedah International Kite Festival

The Kedah International Kite Festival, a captivating celebration that takes to the skies, offers a mesmerising display of artistry and skill. Against the backdrop of Kedah’s azure sky, kites of all shapes, sizes, and hues gracefully dance with the wind, captivating the eyes and hearts of spectators. This festival serves as a cultural bridge, uniting kite enthusiasts from various corners of the globe. Beyond the aerial ballet, visitors can engage in kite-making workshops, witness traditional performances, and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere that celebrates both tradition and innovation.

Kedah Kite Festival
Photo by Kedah Kite Festival

Kedah Traditional Games Festival

The Kedah Traditional Games Festival is a captivating celebration that transports visitors back in time to experience the essence of traditional recreational activities. Showcasing an array of age-old games and sports that have been passed down through generations, the festival captures the nostalgia of simpler times. From top spinning competitions to kite flying challenges, participants and spectators alike can immerse themselves in the cultural significance of these games. This festival not only preserves Kedah’s heritage but also provides an interactive platform for people of all ages to engage in and appreciate the timeless charm of traditional games.

Photo by IIUM

How to Get around Kedah

  • Public Buses: Kedah has a reliable public bus system that connects major towns and cities within the state. The cost of a bus ride typically ranges from RM 1.50 to RM 3.00, depending on the distance traveled. Buses are an affordable option for budget-conscious travellers.
  • Taxis: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Grab are readily available in Kedah. Taxis operate on a metered basis, with the starting fare around RM 3.00 and additional charges per kilometer. Ride-sharing services provide transparency in pricing and can be cost-effective for shorter distances.
  • Renting a Car: Renting a car is a convenient way to explore Kedah at your own pace. Rental costs vary based on the type of vehicle and rental duration, but expect to pay around RM 100 to RM 200 per day, inclusive of insurance. Keep in mind that fuel costs are additional.
  • Motorbikes and Scooters: For solo travellers or those seeking a more adventurous experience, renting a motorcycle is an option. Daily rental rates can range from RM 30 to RM 80, depending on the motorcycle type and rental duration. Fuel costs are minimal for motorcycles.
  • Trishaws: In certain tourist areas, you might find traditional trishaws, which are pedal-powered three-wheeled vehicles. Trishaw rides are often negotiable, with prices varying based on distance and negotiation skills.

Where to Stay at Kedah

In Kedah, accommodation choices abound. Langkawi Island offers luxury beach resorts and cozy guesthouses, particularly in Pantai Cenang. Alor Setar has hotels near attractions like Zahir Mosque. From budget options to high-end lodgings, Kedah ensures a diverse range of stays for an enjoyable and memorable visit.

Where to Stay in Kedah


The Ritz-Carlton Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton
$ $ $


Aloft Hotel

$ $


Frazel Heritage Hotel

Frazel Heritage Hotel

What to Take Note when Visiting Kedah

  • Respect Local Customs and Culture: Kedah has a rich cultural heritage, so it’s important to respect local customs and practices. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Remove your shoes before entering mosques and temples, and ask for permission before taking photos of individuals.
  • Weather and Clothing: Kedah has a tropical climate, so pack lightweight and breathable clothing to stay comfortable in the heat. Don’t forget to include sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Keep a raincoat or umbrella handy for occasional rain showers.
  • Language: Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in urban areas and tourist spots. It’s helpful to learn a few basic Malay phrases to enhance your interactions.
  • Health Precautions: Check if any vaccinations or health precautions are required before traveling to Kedah. Mosquito repellent is recommended due to the tropical climate, and it’s a good idea to carry any necessary medications and a basic first aid kit.
  • Safety and Security: Kedah is generally a safe destination, but it’s wise to take basic safety precautions. Keep your belongings secure, be cautious in unfamiliar areas after dark, and follow local advice regarding safe travel.
  • Local Etiquette: Always use your right hand when giving or receiving items, as the left hand is considered impolite. When interacting with locals, a smile and a friendly demeanour go a long way in creating positive connections.
  • Photography: Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, especially in more remote or traditional areas. Some locations may have restrictions on photography, so be attentive to signage and local guidance.
  • Bargaining: Bargaining is common in markets and small shops, but it’s done with respect and politeness. Don’t haggle aggressively; instead, engage in a friendly negotiation.
  • Environmental Responsibility: Kedah’s natural beauty is a treasure to be preserved. Avoid littering, follow designated trails, and practice responsible ecotourism to minimise your impact on the environment.

Visiting Kedah as a Muslim:
Visiting Kedah as a Muslim offers a fulfilling cultural and spiritual journey. Explore the state’s iconic mosques, like Zahir Mosque in Alor Setar, for prayer and reflection. Indulge in an array of halal culinary delights available at local eateries and hotels. Dress modestly to respect local customs, especially at religious sites. Immerse yourself in Kedah’s festivals and events, gaining insights into the Islamic heritage of the region. Experience the camaraderie of Friday prayers and, during Ramadan, engage in the communal spirit of fasting and Iftar. Engage with locals, observe traditions, and practice responsible travel to cherish the beauty of Kedah.


Visiting Kedah, whether for cultural exploration or spiritual enrichment as a Muslim, guarantees an unforgettable experience. With its iconic mosques, rich history, and warm hospitality, Kedah invites immersion in its vibrant traditions. Indulge in halal cuisine, join prayers, and partake in local festivities, leaving a lasting impression. By embracing customs, respecting sites, and fostering connections, you’ll create meaningful memories. As you explore Kedah’s landscapes and heritage, you’ll discover a place resonating with both spirit and senses.

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