Kedah – Land of Elephants (mostly white)

Kedah is the state of the grand project.

On my travels I came across a number of ambitious developments in Kedah, some more successful than others.

First of all, in the state capital, Alor Setar, there is the Menara Alor Setar (Alor Setar Tower) run by the same company which manages the KL Tower.

Alor Setar Tower

It functions as a telecommunications tower but is also a tourist attraction with a revolving restaurant and observation deck. It is not nearly as tall as the KL version (the observation deck is 88 meters above the ground versus KL’s 276 meters) but not as expensive either at just RM6 for Malaysian ID card holders. I do not know if this has been a financially successful project but it was not exactly overrun with tourists when I went (I was the only foreign visitor and there was one local family). There were nice views over the city including this one of the impressive looking new Albukhary Complex.

Kompleks Albukhary, Alor Setar

Next there is the Paddy Museum (Muzium Padi) just 8km outside the city centre.

Padi Museum, Kedah

This spacious museum is dedicated to rice and covers 12,000 square meters on 3 levels. Its centrepiece is a 360 degree painted diorama which you can view from a comfortable armchair on a slowly revolving platform.

Diorama viewing deck at the Padi Museum.

It’s very nicely painted but I imagine most people prefer to walk round the 360 degrees rather than sit and wait for the turntable to complete a full rotation.

Rice is the world’s most important crop but there is a limit to how much you can say about it and there are quite a lot of empty spaces in the museum. Again I was the only visitor.

At the small port of Kuala Kedah there is a marina building which was completed in 2003 but has yet to open or welcome any yachts.

Kuala Kedah Marina

From a distance it used to look like Windsor Castle until they added the metal roof. There is no news on what is planned for this building.

I wanted to show you a picture of the Pulau Bunting Bridge, a 2.3km long bridge to an uninhabited island off the Kedah coast, but due to problems with my tyres I did not want to risk the gravel approach road. Apparently there was a proposal to build a port on the island but this has been scrapped so now it is a bridge to nowhere. You can see pictures of the bridge on this guy’s blog if you like: http://turbinemanlog.blogspot.com/2011/04/bridge-to-nowhere-pulau-bunting-bridge.html

So why does Kedah seem to have more than its fair share of these grand projects? It is a scenic state but somewhat lacking in tourist attractions (except for the jewel of Langkawi). These projects were an effort to bring in the visitors but were not always successful.

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