On Saturday, March 10, 2018, my father and I traveled to Kota Bharu to visit my aunt who lives there. It was a short weekend trip where we were flying there on Saturday and returned back to KL on the next day.
Kota Bharu or simply known as "KB" is the capital city of the state of Kelantan which located on the Northeast of peninsular Malaysia. We went there with Malaysia Airlines' subsidiary, Firefly out of KL's secondary airport, the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport or Subang Airport. I was so excited for this trip as it would be the very first time ever for me to fly with Firefly and onboard a propeller aircraft. It also would be the first time for me to fly out of Subang Airport after more than a decade.
In the Airport
On that day, we left our home at 7am and managed to reach the airport within 30 minutes later (with a weekend traffic). We parked our car at the dedicated parking area which located adjacent to the airport terminal.
SZB's legendary control tower can be seen from the parking area.
It just only a short walk from the parking area to the terminal. Known as "Subang International Airport" until the existence of KLIA, SZB then adopted its current name after the 8th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj.
SZB's Skypark Terminal formerly known as "Terminal 3".
Interior of the terminal.
Some shops available in the terminal.
The flight activities of the day.
We went straight to FY's check-in counter to collect our boarding passes and drop the luggage (only 1 luggage to be checked-in). After we done with the check-in, we went up to the 1st floor of the terminal to have our breakfast. Currently, there are only 2 cafes available at the 1st floor of the terminal; Old Town White Coffee and Kampong Kravers where we chose the later. When I was small, this space used to be occupied by KFC and A&W.
The 1st floor of the terminal is also the perfect place for you to do the aircraft spotting through its large windows.
Some FY's aircraft on the tarmac.
After we finished our breakfast, we made our way to the departure hall or the airside of the terminal. We passed the security check and it took us less than 10 minutes to reach the departure hall thanks to the small size of the airport. The departure hall is a wide and spacious area where all the gates for departure are located. There are also some shops and cafe here. Boarding for our flight started around 10 minutes before STD and passengers were called based on their row.
It was quite a long walk to our aircraft, but it also gave us a great view on the planes movements in the tarmac.
A Malindo & Firefly plane.
Another Firefly plane.
Our plane, 9M-FYH.
Boarding was done via the aircraft's rear door.
Our flight today was almost reaching a full capacity with only 2-3 seats remained empty. Inside the cabin, there were 2 lovely ladies on duty, Wahidah & Irene Idayu.
I got an aisle seat, 12C. The seat pitch was quite tight and the temperature inside the cabin was so hot.
Contents of the seat pocket.
After all passengers were onboard, the crew made a welcome announcement with our flight details and followed by a safety demonstration. Our ATR plane then made its way to the runway and minutes later we were already flying up in the air. The inflight service began around 15 minutes after we took off. Cabin crew Wahidah and Irene Idayu walked through the cabin while offering drinks (Mango Juice or Soya Bean Milk) and light snacks (Curry Puff or Salted Peanuts) to every passenger. I opted the Mango Juice and Curry Puff. The Curry Puff was served cold and tasted just so-so, nevertheless, it was highly appreciated to be given something complimentary for a short domestic flight like this.
It was a bit bumpy everytime our plane entering the thick clouds, but most of the time it was just a smooth ride. 1 hour later, we were safely landed in Kota Bharu's Sultan Ismail Petra Airport. As expected, we had to deplane from the aircraft via the rear door and walked to the terminal building.
Kota Bharu's Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (KBR) is named after Kelantan's 13th Sultan. Besides serving Kota Bharu, it also acts as the main gateway to the paradise island of Perhentian.
Welcome to Kota Bharu, Kelantan! We had to wait for at least 10 minutes before the 1st bag from our flight arrived at the conveyor belt. Within 2 minutes, we were already at the landside of the terminal where my aunt was waiting to pick up us. Kelantan is 1 of the few states in Malaysia where the "Jawi" (Malay language with Arabic alphabets) is still heavily being used. You can see the Jawi is written in many signage and signboards at all over the place including in the airport.
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Dining & Attractions in Kota Bharu
My aunt drove us to our hotel and before we reached there, we stopped at this restaurant called "New Horizon Garden" to have our lunch.
This restaurant serves fusion types of cuisines with a mixture of Thai, Chinese and Malaysian.
The fish was really spectacular!
After we had our lunch, my aunt dropped us at our hotel, De' Viana Hotel & Apartment which located close to McDonald's and Holiday Villa Hotel.
The views outside of our room. Most parts of Kota Bharu are still dominating by traditional houses, trees and Paddy Fields with not so many tall buildings around. A huge contrast from Kuala Lumpur!
We spent most our time by resting in our room. We went out again when it was the time for dinner.
Kota Bharu at night.
For our dinner, we chose the "KST Selera Ikan Bakar" as suggested by my aunt. It is 1 of the top dining places for dinner among locals where it serves "Ikan Bakar" (Grilled Fish) and various other types of seafoods such as Squips, Crabs, Cockles and Mussles.
You choose the seafoods here before informing the restaurant's staff on the style of cooking that you would like to have.
The seafoods were grilling on the stove fire.
The grilled seafoods are commonly eaten with raw vegetables and plants known as "Ulam" and assorted condiments such as "Budu", "Air Asam", "Sambal Kicap" and "Tempoyak" as a dipping sauce.
Various condiments which served as a dipping sauce.
We ordered an "Ikan Bakar" (Grilled Fish), Deep-Fried Squip with Flour, Salted Fish Gai Lan (Kai Lan), Ulam and some condiments. The foods tasted super amazing!
After the wonderful dinner, we returned back to our hotel and went to sleep. The next morning was our last day in Kota Bharu. We did an early check-out and around 8:30am, my aunt arrived at the hotel's lobby to pick us up. We agreed to have our breakfast together before we left for the airport. My aunt then brought us to this cafe known as "Kopitiam Kita" which is famous among locals and visitors to Kota Bharu.
This cafe is always full and crowded with customers. Most of the time, you got to wait to be seated.
Every day, Kopitiam Kita serves various Kelantanese traditional delicacies such as "Nasi Kerabu", "Nasi Dagang' and "Nasi Tumpang" to its customers.
But its most famous menu is "Roti Titab", a thick toast with a half-boiled Egg being placed in the middle surrounded by "Kaya" (Coconut spread) at every corner.
I had a plate of Nasi Kerabu (Blue-colored rice), Roti Titab and a cup of hot Milk Tea. The Roti Titab was no doubt the main highlight of our breakfast and I would highly recommend everyone who come to Kota Bharu to try this special bread.
After we finished with our breakfast, we decided to visit some attractions available in Kota Bharu city center. Unfortunately, due to the shortage of time, we only managed visiting 1 attraction, the "Istana Jahar" also known as "Muzium Adat".
This Octagon-shaped building was built in year 1855 by the then Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad II as a royal residence. It has now converted into a museum that houses the royal traditions and customs of Kelantan.
This museum features many interesting collections relating to Kelantanese royal customs, traditions and ceremonies that more commonly practiced in the ancient days. The exhibition is located both indoor and outdoor of the museum.
A traditional royal barge.
Some collections on outdoor exhibition.
The indoor exhibition.
Istana Jahar is strategically located close to many other Kota Bharu's attractions such as the Muhammadi Mosque, War Museum (Bank Kerapu), Islamic Museum and Handicraft Village.
The Sultan Ismail Petra Arch.
Next to Istana Jahar is also another palace building known as "Istana Balai Besar" or Grand Palace. Built in year 1844 from a Cengal Timber, the Istana Balai Besar is only used for important occasions where regular public is prohibited to enter within the gates.
We left the area when it was almost 11am and made our way to the airport for the return flight.
Thank you for reading my report and I hope you enjoyed it!
Subang - SZB
Kota Bharu - KBR
Firefly (FY) - It was fun and enjoyable flying with this small airlines. The inflight service provided by its cabin crew reminds me to the legendary service that can be found on Malaysia Airlines flights more than a decade ago. Its really good to see Firefly continuing this great legacy and I hope they can expand their operations to cover more destinations in Malaysia and regional countries on the future.
Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah/Subang Airport (SZB) - It is a very efficient and convenient airport which located close to city center. Im looking forward to fly out of SZB again for my future travel especially with the introduction of new train system to the airport from KL Sentral Station.
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