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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wat Happens in Tumpat, Kelantan, Malaysia

Malaysia Day 9 (continued)

From Perhentian Island, we arrived in Kuala Besut at 12:00 noon. Like what Uncle promised, he took care of us from there. He let us rode on his friend's cab going to Wakaf Bharu train station where trains going to KL are. It took us about an hour and a half to get there. We shared the ride with an American tourist and a Malaysian couple. When the driver dropped us off, we asked him how much to pay, he refused to tell us. He said Uncle got it covered. We were speechless. Taxis going to Kota Bharu normally costs about RM15 per person and RM 60, if you're just 2 pax.

Uncle met us at the train station. He brought his car with him. We checked the train's departure time and bought our tickets in advanced. He was heaven-sent. Why? He paid for our train tickets! I wasn't expecting he'll do that for me too. I mean, I was just Moon's travel buddy. I'm not even a fellow Chinese and the ticket costed RM 54 (PHP 700+)! I insisted to pay him back but he strongly refused. I told you, I've been so lucky on this trip.

Since the train was not leaving until 7:00 PM, he took us around Kota Bharu (KB) and to the nearby town of Tumpat to kill time. He first brought us to the restaurant strip in KB for lunch. Most vegetarian restaurants were closed because it was Hari Raya, so we settled in a Chinese place. We saw this lovely bakeshop selling delicious looking breads and pastries. Again, Uncle paid for our goodies. It was too much already I know, but he really insists. We felt like Daddy's two little girls, I swear. Okay, our stomachs were full. Time for some wat hopping in Tumpat.

Wat Matchimmaram

Tumpat is located at the very end of Malaysia's east coastline. It is just 15 km away from the state capital Kota Bharu. Many Siamese-Malaysians reside in this area, thus the presence of many Buddhist temples in this district.

Uncle drove us first to Wat Matchimmaram. It is well-known for it's Big Sitting Buddha. It is said to be the largest sitting Buddha in meditation pose in South East Asia.

against the light 

Aside from the numerous Buddha figures all over the place, you'll also see several Chinese divinities in front of the temple like the ones below.

This Buddha statue measures 30 meters in height and 18 meters in width. It's gold lips is also very noticeable. Its coating is made of solid gold mind you. A statue this big took 10 years to finish, only expert craftsmen from Thailand could.

the golden-lipped Buddha

Thai architecture is so evident. You might wonder why there are Thai temples in Malaysia. The state of Kelantan is located at the north eastern side of Malaysia which is very close to the Thailand border.

The Thai Buddhists community usually do their religious celebrations in this temple.

It was a very interesting temple. I enjoyed exploring it.

Wat Maisuwankiri

Our next temple was the Wat Maisuwankiri, also known as the "Dragon Boat Temple". This one is more grand and I would say more beautiful.

main temple hall

I loved this temple's great architecture and nice play of colors. It is very pleasing to the eyes. They say the original temple has been built 400 years ago.

reminiscent of the Grand Palace structures

You will notice similarities with the Grand Palace in Bangkok. It looks amazing. These new structures are about over 50 years old.

impressive architecture

This temple was constructed from the funds of Thailand and Malaysia Buddhist Association and public donations amounting to RM 300,000. That amounts to PHP 3.9 million in our currency! Wow.

another hall

The temple complex is huge that you may find yourself alone in some spots and you may take as many photos of yourself as you want haha. :)  This temple covers 4 hectares.

see? haha :)

I liked this particular structure, so if  you noticed I took a lot pictures of it.

lovin the colors :)

Then, there's this dragon boat structure. There's a pond inside it where there are lots of fishes. I mean lots of fishes.

the Dragon Boat

those were big fishes huh

That dragon boat is gorgeous but there were obvious discolorations already. That's basically what Wat Maisuwankiri is all about.

There's still one more interesting temple in the area, the Wat Phothivihan. It is also one of the most popular, out of the 25 temples in Tumpat. It is known for its gigantic reclining Buddha which is the longest in whole South East Asia. Too bad we were out of time already. We didn't see it. We have to be at the train station before 7:00 PM.

Tumpat is perfect for a side trip when you are going to or coming from the Perhentian Islands. There are many interesting temples around the area. You'll also get to see a different side of Malaysia. Sometimes, unplanned destinations can really make your time worthwhile. :)

*A wat is a monastery temple in Thailand, Cambodia, or Laos. If  you just wonder wat I'm talking about :)

This is Part 6-1 of my Peninsular Malaysia travel series.

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