What tourists said about Tumpat, Kelantan
I always felt a sense of calmness whenever I visit this particular wat. The surroundings have not changed much over the years.
The reclining Buddha at Wat Photivihan is probably the most well known in Tumpat, Kelantan. It is often mistakenly described as South East Asia’s biggest reclining Buddha but that honour goes to the one at the Chauk Htet Gyi Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar which is 66 meters long (at present).
However, it is the longest statue of the ‘sleeping’ Buddha in Malaysia (40m). In front of the reclining Buddha stands an intricate Wheel of Dharma which has deep symbolic significance in Buddhism.
Do plan your visit as part of a day trip from Kota Bharu. If the stall is open, you can enjoy fresh coconut drink right within the wat’s compound. Similar to the other wats in Tumpat, entry is free of charge.
Visited June 2013
“The longest reclining Buddha at South East Asia.”
This is the temple where the longest reclining or sleeping Buddha at South East Asia. Is longest than another one reclining Buddha at Pulau Pinang. This is the simple and peace temple with large parking area and one small turtle pool.
I like the tall coconut tree at the temple that’s look nice.
Visited July 2013
Very impressive!! This was my first impression when I first saw the Buddha. Whilst the exterior is amazing, the interior of the wat is somewhat less interesting.
This wat is located in Tumpat, a small town/district which is approximately 20km from Kota Bharu, the capital of the state of Kelantan in Malaysia. Being so close to Thailand, it is not surprising that many Malaysians of Siamese descent live in Tumpat.
There are many wats in Tumpat district, characterised with generally large compounds. Hence, it would make sense to plan to visit a couple of these wats on a day trip from Kota Bharu (spend about 1-2 hours at each wat).
Unless you have friends or family in the area, it is probably not easy to get here by public transportation. Your best option would be to hire a taxi for the day – can’t say how much this would cost though as we did not do this.
I would also recommend ending the day trip by visiting Pantai Seri Tujuh, where you can enjoy a walk on the beach and snacks from the many food stalls.
Visited June 2013
“Reminiscing trip to the beautiful Dragon Boat Wat”
IMHO, Wat Mai Suwankiri (a.k.a. the Dragon Boat Wat) is the most stunning wat in Tumpat district. You can clearly see the strong Thai influence.
The main pull factor is of course the iconic dragon boat surrounded by water which has four dragons (naga) guarding it. Don’t miss the crocodiles next to it. At the entrance to the main hall, there is a big healthy fig tree laden with fruits.
There is a standing Buddha statue on its roof. In the main building, there is a wax statue of Tharn Di (Monk Di) who had since passed on. Tharn Di’s figure is so life-like, even up close!! I really thought I saw him blinked! This wat has the most beautiful and elaborate interior in gold and red.
Murals on the walls depict Buddha’s life story. Walking around its grounds … you will come across the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin), Four-faced Buddha (Brahma) and another building where as you walk up the stairs, a glass compartment the preserved body of Tharn Di in a see-through casket will come into view.
Plan your trip to see this amazing wat with visits to the other wats in Tumpat district. You won’t regret it!
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Visited June 2013
About Tumpat, Kelantan
The Malaysian-Thai border town of Tumpat attracts visitors who are drawn to its dual-culture uniqueness.
IT is a bonus to visit Tumpat in Kelantan. It is like getting two countries for the price of one as you’ll be visiting Malaysia and Thailand at the same time. Tumpat is the smallest district in the north-eastern-most part of the East Coast.
There are lots of Thai influences in Tumpat – from the ethnic Thai communities to the numerous wat (Buddhist temple), roadside restaurants selling authentic Thai fare and shops offering Thai handicraft. You can do lots of things here in a day — shop, eat, laze by the beach or go on the World War II trail.
First attractions – Train station
You can shop for cheap garments and fruit from Thailand at Pengkalan Kubor (opposite Tat Bai on the Golok River in Thailand), which is a mere 30 minutes drive from Kota Baru, the capital of Kelantan. Grabbing bargains in rows after rows of shops will leave you breathless after a few hours.
Tumpat is the last stop for the Keretapi Tanah Melayu train to the East Coast. The Tumpat station was once an international station for Thai passengers and the route served passengers from as far south as Singapore.
The Tumpat station grew popular after the Guillemard bridge was completed across Sungai Kelantan in 1924. The line from Singapore to Tumpat was completed in 1930s. From the railway yard, you can see old colonial buildings of British designs. There is also a turntable, one of the two found in Malaysia, for turning locomotives from north to face south again.
Second attractions – World War II Trail
Those interested in the historical legacies of the World War II period will be thrilled to see the remnant of an old Japanese iron mine that belonged to one Koichiro Ishihara.
Called Ishihara Mine, it supplied vital raw materials to the Japanese war machinery up to the end of WW II in 1945. What remains now is a row of concrete pillars on the beach and the mining shaft. Several pillboxes (concrete bunkers) from the same period still stand today.
Third attractions – Beach of Seven Lagoons
Go to Pantai Seri Tujoh (Beach of Seven Lagoons) to enjoy the scenery and the breeze from the South China Sea. Walking or playing on the beach can quite easily work your appetite up. Nearby restaurants serve Thai cuisine, including fresh seafood at very reasonable prices.
Once a year, the beach comes alive with kite enthusiasts from all over Asean who come for the International Wau Festival held in May after the padi harvest. During the festival, you could also see how the famous wau bulan (moon kite) is made.
Adventures in Tumpat
Visitors can watch a side show with monkeys competing to pluck coconuts. Other attractions include elephant rides and more shopping at numerous stalls offering souvenirs like Kelantanese handicraft. At night, enjoy dinner while watching a wayang kulit (shadow play) performance.
Watch the tok dalang (puppeteer) brings his puppets to life with an interesting dialogue in a mixture of Kelantanese Malay and English spoken with heavy Kelantanese accent. The show often leaves the audience in stitches.
Fourth attractions – Buddha Statues
As Tumpat borders Thailand, a large Thai community lives here. Two large Buddha statues attract busloads of tourists from all over the country as well as those from Singapore.
A 40m-long statue of a Reclining Buddha at Wat Pothvihan is said to be one of the biggest in the world. There is also a 30m Sitting Buddha at Wat Machimmaram by the main road.
Getting To Tumpat
Drive or take public transport (taxi or bus) to get to Tumpat from Kota Baru.
Trips can also be arranged by Tourism Malaysia Kelantan office (Tel: 09-6221 893/6221 433, email: email@example.com) or tour operator Sampugita Holidays Sdn Bhd (Tel: 09-7432 178/7485 000 ext 8004, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Popular Attractions in Kelantan that you might be interested
- Chinese Mosque Kelantan – The official name is Sultan Ismail Petra Silver Jubilee Mosque also known as Beijing mosque located in Rantau Panjang, Kelantan just a few km away from Kelantan-Sungai Golok, Thailand border/immigration. 43-44km away from Kota Bharu city centre.
- Gelanggang Seni (Cultural Centre) – Locally known as Gelanggang Seni, the Cultural Centre is a veritable showcase of the state’s rich cultural heritage.
- Handicraft Village and Craft Museum – Set within a beautiful village setting, the complex houses a craft museum, craft shops, tourism offices and a restaurant.
- Pantai Cahaya Bulan / Beach of Moonlight – This quiet seaside town is famed for its swaying casuarinas and rustic villages. The route to the beach is dotted with vibrant and colourful cottage industries that produce batik, songket and giant kites.
- Kuala Koh National Park – This dense jungle is a paradise of natural attractions. Delight in observing an assortment of birds, plants and animals or visit the aboriginal settlement.
- Kampung Homestays – Live with a friendly local family and join in their interesting pastimes. Homestays can be experienced at the villages of Renok Baru, Pantai Suri and Blok Ulu Kusial.
Photo credit: Choo Yut Shing