Monday, 24 June 2013

Kelantan Food & Heritage Trail 2013 – Part 2

Entrance to Akademi Nik Rashiddin.
The bus journey from Kota Bharu to Bachok took us about 40 minutes, which was just enough for most of us to take a short nap. Our first stop was Akademi Nik Rashiddin at Kandis village, a one-stop resource centre on Malay woodcrafts. Cold Air Nira (Palm Wine) was served to quench our thirst on arrival. The proud owner-operator is Mrs Rosnawati, wife of the late Nik Rashiddin, a master woodcraft. The serene 6-acre property accommodates a wooden museum, a gallery and the family house. The museum was actually reconstructed from a 188 year old house which they bought from Kampung Ladang, Terengganu. Among the exhibits in the museum were various Malay wooden crafts and equipment that were used daily by farmers, fishermen and the common folks.

Mrs Rosnawati is an expert in the subject of traditional malay woodcraft.
The intricately designed bow of a Malay traditional boat.
One of the Keris on display. The ivory hilt was handcrafted by Nik Rashiddin.
The Gallery housed various types of keris’ hilts and sheaths handcrafted by the late master woodcraft himself. There were also a rostrum, a bed and the head and tail of a Gagak Sura, a royal ceremonial parade icon, all with their own intricately crafted designs. Mrs Rosnawati, herself a lecturer with the Creative Technology and Heritage Faculty at a local university, was ever willing to explain to us about the Malay woodcraft industry in general and of Nik Rashiddin’s tireless efforts to preserve and revive the heritage initiatives.

The directional signage was clearly visible from the main road.
A short distance away from Akademi Nik Rashiddin, lies a secluded boutique resort called Villa Danialla. We were so surprised to find a resort so charmingly built in this part of the tranquil village. The 74 room resort boasted of a private white sandy beach and a host of other amenities including a premium spa, infinity pool, horse ride and various beach activities. The owner, Dato Halimah Hamat, was hands-on when it comes to the day-to-day operations. She spoke to us about the resort’s humble beginnings and of its future plans. A short while later, buffet style ‘late afternoon meal’ was served and we wasted no time to savour the sumptuous looking dishes. The combo of the crispy murtabak and sweet and creamy ‘butir nangka’ was my favourite.

A very warm ambience welcomes every visitors to the resort.
Dato Halimah Hamat - The proud owner-operator of the resort.
The yummy sweet and creamy 'butir nangka'.
Dato Halimah then took us for a quick tour of the resort and its ample facilities. “All the facilities and services are provided without any extra charges” she said. “Guests will not feel privileged if we keep on billing them with all the small charges” she added. I couldn’t agree more with you Dato!. All the best to you!

The facade of the newly opened Tok Aman Bali Beach Resort.
We boarded our bus to our final destination of the day, Tok Aman Bali Beach Resort. Situated along the idyllic beach of Pantai Bisikan Bayu (Beach of Whispering Breeze) in the district of Pasir Puteh, the 100 room resort is the latest 5 star resort in Kelantan. Nestled amongst tall casuarina trees, the low rise resort offers each rooms with a lagoon facing balconies on one side and on the other side, a large swimming pool and its landscaped garden strategically located right in the middle as the centerpiece.

Every room has direct access to the pool, which is a short walking distance away.
We checked-in into our respective rooms as soon as we reach the resort. The room was nice and neat and it has a big balcony with a set of outdoor settee. There’s a big glass window wall separating the bathroom and the room and it came with a curtain, of course. The finishing and the fittings truly befitted that of a 5-star rating that was awarded to the resort. Well, I couldn’t wait to explore what else was offered. So, I decided to go out and check it out myself.

Paddleboats are popular among family guests.
En Kamal Azam of Tourism Malaysia trying out the KMX Kart tricycle,
one of the recreational facilities provided by the resort.
To start with, there were all types of cycling vehicles. We have bicycles for kids and adults, tandem bicycles (bicycle for two people) and the latest KMX Kart Tricycles! I had a spin in it and was thrilled by the performance and superb handling. Then, there were the boat rides, paddleboats and kayaks for those who wouldn’t mind some water splashing. 

...and some preferred to go kayaking.
The activity lined up for the media was collecting lokan (mangrove clams). We had to paddle to a small island in the middle of the lagoon and look for the exotic cockles. Armed with plastic bags braving the knee deep swamp and combing between the protruding mangrove roots, we eventually managed to collect about 3 kgs of lokans. Not bad for most first timers like us. The lokans ended up in the resort’s kitchen to be served as part of the dish for our grand garden dinner for the night. Hosted by the resort and graced by the General Manager himself, the steamboat dinner was accompanied by a very entertaining Wayang Kulit (Shadow Play) performance of a local troupe. Interestingly, the Tok Dalang (Master Puppeteer) was a Chinese. How interesting!

Not a bad catch for our friend here.
Anyway, it has been a very long day for all of us, and what else do you expect a bunch of worn out, full- bellied humans would do given some cozy, comfy and cushy beds in a 5-star resort? 

For more information on Kelantan and the places mentioned above, please visit: 


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