The state capital of Kedah, hemmed in by lush green paddy fields and beset by rain throughout the year, is not always top of the mind for tourists. But the northern city has a distinct charm of its own. Alor Setar’s proximity to the Thai border and history of Siamese administration has created a unique blend of Thai and Malaysian culture throughout the city and state. You’ll find unmistakeable Thai influences everywhere, from the names of places to the food.
Alor Setar is also home to one of Malaysia’s oldest and most beautiful mosques, Masjid Zahir, said to be built upon the graves of the warriors who died in the Siamese invasion of Kedah. The mosque is an essential part of the Alor Setar community, especially during the month of Ramadhan, when people gather to break their fast together at the end of the day, and witness the mosque light up the city sky.