There are many aspects famously connected to Kedah - from the legendary island of Langkawi to the home state of Malaysia's two prime ministers. However, one title synonymous with this northern territory is the 'Rice Bowl of Malaysia'. If you travel around the state, you'll definitely notice the vast paddJoy fields which dominate Kedah's landscape.
The state capital, Alor Setar, though widely decorated with modern façade, is still home to many old buildings which lends the town some nostalgic historical mood. Of interest is the Balai Besar, a notable wooden structure built in 1898. It is frequently used for state and royal functions. Within walking distance is Zahir Mosque, another prominent landmark built in 1912. This Muslim place of worship is said to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. If you are interested in heritage, visit The Royal Museum which has an authentic collection of Kedah's royal and cultural heritage.
Other attractions in Alor Setar include the birthplace of Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. The traditional wooden house is well restored and one can get a close look at not only the prime minister's humble childhood abode, but also the conventional Malay house architecture of yesteryear.
A trip to Alor Setar is incomplete without visiting Pekan Rabu bazaar. Here, you will be spoilt with a variety of local wares and handicrafts as well as traditional fares like dodol (a popular Malay sweet delicacy), karas (crispy tidbit), and baulu (soft mini cake) that come in a variety of shapes such as flower and gold fish.
While here, why not get a breathtaking view of the town and its surroundings from Alor Setar Tower. A simpler version of the KL Tower, this is nonetheless a new prominent landmark Alor Setar has to offer. A short drive from Alor Setar brings you to the border town of Bukit Kayu Hitam. Besides serving as a transit point for those going to Thailand, Bukit Kayu Hitam is also a duty-free shopping zone.
Kedah is one of the oldest states in the country. The Bujang Valley, at the foothills of Gunung Jerai, Kedah's hill resort, point to Hindu-Buddhist influence dating back to fourth century A.D. Artefacts found at this historical site are now displayed at the Archeological Museum. Among other things, you'll get to see Chinese porcelain and gemstones from the Middle East.
For those in search of solitude and relaxation, the scenic Pedu Lake provides a worthwhile retreat. It is recommended that you spend a few days here in order to enjoy the serenity of the surroundings and to indulge in activities such as jungle trekking, cycling and water sports.
A visit to Kedah is incomplete without exploring the state's most famous destination - Langkawi. Langkawi is known not only for its tranquil location but the legends and myths that usually entice visitors to this island. Langkawi comprises a group of 99 islands, each with its own specialty. Among the prominent ones are Pulau Dayang Bunting (Isle of the Pregnant Maiden), Pulau Singa Besar (a wildlife sanctuary), Pulau Payar(a marine park ) and Pulau Beras Basah (Isle of Wet Rice), a popular spot for swimming. For those "shopaholics", bear in mind that Langkawi is a free port which offers plenty of good buys. All you need is enough money to spend and substantial space in your luggage.
Legends and myths aside, Langkawi in the present reality is fast gaining a reputation as a popular venue for international exhibitions and conferences. It is the venue for the exciting Langkawi International Maritime and Air Show (LIMA), Le Tour de Langkawi Cycling Race and Langkawi International Dialogue, to name a few. Other points of interest are the Mahsuri Mausoleum, Air Hangat hot springs, Galeria Perdana, Eagle's Square, Seven Wells, Underwater World, a crocodile farm and the Tanjung Rhu beach.
Kedah's attractions will certainly create some distractions from your daily regime. But you'll definitely need that kind of distractions in order to fully discover the richness of nature and culture of Kedah.