This important royal building "Balai Besar" (Big Hall) was built in 1898 with Malay typical staircase and Thai influenced architecture and English wrought iron design.
It is still used for important state functions and royal ceremonies.
Balai Besar is located in the middle of downtown Alor Setar in a park and opposite the famous Zahir Mosque.
At one time it was also a State Museum but there is no a new State Museum near the City Stadium.
An effectice police force is a legacy of the British rule in Malaya and Kedah. It is called the Polis Di Raja (Royal Malaysian Police) and if you think of Hong Kong Police, it will get you the importance, respect and high expectation of the Police Institution in Malaysia.
In Malay, the Police are also called "Mata-Mata" (mata=eyes).
As an pre-independence institutions, the police stations are still in colonial buildings in many towns. Although many have moved into newer bigger modern buildings, in Alor Setar, you can still see the "old" Police Station in a charming historic building.
In 1997, the 9th FIFA World Youth Championship was held in Malaysia.
Darulaman Stadium of Alor Setar was one of the venues.
It was a great treat for all the locals to see some world class football albeit at youth age group. Tickets were affordable and it was an easy short drive from Penang.
Suddenly Alor Setar was crowded with outsiders.
Favorite thing: Big Post Office is the name given to this post office, is actually a headquarter. This one is face to face with the police station on a tip above this one, both were here since the early British days.
Favorite thing: I visit Alor Setar when I was age 7 or 8 during my primary school time to my father's working place in this northern town. I remembered that time this town was so rural to a city boy like me and what I can recall was the river has a half floating restaurant where the moment our foods dropped into the water, hundreds of catfishes will fight for it. That was the most remarkable remaining data still in my memory. I also impressed by the green colors of those beautiful paddy fields and I remember I once walked into the paddy field to see a small snake and was so frightening but happy because it was the first ever from a city boy. I believe nowadays Alor Setar has changed to very modern looking with high rise constrictions and as usual, McDonald's KFC, Starbucks for sure.
Favorite thing: Al-Bukhari mosque, located slightly far from town center, nearby the north-south expressway exit, big and grand.
Favorite thing: In the town centre, I saw some nice old colonial days building, this one, is a police station, just look at its age from the look of the way they designed.