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Your guide to Sungai Petani
All About Sungai Petani
Sungai Petani is the largest city in the Kedah state of Malaysia, about an hour south of the state capital, Alor Setar. The modern city with shopping corridors, restaurants, attractive green spaces, and an impressive clock tower on the main street also has several water parks where kids and grownups can enjoy the beaches, rides, and shops.
The city also makes a convenient base for exploring several nearby attractions, as well as George Town, the capital of neighboring Penang, which is about an hour southwest. Within a 30-minute drive, you can reach the Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum and the Sungai Batu Archaeological Site, which have collected 2,000-year-old remnants of one of the oldest civilizations in Southeast Asia. Thirty minutes to the west, you’ll find Pantai Merdeka on the coast of the Straits of Malacca, offering a sandy beach with food stalls and picnic grounds. And less than a half-hour north of town, the Tupah Recreational Forest offers trails near streams and waterfalls with spots for swimming and picnics. Just 20 minutes away, the Merbok River Mangrove Forest has boats that will transport you through the ecological reserve to take in the Mangrove forest and spot monkeys, birds, and other wildlife.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Sungai Petani?
The climate in Sungai Petani is tropical, which means it is hot all year round, with humidity that ranges from moderate to steamy. The rainy season is April through November, with October generally seeing the most rainfall. The most pleasant time to spend time outdoors in the area is the dry season between December and March, when the skies are clearer and the humidity is slightly lower. During the Lunar New Year, which usually falls in late January or February, you will find the city embracing celebrations and holding festivals with activities, performances, and lion dancers. The city also celebrates many Hindu festivals. Deepavali — also known as Diwali or the Festival of Light — is a public holiday throughout Malaysia occurring in October or November.
What are the top things to do in Sungai Petani?
Merbok River Mangrove Forest
Just 20 minutes from town lies the 10,000-acre Merbok River Mangrove Forest. You can take the river cruise from Semeling Jetty through the forest, where you may come across eagles, herons, lizards, monkeys, and kingfishers. The journey lasts about 2.5 hours but involves a few stops where you can disembark and take short walks if you choose. You’ll want to bring binoculars for this.
Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum and Archaeological Sites
The Bujang Valley, 11 miles northwest of town, is one of the richest archaeological sites in Malaysia. At the museum, you’ll find a collection documenting the thriving civilization that inhabited the area from the third through 14th centuries. You’ll also learn about the existence of a Hindu-Buddhist civilization that flourished in the 1100s. The attached archaeological site is not developed as a tourist attraction, but you may be able to witness archaeology in action.
Pantai Merdeka and Pulau Sayak
Pantai Merdeka is the beach that Sungai Petani locals flock to on weekends. It’s a lovely spot for wandering along the water, although it’s not swimmable due to dangerous currents. If it only whets your appetite for sand and coast, make the short three-mile drive west to Pulau Sayak, a scenic beach that offers a bit of quiet and sunsets that are particularly stunning.