Water is the most important substance on Earth which provides survival. At Yan, Kedah, you can find a natural water source gushing beneath the ground. This destination, known as Telaga Tok Sheikh, attracts many visitors who want to taste the water and benefit from its mystical healing properties.

Read also: 8 Must-Try Unique Food in Kedah

    Telaga Tok Sheikh at Yan, Kedah

    History of Telaga Tok Sheikh

    Telaga is a Malay term for a water well. Telaga Tok Sheikh is believed to have existed as early as 1136, during the construction of a tower at the top of Gunung Jerai. The well was used to supply water for the tower construction works as well as for the workers’ daily use.

    According to Buyong Adil, the author of ‘Al-Tarikh Salasilah Negeri Kedah’, a group of 12 missionaries from Yemen led by Sheikh Abdullah bin Ja'afar Quamiri have arrived in Kalaha (also known as Kataha) in 1136. During that time, the King of Kalaha was Maharaja Derbar Raja II.

    Telaga Tok Sheikh Kedah
    Telaga Tok Sheikh at Yan, Kedah

    Sultanate of Kedah & Conversion to Islam

    Due to his wisdom and honesty, Sheikh Abdullah bin Ja'afar Quamiri was offered the position as the royal advisor to the King of Kalaha. He managed to convince the King and his elite dignitaries into converting to Islam and becoming Muslims. The King subsequently changed his name to Sultan Muzaffar Shah, and the name of Kalaha or Kataha to Kedah.

    In order to officially commemorate the changes of names, Sheikh Abdullah suggested the construction of a tower at the top of Gunung Jerai. It was intended to be used for the broadcast of the adhan or call to prayer. Just before the completion, Sheikh Abdullah has passed away. He was buried in-ground in a location close to the tower. Today, the burial site is known as ‘Padang Tok Sheikh’.

    Telaga Tok Sheikh was founded during the construction of the tower. What was astonishing was that ever since then, the water in the well never stopped flowing - even during the dry season.

    How to Get to Telaga Tok Sheikh

    Telaga Tok Sheikh is approximately 700 metres above sea level. Upon reaching the summit of Gunung Jerai, visitors will come across a signboard which points to the exact location of the well. The one-way footpath is rather narrow and can get congested during peak visiting times. A bridge entrance will lead you to the open ground, where you can see a flat rock that was used in the past as a site to perform prayers.

    gunung jerai attractions
    How to get to Telaga Tok Sheikh
    Telaga Tok Sheikh Kedah
    Footpath leading to Telaga Tok Sheikh
    Telaga Tok Sheikh Kedah
    Simply follow the clearly labelled signs to get to the Telaga Tok Sheikh

    What to Do at Telaga Tok Sheikh

    Visitors to Telaga Tok Sheikh typically take turns to collect the water from the well - either for drinking or to cleanse themselves by washing. Some might even bring the water home using bottles. Besides being free of chlorine, the water of Telaga Tok Sheikh is also claimed to be able to cure diseases. The coolness of the clear, magical water helps to reduce fatigue and instantly refreshes the body, mind and soul.

    To really enjoy your trip to Telaga Tok Sheikh, simply observe the uniqueness of the surroundings. You may discover a big giant rock that looks like it has been cut into perfect slices, or a white line inside a rock found at Padang Tok Sheikh that is believed to be the mark for the direction of prayer or ‘qiblat’.

    If you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to enter a small cave known as Gua Tok Sheikh, where you’ll see hidden rocks in the shapes of humans performing the prayer in various positions. Not to be missed is also the ‘Batu Kapal’, which is a massive rock that resembles a large ship, believed to have belonged to the late Merong Mahawangsa.

    Telaga Tok Sheikh Kedah
    Drink or cleanse your body with the cooling water from the Telaga Tok Sheikh
    Telaga Tok Sheikh Kedah
    The water from the well is cooling and refreshing
    Telaga Tok Sheikh Kedah
    Locals claim that the water from Telaga Tok Sheikh has healing properties

    Facilities at Telaga Tok Sheikh

    Public amenities such as public restrooms and prayer rooms are well maintained by the authorities. You may expect larger crowds during the weekend as there are many treasure hunters as well as spiritual believers who will spend the night at the site. Despite being banned by the authorities and the strict warnings imposed, illegal activities such as worshipping, black magic or rituals are still widespread. People of all religions flock the place in hopes of obtaining lottery ticket numbers, trading banned items such as keris or talismans, or calling the spirits of the dead.

    Visiting Tips & Recommendations

    While Kedah is not the most popular destination in Malaysia, it is home to some of the most historical and unique sites in the world. We highly recommend making a trip here, especially for history enthusiasts, as there are many well-preserved ancient buildings and structures. You will also find a large collection of artifacts and other items with incredible artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance not just to Kedah Tua - one of the oldest civilisations in Southeast Asia, but also to the world. Read about the Sungai Batu Archeological Site which dates back to the 8th century!

    Telaga Tok Sheikh at Yan, Kedah

    Address: Kompleks Telaga Tok Sheikh, 274, 08300 Yan, Kedah
    Opening hours: All-day
    Ticket price: Free entry

    Happy exploring!