STORY ABOUT PERAK
As you leave the busy hub of Selangor and head north towards Perak, the character of the land changes from an urban profile to a scenic undulating landscape. Here and there you will spot pleasant farmland and rustic plantations set against a background of green jungle and rugged limestone hills.
Covering some of 21,000 sqkm, Perak lies between Kedah in the north and Selangor in the south. The main range cuts across the state of Perak and offers a dramatic juxtaposition to the flat plains of the western coastline. Often referred to as a Land of Grace, for its laid-back, timeless beauty, Perak is divided into nine districts and its major towns include Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping, Teluk Intan and Lumut. Ipoh is the administrative centre and state capital while Kuala Kangsar is the royal town.
Each district has its characteristic beauty and history, and tourist attractions include old-style Anglo-Malay and Chinese mansions, colonial buildings, ancient limestone caves, temples and cool hill areas like the Maxwell Hill station. The astute visitor will compared to the Central region. There is a quiet urbanity as the locals go about their lives. The food is rated as some of the best in the region and visitors from other states often stop over at the restaurants and food centres in the state.
Perak has a western coastline facing the Straits of Melaka and not far off its coast are a number of offshore islands. The nearest is Pangkor island, off the coastal town of Lumut, Pangkor’s unique island lifestyle offers visitors a variety of experiences and some outstanding beaches.
And tourism Ipoh is one of the more progressive cities in Malaysia and is fast becoming a focal point of industry, business, investment and education.
PLACES OF INTEREST
1) Bukit Merah Laketown
The latest tourism attraction in Perak is the northern region’s first water theme park at Bukit Merah Lake Theme park which is part of a 600 hectare lake town resort development offers various games and recreation facilities for the whole family. It is a mere 35 minutes drive from Penang Bridge and about an hours’s drive from Ipoh.
2) Perak Tong
Near Gunung Tasek, bkm north of Ipoh on the main trunk road there are some huge limestone caves which became a palace of meditation for Buddhist monks. The Perak Tong Temple within one of the caves leads to cavern and grottoes with some statues and paintings of the Buddha set into nooks. The main attraction is a 12.8m high sitting Buddha. A passage leads into the cave’s interior and after a steep climb of 385 steps, it opens onto a ledge which gives a view of the countryside.
3) Sam Poh Tong Temple
Another famous cave temple is the Sam Poh Tong temple in Gunung Rapat, 5km south of Ipoh. The temple is an impressive work of art with various statues of Buddha set among the natural stalactites and stalagmites.
A pond in the outer courtyard contains tortoises (a Chinese symbol of longevity) Devotees release Tortoises into the pond wishing for luck and long life and the pond is invariably crowded. The tortoise can be fed with stalks of vegetables. There is also a wishing well for those seeking better fortunes. An ornamental garden in front of the temple is a favorite photography spot. There is a vegetarian restaurant within the temple grounds.
4) Mekprasit Temple
The Mekprasit Temple is a Thai Buddhist temple located about 3km north of Ipoh along Jalan Kuala Kangsar on the main trunk road to Taiping Highlight of the temple is the 24m long reclining Buddha, which is one of the largest in Malaysia.
Known as the city of Boungainvillaea, Ipoh is a bustling city with many outstanding architectural attractions. It is also the place to sample some of the best Chinese food in Malaysia. The older part of Ipoh is centered on the Kinta River between Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and Jalan Sultan Iskandar. This is the area to scout out old Chinese and colonial buildings. The city has now expanded into the new quarter which also has some old shophouses and is the livelier business district. While Ipoh may be a stopover point for visitors continuing their journey to Pangkor or to the north or south, the limestone cave temples on its outskirts are definitely worth a visit.
6) Ipoh Railway Station and City Hall
The Ipoh Railway Station, affectionately called the Taj Mahal by locals, is a mixture of Moorish and Victorian architecture. It has one of the best station hotels in the country known as the Majestic Hotel. Just across from the railway station is the Dewan Bandaraya (City Hall) a huge white neo-classical building. Both these buildings bear testimony to Ipoh’s great wealth.
7) State Mosque
Opposite the Railway Station is the State Mosque reflecting the official religion. An architectural masterpiece, the State Mosque has a 38m minaret Mosaic tiles have been embedded into the domes.
8) Royal Ipoh Club
Offering similar Tudor style architecture as the Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, the Royal Ipoh Club overlooks a playing field. The club offers exclusive membership.
9) St. Michael’s Institution
Ipoh has provided the country with a good share of scholars and international achievers and one of the most imposing in its collection of colonial buildings is St. Michael’s Institution. It is a solid three-storey building with long hallways and arched verandas.
10) Japanese Garden
Located near the Perak Turf Club in Ipoh, this public park recreates the aesthetics of a Japanese garden it contains a goldfish pond, a wooden bridge, and a small Japanese house in an attempt to stimulate the meditative atmosphere of the traditional Japanese garden. The grounds are filled with tropical flowers plants and trees. A colorful floral clock on a slope gives the time.
11) D.R. Seenivasagam Pak
Located at Jalan Anderson is D.R. Seenivasagam Park The fresh atmosphere and variety of Flora are the main attractions of the park. The park has several sports fields, a flower nursery, a landscaped Japanese garden, and an artificial lake with boating facilities. There is also a children’s playground with a roller-skating rink and a mini-train track.
12) Darul Ridzuan Museum
The Darul Ridzuan Museum at Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab chronicles the history and development of Ipoh. It provides a history of Ipoh’s expansion and development of the mining industry and forestry in the state of Perak. The museum building has its own remarkable history. Built more than 100 years ago it was used as the official residence for Malay dignitaries in the Kinta District.
13) Geological Museum
Established in 1957, the Geological Museum at Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah in Ipoh has an impressive collection of minerals, fossils, precious stones, and rock specimens. There are over 600 samples of minerals, classified according to chemical content and structure. The museum is also noted for its exhibition of tin ore including the best specimen of cassiterite in the world.
14) Dewan Bandaraya Ipoh Sports Complex
The Dewan Bandaraya Ipoh Sports Complex at Jalan Kampung Simee is the largest of its kind in South-East Asia. It has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a beginner’s pool, a children’s pool, a wave pool, a rugby field, a velodrome, an Astro-turf hockey field, and indoor courts.
15) Kellie’s Castle
Forty kilometers south of Ipoh on the road leading to Batu Gajah looms Kellie’s Castle. An unfinished mansion commissioned by William Kellie Smith, an English rubber planter in 1915. In the middle of its construction, Smith left for England where he died in 1921 and the castle was never completed Shrouded mystery, it is believed that Kellie’s Castle hidden rooms and a secret tunnel. The road which leads to the Castle follows the contours of the land in a dizzying, make like fashion, adding to the mystery and romance of the place.
Just 15 minutes drive away from Ipoh on the road to Tanjung Rambutan lies tambun village at the foot of a limestone hill. Tambun village is noted for its natural hot water spring which offers an invigorating hot mountain water bath. There are several natural hot water pools and the area is equipped with saunas and restrooms. Here visitors can also view the Tambun Caves which were discovered in 1959. There are 2,000-year-old Neolithic paintings on the cave walls. Tambun is also famous for its pomelos, a round, slightly ovalish citrus fruit. Other hot springs in Perak are at Sungkai, Pengkalan Hulu, Kampung Ulu Slim in Slim River, Kampung Air Panas in Grik, and Manong in Kuala Kangsar.
17) Gua Tempurung
Located about 24km from Ipoh, these ancient caves stretch over a kilometer from Sungai Siput to Kuala Dipang. Gua Tempurung is made up of five domes with ceilings that resemble coconut shells with various formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The entrance to the cave is in Gopeng, which has a Visitors Centre for registration as a permit is required to visit the caves.
18) Teluk Intan
The town of Teluk Intan is mainly noted for its unusual leaning Clock Tower, built in the style of an eight-story pagoda. Originally constructed for a water tank in 1885, it still keeps the time today.
19) Sungkai Deer Farm
About 82km from Ipoh and 40km from Teluk Intan at Sungkai is the Sungkai Deer Farm, where more than 100 deer roam freely on a breeding and conservation site.
20) Pasir Salak Historical Complex
Situated 70km from Ipoh, Pasir Salak is of special importance in the historical development of Malaysia as an independent and sovereign nation in that it was here that the original flames of Malay nationalism began. The assassination of the British Resident of Perak, JWW Birch, sparked off a war between the British colonial administration and the Malays.
The Historical Complex pays tribute to warriors such as Dato’ Maharaja Lela, Dato’ Sagor, and Si Puntum, with special memorials erected in their honor, in the shape of a sundang, a replica of the type of knife used in the assassination of the British Resident.
Other interesting sights at the complex include Mr. Birch’s memorial monument, the burial site of Si Puntum, the Historical Tunnel which houses dioramas that depict chronological flashpoints in the history of Perak and Malaysia, the sight of Dato’ Maharaja Lela’s fortress, the Lela Tentaka cannons used against the British colonialist army, two beautiful examples of traditional Rumah Kutai, an interesting souvenir shop, as well as an information center.
21) Kuala Who Jungle park
The Kuala Who Jungle Park about 13km from Tapah on the way to Cameron Highlands, has natural hot springs and three large waterfalls-Lata Iskandar, Lata Kuala Who, and Lata Kinjang which are popular picnic sites. Pretty Malaysian butterflies can be found on the jungle traits. One of these trails leads to an Orang Ash settlement.
22) Lata Iskandar Waterfalls
These waterfalls are located on the way up to the scenic Cameron Highlands via Tapah Road. It is a popular stopover point. The surrounding jungle has a large variety of insect and plant life. Traditional pottery is made at the nearby Kampung Kerayung
23) Terrapin Breeding Centre
At Bota Kanan, about 40km southwest of Ipoh, is the River Terappin Breeding Centre a breeding farm for “Tuntung” (river terrapins or Bataqur baska). The breeding center was established in 1967 by the Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks for the conservation of the species. The hatchery has since released tens of thousands of hatchlings into the Perak River. From November to March, visitors can observe migrating river terrapins swimming upstream to lay their eggs. There is accommodation available for those who wish to stay over.
24) Temenggor Lake
About 45km from Grik in north-east Perak near the mid point of the EastWest Highway, is a lake measuring about 15,200 hectares. Temenggor Lake is a favorite anglers playground. It is rich in different species of fish including the Kelah, Tenggalan, and Baung. There are jungle treks and camping and picnicking facilities.
25) Banding Island
Next to the lake is Banding Island, a quiet getaway for outdoor activities Accommodation is available at Banding Island Resort. Besides the resort, there is a resthouse with comfortable accommodation
26) Lenggong and Kota Tampan Archeological Site
Still in a state of exploration, near the town of Lenggong are Gua Badak, Gua Harimau, Tasik Raban, and Lata Kekabu. Prehistoric wall paintings have been discovered in the Rhinoceros Cave and Tiger Cave. Some 5km from Lenggong is the Kota Tampan Archeological Site.
27) Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary
The Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary located in north-west Perak is home to many migratory and Malaysian birds More than 160 species of exotic birds have been spotted, some of which are in danger of extinction The best season for bird-watching is from September to December. In the same area, one can spot animals like the smooth otter, dusky leaf monkey, long-tailed macaque, and the ridge-back dolphin. Boating trips can be arranged either from Kampung Gula or Kuala Kurau.
Taiping, which means Eternal Peace, is one of Malaysia’s oldest towns Taiping was formerly known as Larut and the scene of bloody feuds between rival Chinese miners. The British renamed the town after putting an end to the feuding Located 95km north of Ipoh, Taiping was the first state in the country to have its own lake gardens, zoo, and museum.
29) Taiping Lake Garden
The Taiping Lake Gardens was the first cultivated gardens in the country and is still one of the best. It is a well landscaped and has a great variety of flora and fauna. The country’s first zoo is also located in Taiping Lake Gardens.
30) The Perak Museum
Located along with Jalan Museum, the Perak Museum was built in 1883. The country’s oldest museum has displays on zoology, pre-history, economy, and ethnology. It contains an impressive collection of archeological treasures like ancient weapons, aboriginal implements, and ornaments which reflect Perak’s rich historical heritage.
31) Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill)
Malaysia’s oldest hill resort is 1,035m high A former tea plantation, at the summit, there is a spectacular view of the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia on a clear clay you can see Pangkor Island.
There is a comfortable resthouse at the summit known as the Larut Resthouse and several bungalows for short holiday stays A Land Rover service at the foot of the hill is available at hourly intervals from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm daily. At Jalan Air Terjun which leads to Bukit Larut is the Burmese Pool, the country’s first swimming pool.
32) Bukit Jana Golf and Country Club
On the outskirts of Taiping, the Bukit Jana Golf and Country Club offer an 18 hole golf course.
33) Kuala Kangsar
Kuala Kangsar, the royal town, is 60km north of Ipoh. Located here is the Malay College, an educational institution which has produced many of the country’s top leaders Established just at the turn of the century, it was the earliest residential school in Malaysia. At the jetty in Kuala Kangsar, boat owners operate a river safari down the Perak River. Kuala Kangsar is famous for its local pottery known as the ‘Labu Sayong’ which keeps the drinking water cool, and a cake known as the kuih labu, is another town specialty.
34) Ubudiah Mosque
Kuala Kangsar’s crowning glory is the Ubudiah Mosque, at Bukit Chandan which was constructed at the turn of the century. Reputed to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the country, it has some excellent touches of Islamic architecture in its magnificent golden domes and minarets The construction of the mosque began in the reign of Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I, the 28th Sultan of Perak, but was interrupted a number of times. Elephants damaged the Italian marble flooring twice during the first World War. The mosque was officially opened in 1917.
35) Royal Museum
The Royal Museum is a unique wooden building located near the Sultan of Perak’s official palace at Kuala Kangsar. It was previously known as Istana Kenangan, Istana Tepas, and Istana Tepas and Istana Lembah it was built without any plans and without nails. It contains the Royal Regalia, photographs of the Royal Family, illustrations and artifacts of the past and present monarchy in Perak.
36) Malaysia’s Oldest Rubber Tree
Rubber was introduced into the country in 1877 when nine trees were planted in Kuala Kangsar by H N Ridley. Just in front of the Kuala Kangsar District Office at the intersection of Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Raja Chulan, an imposing, old rubber tree can be the oldest rubber tree in Malaysia, it was an offshoot of the original nine. This century-old tree is still producing.
Lumut is about 84km south-west of Ipoh and some 206km south of Butterworth. Mainly a fishing village today, it houses the country’s principal naval base and a port which services the industrial estates nearby. It is also one of the venues for sailing regattas and the hop-over point from the mainland to the charming Pangkor Island Lumut’s most popular beach is Teluk Batik, a long stretch of white sand where the Pesta Laut Lumut is held between October and November annually. Sea sports competitions, exhibitions, and cultural shows attract thousands of visitors during the carnival.
The Teluk Rubiah Royal Gold Club and its resort property offer a wide range of facilities. On the upper side of the Sungai Dindings estuary near Segari town is Pantai Pasir Panjang which has a turtle hatching centre.
38) Pangkor Island
Across the Manjung Straits opposite, Lumut is the bustling fishing village of Pulau Pangkor, the largest of nine islands in a small group of islands. Pangkor, with its quaint mix of fishing settlements and resorts, is a fascinating holiday venue. It presents the visitor the rare chance to live near fisherfolk and observe their lifestyle or to simply enjoy the fine beaches and resort amenities.
The fisherman live in scattered settlements on the eastern side, facing the town of Lumut and Teluk Batik and visitors get a chance to see some of them on the 40-minute ferry ride from Lumut as the ferry stops at the main settlements of Sungai Pinang Kecil and Sungai Pinang Besar before landing at Pangkor Town the point known as Coral Cay, the water is a fine emerald green
39) Pantai Puteri Deri
This beautiful beach paradise was named Pantai Puteri Dewi. Pantai Pacific Resort Pangkor has a prime location along this stretch of beach and offers elegant rooms and facilities including a sports complex and a golf course. There is some wildlife to be found here and hornbills.
40) Pangkor Laut
At the nearby island of Pulau Pangkor is the Pangkor Laut Resort, an international standard resort. The beach at Emerald Bay is touted as one of the best of Malaysian beach lands.
41) Pulau Sembilan
A two-hour boat rides away from Pulau Pangkor is Pulau Sembilan, the venue for the Pulau Sembilan Fishing Safari. Excellent fishing and sandy beaches are the main attractions here. Pulau Sembilan can also be reached from the coastal town of Bagan Datoh.
42) Cempaka Sari Resthouse
One of Perak’s nicest resthouses, Cempaka Sari Resthouse is in the town of Parit. Set in a tranquil and natural environment, it is the palace to contemplate nature. The resthouse is just beside the Perak River and overlooks an enchanted island, Pulau Cempaka Sari. Parts of the film Indo Chine were shot here and the French film production company left behind a bridge which they built for the shooting of the film.