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MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE

MY PERAK

Perak Darul Ridzuan

myMalaysiabooks brings you the treasures of Perak - the Silver State. The state's Kinta Valley is synonymous to tin mining in Malaysia.

 

Welcome to Perak, the Land of Grace.....

Perak offers visitors a surprising range of activities to indulge in - an adventure in the rainforest, exploring magnificent limestone hill and caves, relaxation at island resorts, agro-tourism and a learning experience on tin mining in Malaysia.

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Map of Perak, MalaysiaLocation: West coast of west Malaysia

Sultan: Sultan Azlan Shah Muhibbuddin Shah

Population: approx. 2.3 million: Malay 52%, Other Bumiputera 2.4% (Semai, Temiar, Jahai, etc.), Chinese 30%, Indian 12% and Others

Perak means silver in Malay. Though there are no deposits of silver in the state, the Kinta Valley in Perak was formerly the world largest producer of tin.

    Perak, Malaysia is just adjacent to the states of Kedah and Penang (in the north) and is north of Selangor. It also has a border with Thailand (on the northeast). Perak is known for its spectacular limestone hills seen throughout the Kinta valley as you drive through towards Ipoh. Much of the highlands are covered with lush green forests - a paradise for nature lovers.     

    If you wonder what Perak looks like, you may have seen the beauty of the state in the movies. The Hollywood movie 'Anna and the King', staring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fatt was filmed extensively here. (Location of Perak)

labu or clay calabash, ceramic ware, Perak Malaysia    A large extent of the state is forested and the low-lying areas are mainly open tin mines or areas left behind by the long history of mining. However many of these areas now supports agricultural activities such as vegetable and fruit farming, fish and poultry industries and oil palm plantations. Perak has the largest number of limestone quarries, supplying most of Malaysia's aggregate and marble for the building and road construction industry. Tin is still being mined in open pit mines. However, old mine field are now famed for pomelos (a citrus fruit) and guava. The abundance of fine clay also makes Perak the centre of the ceramic industry. Many garden pottery sold in Malaysia comes from Perak and the labu sayong (clay calabash) of Perak is a unique clay handicraft that is only produced here.

Unesco has recognised the Lenggong Valley in Perak as a World Heritage Site

Ipoh is the administrative capital and Kuala Kangsar the royal capital. Other town to visit include Taiping, Teluk Intan and Lumut. 

Where to go

Towns

Ipoh the capital of the state of Perak is located in the heart of the Kinta Valley surrounded by beautiful limestone hills. The town grew from a mining settlement that supported tin mining in the Kinta valley. Today, Ipoh is a mix of old and new. Today the place is named the city of bougainvillas. With a high Chinese population in the early days, the old part of the town is a typical China Town, with many Chinese business. It is no wonder that you can get the best Chinese Cantonese/ Hakka food of Malaysia here in Ipoh. It is home of the Ipoh hor fun (Kueh teow or flat rice noodles). The nearby town of Tambun is famed for pomelos (a citrus fruit that can be the size of a basketball).

   As the capital and seat of the state government, you will find many government offices, banks and museums located here. There are also many beautiful and stately colonial building in Ipoh, a legacy of its colonial past.

     The Ipoh Railway Station is one of the most beautiful and prominent landmark in the city. This colonial building of Moghal-styled architecture bears a striking resemblance to the Kuala Lumpur railway station and is often referred to as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. The station is surrounded by a landscaped floral garden. It also houses a hotel – the Majestic Hotel. It was one of the locations for the shooting of the Hollywood remake of ‘Anna and the King’ staring Jodie Foster. The railway station is located next to the Main Post Office.

     If you don't know what's Ipoh is also famous for - Ipoh is the birthplace of Hollywood actress & Bond girl Michelle Yeoh. It is one of the film location for the Hollywood movie 'Anna and the King' and the movie by Ang Lee, 'Lust, Caution'. Ipoh is about 220 km north of Kuala Lumpur and 200 km from Penang. (Learn how to get here below)

Kuala Kangsar (or KK) is the royal capital of Perak, located about 35 km from Ipoh. Located here is the official residence of the Sultan of Perak - Istana Iskandariah. The Royal Museum, nearby was a royal residence built in 1926. This is the place to learn all about the history of the Perak royal house. The museum building is a beautiful wooden structure of traditional Malay architecture.

   From Kuala Kangsar, travel to the craft centre at Kampung Kepala Bendang in Sayong, about 15 km away - where the unique and famous ceramic craft called labu sayong ( clay calabash) is produced. This extraordinary labu sayong can keep water inside very cool, sometimes as low as 19 deg.C.

Taiping, Perak, a quiet town located away from the expressway is the second largest town in Perak. At the foothills of Maxwell Hill, this was formerly an old striving mining and the old capital of Perak. Taiping mean eternal peace and is certainly what the town is today, quiet and surrounded by the natural beauty of hills, lake and forests. The most famous landmark is Taiping Lake Garden, which was a former tin mine, operated as early as the 1880's. This 64-hectares area is now a beautifully landscaped park. The country's first railway was built from Taping to transport tin to the coast.

Lumut is a fishing village and popular beach area. It is also a naval base and port. The most popular beaches are Pantai Batik and Pantai Rubiah. The ferry terminal to Pulau Pangkor is located here.

Teluk Intan, on the banks of the Perak River, is located off the N-S expressway. You can exit Bidor and travel bu trunk road westwards. The town is famed for her 'leaning tower' - a beautiful pagoda-like structure which stands at 25.5metres high and is tilted to one side. It was built in 1885 by a Chinese contractor, Leong Choon Chong. Originally used as a covered water tank for the town, it is now a clocak tower and a popular local attraction. Teluk Intan is located in the district of Hilir Perak which is famed for seafood.

Island Destination

 

Caves and cave temples

Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple is probably the most famous and oldest cave temple in Perak. The temple is in a limestone cave at Gunung Rapat, about 5km from Ipoh. There is a tortoise pond and vegetarian temple within.

Kuan Im Tong - The cave is a spectacular huge cavity located near 'paradise valley', Ipoh. The cavity is used as a temple and the limestone hill is located in a residential estate. This is probably the best cave to visit but be sure to book a taxi there!

Perak Tong is also a cave temple located near Ipoh and is beautifully landscaped.

Gua Tempurong is one of the largest caves in peninsular Malaysia, located near the town of Gopeng about 25 km from Ipoh. The cave is about 1.5 km long with a stream flowing through. To explore the cave contact a local tour guide.

Museums

Lenggong Archaeological Museum, or Kota Tampan Archaeological Museum. Kota Tampan (near Lengong) is prehistoric site is dated 74,000 years old. The town of Lenggong is about 100 kilometres north of Ipoh on the Kuala Kangsar to Grik road. It is the site of the oldest known place of human activity in the Peninsula.

The Perak Man, Peninsular Malaysia's oldest inhabitant was fond in the caves in the area is displayed at the museum. This skeleton is dated at between 10-11,000 years old, a Stone Age man (called the Perak man), from the Palaeolithic period.

     Lenggong Valley in upper Perak is where this earliest human skeletal remains was found in 1991. It is an important archaeological site where evidence of human settlement from the Palaeolithic age were found. These archaeological sites include Kota Tampan, Bukit Jawa at Kampung Gelok and Kampung Temelong.  100,000 year-old stone tools have also been excavated at Kampung Geluk and Kampung Temelong.
Gua Harimau was a site of bronze manufacture during the Bronze Age.

Unesco has recognised the Lenggong Valley in Perak as a World Heritage Site in 2012.

Geological Museum, housed at the Department of Mineral and Geosciences in Jalan Sultan Aslan Shah, was establised in 1957. There is a collection of over 60 mineral samples and many samples of cassiterite (tin ore or oxide) It also displays samples of gemstones and rock specimens. It is open only during government working hours.

Perak Museum was set up in 1883 and is the oldest museum in Malaysia. The museum building (in Ipoh) however was only completed in 1903. There are numerous zoological and ethnological exhibits. 

The Matang Historical Complex, Taiping. This mansion built in 1856, is located about 2km from the Simpang/Taiping junction of the Ipoh-Butterworth trunk road. It was the official residence of Ngah Ibrahim, a son of Long Jaafar. On display are many scenes of the history of Perak. On the walls are numerous old photographs and posters on the Larut Wars fought between the Chinese migrants clans - Ghee Hin and the Hai San.

The Royal Museum, at Kuala Kangsar, northe of Ipoh is housed in a royal residence built in 1926. This is the place to learn all about the history of the Perak royal house.

Forest Reserves, Parks and Rivers

To visit forest reserves, contact the forestry department of Perak or a local tour agency for more information.

Belum Forest Reserve is one of the largest forest reserve in Peninsular Malaysia. This vast virgin forest is located on the north east part of the state around the Temenggor dam. The forest has a wealth of flora, fauna and wildlife such as elephants, rhinoceros and tapir. Permits are required to enter this forest so go through a tour guide or contact the forestry department.

Kuala Woh Recreation Forest is 13km from Tapah, south of Ipoh. The park offers interesting walks through the forested areas. There is a 30-metre suspension bridge that spans Sungai Batang Padang and a forest museum. This is a place for swimming, picnicking and fishishing. It is about 13km from Tapah town, along Jalan Tapah-Cameron Highlands road.

Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is an area of about 40,000 hectares of mangrove forest rich in tree species and aquatic life. It is located about 2km from Kuala Sepetang (formerly called Port Weld), west of Taiping. The Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is one of the best managed mangrove forest in the world! The major rivers flowing through the Matang forest include Sungai Gula, Sungai Kelumpang, Sungai Selinsing, Sungai Sangga Besar, Sungai Sepetang, Sungai Jaha, Sungai Terung and Sungai Jarum Mas. To get there, exit the expressway at Changkat Jering (from Kuala Lumpur) or at Kamunting/Taiping (from Penang). Take the road towards Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld).

Sungai Perak or Perak River  If you are looking of a river adventure, the Perak River is a great choice (Get a local guide). It is the second longest rivers in Peninsular Malaysia (after Pahang River) and passes through the hilly terrain of Perak, towns and villages. The river supports many freshwater fishes and is also a habitat for river terrapins and crocodiles. Perak River flows some 400km from the Malaysia-Thai border, through the Temengor Lake to the Straits of Melaka.

          When tin was discovered in Perak, the Perak River became the source and mode of transport of tin ore. This discovery resulted in the growth of the many towns along the river, including Kuala Kangsar, Teluk Intan and Bagan Datoh.

          You cross this river through Iskandar Bridge and Sultan Abdul Jalil Bridge at Kuala Kangsar. Those interested in historical structure can appreciate the Victoria Bridge, also in KK, a railway bridge that crosses the Perak River, built around 1897. Teluk Intan, located on the banks of the Perak River is a nice place to visit.

Other attractions

Ubudiah Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosque in the country. It was built by Sultan Idris Mursyidul Azman Shah I and was completed in 1917.

Bukit Merah Laketown Resort is a resort and theme park. The scenic setting also offers boating and angling activities at the lake.

Kellie's Castle is an unfinished mansion commissioned by an English planter, William Kellie Smith in 1915. It stands out as a strange, romantic and mysterious landmark in Batu Gajah, about 40 km south of Ipoh. To reach here you have to travel by trunk roads and through some winding narrow roads to the site. There is not much to see here so visit the place only you have plenty of time.

Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort is a 27-hole international course located about 24km from Ipoh. Built on a reclaimed mining land and beautifully landscaped, the place also offers nature, golfing, angling and lakeside accommodations.

Maxwell Hill or Bukit Larut is 1035 meter above sea-level. It was used by British colonials used the hill resort as a rest & recreation centre since 1884. Today it is a pleasant, quiet resort that offers visitors a cool surrounding and an ambience of a forest park.

Taiping Lake Garden is a former mine with a mining pond that has been turned into a lake. This 64 hectares rehabilitated mining area is covered with turf, trees and plants. The Lake Garden encompasses a lake, a recreational park and a Japanese garden. There is golf course and the Taiping Zoo nearby.

Lata Kinjang is a multi-tiered waterfall that cascades some 850 metres down the mountain range. Those travelling on the North-south expressway from south (or form KL) to Ipoh cannot miss the sight of this majestic waterfall seen clearly on the mountain slope. To visit the place, take the Tapah exit (if you are coming from the south) and continue north on the trunk road until you see signboards leading to Chenderiang. The fall is after this town. The area is home to the Orang Asli (indigenous people) of Malaysia, so do not wander around the forested area.

Lata Iskandar is a waterfall between the town of Tapah and Cameron Highlands. The large waterfall is just near roadside. There is a bazaar selling Orang Asli crafts and food stalls selling refreshments at the site.

What to eat

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Shopping ....what to buy in Perak:

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Islands

Pulau Pangkor (Pangkor Island) lies opposite Lumut, in the Malacca Strait. It is a striving fishing centre but also boasts some fabulous resorts. The popular beaches for swimming here are at Pasir Bogak and Teluk Nipah. The island is a great place for those who want to explore a fishing community and sample fresh seafood. It a great place for a relaxing, secluded and quiet stay away from the city. Pangkor offer sun and sea enthusiasts activities like scuba-diving, snorkelling, wind-surfing and fishing. Teluk Ketapang or Turtle Bay still receives turtles on their egg-laying pilgrimages. There are some resorts on the island with excellent golf courses.

How to get to Pangkor Island
By Road     If you are travelling from KL, take the North-South Expressway and head north towards Perak. Exit at the Bidor toll plaza and travel by the trunk roads. Follow signboards stating Pelabuhan Lumut or Lumut Naval Base. Then look out for signboards to Teluk Intan, Sitiawan and Pulau Pangkor. If travelling from Ipoh, travel to
By Sea     Pangkor is a 40-minute ferry ride from Lumut. There are departures every half hour. The ferry also stops at the main settlements of Sungai Pinang Kecil and Sungai Pinang Besar before landing at Pangkor Town.
By Air     Berjaya Air (charter flight) flies 5 times a week from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, outside Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor.

Search for hotels on Pangkor island at HotelsCombined.com .

 

Pulau Banding is located at Temenggor Lake. Surrounded by the lake and virgin jungle it is a place for adventure and nature lovers. The resort sited here offers nature lovers many activities such as jungle trekking, fishing and bird watching.

 

Where to Stay

Search and compare hotel rates in Ipoh, Pangkor, Lumut or other parts of Perak before booking at our affiliated links

Hotels in Ipoh

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Heritage Hotel

  The Majestic Station Hotel Ipoh

 

Travel assistance

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History of Perak

The most famous archaeological findings in Malaysia is the Perak Man, a 10,000 to 11,000 year old human skeletal remains discovered at Lenggong, Perak in 1991. The cave where it was found is located in Gua Gunung Runtuh at Bukit Kepala Gajah.

      The earliest history of a civilization in Perak is written in the Kedah Annals. Legends tell of a Hindu-Malay kingdom called Gangga Negara in northwest Perak. The Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa or Kedah Annals describes Gangga Negara as founded by Merong Mahawangsa's son Raja Ganjil Sarjuna of Kedah. (Merong Mahawangsa was the first Raja of Kedah - see Kedah history). Archaeologists believe that the kingdom was centred at the present-day town of Beruas and it collapsed after an attack by King Rajendra Chola I of the Chola Empire (south India). Gangga Negara was said to control the area around Beruas and Dinding/ Manjong. Artefacts found at these sites dates back to as early as the 5th and 6th century AD. 

      Much of Perak was under the Melaka Sultanate in the 15th century. Formal recorded history of the state begins with the installation of Sultan Muzaffar Shah 1, who was a descendent of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca, in the year 1528.  With the capture of Malacca by the Portuguese in 1511, the royals of the Malacca Sultanate fled. The eldest son of the Sultan, Muzaffar Shah, went north to Perak, where he become the first sultan of Perak. Today, Perak is the only royal house descended directly from the Malacca Sultanate.

     The discovery of tin in the state brought riches as well as foreign threats. After 1641, the Dutch attempted to establish a monopoly over Perak's tin trade but failed. Then in the 18th century, the Bugis in the South and the Thai in the north tried to exert control. The state was saved through British assistance in the 1820's

    Perak became renowned for tin with the discovery of tin in Larut, Taiping in 1848 by Long Jaafar. This brought an influx of Chinese miners to the state. In the 1870s the state was embroiled in dispute over the throne between Raja Yusuf, Raja Ismail and Raja Abdullah. As the claimants to the throne took sides between feuding Chinese miners of two groups, the Ghee Hin (Cantonese) and Hai San (Hakka), it soon transformed into a civil war involving the Malay chiefs of Perak. This led to the British intervention in 1874 to protect their interest. Under the Pangkor Treaty, the British settled the Chinese dispute, cleared the Sultan succession dispute, appointing Raja Abdullah as sultan and placed Perak under British Residency.

         The first resident, J. W. W. Birch administered the state without studying government regulations been practiced in the state nor did he understand the feeling and customs of the Malay Rulers. Thus his presence raised feelings of dissatisfaction among the Malays. This led to the murder of Birch, in November 1875. Sultan Abdullah and the other chiefs implicated in the murder were banished and the murderer Datuk Maharaja Lela was sentenced to death by hanging at Matang. Raja Muda Yusuf was declared regent by the British. The capital of Perak was moved from Bandar Baru to Taiping in 1875. In 1937 the capital was moved to Ipoh.

          British control continued and in 1896, Perak became a Federated Malay State, which lasted until the Japanese invasion. After the Japanese occupation in September 1945, the British Military Administration took over. The Malay Federation was formed on 1 February 1948 and on 31 August 1957 Malaya gained it independence.

Check also related information at:   

History of Malaysia  .  History of Kedah  .  History of Melaka

 

How to get to Perak

By air

Most flights to Ipoh, Perak comes from Kuala Lumpur operated by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) or Firefly. There are daily flights by MAS to KL.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Airport is a small domestic airport and has few flights. There are no flights to or from Penang or Kedah to the state. Few travellers fly from Ipoh and those who do usually have to catch a connecting international flight at KLIA.

Flights from Ipoh to Singapore: Only FireFly flies from Ipoh to Singapore.

Flights to Pangkor Island: Berjaya air flys to Pangkor Island (Perak) from Kuala Lumpur.

Trains Ipoh-KLIA (airport): To fly from KLIA (or if you are at KLIA and want to reach Ipoh), you can take the train at Ipoh to KLIA, changing at KL central. The Ipoh-KL Sentral train service is run by ETS - KTM (electric train) and KL Sentral to KLIA is by ERL. However, you can get tickets for the entire journey at KLIA or Ipoh KTM stations

There are also buses/coaches from KLIA (main) to Ipoh, though not many services per day.

More at Malaysia air transport pages

By road

The best way to get around the state is to travel by road. From KL or Penang, there are many express buses and taxis that will take you to Ipoh. The North-South expressway cuts the length of the state and is the fastest option. A whole network of trunk roads also runs in all directions in the state linking you to coastal towns and the highland areas. To reach Pangkor island, travel by road from Ipoh to Lumut, than take the ferry to the island. There are ample parking places for overnight parking here.

     Travellers can also cross the Thai-Malaysia border from Pengkalan Hulu in Perak to Betong, Thailand. Pengkalan Hulu is in the hilly terrain of north Perak. Its not a popular route as is often used only by locals. (see travel from Malaysia to Thailand)

By rail

The rail track also runs from north to the south of the state of Perak. Trains from Hat Yai (Thailand) or Butterworth (Pulau Pinang) or from Kuala Lumpur, stops at Ipoh and Taiping. There are two intercity train services but additional electric train services daily from KL and up to Ipoh .

NEW 2010: Travel by the Electric Train Services (ETS) from KL (KL Sentral) to Ipoh and visi versa. Travel time is about 2 hours. The Ipoh-Kuala Lumpur service begins at 4am and ends at 6.30pm while the Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh service starts at 6.20am and ends at 9pm. There are about 5 trains departing from each of the station, KL or Ipoh, daily. The trains will make brief stops at about 10 station, Batu Gajah, Kampar, Tapah Road, Sungkai, Slim River, Tanjung Malim, Kuala Kubu Bahru, Sungai Buloh, Kepong Sentral and Kuala Lumpur (old station)

Trains Ipoh-KLIA(airport): You have to take 2 train services. Ipoh-KL Sentral train is by ETS - KTM (electric train) and KL Sentral to KLIA is by ERL. However, you can get tickets for the entire journey at either KLIA or Ipoh KTM stations

See details at Malaysia by Train

For details, refer KTMB Express train schedule, under Shuttle Services

- KTMB website

- Intercity trains website HERE

 

Check out adjacent states:

Penang island - one hr. 45 mins travel by road

Kedah - visit Sungai Petani, Alor Star, Bujang Valley or Langkawi

Details on transport in Malaysia here.

See also road map of Malaysia and Perak

 

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