Perak offers many gems of interest to the tourist, and Manveen Mann has the run-down of the places that should be on your radar when heading to the silver state.
As the second-largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, Perak had the distinct advantage of being a tinmining hotbed in the late 1800s. Meaning “silver” in Malay, the state’s name alludes to the silver colour of the tin found in abundance at the time. Ruled at one point by the Dutch, then the British, agriculture became one of Perak’s main industries, followed by the introduction of tourism, given the state’s many attractions.
For those considering a trip to Perak, here are the top ten sights that should be on your list of “must-sees.”
1) Royal Belum State Park
Photo credit: lets.book, Flickr
This spacious park holds the title as one of the world’s oldest rainforests, and the 130 million year-old tropical paradise offers visitors the chance to experience nature at its purest. Spanning over 300,000 hectares, the rainforest area is home to more than 3,000 species of plant and animal species, including 14 of the world’s most threatened mammals (such as the Sumatran rhino, Malaysian tiger, Malaysian sun bear, and Asian elephant). A definite must for nature lovers, the best way to experience wildlife is to rent a boat and explore the treasures of the rainforest. If that is not enough excitement, indulge in a spot of camping, swimming, jungle trekking, and fish feeding to fully take in the wonders of this eco-tourism hotspot.
See Also: Kuala Lumpur to Royal Belum Road Trip
2) Gua Tempurung (Tempurung Cave)
The largest limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia offers a breathtaking gallery of stalagmites and stalactites with its 5 huge domes. Blessed with natural beauty, the cave measures 1.9 km in length and 120m in height, and follows a direct course through a mountain range called Gunung Gajah-Tempurung. Tracing its roots back to over 400 million years ago, the inside parts of the dry upper chambers of the cave display evidence of vein deposits of tin on the walls and ceilings. The cave has stalagmites, stalactites, rim stone pools, a 1.6km river-cave system, crystals and pillars, as well as majestic columns of marble inside its huge cavern.
3) Pangkor Island
Pangkor Island is one of Perak tourism’s busiest destinations, for very obvious reasons. A popular island destination, Pangkor is situated just off the west coast of Lumut and is a 30 minutes by boat from the mainland. From pristine golden beaches surrounded by clear blue waters to stunning sunsets against the backdrop of lush rainforests, Pangkor Island emanates an idyllic ambience that is sure to relax and rejuvenate even the most frazzled of city workers.
See Also: Pangkor’s Hidden Gems
4) Orangutan Island
Located within the lush Bukit Merah Laketown Resort is the 14 hectare Orangutan Island, one of the few worldwide rehabilitation, conservation, and breeding sanctuaries for orangutans. Located a mere 10-minute ferry ride from the lake resort, orangutans on the island are easily spotted from the boats and visitors are given the chance to “walk on the wildside” as they make their way through a 100-metre long caged walkway on the island.
This sanctuary was specifically formed to develop research on orangutans as well as to provide a safe environment for them. The beauty of the island is that visitors are able to witness orangutans roaming free in a near-natural wild habitat, and are also able to adopt an orangutan if they wish.
5) Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve
Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve is a large expanse of mangrove forest covering 50,511 hectares and stretches from Kuala Gula in the north to Pengkalan Baharu in the south of Perak. Comprising of two islands and seven major estuaries, the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve was proclaimed a Permanent Forest Reserve in 1906. Renowned as one of the world’s best managed mangrove swamps, it is the home to myriad of bird and marine life species.
Other than mangrove trees, visitors to Matang can also enjoy the scenery of the fishing village of Port Weld and catch sight of old-school charcoal ovens used to produce charcoal from mangrove trees.
6) Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge
Photo Credit: www.ipoh-city.com
Close to the town of Batu Gajah there is a surviving tin dredge, a colossal industrial relic from the days when Malaysia was the world’s largest tin producer. Located off State Route A15, the Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge carries the serial number T.T. No. 5, a throwback to the days when it was believed to have been the biggest tin dredge in the Kinta Valley. Built in 1938, the T.T. No. 5 tin dredge was in operation until 1983, when falling tin prices forced the closure of the local mining industry. The dredge reopened its doors in February 2008, allowing visitors to witness a piece of colonial history.
7) Kellie’s Castle
Kellie’s Castle is the symbol of a man’s love for his wife. Born in Scotland, William Kellie voyaged over to Malaysia at the age of 20 in search of adventure and a new life. Along the way he gained property and a wife, whom he loved dearly and aimed to build a palatial home named Kellie’s Castle, in honour of her. Tragically, William was killed in an influenza outbreak that spread across much of the region, leaving his work unfinished. Despite that, the incomplete Kellie’s Castle still stands today and possesses an air of dignity and grandeur. It remains a popular tourist destination and was even featured in the 1999 movie Anna and the King.
8) Kuala Kangsar
Filled with historical value, the royal enclave of Kuala Kangsar was the site for the first Federated Malay State rulers conference in 1897, and was also where rubber trees were first introduced to the country. Modern day Kuala Kangsar holds on to its old world charms – clean streets with century-old shady trees, preserved colonial buildings, and beautifully landscaped gardens.
Climbing the hills of Bukit Chandan brings visitors to one of Malaysia’s famous landmark, the Ubudiah Mosque, while a little further up reveals the sprawling complex of Iskandariah Palace (where the present-day Sultan of Perak lives) and the Perak Museum, along with a breathtaking view of the Perak River. Other attractions include the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, which boasts stupendous Greco-Roman architecture.
For more information, visit www.peraktourism.com
Source: The Expat Magazine February 2014
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