ExpatGo will be bringing you a regular series of features on the unsung heroes of Malaysia’s countryside and rural towns in our series called ‘A place in Malaysia you’ve probably never heard of‘. This time, we’re heading to Kuala Kubu Bahru.
The history of Kuala Kubu Bahru deserves a place in Ripley’s Believe or Not! In February 1883, Sir Cecil Ranking, the district officer of Kuala Kubu, waited on the bank of the Selangor River.
His aim was to kill a white crocodile he had sighted in the river on several occasions. Now, the beast surfaced. Ranking took aim and emptied his rifle, killing it.
The villagers were horrified! They regarded the white crocodile as a sacred animal – and, that night, a heavy downpour caused the river to swell, breaking its embankment. Hundreds perished in the flood, including Ranking, and the village was totally destroyed.
Ranking’s grave can be seen today inside a school compound next to Millenium Park (Taman Millenium). Years later, a new settlement was built and named New Kuala Kubu (Kuala Kubu Bahru).
What to do in Kuala Kubu Bahru?
Explore heritage sites
Though regarded as a stop-and-rest spot by visitors going to Fraser’s Hill, KKB offers a few interesting sights to while away a few hours. The commercial centre of the town comprises a small grid of streets chock-a-block with pre-war buildings.
Among them are the former Coates Theatre, build in 1953, which is now a snooker centre, St. Paul’s Catholic Church which conducts sermons in Chinese, and the traffic police station which was converted from a church built in 1937. Near the station stands a clock tower that was erected in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI.
Marvel at the old mosque
In Ampang Pecah stands the “grand old lady” of the town: Masjid Lama Al-Hidayah. Constructed in 1924 and inspired by Javanese architecture, it showcases arabesque motifs on its façade wall. This is one of two buildings that survived the flood, the other being a Buddhist temple.
Travel back in time at the Kuala Kubu Historical Gallery
Located at Jalan Syed Mahsor, KKB Historical Gallery is housed in a wooden stilted structure with a front verandah. Inside, black-and-white photographs take visitors back to the era of 1940’s. For example, a poster-sized photo shows a colonial bungalow at the peak of Kutu Hill (Bukit Kutu) in the outskirt of town.
Trek up Bukit Kutu or play golf
Visitors can hike up a trail to the peak of Bukit Kutu Hill to view the remnants of two colonial-era bungalows. The trail starts in the aboriginal village of Kampung Pertak and takes about three hours to reach the summit.
Near the historical gallery sprawls the 18-hole Kuala Kubu Bahru Golf & Country Club, whose fairway is tufted with cow grass. The golf course measures 5584 metres long and is rated par 70.
Buy a keris
Teras Bina Enterprise is a keris store whose owner also organizes white-river rafting expeditions. Old plaques and other British relics of the early 19th century are on sale. The store is located at Jalan Hospital.
Battle the Selangor River rapids with white water rafting
The lower reaches of Selangor River have been graded from 2 to 4. “Chicken Drop” and “2nd Canyon” are famous rapids that will pump up your adrenalin. An quick internet search will unearth several companies which provide white-water rafting tours.
Dip your feet in a hot-spring pool
Your last stop before leaving the town should be the hot spring, located at Jalan Pahang. There’s nothing spectacular here except benches for sitting and a hot pool for dipping your feet in. There are a number of other hot springs around KKB that you can visit as well, if you’re keen, such as the Hulu Tamu Hot Spring, Kerling Hot Spring, and the KKB Hot Springs at Jalan Arif.
Do you know of any unsung heroes or little-known Malaysian towns and want to see them mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below!
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