Some thirty media representatives from fifteen print and electronic publications plus six travel agents, mostly from Selangor, participated in a familiarisation trip to Perak recently. The focus was on Kinta Valley and Manjung District.
Their first stop was My Gopeng Resort, a nature resort located 7km from Gopeng town where participants experienced white-water rafting, some for the first time. This was followed by a visit to Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng, covering 300 acres and planted with about 200,000 gaharu trees. The next stop was Gopeng Heritage House.
In Ipoh, where the group stayed for two nights, they witnessed the handover of “Perak In The World” gallery at Darul Ridzuan Museum by University Sains Malaysia to the Perak State government. Participants were then taken on a walk along Ipoh’s heritage trail in Old Town. The trail covers 24 iconic spots.
A brief stop was made at the Geological Museum to learn about the history of earth and its geographical features. Among the exhibits are fossils, rocks, minerals and gemstones. Mining and exploration activities were explained in detail too.
Lunch was at Dubliners Café in Greentown Business Centre. This café, opened for business since April 2011, serves western cuisine. It was followed by a visit to the Herbal Garden, located on a 50-acre piece of land on the way to Batu Gajah. There are more than 500 species of herbs at the garden. The Herbal Garden is open Monday to Friday between 8am to 5pm. Admission is RM2 for adults and RM1 for children.
After a photography session at Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, the entourage adjourned to Lost World of Tambun for an evening of rest and recreation. On the way back to MH Hotel, they stopped at Gerbang Malam, a night market in the city.
On the third day, the group journeyed to Sitiawan, where they visited two little-known attractions – the Sitiawan Settlement Museum in Kampung Koh and the Ping Sien Si Chinese Temple at Pasir Panjang Laut.
The museum, managed by the Pioneer Methodist Church, was formerly a pastor’s home. It was converted into a museum in September, 2003. Housing a few thousand exhibits from the Hock Chew Chinese clan, it currently receives more than three thousand visitors a year.
The Ping Sien Si Chinese Temple offers something different. It is “home” to 99 gigantic statues of various Chinese deities and legendary characters, imported from China, with another 40 on the way. The Tua Pek Kong (God of Prosperity) statute, standing at 48 feet, is the tallest in the world. Admission is free.
The second part of the day was spent inspecting Teluk Batik Resort and The Orient Star Resort in Lumut. This was followed by a visit to the Seashell Museum, a stone’s throw away. The entourage then checked in at Best Western Marina Island Resort Pangkor, where a dinner was held.
Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Executive Councillor for Tourism and the guest of honour, said in her speech, that there has been a marked increase in tourist arrivals to Perak from 2.22 million in 2010 to 2.41 million last year; an increase of 8.54 percent. The top five foreign visitors to Perak are from Singapore, China, United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.
At the dinner, the Best Dressed male and female guests were picked. Both won prizes. All participants were required to perform short sketches on stage based on the places they had visited. Team Chakcibor, with a humourous skit on a visit to My Gopeng Resort, was declared winner, taking home RM600 in prize money.
Day four began with a short tour to the new jetty at Marina Island Pangkor. Despite its name, Marina Island is not located on Pangkor Island but between Lumut and Pangkor. It is the new gateway to Pangkor Island and will be Perak’s biggest tourism spot, once fully developed. Marina Island Pangkor sits on a 317-acre reclaimed land.
After a hearty lunch, consisting of mee rebus and rojak at Restoran Mastan Ghani, the group proceeded to the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan and then to Bazaar Selabak, about 4km away from the town. Kampung Selabak is famous for its sweet pineapples. The entourage then left for home.
“Jom Terokai Perak” was a Perak Tourism initiative. It was organised by Gaya Travel Magazine.