Perak – A Traveller’s Review

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After having spent time in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, my mother and I decided to visit our friends in Ipoh. It was in mid-August of this year. My mother had been to Malaysia before but it was the first time for me. Upon arrival at the Medan Gopeng bus station, we were confronted with the first problem. Even though we had the address of our friend, none of the taxi drivers knew how to get there. Luckily, an English-speaking lady was kind enough to help us out.

We explored Ipoh the following day. The tourist information office gave us a small photocopied map, which obviously wasn’t good enough. Upon inquiry, a regular map was given to us. Later we found out about the Ipoh Heritage Trail. Why didn’t the tourist office inform us about this?

My mother remembered Cameron Highlands, she wanted to revisit it. Sadly, a large part of the once beautiful hill resort has been transformed into huge strawberry plantations covered with white plastic sheets. Nonetheless, we managed to catch a glimpse of some wonderful, not yet destroyed, tea plantations.

Relaxing at the beach and enjoying the sun is popular among European tourists and we were no exception. Pangkor certainly provided the aforementioned and we enjoyed being the only ones on the beach – something you cannot find in Europe. Unfortunately, many advertised tourist attractions weren’t maintained. A trail in Telok Nipah led us into the jungle and became impassable after just a hundred metres. The Jambatan Gantung was closed for maintenance although no maintenance was apparent.

The buses were reliable and comfortable but we never envisaged that getting back to Ipoh was problematic. The staff at the bus counters in Lumut was either absent or asleep. None could speak English. Very surprising as Lumut is a tourist destination. We ended up riding the local bus instead.

Our friends in Ipoh went out of their way to show us everything that Perak has to offer, including Gua Tempurung, mangrove forests, temples and the Gopeng Heritage House. We would have missed many of these sights had we travelled on our own. The local tour agencies sure missed a golden opportunity.

Notwithstanding the hiccups, we had a wonderful time in Perak – a region with a bountiful potential.

Manuel Duenas
Stuttgart, Germany

4 thoughts on “Perak – A Traveller’s Review

  1. Perak is a beautiful city with many pales of tourist interest. It is very disappointing to see that the government do not think that they should be helpful to the people coming into and going around in Perak. The lack of proper sign boards and road names even in the city of Ipoh which is supposed to be its capital makes clowns of those coming into Perak as a tourist. Going around in Perak is extremely difficult for a peson from outside the state (I understand that it is not very different even for those who are born and brought up in Perak) because of large number of one ways and lack of sign boards and road names. The google map becomes a joke and one cannot go around without getting lost. The authorities should open their eyes and do something about this so as to help themselves, their family members and others to have a smooth transportation in Perak.

  2. To do the best professional job, one needs the right person(s) with the right experience and credentials, not political connections.

  3. I read with interest that Manuel did not once mention about the glittering towers that adorned the “developed” cities and towns in Perak.

    It is just too bad that VPY is targetted for a select group to canvass some effort in promoting Perak in an untangible way, known best to themselves.

    We don’t really need a campaign to promote Perak, do we ? If the system worked as it should, there should a VPY every year for the next generation. Surely folks, there must a couple of bright sparks within the administration, eh ?? I mean, err….(careful , careful, ) the civil service is populated with smart, bright, upstanding citizens and they will be able to act on what Manuel has written.

  4. Not the first time. I hope the people in the tourisim industry take heed. What are the respective agencies doing. Are they just spending money for the Visit Perak itinery or……….. Look at our tourist center manned by MBI, what a shame, The people working there cant even speak in proper english. What a waste of public funds.
    The year is coming to an end and I dont see the benefit Perak has earned by having this year as VISIT PERAK YEAR. Hope the state govt can come up with some statistics on the increase in the number of tourists coming into the state during this period.

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