Category Archives: Perak Tourism News

Perak Tourism Newsletter

Pengkalan Hulu

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Formerly named Kroh (or Keroh), Pengkalan Hulu, a small town located in Perak’s northern most district of Hulu Perak, is more popularly known as the gateway to Thailand’s paradise town, Betong.

Little is known about Pengkalan Hulu’s tourist attractions. Therefore, in this issue of Perak Tourism Newsletter, we will attempt to unravel places of interest, both known and unknown, found in this quaint, hilly provincial town, which is covered in thick fog in the morning and where the air is always fresh and invigorating.

Pengkalan Hulu 1

FOREWORD

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,  State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,
State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is soon upon us in the blink of an eye. It will be launched with a bang in Kuala Lumpur during the first week of January.

Meanwhile, we in Perak have been very busy with promoting our state and working extra hard, especially these past two months, including distributing promotional materials such as buntings and CDs to hotels and travel agents, to assist in their promotional efforts.

Not only are we trying to entice domestic travellers, we are also ‘selling’ our tourism products to the international market. In November, we participated in Travel Malaysia Exposition 2013 in Singapore and World Travel Mart 2013 in London.

In Singapore, we also took the opportunity to hold a corporate presentation. It was a platform for buyers and sellers to meet. Over 40 travel agents from Singapore and six product owners from Perak participated in this event.

While in London, we had our own booth at the Malaysia Pavilion to promote Perak. Hosted by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, we were quite successful in introducing Perak to travel agents from Europe. They were particularly interested in the Royal Belum.

Also, it is with pleasure to announce that our mobile application, TravelPerak, is ready for downloading at Google Play and iTunes. Yes, it is available for both Android and iOS platforms! We look forward to your feedback on ways to improve it.

We have also revamped our online presence with a new website which is accessible at www.travelperak.com, and boosted our social media presence. Connect with us on Facebook (Perak Tourism), follow us on Twitter (@PerakTourism) or contact us at our email: perak_tourism@yahoo.com.

 

GETTING THERE

Driving from Ipoh, take the North-South Expressway, exiting from Kuala Kangsar. From there, get on the trunk road to Gerik and continue north to Pengkalan Hulu, following the sign boards by the left side of the road. This stretch is uphill and winding all the way, as Pengkalan Hulu is some 380m (1250 ft) above sea level. So drive carefully, especially when it is raining. About 190km from Ipoh, this road trip takes approximately 3 hours.

Pengkalan Hulu 2 

ACCOMONDATION

As said, Pengkalan Hulu is a small town, encompassing only 873.70 km² of land. Despite this, there are about ten motels, hotels, rest houses and chalets for visitors to choose from. Popular among tourists is Chalet Air Panas (Hot Springs Chalet), just 2km from Betong. VIP chalets range from RM85 per night for four persons to RM162 per night for one person. Budget-friendly accommodation is also available in the form of normal chalets and dormitories.

There are two hot spring pools here. Although some claimed the water is too murky, well, that is its natural state.

 

For further information, contact Chalet Air Panas at:

Tel: +604-4770579
Fax: +604-4778422
Email: chaletairpanas@gmail.com
Website: http://chaletairpanas.blogspot.com
Office hours: 8am – 9pm (Monday – Friday)
& 8am – 5pm (Saturday & Sunday)

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 43.423 E101° 00.888’

 

GUA GENDANG

Pengkalan Hulu 3

Gua Gendang (Cave of Drums) is Pengkalan Hulu’s most unique tourist attraction.

This limestone cave is located in Kampung Tasek, some 9km from Pengkalan Hulu town. Together with Gua Itik, a smaller adjacent cave, these caves make for serious jungle trekking and cave exploration activities for hardcore outdoor buffs.

Surrounded by lush tropical forest, Gua Gendang is believed to be used as a hideout by communist terrorists during the Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960).

Those who brave the trail down to the cave, descending some 120 steps, will be rewarded with the best that Mother Nature has to offer.

Besides the opportunity to check out the formations of amazing rock textures, stalactites and stalagmites, the roaring water cascading into the cave from the seven nearby waterfalls simultaneously beating against the interior walls of the caves is like a wondrous drum performance, hence the name of the cave.     Turn off your torchlights, close your eyes and feel the beat of the drums. It is so ecstatic!

But that is certainly not all that Gua Gendang has to offer. Imagine exploring a cave that is half submerged in water, and at some points, you may even have to “commando crawl” through some of the narrower stretches inside the cave.

A good nature guide is required, and safety precautions have to be taken, because the final part of the cave requires one to dive underwater before emerging in Kedah, the neighbouring state!

An expedition to Gua Gendang, first by a four-wheel drive vehicle, then jungle trekking, followed by cave exploration, is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But for those who seek challenges and thrills of this nature, Gua Gendang is the ultimate destination in Pengkalan Hulu.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 38.736’ E100° 57.793’

 

GUA KHALID

Pengkalan Hulu - Gua Khalid

This still unexplored Gua Khalid near the development of PPMS Tanah Hitam, is also known locally as Gua Komunis because, like Gua Gendang, it is believed that the communist terrorists used the cave as their hideout during the Malayan Emergency years, 1965 to be precise, based on what had been written on the wall.

This cave, located some 10 minutes’ drive off the main Gerik – Klian Intan Road, is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicle. Another 10 minutes of trekking over a treacherous trail is required before one reaches the cave.

Although some adventurous locals like to come by for a picnic, the exploration of this cave is more suited for those who wish to research on the Emergency period. There are many Mandarin texts found written on the cave walls. But Mandarin-speaking locals have not been able to decipher the real messages behind the writings.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 36.985’ E101° 01.283’

 

Oldest & largest open-cast tin mine

Rahman Hydraulic Tin

Visitors to Pengkalan Hulu should not pass up the opportunity to visit the oldest and largest active open-cast tin mine in Malaysia, operated by Rahman Hydraulic Tin Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Smelting Corporation Bhd.

The tin mine, situated in Klian Intan and encompassing a land area of 700 hectares, was started in 1907 by the British. It now has a staff strength of 700 people, producing 250 metric tons of tin ore per month.

More of an educational tour, visitors are first taken to the viewing deck for an overview of the mine pit. With Gunung Paku in the background, it is most scenic, especially in the morning before the thick mist clears.

Rahman Hydraulic Tin

Besides checking out the different stages of the mining process, the guided tour includes a stop at the plant nursery and fish pond, a major greening and land rehabilitation effort with assistance from the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).

Although the tin mine is open to visitors since 2006, only group visits are encouraged, with a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 30 persons per group. Prior permission has to be obtained from the management of Rahman Hydraulic Tin.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 37.861’ E101° 01.818

 

Pong Dam & Hydro Power Station

Pong Dam & Hydro Power Station

Not much is known about both the Pong Dam and Pong Mini Hydro Power Station, except that they were built by the British circa 1924. The power station is some 40 minutes by 4WD from the Gerik – Klian Intan road, first passing through the Kg. Bukit Asu aboriginal village, before reaching Kg. Pong, a Siamese village. The dam is a further ten minutes’ drive away.

Today, both are properties of Rahman Hydraulic Tin. The dam was an ex-mining pond and it supplies water to the power station, which generates 11,000 kilowatts of power per day to the company’s tin mining operations in nearby Klian Intan.

GPS Coordinates (Pong Dam): N 05° 31.477’ E100° 59.195’

GPS Coordinates (Pong Hydro Power Station): N 05° 31.648’ E100° 59.709’

 

S.J.K. (C) Kung Li

S.J.K. (C) Kung Li

By itself, this Chinese primary school in Klian Intan is like any other school in a small provincial town. However, it is in the spotlight because it was built at the site that was used by the Japanese Imperial Army to teach Japanese language during the Japanese Occupation. Although the original wooden building had long been replaced by a concrete block, it is believed that the stairs with 288 steps that connect Jalan Besar to the school at the top of the hill are still the original ones constructed by the Japanese.

S.J.K. (C) Kung Li has a student enrolment of less than 40. It is open from 7am to 2pm from Mondays to Fridays only.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 38.035’ E101° 01.219’

 

BOWLING

Bowling

Bowling is a popular indoor sport here. The 12-lane Pengkalan Hulu Superbowl charges a flat rate of RM3 per game. So, it is not surprising to see families and groups of friends converging at the arena every evening.

Opened since July 2011, the arena has just kicked off the Pengkalan Hulu Superbowl Cup, a challenge trophy with a cash prize of RM200 for the winning team. Weekly mini tournaments are also held, where cash prizes of RM150 are up for grabs.

Rental of bowling shoes is RM1, while socks are RM2 a pair.

Business hours:
2pm – 12 midnight (Monday – Thursday)
3pm – 12 midnight (Friday)
12 noon – 12 midnight (Saturday / Sunday / public holidays)
Add:  Dewan Sultan Idris Shah II, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.
Tel: +604-4778200
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.170’ E100° 59.858’

 

GOLF

Pengkalan Hulu - Golf

The 9-hole Kelab Golf Pengkalan Hulu was opened to the public in the 1990s. It was formerly an airstrip used to resupply troops in the forward bases during the Emergency years.

Membership fee is RM2,000 for the public and RM1,500 for civil servants. Non-members are charged RM30 green fee a day. Current membership stands at some 100, from Perak, neighbouring states and even Thailand.

Said to be one of the more challenging golf links in Perak, the club hosts about four major golf tournaments annually. They are Piala OBJ Perak in May, Piala Presiden, Piala YDP and Club Championship in December.

The only golf club in the district of Hulu Perak, it has recently expanded to offer accommodation under the name of the Good View Motel. With 19 rooms, the motel can accommodate up to 40 guests at a time. Room rates start from RM70+ per night.

Add:  Jalan Pejabat, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.
Tel: +604-4779663
Fax: +604-4778177
Golfing hours: 8am – 3.30pm
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.166’ E100° 59.704’

 

Dataran Gading/Tasek Takong

Pengkalan Hulu - Dataran Gading /Tasek Takong

A long time ago, when Pengkalan Hulu was ruled by Raja of Reman, a small pond was built to enable his elephants to bathe. The water was always murky, which was how the town got its name, Kroh.
This pond has since been developed into Tasek Takong, with a square at the entrance of the lake named Dataran Gading (Ivory Square).

This recreational park is well-utilised by the locals, especially in the evenings and on weekends. It is also the venue for the annual fishing and decorative raft competitions.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.166’ E100° 59.704’

 

Eating out

Restoran Terapong

A popular eatery among the locals is a floating restaurant by the name of Restoran Terapong, just by the bank of Tasek Takong. Open from 4pm to 1am daily except Wednesdays, it serves a wide variety of local, Thai and western food. The dish to try here is the Thai-style seafood tom-yam.

Add: Jalan Padang, Taman Tasek Takong, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu.
Tel: +6019-5920732 (Razman)
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.174’ E100° 59.775’

Pengkalan Hulu - food

Restoran Terapung No. 2

Just a short distance away from Restoran Terapung, near Kelab Golf Pengkalan Hulu, is Restoran Terapung No. 2. Despite its name, these two restaurants are run by different owners.

Open from 10am to 2am daily except Saturdays, the signature dish here is “nasi goreng terapung” (floating fried rice).

Add: Jalan Tasek, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu.
Tel: +6019-5654539 (Akib)
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.044’ E100° 59.744’

 

Pengkalan Hulu map

Contact

Those interested to visit the attractions highlighted in Pengkalan Hulu, but do not fancy the hassle of arranging their own trip, may contact En. Haniff Faiz bin Misnan from the Pengkalan Hulu District Council (Tourism Unit). His mobile number: +6017-846 5346.

 

Royal Belum

Royal Belum

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Named after the noise emitted from the “stick grasshopper” (belalang ranting) and estimated at more than 130 million years old, Belum is said to be the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, older even than the Amazon.

Located in Gerik, in the northern most corner of Perak, and a part of the larger Belum-Temenggor Forest reserve encompassing 117,500 hectares of jungle, it was declared as the Royal Belum State Park by HRH Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah on July 31, 2003. Fondly known as Royal Belum, it is indeed a prized national treasure.

Royal Belum or the Upper Belum area, which requires a permit from the Perak State Parks Corporation to enter, is reserved more for conservation and research purposes. However, eco-tourism is promoted here, albeit in a controlled manner.

 Royal Belum

 

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,  State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,
State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

FOREWORD

We are just two months away from Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY2014). The year ahead will be one of the most challenging, as we try to meet our goals. But it will, without doubt, be an exciting time.

The public may be wondering how well-prepared we are for VMY2014. At the state-level, since two months ago, we have established a Secretariat for Tourism and Culture, made up of representatives from both Federal and state government agencies, local authorities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in tourism in Perak.

Under this Secretariat, where the main committee is under the Tourism Ministry, there are a few portfolios, including Promotion, Events and Projects. A second meeting will be held in due time, where we will be hearing the different points of view from our members.

The main objectives of this Secretariat are to coordinate the state’s tourism industry players, to identify, promote and market our various tourism products, to audit these products regularly to ensure that they continue to be relevant and that standards are maintained.

Of course, these are just some of the issues that we need to take care of. Perak enjoyed a successful Visit Perak Year 2012. As for VMY2014, although we are maintaining our target of 5 million tourist arrivals, we are working doubly hard to break our record of 5.8 million visitors last year.

In this issue of Perak Tourism Newsletter we are featuring the Royal Belum. This untouched tropical rainforest which is over 130 million years old is just one of Perak’s top tourism products of international repute.

We hope that with this guide, your visit to the Royal Belum will be most productive.

 

Applying for a permit

As mentioned, everyone who enters Royal Belum is required to obtain a permit from the state park authority, which costs RM10 for Malaysians and RM20 for foreigners. Other charges may apply.

Malaysians need to provide their name and MyKad number, while foreigners provide their name and passport number instead. A permit can be applied directly from the office of the Perak State Parks Corporation in Gerik or over the internet at their website: www.royalbelum.my.

Those who take up a tour package from a licensed tour operator or nature guide will have this handled for them. Permits require 24 hours to be processed. Therefore, visitors are advised to apply for a permit in advance.

 

Pg2Getting there

Driving from Ipoh, take the North-South Expressway, exiting from Kuala Kangsar. From there, get on the trunk road to Gerik and continue north-east until you reach Pulau Banding. The jetty here (GPS Coordinates: N 05° 33.110’ E 101° 20.834’) is the gateway to Royal Belum. This trip from Ipoh to Pulau Banding jetty takes approximately 3 hours.

 

 

Pg2aAccommodation

The state park authority manages four camp sites, namely Sg. Tiang, Sg. Kenarung, Sg. Papan and Sg. Kejar Camp Site. Accommodating some 25 to 80 people per camp, basic amenities are provided at these camps. Do bring provisions to cook your own meals.

Generally, Royal Belum is free from the usual distractions such as television, telephone and internet. So, be prepared for a real retreat.

A speedboat ride from Pulau Banding jetty to these camp sites, across Temenggor Lake, takes approximately 20 to 40 minutes.

Those who prefer to stay off-camp may do so at RM2 per person, to be paid to the state park authority. Camping equipment is not provided.

 

Houseboats

Like a “floating hotel” and equipped with modern amenities, including a karaoke room, a houseboat can accommodate up to 20 people at any one time. Houseboat-living has been popular here only some four years ago. The houseboat cruises around Temenggor Lake, stopping at various spots for guests to participate in local activities, particularly fishing.

Rental for 24 hours of a houseboat goes from RM1800, depending on its amenities and level of comfort. Currently, there are about ten houseboats for rent.

Pg2b

Pg2dIndigenous community

The indigenous people that call Royal Belum home are from the Jahai tribe, the main sub-ethnic group of the Negrito. There are three villages here with a total population of approximately 800 people; Sg. Tiang, Sg. Kejar and the most advanced village, Aman Damai.

For a small fee, visitors to Kg. Aman Damai get to enjoy a slew of aboriginal activities like blow-piping and dart-making. They can also watch or even participate in the tribal dance, sewang. Shopping is also possible here, as there is a stall that sells local herbs.

Get thrown back in time at Kg. Aman Damai, though visitors are expected to contribute at least RM1 per person to the village fund.

Pg2e

 

Hornbill-watching

Bird-watching is a popular activity here and the bird to watch is the hornbill. There are a total of 57 hornbill species in the world, with 25 found in Asia. Royal Belum is only one of two places in Malaysia where ten species of hornbills, two more than in Borneo, can be found. The two most sought-after species are the Plain-pouched and Great Hornbill, one of the world’s largest hornbill species.

The peak season for hornbill-watching is from July to September.

Hornbills

Flora & Fauna

The lush forest of Royal Belum is home to more than 3000 species of flowering plants, including the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia. It’s no secret that one of the main reasons visitors come to Royal Belum is to check out this parasitic flower. Three species are found here; Kerrii, Cantleyi and Azlanii.

As it takes nine months for a Rafflesia to fully bloom and the flower lasts only five to seven days, depending on the amount of rainfall, it takes a lot of luck for tourists to see one in full bloom. The largest recorded Rafflesia found here is the Kerrii, with a diameter of 90cm.

Some trees and plants have been labelled but a good nature guide will point out the ferns, plants, fungi, insects and other life forms that are only found here.

Flora & fauna

 

Pg3eFishing

Royal Belum’s Lake Temenggor is a paradise for anglers because of the famous snake-head (ikan toman). Officially, there are a total of 30 fish species here.

The “catch and release” policy is practised here. Four species of fish, namely sebarau, kelah, tengas and temoleh, are prohibited from being taken out of Royal Belum.

Each angler is only allowed to take three fish out of this protected area. All boats leaving Royal Belum will be inspected at the state park control post.

Pg3f

Sg. Kooi Waterfall

While there are quite a few waterfalls in Royal Belum, the Sg. Kooi waterfall stands out among them. From a height of 50m, the gushing water does not cascade but showers down. Hence, it is also known as the “shower waterfall”.

Lately, there have been operators conducting waterfall abseiling here, which is fast becoming a popular adventure sport. This, however, is not for the faint-hearted.

Sg. Kooi Waterfall

Trekking

Covering a total land area of 117,500 hectares, Royal Belum is paradise to adventurous trekkers, any time of the day.

One may trek along the Perak River or deep into the woods for that rather elusive Rafflesia flower, but a guide or ranger is required for safety reasons.

Trekkers know that both day and night trekking bring different experiences, as nocturnal animals become active only when night falls. Lucky trekkers may even spot an animal or two. The seladang, Sumatran rhinoceros, elephant and Malayan tiger are just some of the larger mammals found in Royal Belum.

Trekking

Sg. Ruok Fish Sanctuary

Sg. Ruok Fish Sanctuary-2

This fish sanctuary in Sg. Ruok is one of the top visited places in Royal Belum.

The fisheries department and the state parks authority are breeding various species of freshwater fish here, especially kelah and tengas to preserve and promote aqua-tourism. Therefore, fishing along this stretch of the river is strictly prohibited.

The waterfall here is also top on the list for picnickers, who take the opportunity to feed and also swim with the fishes.

web pics for ptn23

 

Natural Salt Licks

Salt licks are mineral springs or grounds that contain sodium and other essential nutrients such as zinc, magnesium and calcium, where wild animals, particularly herbivorous mammals, come to obtain minerals their body requires and to aid the digestion of food. Consider a salt lick a pharmacy for animals to get their dose of supplements.

There are 12 natural salt lick areas in Royal Belum, but only a couple of them are open to visitors, so as not to contaminate them. One that visitors can get up close to is Sira Papan, just a short trek from Sg. Papan Camp Site.

Pg4d

Contact

For further information on Royal Belum, contact Perak State Parks Corporation information centre at tel: +605-791 7858. Office hours are Mondays to Fridays from 8am – 5pm, with lunch break from 1pm to 2pm, except for Fridays from 12.45pm – 2.40pm.

Those who prefer the convenience of a guided tour can also contact the above number for suitable licensed nature guides or operators.

 

TOURISM CALENDAR

22-23 Nov – Cleanliness campaign on health, tourism and quality of life at Pulau Pangkor.

28-31 Dis – Perak Tourism Fiesta at Ipoh

For further information, contact: 05-208 3600 (ask for Tourism Perak).

 

Pangkor Island

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Located off the coast of Perak in the north-east of Peninsular Malaysia lies Pangkor Island (Pulau Pangkor), the largest of a small cluster of islands. Pangkor is a well-known tourist destination because of its beautiful beaches, said to be some of the best along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, with its still relatively well-preserved nature.

Pangkor Island

To enjoy Pangkor, it is suggested that tourists spend a minimum of 3 days and 2 nights on the island. Besides visiting the usual attractions what else can one do here? Find out in this issue of the Perak Tourism Newsletter.

 

 

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,  State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,
State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Foreword

Perak have been given the honour to host the 33rd World Congress of Poets beginning October 21 to 25. To be held for the first time in Malaysia, the main venue is Syuen Hotel in Ipoh. However, poetry recitals will be held at other locations in the state during the 5-day event. They include Lumut and Pangkor Island, the featured tourist destination in this issue of Perak Tourism Newsletter.

This highly-regarded event on the international poetry calendar will be a convenient platform for poets from Malaysia and aboard to meet and network, and to exchange ideas. A total of 100 local poets will join in the occasion, alongside international poets from 30 countries such as Australia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong and Bosnia. With the theme “One World Through Poetry”, the reading will be in English, Malay, Mandarin and Spanish, making it a truly international event.

Participants will visit places of interest in Perak, such as Kuala Kangsar and Lenggong Valley. Therefore, it is a good opportunity for us to further promote Perak, both to Malaysians and our foreign guests. We ought to give these visitors a positive impression thus making their sojourn worthy and also memorable.

Last month, at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration in Tapah, I launched a web-based application which will bring greater accessibility to online references for visitors and tourists to Perak. Although some may consider it similar to the Discover Perak mobile application launched last year, this one, I am glad to note, is more user-friendly, and packed with even more information. It has also incorporated Google Maps, which I believe, will serve travellers well.

The application will be available on our web portal www.travelperak.com sometime this month.

Map of Pangkor

Getting there…

Vehicles are not allowed onto the island, except for motorcycles and bicycles. Visitors to Pangkor can take a ferry, which first stops at Sungai Pinang Kecil Jetty and then Pangkor Jetty, either from the Lumut Jetty or from the new Marina Island Pangkor Jetty.

The return fare is RM10 for passengers 12 years old and above, and RM5 for those between 4 to 11 years old. The first ferry of the day is at 7am, while the last is 8pm (Marina Island Pangkor Jetty) and 8.30pm (Lumut Jetty). The trip to Pangkor Island from Lumut Jetty is 30 minutes, with 45 minutes ferry intervals whereas from Marina Island Pangkor Jetty, it is only 10 minutes, but ferry intervals are an hour.

Pangkor Island - how to get there

Currently, Berjaya Air is the only airline operating in Pangkor, plying the Subang -Pangkor route. There are three flights per week viz: on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Each trip takes about 40 minutes.

GPS Coordinates:

Marina Island Pangkor Jetty: N 04° 12.759’ E100° 36.159’
Lumut Jetty: N 04° 14.205’ E100° 37.945’
Pangkor Jetty: N 04° 12.783’ E100° 34.520’

Once on the island, you will have multiple choices of ground transport. Bicycles, motorcycles, cars and vans are for rent. These are easily available as soon as you walk out from the jetty. As an example, rental for a day’s use of a motorcycle is RM30, while a round island trip for up to four people is RM70. Visitors are advised to only engage licensed transporters for safety reasons.

Getting around Pangkor Island

 

Island Hopping

One of the best ways to see and experience Pangkor Island is by chartering a speedboat, either from Teluk Nipah or Pasir Bogak. Usually, there is a minimum passenger count per trip, although some operators are flexible, especially during off-peak seasons. The cost is about RM20 per person.

A trip out may take up to three hours. Places that one could visit are Turtle Bay, Monkey Bay, Nipah Bay, Coral Bay, Mentagor Bay, Pulau Giam (Coral Island) and Pulau Raja.

While at sea look out for natural rock formations in the shape of a whale, crocodile, turtle, elephant, anaconda, and even a pair of human feet.

The trip can be customised to your requirement. So, whether you just want to laze the afternoon away at a secluded beach spot, organise a private beach party, or have a barbeque dinner under the stars, it is your call. Chart a plan with your speedboat operator.

Pangkor - Island hopping

 

Water Sport

As Pangkor is an island, it is not surprising that many tourists come here for its varied water sports. The beaches are packed on weekends and holidays as vacationers come for the motorised and non-motorised rides such as jet skiing, para-sailing and banana boating.

Those who charter a speed boat can go snorkelling off Pulau Giam (Coral Island), where they can see various species of fish and marine life. Snorkelling equipment are available for rental.

Water sports

 

Jungle Trekking

For nature-lovers, Sungai Pinang Permanent Forest Reserve is home to a few jungle-trekking trails and the “Teluk Nipah mini waterfall”. Bordering Raudhah Camp, a recreational and motivational camp site, the shortest trail would take at least two hours to complete.

Experienced trekkers may not find it extremely challenging here but as these trails are not distinctly marked, it is recommended that trekkers only start their activity from 9am onwards, and to inform the accommodation provider about it.

What to look out for is the Balau Putih (Shorea lumutensis), an endemic tree species said to be found only in the jungles of Pangkor, Lumut and Segari Melintang, though some claimed that it is also found in Johor and Terengganu.

GPS Coordinates (Raudhah Camp): N 04° 13.843’ E 100° 33.087’

Pangkor - Jungle trekking

 

On-shore fishing

“Tarik pukat” (loosely translated as “pulling in the net”) is a popular activity in Pangkor. It is on-shore fishing, if you will, where a boat crew takes a fishing net out to the sea and drops it into the water. The net is then dragged by a group of at least six people on the  beach, to try to catch some fish.

A free seafood dinner is definitely a great idea, but the objective of this activity is actually to foster cooperation and to build teamwork.

Those who would like to try on-shore fishing can have it arranged via the accommodation provider. It is done on the beaches of Pasir Bogak and Teluk Nipah, three times a day, depending on the tide.

Pangkor - On-shore fishing

 

Boat Building

Being an island, boats are a major mode of transportation. It is no surprise that boat building is an industry here. There are currently five boat builders on the island.

Those who are interested in maritime matters can make a visit to Hoo Huat Boat Builder in Sungai Pinang Kecil (SPK), about 3km from town, where they are at liberty to observe how a fisherman’s boat is built from scratch.

Owner Tan Ho An, who learnt the skills of boat-building from his grandfather, said that it takes some four to five months to complete the structure of a boat, and at a cost of some RM700,000. With a staff-strength of ten skilled men, they can complete about six boats in a year. Orders come from fishermen along the coast of Peninsular Malaysia, as far north as Kedah.

Hoo Huat Boat Builder is open from 9am to 6pm daily. It is closed on Sundays.

boat building

 

Hornbill-feeding

An exceptional experience that one can only find on Pangkor Island is hornbill-feeding. Hornbills, especially the Oriental Pied (Anthracoceros albirostris), is very common on this island.

However, in Teluk Nipah, just outside of Sunset View Chalet, the birds feed from the hand. It is something that one should try when visiting Pangkor, all the more when the bird food, usually cut bananas, are provided at no cost. Just remember to bring along your camera and snap these hungry birds in action! This has been a daily activity from 6.30pm onwards, since 2002.

GPS Coordinates: N 04° 13.913’ E100° 32.812’

hornbill feeding

 

Pangkor - local must-eatsLocal must-eats

Facing the Sungai Pinang Kecil Jetty is a nameless Hainanese coffee shop that serves the island’s best kopi-O and toasted bread with butter and kaya (egg-coconut jam). A third-generation proprietor, Tan now runs the business with his wife and son, serving from 6am to 5pm daily, only taking a day off a month. Tel: 012-451 8143.

Laksa mee is another must-try while in Pangkor. It is said that this laksa, which is different from the common laksa Penang or laksa Melaka, is only found in Pangkor.

While there are a few stalls that serve laksa mee, one of the more popular places is Kopitiam Pangkor at the Pangkor Jetty. It is open from 9am to 9pm daily, and closed on Wednesdays.  Tel: 05-685 1134.

 

Souvenir shopping

Just before leaving the island, it is almost compulsory for any tourists to get some souvenirs for friends and family back home. Dried seafood such as satay fish, salted fish, cuttlefish and blue-eyed anchovies are the best picks. Other items that you may want to get are those made from seashells and corals.

Pangkor - souvenir shopping

 

 

planning your tripPlanning your trip

It is essential to plan before you leave for your vacation. For local knowledge and assistance, you can contact officials of the Pangkor Hotel and Resort Operators Association viz: Noordin Bakar (President) at 012-408 2297 or Zamzuri Suid (Secretary) at 012-417 2227.

All information correct at time of printing.

 

Tourism Calendar

October 2013
October 21-25 – 33rd World Congress of Poets

For further information, contact: 05-208 3600 (ask for Tourism Perak).

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan

Two-Day Sojourn of Hilir Perak – Day 1

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Nolee Ashilin Radzi,  State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,
State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Foreword

Now that the fasting month of Ramadan and the ensuing Hari Raya celebrations are over, and we are already almost into the final quarter of 2013, it’s time to continue with our work in preparing Perak for Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Visit Perak Year 2012 was a good trial run. At least, we managed to identify our shortcomings and players in the tourism industry have more than ample time to rectify whatever that need to be taken care of. There is no excuse not be ready to welcome the first influx of tourists to our beautiful Silver State by 2014.

Still, our job is never done, as we continuously improve our tourism products, and look for different ways to present them to the world in a more interesting light.

One aspect to look into is the promotion of Perak on the internet, via various social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. No doubt, we are not new to the online world but I feel that we have to be more proactive and engaging. We have identified the problems and will take immediate steps to solve them.

Meanwhile, a secretariat for tourism has recently been established, where exhibitions for the coming year will be scheduled. Once finalised, these exhibitions will be announced and promoted across our social media networks. We will ensure that information is kept up-to-date, so that tourists who plan to visit Perak can easily draw up their itinerary.

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Hj. Musa Dun, former Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Perak, for a job well done. He was at the helm for 13 months beginning in June 2012 until July 31, 2013. Musa undertook various projects to further promote Perak and the most notable were the Perak Arts Festival, Ipoh International Waiters’ Race, and Citra Perak Amanjaya street procession. I wish him the very best in his new appointment as Director of Perak Sports Council.

Tourism Perak new CEO, effective from August 1, is Aida Hazlyn binti Hassan. I look forward to work with her to further boost tourism in Perak.

 

Day 1: from Ipoh – Kg. Gajah – Teluk Intan – Bagan Datoh

After a hearty breakfast in Ipoh, drive west along the Ipoh – Lumut road until you reach Seri Iskandar. From there, drive a further 10km, and you will come to a crossroad. Turn left and drive southward along Pulau Tiga road for about 20km. You will be met with a gigantic durian icon on your right.

From there, turn right, and cross the Perak River bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn left, and drive along the narrow village road for about 2km. The Pasir Salak Historical Complex is adjacent to Pasir Salak Resort on your left.

 

1. Pasir Salak the historical town

Pasir Salak, located in Kampung Gajah, is a historical town. History buffs would remember it as a place where the first British Resident in Perak, J.W.W. Birch, was assassinated by Dato Maharaja Lela and Si Puntum. That incident sparked off a war between British colonial rulers and the Malays, leading to Malaya’s independence in 1957.

DSC_0122      Attractions at the Complex, which now focuses on Malaysia’s development since Independence, include the J.W.W. Birch Monument, Si Puntum’s tomb, Dato Maharaja Lela’s fort and two Perak traditional houses (Rumah Kutai) that serve as galleries for local historical and cultural artefacts.

Visiting hours for Pasir Salak Historical Complex are from 9.30am to 5pm (Mon- Thurs, Sat, Sun and public holidays) and 9.30am-12.15pm and 2.45pm-5pm (Fri). A guide is available by request only from Monday to Friday.

The complex is closed three days a year: first and second day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Haji. Entrance fee is RM4 (adult) and RM2 (child from 7 to 12 years old). For further information, call 05-631 1462.

GPS Coordinates: N 04° 10.389’ E 100° 56.835’

 

2. Lunch in Teluk Intan

Using the bridge, cross the Perak River and return to the same junction, with the durian icon on your left. Turn right and drive towards Kampung Gajah town.

gulam rasul

DSC_0748      Travel for some 20km, you will come to a junction. Turn right and drive for 7km until you reach another junction. It is the Jalan Changkat Jong junction. Turn right again and drive a further 2km to arrive at Teluk Intan town.

While in Teluk Intan, a spicy lunch is the order of the day. The nasi kandar at Restoran M. Gulam Rasul comes highly recommended, but other popular food on the menu are nasi briyani, spicy fried chicken, curry fish head and beef rendang. There are a total of three M. Gulam Rasul restaurants; the one along Jalan Changkat Jong, 2km from Teluk Intan town, is the original and largest. They operate 24 hours a day, daily, except for the first two days of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Contact Zul at 019-522 8103 for reservations.

GPS Coordinates: N 03° 59.593’ E 101° 3.298’

 

 

 

Photo1359

DSCN9703For those who prefer a lighter meal, try Restoran Mastan Ghani for Teluk Intan’s special mee rebus and rojak. This restaurant also serves other delicious local food such as curry noodles, laksa, cendol and Air Batu Campur (ABC). Restoran Mastan Ghani, with its original restaurant opened in 1958 along Jalan Selat, has a total of five outlets, including Taman Ros, Taman Intanova and Simpang Empat. They are open daily from 8am to 6pm, except Fridays. Contact Mohd. Fazhil at 012-549 2264.

GPS Coordinates: N 04° 1.58’ E 101° 1.222’ (Jalan Selat, Teluk Intan)

 

3. While in Teluk Intan…

Located in the south of Perak, this town is the administrative centre of Hilir Perak District. It is also the largest town in southern Perak. Originally known as “Teluk Mak Intan”, named after Mak Intan, a female Mandailing trader, it was renamed Telok Anson and subsequently, Teluk Intan.

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan

In Teluk Intan, it is essential to take a photograph beneath the famous Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan. Built in 1885 by contractor Leong Choon Chong, this pagoda-shaped tower, with a base measuring 13 metres in diameter and a top measuring 8.2 metres in diameter, was originally used to house a water tank that supplied water to the town.

Known as Malaysia’s version of Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is also slanted leftward, this Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan leans towards the southwest because it was built on soft ground and due to the weight of the water in the huge tank.

4 Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan

The Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan is now a clock tower. Visitors are allowed to climb up to three floors, although it is an eight-storey tower. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 1.544’ E 101° 1.133’

 

 4. Eco-tourism: Coconut Paradise

Travelling continues to Rungkup, a sub-district south of Perak, by heading to Simpang Empat via the western coastal Batak Rabit Road.

Rungkup 2

The small township of Bagan Datoh in Rungkup, is located about 45km west of Teluk Intan. During your drive, you will be greeted by scenic coconut and oil palm plantations along both sides of the road. The town is not known as “Coconut Paradise” for nothing.

Two other main economic activities here, besides coconuts, are freshwater prawn fishing and palm oil.

Bagan Datoh, noted for its highest quality coconut products, especially virgin coconut oil, offers many eco-tourism packages for tourists looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The village-style accommodation with local families, known as homestay, was officially opened by the then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak in 2006. More than a hundred families are enrolled in this Bagan Datoh Homestay Programme. Their homes are scattered over 13 villages, making this the largest homestay in the country.

Rungkup 5

Visitors can experience for themselves true rural lifestyle in a typical Malay village, and partake in the daily lives of their hosts.

Homestay Bagan Datoh offers three packages from day tours to 3D/2N trips. Catering to groups of minimum 20 persons, a basic day package includes welcome drinks, a short briefing, village tour and a meal. A cultural show is organised for the 3D/2N package. For further information, contact Homestay Bagan Datoh  coordinator Mohd. Saed Hamzah at 019-549 9777.

GPS Coordinates: N 03° 55.092’ E 100° 45.564’

 

5. Beting Beras Basah

Anyone who takes the trouble to drive to Bagan Datoh should visit Beting Beras Basah, in Kampung Sungai Betul, by the Sungai Perak river mouth. It is said that since the first Sultan of Perak stepped foot here, it is compulsory for all new Sultans of Perak to visit this place. They arrive at Beting Beras Basah by boat via Bagan Datoh jetty to perform a royal ceremony.

GPS Coordinates: N 04° 0.194’ E 100° 42.911’

DSC04566 beras basah

 

Day 2: From Bagan Datoh – Teluk Intan – Sungkai – Bidor – Ipoh

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Admittedly, homestay à la kampung-style and eco-tourism are not everyone’s cup of tea. So, the time of departure from Bagan Datoh will depend on your interests here. One needs to return to Teluk Intan, before making an eastward cross to Sungkai via Jalan Changkat Jong / Pekan Pasir bypassing Bidor.

 

6. Head to Kampung Selabak , Teluk Intan

About 4km before reaching Teluk Intan town, visitors cannot miss the Kampung Selabak Pineapple Bazaar, located along Jalan Padang Tembak in Teluk Intan.

3 nanas Kg Selabak

Kampung Selabak is well-known for its two varieties of pineapples; honey and lychee-flavoured. These freshly-harvested fruits from nearby pineapple plantations are must-buys for anyone who passes this way.

Other local fruits to pick are jambu air, bananas and cempedak. Let’s not forget salted fish, too!

GPS Coordinates: N 03° 59.847′ E 101° 2.83′

2 ubi

 

7. Sungkai Deer Farm

Continue travelling south-east along Jalan Changkat Jong for about 20km until you reach a junction and turn right eastward towards Pekan Pasir. From this junction, turn right and drive southward for about 7km to Sungkai.

Sungkai Deer Farm

Sungkai Deer Farm

Travel along the Sungkai – Kuala Lumpur main road until you reach a Shell gas station on your left. Immediately after the Shell station, turn left and drive straight along the Kampung Menderiang road for about 10km. Sungkai Deer Farm is located at the end of this road.

The Sungkai Deer Farm, set up in 1978, sits on a land measuring 100 hectares. Established and managed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, it also provides a sanctuary for certain species of exotic birds and other wildlife, a positive effort towards conservation and prevention of their extinction.

Sungkai Deer Farm

      Nature lovers would enjoy the great outdoors this farm offers; its long nature walks, and the opportunity to observe the animals up close. Children would particularly enjoy the change of scenery at Sungkai Deer Farm, a renowned deer farm in Malaysia.

      Admission to the deer farm is free-of-charge. It is open from 2pm to 4pm (Mon-Thurs) and 2.45pm to 4pm (Fri). Group visits would require prior permission from the Perak Wildlife Department.  For more information, contact the department at 05-243 6645.

GPS Coordinates: N 04° 01.901’ E 101° 22.169’

 

8. Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park

Drive back to the Shell petrol station junction. Turn left and drive southward along the Sungkai – Kuala Lumpur main road for about 5km until you come to the Sungai Klah junction. Turn left again and drive straight for about 10km until you come to the Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park. There are many signboards to guide you along the way.

Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park

Nestled in the serene and lush forest patches and surrounded by FELDA Plantation’s oil palm trees, the 6.5-hectare Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park was developed at a cost of RM6 million and opened to the public in December, 2003.

This unique park is designed to offer visitors hot spring water treatment, believed to be good for skin diseases and to rejuvenate overall health.

Sitting at the foothills of Titiwangsa Range and located some 200 feet above sea level, Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park is said to be one of the best managed hot spring parks in the country.

Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park

For those who are keen to enjoy the best that nature can offer, a visit to Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park is almost compulsory. Activities to enjoy, besides a dip in the hot spring are water reflexology, egg-boiling and even a splashing fun time at the mountain springs pool, where the water is cold, instead.

Sungai Klah Hot Springs Park is open daily from 8am to 7pm. Entrance fee is RM12 per adult and RM10 per child. Senior citizens and those with special needs enjoy discounted rates. For more information or to make reservations, call 05-438 8801.

GPS Coordinates: N 03° 59.878’ E 101° 23.598’

 

 

9. Dinner in Bidor

Retrace your route to the Sungkai – Kuala Lumpur main road. Turn right and drive straight to Bidor town for approximately 15km.

Formerly a vibrant tin mining town, Bidor swiftly became recognised as the place to stop for a meal for anyone who travels between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur. Reputed for its local delicacies and agricultural produces, obviously, visitors would be spoilt for choice come dinner time.

A must-try would be the duck drumstick noodles and wan ton noodles at Pun Chun Chicken Biscuit & Restaurant, which also offers signature snacks like chicken biscuits and “shat kek mah”. This restaurant, located at Nos. 38 & 40, Jalan Besar, 35500 Bidor, Perak, is open daily from 6am to 9.30pm. It is closed on the first and second day of Chinese Lunar New Year. Contact 05-434 1554.

GPS Coordinates: N 04° 06.699’ E 101° 17.258’

pun chun

Other dinner options would be Noordin Nasi Kandar (tel: 016-502 1899) and Bidor Curry House (tel: 05-434 9048), both located along Jalan Besar, Bidor. They close at 8pm, so if you are looking for a spicy dinner, be there early. Noordin Nasi Kandar is closed on Sundays while Bidor Curry House closes one day a month.

P1530876

P1530870

 

P1530862

On the way back to Ipoh, remember to pick up some crystal guava. Synonymous with the pineapples of Kampung Selabak in Teluk Intan, crystal guava is the local fruit to buy here. Also known as “seedless” guava, it actually has seeds, but fewer than normal guava fruits. Well-known for its sweetness, some even claim that it tastes like pear.

Return to Ipoh via the North-South Highway or alternatively, take the old trunk road.

Disclaimer: At the time of printing, all information has been verified and confirmed. They may be subject to changes over time.

MAP

Gua Tempurung Gopeng & Tin Dredge, Tanjung Tualang

Day 1: Batu Gajah – Tanjung Tualang – Kampar

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Perak – Yours to Discover

The wonderful thing about Perak is that despite its huge land size, many tourist attractions are actually accessible by road.

If you find yourself in Ipoh, and have a day or two to spare, perhaps you should take a slow drive and venture beyond the city limits.

You may wonder where you should go, what you would do, and even where to put up for a night.

In this issue of Perak Tourism Newsletter, join us on a two-day/one-night road excursion from Ipoh to the neighbouring towns of Batu Gajah, Tanjung Tualang, Kampar, and Gopeng.

Gua Tempurung Gopeng & Tin Dredge, Tanjung Tualang

Foreword

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,  State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Nolee Ashilin Radzi,
State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

A state-level mini carnival in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014) was organised at the Sayong Riverfront in Kuala Kangsar on July 6. It was graced by our newly-appointed Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz. We still have more than four months to 2014. How prepared are we to welcome the first influx of visitors? We have had a rather successful Visit Perak Year in 2012 and we have been keeping up the momentum in promoting our state with a three-year Discover Perak programme from 2013 to 2015.

Having said this, the effort to promote Perak to be one of the top visited states during VMY 2014 should not only fall on the shoulders of the Federal and State tourism agencies.

It is common knowledge that the responsibility to bring Perak to a higher level lies on all stakeholders in the industry. In fact, everyone has a role to play. Even the man on the street should also “Think Tourism Act Tourism”. Why so? To make a success out of this initiative, all of us have to join hands to promote the numerous tourism products that Perak has to offer. And indeed, we have so many that are at par with the world’s best or even better. The Royal Belum State Park and Lenggong Valley World Heritage Site are but two products that come to mind.

Now is also a good time to remind everyone to keep Perak clean. Remember, first impressions count. Do you want visitors to come once and never be seen again, or would you rather have them so impressed with what they see here that they want to make a return trip? In this issue of Perak Tourism Newsletter, mindful of families who would like to explore Perak on their own at a leisurely pace, we have come up with our version of a 2D/1N tour package of Batu Gajah – Tanjung Tualang – Kampar – Gopeng. This will make the newsletter more functional as an information piece.

Nolee Ashilin Radzi
State Executive Councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

 

Day 1: Batu Gajah – Tanjung Tualang – Kampar

Kinta Nature Park

After an early breakfast in Ipoh, take a drive south to Batu Gajah. It is about 30 minutes away from Ipoh. The first stop is Kinta Nature Park (KNP), 2km south-east of Batu Gajah. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 26.454’ E 101° 03.077’.

This nature park is a popular bird-watching spot, spanning over 900 hectares, with disused mining ponds and surrounded by secondary jungles. The Malaysian Nature Society has recognised KNP as home to more than 150 species of water birds. With a water bird population of more than 1300, bird-watchers will be able to catch sight of, amongst other species, pheasants, kingfishers, woodpeckers, wak-wak, tiong air, penyelam, panglim and herons.

If you come at the right season (September to March), you will encounter thousands of migratory birds from as far away as Mongolia, China and Russia, as they escape the winter cold there. The park has become their designated sanctuary, and some of these species have stayed on and made it their nesting ground.

For further information, contact Kinta Heritage Group at 05-241 7055/ 05-241 7433.

Kinta Nature Park

 

Tin Dredge – Tanjung Tualang

A ten-minute drive south from here, just outside of Cenderong, is the tin dredge, Tanjung Tualang Dredge No. 5. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 23.79’ E 101° 03.21’

Known as TT5, it was assembled in 1938, at a cost of a cool three million Straits Settlements Dollars. A similar 5000-tonne dredge would cost RM50 million today. This dredge stopped operations in the early 1990s due to the fall of tin price in the world market.

Today, still with almost 95 per cent of its parts intact, it is believed to be the only “whole” dredge in Malaysia and maybe in this part of the world. Hence, it is fondly dubbed as “The Last Dredge”.

TT5 is open to visitors from 8.30am to 6pm daily at an admission fee of RM6 per adult and RM3 per child. A guided tour can be arranged for groups of at least ten people. Call 05-370 2253 for prior arrangement.

Tanjung Tualang lunch

After a nostalgic visit to TT5 and its accompanying mini tin mining museum, it is time for lunch.

Tanjung Tualang is a short 20 minutes’ drive south of Cenderong. This is a town famous for its fresh seafood, especially gigantic freshwater prawns (udang galah).

Tanjung Tualang Lunch 2

Visitors looking for a scrumptious seafood lunch of fish, prawns and crabs would be spoilt for choice. Two of the larger restaurants are: Restoran Sun Mee Fong (Tel: 05-360 9321) and Restoran Kim Wah (Tel: 05-360 8828).

Tanjung Tualang Lunch 1

 

Drive to Kampar

After lunch, it is time to hit the road again. Kampar is just another 30 minutes away, east of Tanjung Tualang.

Kampar was once a thriving tin mining town but since the slump in tin price in the world market in the 1980s, mining is a sunset industry here as evident by the lone surviving tin dealer in town, Len Fatt Tin-Ore Dealers.

Persatuan Tseng Lung Fui Kuon

Now, thanks to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kampar is bustling again with the development of its university township, offering a blend of the old and the new. A first time visitor here would indeed feel overwhelmed by the many different attractions it offers.

Our first stop in Kampar should be the Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel Pump) Museum. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 19.584’ E 101° 08.787’

Kinta tin mining (gravel pump) Museum

Located along Jalan Batu Karang, it is difficult to miss as one heads towards Bandar Baru Kampar or Kampar New Town. At the museum, visitors take a step back in time as they retrace the tin-mining heydays of the tin industry in Kampar town.

The museum is open from 9am to 1pm (Mondays to Fridays), and from 9am to 4pm (weekends and public holidays). Admission is free.

Once done, drive over to the old section of the town or the original Kampar. A walking tour is in order along the main road, Jalan Gopeng, where you can enjoy the sight of pre-war shops.

Drop by the many clan houses and associations like Tseng Lung Fui Kuon for a visit, and check out the “Kampar Old Temple” which is a Goddess of Mercy Chinese temple built on its present premises in 1904.

Goddess of Mercy Temple, Kampar

 

While in Kampar…

Ais Kacang

Ais Kacang

On a hot day, a tea break of ais kacang is a welcome respite. The most popular in Kampar is “Foong Mun Kee Ice Kacang Shop” at No. 42, Jalan Idris, 31900 Kampar. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 18.657’ E 101° 09.155’

The shop offers six varieties of ais kacang, priced from RM3 to RM4.50 only. It is open until 5pm.

As it is still too early for dinner, take a drive to Kampar New Town to enjoy the scenic evening view at Westlake along Jalan Universiti. It is just outside of UTAR and opposite of Westlake International School. Westlake is Kampar’s very own version of Taiping Lake Gardens or Penang’s Esplanade.

Westlake

Now, for dinner, there are just too many options, both in new and old town. Drive around the shops and take your pick. Bear in mind that Kampar is well-known for its claypot chicken rice.

Claypot Chicken Rice

As night falls, it is time to call it a day. One can check in at the Grand Kampar Hotel, a 3-star deluxe hotel that sports an impressive Spanish architecture in Kampar New Town, for a good night’s rest. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 19.652’ E 101° 08.741’

Grand Kampar Hotel

Grand Kampar Hotel

Day 2: Gopeng – Batu Gajah

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Gua Tempurung, Gopeng

An early breakfast in Kampar is in order before hitting the road again. Like dinner, there is a wide variety of breakfast choices available.

Once breakfast is done, drive some 30 minutes north to Gua Tempurung, which is about 6km south of Gopeng town. There are sufficient signboards to guide you along the route. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 25.031’ E 101° 11.248’

Gua Tempurung Gopeng 1

Gua Tempurung is an intricate system of caves shaping a tunnel of wondrous and endless rock formations, for nearly 2km. There are plenty of activities to indulge in, and one can easily spend the entire morning here.

There are four tours offered; two dry and two wet tours. Entrance fee starts from RM6 up to RM22 per adult, depending on the tour selected. Children and senior citizens enjoy a discounted rate.

The most basic tour (Tour 1) takes about 45 minutes, while the grand tour (Tour 4) is over 3 hours.

Gua Tempurung is open from 9am to 5pm daily, with a break from 12.30pm to 2.30pm on Fridays. The management reserves the right to delay, postpone or cancel the tour in the event of adverse weather conditions, floods, etc. For further information, contact: 019-543 7192 (Abdul Manan).

Gua Tempurung Gopeng 2

 

Gaharu Tea Valley

Visitors who want to opt out of Gua Tempurung’s caving adventure can proceed to Gaharu Tea Valley, which passes through Gopeng town.

Head towards Kampung Rawa Road, then follow the Sungai Itek Road. It will lead you to the tea plantation, where you will be greeted first by the Great Wall of Gopeng. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 27.5’ E 101° 11.44’

Gaharu Tea Valley 1

Covering some 300 acres, Gaharu Tea Valley boasts 200,000 Gaharu trees. Gaharu is also known as Agarwood, and is considered nature’s most valuable wood. It is highly regarded as the “Wood of Gods.”

Gaharu Tea Valley is open to the public daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission is free. Those who would like to take a ride up to the top of the hill will be charged RM10 per person (RM5 per child), inclusive of transportation and a guide. The attraction at the top of the hill is a 21-year-old Gaharu tree, which is at least 50 feet tall. Hugging its trunk is believed to bring good luck.

Gaharu Tea Valley 2

 

Gopeng Heritage Trail

On the other hand, visitors to Gopeng who do not want to venture too far away and prefer to stay around town can opt for a heritage trail. Gopeng was regarded as the most important tin mining town of Kinta Valley during the late 19th century. So, you can imagine its rich heritage.

Starting from Gopeng town centre, some of the heritage points of interest are the Gopeng Museum (GPS Coordinates: N 04° 28.432′ E 101° 10′), Hup Teik Soy Sauce Factory, Kampung Rawa, Wayang Lane, Man Ming Chinese School, Oilow Club, Tseng Lung Hakka Association, Masjid Jamik, Straits Trading Company, Kuil Sri Maha Mariamman, Gurdwara Sahib, Kheng Chow Hainanese Association, Padang Besar, English School Gopeng, the 121-year-old Kon Yin temple, temple wayang stage, Gopeng pipelines and the post office.

Kon Yin Temple Gopeng

Gopeng Museum

Hup Teik Soy Sauce factory

A Gopeng heritage walk map can be obtained from Gopeng Museum. Tel: 016-542 1287 (Mr Phang)

 

Restoran Fei Kee 2Lunch in Gopeng

Although Gopeng does not offer as many food choices as Kampar, do not worry, there are still plenty available. Restoran Alif Café, a corner shop along the main road and Bazar Makanan Tok Feerah on Jalan Kampung Rawa are two popular places to patronise for spicy Indian Muslim (mamak) food.

A short distance away from Bazar Makanan Tok Feerah are Restoran Embassy and Restoran Fei Kee. More Chinese food choices are available in Lawan Kuda, about 3km south of Gopeng town.Restoran Fei Kee 1

 

Perak Herbal Garden, Batu Gajah

Perak Herbal Garden Batu Gajah

After lunch, on the way back to Ipoh, 3km north of Gopeng, turn west to Jalan Simpang Pulai – Batu Gajah, where the Perak Herbal Garden (Taman Herba) is located in Kampung Kepayang. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 30.179′ E 101° 08.141′

Approximately 50 acres in size, it is home to more than 500 species of plants, with medicinal, cosmetic, and aroma-therapeutic properties. Guided tours can be arranged. Guides will explain about the plants in detail and their specific benefits.

This Perak Herbal Garden is open from 8am to 5pm from Mondays to Fridays. Admission fee is RM2 per adult and RM1 per child.

For more information, contact 05-357 2290.

Perak Herbal Garden Batu Gajah

Perak Herbal Garden Batu Gajah

 

Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah

From the herbal garden, travel about 3km west along Jalan Simpang Pulai – Batu Gajah to reach Kellie’s Castle, another major tourist attraction in Batu Gajah. GPS Coordinates: N 04° 28.477′ E 101° 05.269′

Originally named Kellas House after the Scottish hometown that the owner, William Kellie Smith, came from, Kellie’s Castle is a must-visit. This “castle”, although incomplete, was structurally ahead of its time, even by today’s standards, with plans for a wine cellar, an elevator, helipad, an indoor tennis court and rooftop courtyard.

Kellie’s Castle is open to visitors from 9am to 6pm daily. During Ramadan, it closes an hour earlier. Tickets are priced at RM5 (foreigners), RM4 (locals with MyKad) and RM3 (school children).

Call 05-365 1336 for further information.

Kellie's Castle

Kellie’s Castle

Dinner can be taken either at Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort along Jalan Changkat Larang (GPS Coordinates: N 04° 29.015′ E 101° 03.457′) or head north to Ipoh, which is just a short 30 minutes’ drive, for more options.

That wraps up an interesting 2D/1N driving excursion.

June Memorial Services

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1.0 Ipoh Cenotaph

Every Year in June, Ipoh plays host to veterans from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom who were part of the Commonwealth Forces that defended Malaya (subsequently Malaysia) from the First World War (1914 to 1918) till the Indonesian Confrontation (1962 to 1966).

The memorial services are spread over a three-day period. They are held at Taiping, Ipoh and Batu Gajah. Each location bears its own significance, characteristics and sentiments.

The first of the memorial services is held at the Kamunting Christian Cemetery where Australian and British soldiers who were killed during the Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960) lay buried.

Kamunting Christian Cemetery

Kamunting Christian Cemetery

The service in Ipoh is held at the cenotaph located in front of Ipoh’s Railway Station. It commemorates servicemen who fell during the First and Second World Wars.

The Cenotaph at Ipoh Railway Station

The Cenotaph at Ipoh Railway Station

At Kem Syed Putra in Tambun, Ipoh, where Gurkha servicemen are interred for their selfless sacrifices during the Malayan Emergency, a separate service is held.

Kem Syed Putra, Tambun

Kem Syed Putra, Tambun

The remembrance service at Batu Gajah’s God’s Little Acre is dedicated to those who were killed during the Emergency.

God's Little Acre, Batu Gajah

God’s Little Acre, Batu Gajah

The Roll of Honour at the entrance to the cemetery includes not only soldiers but policemen, planters, tin miners and civilians. The list is, undoubtedly, a poignant reminder of the impact the Malayan Emergency had on the local populace.

It is delightful to note the presence of the High Commissioners from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal along with our Malaysian representatives at these memorial services.

Equally significant is the presence of veterans, both foreign and local, at these functions. The sad part though is the diminishing number of Commonwealth veterans with each passing year. Mother Nature has a definitive part to play.