Tag Archives: Tambun

The Heritage of Chemor


By Yoon Lai Wan

Panoramic view of Kinta Valley
Tambun Rock Painting

Perak, the treasure trove of peninsular Malaysia is a land full of fascination. Tantalizing food, sun-kissed beaches, enchanting landscapes and heritage trails are some of the examples which make up the heartbeat of this beautiful state. To walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, to feel the ambiance of the past and to learn to appreciate the rich heritage that exists in our own land was the call of the day on a recent Perak Heritage Society (PHS) excursion to Chemor.

Neolithic Rock Paintings, Chinese and Indian Temples, On the Chemor Heritage Trail

The event, lead by Law Siak Hong and his team was opened to the public and an enthusiastic group of 14 people turned up for the memorable occasion. In reality, this nostalgic trail is a loop which starts from Tambun and ends in Tanjung Rambutan.

Tong Wah Tong

Gunung Panjang

Gunung Panjang, Tambun was our first stop. This place is famed for its Neolithic rock paintings dating more than 2,000 years back. One needs to take a leisurely walk along an overgrown trail and climb a flight of steep concrete steps before reaching

Gua Tambun where the Tambun Rock Paintings are found. We were enthralled by the red-pigmented paintings which bears a slight resemblance to the aboriginal paintings of Australia. It has been noted that there are more than 600 prehistoric rock paintings but they are rapidly fading due to exposure to natural elements through time. Illustrations of dugongs, deer, tapirs and wild boars can still be seen and with a vivid imagination, many others may start appearing too.

The Golden Dragon

Flora & fauna is abundant in Gunung Panjang. We took our time to soak in the beauty of nature and were admonished to not deviate from the path as we may unknowingly tread on some artefacts and destroy a part of history.

Tong Wah Temple

Tong Wah Tong or Tong Wah Temple, located along Batu 7, Jalan Ipoh-Tanjung Rambutan was our next stop. Most of Ipoh’s cave temples nestled among the many limestone hills in Kinta Valley but this interesting site is wedged half way up Gunung Layang Layang. One has to be physically fit to climb a flight of 168 steps before reaching the main entrance. Do take a breather while ascending as one can be rewarded with a great panoramic view of Kinta.

Pasembor stall

At the entrance of Tong Wah Tong, two gigantic murals depicting a green dragon and a tiger are paired off on each side of the wall. The murals of the mythical Chinese dragon & tiger are symbolic to ward off evil spirits. Having been there before, I noticed that the green dragon has been repainted gold. I was told by a temple helper that the reason for doing so is that golden dragons represent themost sovereign of the metallic dragons and they are also the mostdedicated to defeating evil.

On entering, an impressive altar is seen inside the main chamber. We were also shown a meditation centre located on another level.

Tanjung Rambutan was our next destination. This is a multiracial small town where everyone is living in harmony. On the main road, one can spot a gurdwara (Sikh temple), an Indian temple, a mosque and a Chinese temple quite close to each other.

Mandailing architecture

Pre-war architecture like SJK (C) Tat Choi and the railway station can still be seen. The rustic railway station, built in 1897, has seen better times. Sadly, it will soon be Mandailing architecture demolished to make way for the new double track. Trains do not stop here anymore but one can still visit this nostalgic place to look at the architecture and try the local delicacies which are being sold around this station. Don’t miss the Railway pasembor stall which opens from noon till dusk (closes on Friday). The pasembor is simply one of the best that I have tasted.

Kampong Mandailing

Kampung Mandailing, Chemor was our next call. Kak Nadimah, a descendent of Raja Bilah, was there to welcome us to her lovely house built in the 19th century.

The antique lamp

We were shown her collection of heirlooms. Solid antique furniture, four-poster beds, collections of lamps and bottles,a giant cookie press and the beautiful century-old tekat(embroidery) were artistically displayed. Kak Nadimah, being the perfect hostess who not only speaks excellent English but is a fantastic cook as well, treated us to a spread of Malay/Mandailing cuisine which included her specialty, the Kuih Makmurfilled with pineapple jam. Chronicles of her father, the former head-man of Kampung Mandailing were later shared with us.

Chemor railway station which was built in 1896 was our next stop. Shady trees and wild flowers lined the path leading to the station. Manned by Hassan, the station master, this place has also seen better days but trains do stop as key drops are still carried out here. Hassan graciously showed us around as we noted a phone with single line, antique train ‘keys’, and mechanical lever frames.

Chemor Railway Station

Hospital Bahagia

Our final stop was back to Tanjung Rambutan. This time we headed for Hospital Bahagia, Ulu Kinta (HBUK). With Gunung Korbu, the second highest peak in west Malaysia standing majestically within a short distance, one can feel the invigorating fresh mountain air blowing gently in the valley invigorating and refreshing the soul. This place is indeed the perfect location for a psychiatric hospital.

HBUK, built a century ago on 503 acres of land, was formerly known as Central Mental Hospital, Tanjung Rambutan. We were much honoured to be escorted by James Anthony, the supervisor of HBUK, around the vicinity. A brief history of this place was shared with us and we were taken round in a bus to visit the wards, gardens and lovely old colonial buildings which have stood the test of time.


Heritage trails evoke a sense of nostalgia. I hope that we will not let the old world charm disappear from our lives. As we are living on borrowed time, it is imperative that we preserve the rich culture and heritage found in Perak for future generations to appreciate.





Maha Mariamman Temple
Mechanical lever frame
Government quarters

Pomelo Farmers of Tambun Get Their Land – Finally


Dato’ Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir today gave the Pomelo Farmers of Tambun an ‘ang pow’ they will treasure for generations to come.

On January 30 2009 Zambry announced that the state government would be granting the farmers 99-year leases to their land. His announcement was greeted with cheers by the farmers present. As an added sweetener Zambry announced that the farmers would be exempted from back payment of land premiums.

2nd fr R: Dr Mah, Dato' Rusnah, MB Zambry, Farmer Chow Sun, Dato' Seri Ahmad Husni and Dato' Nazri

This exemption was granted at the request by both Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadziah, Member of Parliament for Tambun and YB Dato’ Rusnah Kassim, State Assemblywoman for Ulu Kinta. Both Husny and Rusnah had vouched that the farmers had responsibly toiled the land and had contributed to making the pomelo synonymous with the state of Perak.

Pomelo’s or known commonly as ‘Limau Bali’ has been grown around Tambun town for over 2 generations. Due to the quality of the fruit it has become a tourist attraction and busloads of tourists stop over at Tambun each week to savour the fruit. However the land where the fruit is grown had always been classified as ‘Temporary Occupation Licence’ which was a concern by the orchard owners who began lobbying for a permanent title over 20 years ago.

An initial total of 62 farmers covering 115 acres will benefit from this gesture by the state government. According to Zambry there are additional orchards which are eligible but their details have not yet been finalised. Dato’ Seri Husni Hanadziah, who is also the Finance Minister 2, confirmed that the farmers would be able to receive their titles within 3 months after submitting their application.

Long time farmer Mr Chow Sun, 74, who is also the Chairman of the Tambun Pomelo Farmers Association, was very happy with the announcement. “I have been growing pomeloes since my father’s time which is over 80 years ago. For close to 30 years we have been asking for the land and today we have finally been granted our request”.

When all the euphoria of the morning had quietened down one could hear sighs of ‘at last’ and ‘finally’ being mentioned signalling an end to a drawn-out battle between the growers and the authorities. An end that brings joy to both parties, especially the growers.