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.
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
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.
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).
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).
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.
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’
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.
While in Kampar…
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.
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.
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’