By Ili Aqilah, Nantini Krishnan & & Tan Mei Kuan
Gopeng, once fondly known as a cowboy town when tin mining was in its heyday, has been gradually shedding its sleepy image and transforming itself into a vibrant township with the lure of adventure, heritage and craft. Ipoh Echo sent its reporters there to uncover some of its attractions.
From avid shutterbugs to fearless ghost hunters, aspiring architects to the incurable romantics, Kellie’s Castle has something for everyone.
Featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Anna and the King in 1999, this palatial home of Scottish planter William Kellie Smith stands the test of time. Built in the year 1915, the unfinished castle has a shaft for what could have been the first elevator in Malaysia. This ambitious man planned for an indoor tennis court, a helicopter landing space and a rooftop courtyard too!
Whether this hidden gem of Perak was meant as a monument of love for his wife, Agnes or a centre for the wealthy to socialise, the rich tapestry of history adds to its charm and allure.
From the spooky perspective, the linen room and corridors are believed to be haunted. Hence, a first-of-its-kind touristic programme ‘Paranormal Night Tour: Unlocking Factual Mysteries’ is available on the first and fourth Friday and Saturday of the month beginning 9pm. Are you game?
Opening hours: 9am-6pm
Rice Noodle @ Gopeng Hawker Centre
Harking back to 38 years ago, young and old alike can be seen making a beeline for the eponymous rice noodle (lai fun noodle) stall run by Madam Than Mee Chee who is currently 67 years of age. “Our rice noodles, fish balls and fried items are homemade daily and stay true to its quality,” she told Ipoh Echo, brimming with pride. “We enjoy brisk business especially every Tuesday thanks to the pasar pagi,” she added. Besides the well-known dish, the stall also offers wonton noodles, curry mee, chicken hor fun (flat rice noodles) and prawn mee. To cater to the working crowd, the stall opens at the crack of dawn and could easily be sold out in the early afternoon. The early bird indeed catches the worm!
Operating hours: 6am-11am
Having a thirst for adrenaline and adventure? Try Gua Tempurung, nature’s wonder at our doorstep. It is named ‘Tempurung’ due to its domes assembling coconut shells. One of the largest and longest natural limestone caves in Peninsular Malaysia, the iconic cave contains five giant domes: Golden Flowstone Cavern, 90 metres, Gergasi (Giant) Cavern, 15 metres, Tin Mine Cavern, Alam (Universe) Cavern, 72 metres and Battlefield Cavern, all believed to hark back to approximately 10,000 years ago.
For the casual tourists, there are viewing platforms and railings to minimise inconvenience as well as illumination to highlight the cave’s majestic fairyland of shimmering crystal deposits, stalagmites, stalactites, multi-tier ponds and volcano-like rocks.
For the cave enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies, try spelunking in the cave to challenge its almost vertical walls, slippery stones and chest-level underground crystal clear river. Happy caving!
Operating hours: 9am-4pm
Unique Craft Gallery in Gopeng
Are you looking for original art or handmade fine craft? At Gallery My Pride you can connect directly to make purchases of your favourite crafts. Whether you are buying a handcrafted gift for a friend or loved one, or searching for your own collection, the original and handmade selections you will discover there are guaranteed to delight. The Pride was created to provide an outlet for the sale of artwork and crafts created by prisoners. Handicrafts, rattan products, fero cement products, batik, songket, iron products, ceramic products, furniture and even food products are available here.
Galeri Produk Penjara RTC Gopeng, Lot 06/07, KM 16, Jalan Gopeng.
Tel: 05 357 2761 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
Ilezhusna (Textile Obsession)
Batik is any type of fabric imprinted with colourful patterns through the application of wax and dye. A creative medium appreciated by many, if you’re keen on learning and purchasing some pieces then the perfect place is at Ilezhusna. Inside, guests can find a wide array of batik products. Want to try your hand at batik making? Ilezhusna offers multiple batik-making workshops for those who are interested in learning the art of batik dyeing, complete with equipment.
B-10, Mydin Wholesale, RTC Gopeng.
Tel: 017 652 2571 10am-10pm
‘Must Go’ and ‘Must Do’ in Gopeng:
Gopeng Heritage House
Gopeng Heritage House was started after the opening of Muzium Gopeng. The Gopeng Museum was launched on April 2009 and the Heritage House 2 years later. Heritage House is owned by the treasurer of Museum Gopeng and is being managed by Museum Gopeng Heritage House displays items from Gopeng’s glory days and contains collections from 100 years ago up until the 1960s.
The Heritage House is only open on Saturday and Sunday meanwhile the Gopeng Museum opens five days a week and is closed on Wednesday and Thursday.
Gopeng Heritage House – Jalan Sungai Itik, 31600 Gopeng, Perak.
Muzium Gopeng – No. 28, Jalan Eu Kong, 31600 Gopeng, Perak.
Gopeng Heritage Trail
The Gopeng heritage trail meanders past many impressive buildings. Gopeng is a heritage town, regarded as the most important tin mining town of Kinta Valley during the late 19th century. For a self-guided tour, a heritage trail map can be obtained from Gopeng Museum.The heritage trail features many attractions and heritage buildings such as the Gopeng Museum, 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.
Adeline guest house
Located in the deep green forest of Kampung Gerutum, Adeline Guest House is the place to go to ease your mind and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Jungle trekking, water rafting and abseiling are some of the many outdoor activities available for all guests. With its very own fruit farm, guests will get to eat all the fruits (depending on the season) while enjoying their time watching the birds and butterflies flying freely.
Adeline is also famous for their scrumptious and delightful home-cooked meal that will make you come back for more. The owner, Miss Adeline is a proud foodie and she taught the staff to cook her recipes. Lemongrass chicken, Tenggas fish and prawns cooked with petai are just examples of Adeline’s signature dishes.
Although Adeline welcomes walk-in guests, it is advisable for readers to book beforehand. Adeline is located at Lot 13302, Mukim Teja, Kampung Geruntun, Sungai Itik, 31600 Gopeng, Perak. Contact 05 359 2833 / 010 3667113 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
HOGA Gaharu Tea Valley
Watch out for the next issue of Ipoh Echo where we will be writing in detail about this.
Street art in Gopeng are painted by the locals to give a fresh vibe to the so-called cowboy town. They are painted between Jalan Pasar and Jalan Eu Kong. Visitors can simply walk along the town and take pictures of the creative paintings.