June 30 marks the first anniversary of Lenggong Valley’s declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In conjunction with this auspicious day, Tourism Malaysia (Perak) organised a familiarisation trip beginning June 29 to July 1.
The 39 participants were representatives from the media and travel agencies with most from outside of Perak.
The first destination was Lenggong Valley Archeological Gallery, the first prehistoric museum in Malaysia which was opened in 2003. Artifacts and other rocks discovered in the valley are exhibited here, along with replicas of prehistoric human skeletons.
Mohd Shahrin, Director of Department of Natural Heritage, Central Zone briefed the participants on the two-and-a-half year process of gaining UNESCO recognition.
According to him, various stages of works on improving the infrastructure of the sites are in progress. They include fencing, erecting of promotional billboards, signages and interpretation centres.
The following day 4-wheel-drive vehicles were used to traverse the bumpy roads leading to Bukit Bunuh. Evidence show that there was a meteor crash at the site around 1.83 million years ago. Civilisation was predicted to exist long before that according to the tools embedded in the suevite rocks found.
The tour continued to Bukit Sapi, where ashes from an enormous volcanic eruption in Sumatra 75,000 years ago were scattered. Ashes were said to be found as far flung as Pahang, Selangor and Kedah.
A treacherous hike up Gua Gunung Runtuh followed, where Perak Man, the oldest-known human skeleton in Southeast Asia was found in 1990. Carbon-dated at around 11,000 years old, it was the most complete Paleolithic skeleton excavated in Malaysia. He was diagnosed to be suffering from a genetic deformity known as Brachymesophalangia Type A2 and was 40-45 years old when he passed away due to gum disease and infection.
Gua Kajang was next. Located within the Bukit Kepala Gajah limestone complex, human civilization, believed to have existed between 5,000 to 11,000 years ago, was evidenced by pottery, stone tools, food remains and human skeletons found here.
The last day of the trip consisted of a bus tour around the royal town of Kuala Kangsar.
According to Ahmad Kamarudin Yusoff, Director of Tourism Malaysia (Perak), the trip was necessary in order to show travel agents and media representatives what Lenggong Valley has to offer so they can better promote it.
“We hope to develop educational holiday packages to attract both local and foreign tourists, as part of the strategy for Visit Malaysia 2014,” he said.