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.
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.
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’
For 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.
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.
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.
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.
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’