When you think of going to Perak – the second largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, the first place you think of is Ipoh. Not a surprise as Ipoh is the main capital of Perak and there is a lot to do, sightsee and eat in Ipoh itself. But Perak is a big state and there are many smaller cities and towns that are worth visiting as well!
Here are 7 interesting places other than Ipoh to head to for a daytrip or a weekend getaway.
Located about a 40 minutes’ drive away from Ipoh, the Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No. 5 (TT5) is the last tin dredge in Malaysia. If you didn’t know, a tin dredge is like a floating factory to mine tin during the tin rush that happened in the 19th century. TT5 closed down in 1982 due to the collapse of the tin market. Later, it was restored and opened to the public in 2017.
You can go on the TT5 Guided dredge tour, try your hands at panning and walk around the gallery to learn about the history of tin mining in Perak. You should also definitely visit the largest Maze Park in Malaysia that is shaped like a heart. There are 8 elements within the maze – each one offering education and enjoyment to visitors. There is also a playground and petting zoo that kids would love!
The Victoria Bridge in Karai, Perak, is one of Malaysia’s oldest bridges. It began construction in 1897 and was finished in 1900. It was a single-track railway built to support the tin mining industry back in the days. The Victoria bridge remained in use until 2002 when a newer bridge was built parallel to it. However, pedestrians, motorbikes and bicycles can still use the Victoria Bridge to cross to the other side of Perak River. It has become a small tourist attraction and a popular photography location. A lot of people like to take their wedding and engagement photoshoots here as well.
Did you know that there are 4 places in Malaysia that are UNESCO World Heritage sites? These sites indicate cultural and natural properties that are of “outstanding universal value”. In Malaysia, the 4 World Heritage sites are Gunung Mulu National Park, Kinabalu Park, Melaka and George Town and the lesser-known Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley. Due to the amazing and significant discoveries within Lenggong Valley, it earned the title of UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.
The valley is home to four archaeological sites in two clusters along the western bank of the Perak River. One of the significant discoveries was the Perak Man – South-East Asia’s oldest most complete human skeleton. Outside the continent of Africa, the archaeological remains found in Lenggong Valley also represent the world’s longest records of prehistoric human existence. Not sure about you but I’m totally mind blown! If you are interested in anthropology, history and culture, this is a place you should definitely visit.
The beautiful Gaharu Tea Valley (HOGA) is located a 30-minute drive from Ipoh. It is Malaysia’s first organic, long-term Gaharu plantation and has approximately 200,000 Agarwood trees, some of which are over 25 years old. According to historic records, Gaharu is known to possess therapeutic characteristics. It was also used for spiritual purposes and processed as a fragrance.
At HOGA, you will get to experience gorgeous views of the valley, tour the various attraction sites, and try the products made from the Agarwood trees. The HOGA Agarwood herbal tea and HOGA ice-cream comes highly recommended! FYI, hugging a Gaharu Tree is considered lucky, remember to hug one when you’re at the Tree Hugging Park.
5. Bukit Larut, Taiping
Formally known and still referred to as Maxwell Hill by locals, Bukit Larut is a hill resort that is located 10km from Taiping. It was constructed in 1884 under the leadership of British colonists as a place to observe the tin mining activities happening below. Because of its cool weather, it was a getaway for the English people that were stationed in Larut and Taiping. It is also the wettest area in the country due to high amounts of rainfall! You can expect lush greeneries, vibrant flowers and beautiful sceneries overlooking Taiping from Bukit Larut.
Do note that there are only two ways to access Bukit Larut – either through four-wheel drive vehicles or on foot. There are jeeps that will pick up customers from the main entrance, you will have to pay for this. Or you can hike up to the Bukit Larut summit which is 13km long. It will take approximately 7 hours (round trip) depending on your fitness level. At the time of writing, it seems that the jeeps and accommodation services were suspended. However, hiking is still allowed from 4am to 9pm.
6. Banding Island, Lake Temenggor
You would have heard of Temenggor Lake from when you studied Kajian Tempatan in school – it is the second largest lake in Peninsular Malaysia after Kenyir Lake in Terengganu. It is a man-made lake located in the Hulu Perak district. Banding Island is an artificial island found within the lake. As the lake is surrounded by the Royal Belum Rainforest, Banding Island makes for the perfect starting point to explore the ancient rainforest.
The forest is four times the size of Singapore and it is one of the last refuges in Peninsula Malaysia for wild animals such as elephants, tapirs, and tigers. It is also the only place in the world where you can spot all 10 types of hornbills. And if you have a ‘see Rafflesia flower’ on your bucket list, this is the place to be. Other activities that you can do include fishing, island hopping, night trek and water sports.
Recognized as the best managed sustainable mangrove ecosystem in the world, the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve spans 40,000-hectare and was gazetted as a Permanent Forest Reserve in 1906. It is located at Kuala Sepetang, a coastal town an hour away from Ipoh. If you would like to visit, I would recommend the services of Kuala Sepetang Eco Track who runs a variety of tours and packages where you are accompanied by experienced and knowledgeable guides. There are so many things to do there – one major highlight is trying to spot the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and Irrawaddy dolphins! Depending on your time and budget, you can opt for a 1-day tour or stay the night at wooden chalets located in the forest reserves.
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