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Last updated : Nov 2009
Perak and Pangkor
Perak and Pangkor - TravelPuppy.com
Perak name derives from the rich silver, tin and ore deposits once so fruitful in the area. Perak means ‘silver’ in the Malay language. Main towns in Perak are Ipoh, the capital, Kuala Kangsar, the royal town and Taiping.

Ipoh

Once dubbed the ‘City of Millionaires’ due to its tin mining wealth Ipoh is Malaysia’s 3rd largest city. It offers the ghost of its colonial days with the combination of colonial and modern architecture with the best example of the former is the Moorish and Victorian pastiche of the train station.

The city centre includes a variety of colonial era shops that maintain their original surroundings today. The Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary in Ipoh is a must to all nature admirers. Besides the more than 160 species of birds, travellers may have a chance to see smooth otters, long-tailed macaque and ridge-back dolphins.

The ideal time to visit is from September to December when the migratory birds arrive at the sanctuary.

Excursions

A half hour drive from Ipoh, near Batu Gajah, is the stunning Kellie's Castle. Encircled amidst rubber trees, the impressive ruins of the incomplete castle are all that remains of Scotsman William Kellie Smith's ambition to restore an authentic piece of his Scottish homeland. Work stopped with the sudden death of Smith in 1926, and since his death the mystique encircling the castle have intensified. Reputed to be haunted, the castle is said to possess secret tunnels and rooms.

Kuala Kangsar

Perak Tong, a limestone cave temple, north of Ipoh at Jalan Kuala Kangsar, features over 40 statues of Buddha. 385 steps in a cave behind the main altar leads up to a viewpoint where visitors can explore the nearby countryside. Close to Gunung Rapat are the cave temples, Sam Poh Tong and Kek Lok Tong, where statues of Buddha are placed alongside magical stalactites and rock formations. They both provide Buddhist vegetarian restaurants.

Kuala Kangsar is famous for being the birthplace of the rubber industry. In 1877, 9 rubber trees were planted here and the industry was started. 3 of the town's most pleasant buildings are the royal palace Istana Iskandariah, Istana Kenangan, the former royal palace which is currently home to the Perek State Museum and the Ubudiah Mosque.

Taiping

Known as the ‘Town of Everlasting Peace’, Taiping gained fame as a raffish tin mining centre. The industry has slowed down since a key slump in the 1980s. Some of the money from the tin mining was pumped into Taiping’s major tourist site. In the late 19th century, the disused mining pools were replaced by the amazing and beautifully landscaped Lake Gardens.

Taiping represents colonial architecture and is home to the delightful Ling Nam Temple, which has been said to be the oldest Chinese temple in Perak. The more sinister history of Taiping can be found in the old prison, used by the Japanese in World War II, and the Allied War Cemetery, the burial place of a huge number of victims of the Japanese invaders.

Pangkor Island

Over recent years Pangkor Island has grown in popularity. This has brought better facilities at the expense of increasing crowds and development of the pristine environment. Pangkor Island is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Penang.

Since 1996, flights to the island have eased access for visitors. Great sandy beaches and all kinds of water sports can be found here.
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