Perak

Perak, the fourth largest of Malaysia's thirteen states in area, after Sarawak, Sabah and Pahang, is on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. Its capital is Ipoh (population: half a million).

There are several tourist destinations of moderate interest within the state, but the main tourist destination would probably be Pangkor Island, about 85km from Ipoh, and Ipoh itself because of its great food.

Cities

Other destinations

villages.

Understand

Perak means `silver' in Malay, but the state's economy boomed when large-scale tin mining began in the Kinta Valley, including the vicinity of Ipoh, in the 19th century. The British who then ran the state recruited large numbers of labourers from south China to work the mines, and some Chinese immigrants also owned and operated mines and became some of the wealthier residents of the state.

There was also some rubber tapping, for which many immigrants from southern India, especially Tamil Nadu, were recruited, but Perak is unlike some other Malaysian states in the number of Muslim, Urdu-speaking Indians among its population.

Since the prices of tin and rubber have plummetted on the world market, Perak's economy has stagnated, which is rough for its citizens but has meant that cities like Ipoh have maintained more of their old buildings and character than ultra-modern Kuala Lumpur and other boom towns.

The landscape of Perak includes striking karst limestone hills, many with caves. Quite a number of the caves have been carved into Chinese and a few Hindu cave temples (tong in Cantonese). Another, more remote area of breathtaking beauty is the East-West Highway that connects the towns of Jeli, Kelantan and Gerik, Perak, through a hilly jungle clearing near the border with Thailand.

Perak is also known among Malaysians for its great and varied food. Wonderful Chinese, Malay, and Indian food of various types can be found in many parts of the state, which is also known for its pomelos, considered the best in Malaysia.

Talk

Many of the local Chinese speak Cantonese, though many of them also know Mandarin, and many of the Indians speak Tamil or Urdu, but everyone speaks Malay and quite a few people speak English, too.

Get in

By car

Roads connect Perak to all the neighboring states — Selangor and the Federal District of Kuala Lumpur to the south, Pahang and Kelantan to the east, and Penang and Kedah to the north. Perak also has a northern border on Thailand, which can be reached by road as well.

By train

The main railroad line connects Perak with Selangor to the south and Penang (Seberang Perai) and Kedah to the north.

By bus

Long-distance bus companies provide regular service between out-of-state cities and the major towns in Perak.

Get around

By car

Perak has a good system of well-maintained roads.

By train

The main branch of the Malaysian Railroad (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) traverses the state, connecting several of the larger cities, including Ipoh, Sungai Siput, Kuala Kangsar and Taiping. There are also branch lines to Teluk Intan and Kamunting.

By bus

There are many regional bus routes that connect villages and towns in Perak to each other.

See

There are many limestone hills in the central part of the state (such as between Ipoh and Chemor to the north, and Ipoh to Gopeng in the south), and most of them contain caves. Many of these hills have Chinese temples (called tong) or Hindu temples, many are built into the caves. Drive through the state and look at this beautiful scenery, and visit one or more of the caves. If you're staying in Ipoh, you can take a medium-distance bus to a cave.

If you have occasion to travel to the east coast from Perak, make sure to take the East-West Highway from Grik to Tanah Merah, Kelantan. The scenery of mountains topped by virgin jungle is gorgeous. On the way it would be well worth a stop in the Belum-Temenggor Forest Reserve (Tasik Temenggor) the lake is beautiful and surrounded by rainforest, there is also the option to spend a few nights deep in the jungle.

The archaeological site of the Lenggong Valley is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is regarded as one of the most important archaeological sites in Malaysia.

Do

Most people would choose to hang out at the beaches like in Lumut, visit the Menara Condong in Teluk Intan or just go to the museums, or even go visit the guas. A good place to `lepak' (hang out) would be Ipoh Parade on Friday afternoons and JUSCO during the weekends.

Eat

A famous food would be 'kai shi hor fun', which is located in Old Town, Ipoh. Has been through many generations of that family.

If you're looking for amazing seafood dishes, you should probably drive to Sitiawan for fresh seafood. There's another place famous for its fresh seafood, in Tanjung Tualang, an hour drive from Ipoh town. Fresh water prawns are a speciality, the price is reasonable.

Drink

A must try drink is ice blended Sarsi with wheatgrass! It goes very well with seafood during a sunny day especially. Another local drink is ais lengkong kuning which is a mix of yellow jelly, lime, sugar and water.

Sleep

Accommodation varies from cheap old hotels through to five-star hotels and exclusive villas.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 12, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.