Taiping

Taiping is a town in Perak state, Malaysia.

Panoramic view of Taiping from Bukit Larut

Understand

The name Taiping is made up of two Chinese characters 太 (tai - 'great') and 平 (ping - 'peace'). The discovery of tin deposits in the area in the 19th century attracted settlers from China, who were organised into two feuding groups around the Cantonese Ghee Hin(義興) society and the Hakka Hai San (海山) society. British intervention in the early 1870s put an end to the feuding and the town, which used to be known as Klian Pauh, acquired its present name. The British made Taiping the administrative centre for the state of Perak in 1875. The town served this function until 1937 when the state capital was moved to Ipoh.

The town sits on a coastal plain at the foothills of the Bintang Range. This topography is responsible for the copious rainfall for which the town is known. An umbrella is not needed, though, as most of the time, it is just a drizzle. Locals do not wonder whether it will rain on a particular day; they wonder what time it will rain.

Get in

By air

Taiping Airport (IATA: TPG) consists of a dilapidated wooden terminal building dating back to 1929, and a short runway only capable of handling small turboprops. There are no scheduled flights into Taiping, so flying in is only an option if you have your own aircraft.

The nearest airport served by commercial flights in at Ipoh, about an hour's drive away, whose sole commercial fights are twice daily flights from Singapore. Penang is slightly further, about one and a half hours' drive away, but is served by more destinations, with domestic flights from most of the major cities in Malaysia as well as international flights from regional destinations. Alternatively, you can head to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which is about four hours' drive away, but is one of the major air hubs in Southeast Asia.

By road

Taiping is easily accessible from the PLUS North-South Expressway. From Penang (90 km) Kamunting is the nearest exit, whilst Changkat Jering is the most convenient exit from the motorway if you are travelling north from Ipoh (70 km).

Taiping is well connected to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia by express buses, which arrive at and depart from the long distance bus station at Kamunting (6 km from the town centre) as well as Simpang (7km from the town centre). Buses also travel direct from Taiping to Singapore and Hat Yai.

Southbound buses usually depart from Kamunting and call along Simpang (Medan Simpang) to pick up a few more passengers from Simpang before heading to the highway via Changkat Jering interchange. Bus tickets are available from counters located at Medan Kamunting and Medan Simpang. You can drive from Kamunting direct to Selama town about 40 minutes through Jalan Pondok Tanjung.

By rail

Keretapi Tanah Melayu (formerly known as Malayan Railway) operates a number of daily services along the main north-south line which stops at Taiping station. One service, the Ekspres Langkawi, connects Taiping with Hat Yai.

Get around

The compact town center is easily explored on foot. For trips further afield (e.g. to Maxwell Hill, the long-distance bus station at Kamunting, the Matang Mangrove Reserve), taxis are available for hire. Stage buses fan out in all directions serving the suburbs and the rural hinterland.

See

Taiping Lake Gardens

Do

A stroll through the town can be a pleasant experience. You are mostly protected from the elements by the arcades on both sides of the road, a typical architectural feature in most Southeast Asian towns. Some of the older buildings have retained their stucco façades with picturesque wooden shutters. Sticking out incongruously amongst these traditional two-storey brick and plaster buildings are more modern buildings, some of them rising four or five storeys. The bluish-green hills of the Bintang Range, their summits often shrouded in cloud, are visible everywhere from the town when you look east. As you stroll in that direction, the urban landscape quickly gives way to the refreshing view of the Lake Gardens, with the hills still dominating the background.

Taiping is one of the place with heaviest rainfall in Malaysia. You will notice that there is this betting culture on the time rain is going to fall from sky. Usually the punter will gather around the City oldest wet market and place bets with one another.

Buy

You can buy local fresh fruit.

Hiong Piah - a local traditional delicacy not to be missed.

Antong Coffee

Eat

Taiping Lake and hills at sunset

Taiping is famous for its cheap delicious hawker spreads. Notable among them are:

The best reference point for most of the eating places is the Panorama Hotel/The Store shopping centre. The wet market is beside the hotel with the Larut Matang Food Court located behind the wet market. Tong Ah Coffee Shop (with its Wantan Mee) is located beside the wet market. Prima Coffee Shop (there are 2 Primas which face each other - you decide which one you prefer) and Kum Loong Restaurant (Tim Sum) is located a short stroll along Jalan Kota (the road fronting the hotel and the wet market) from the hotel.

Drink

Sleep

Accommodation is available in a number of hotels, including:

Cheaper alternatives are available in traditional Chinese-run hotels in the town centre.

Go next

Routes through Taiping

Butterworth Simpang Ampat  N  S  Kuala Kangsar Ipoh


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, October 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.