Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill)
It was founded in 1884 by William Edward Maxwell, the British Assistant Resident of Perak. Perched at 1250m above sea level, it is the wettest place in Malaysia, with an annual rainfall of over 500cm. Temperature here hovers around 15 degrees centigrade in the early morning and late afternoon, dipping to 10 degrees centigrade at night.
The Tea Garden House, situated mid-way up the hill, was once the office of a tea plantation. However, when their tea plants did not grow very well here, the British shifted their agricultural endeavour to the Cameron Highlands, where the Boh Tea Plantation is now. All types of Malaysian flowers including the rare giant fishtail palm thrive here while tulips are grown on an experimental basis. The golden sunflowers grown here are the largest in the country.
On a clear day, one can view the peninsular coastline and the Straits of Malacca, sometimes stretching as far as Penang to the north and Pangkor Island to the south. The scenery is captivating during the day, magical and bewitching at night. However, the view is often obscured by cloud build-up in the afternoon, especially from September to December.
Kellie’s Castle was meant to be a home away from home for Scottish Planter, William Kellie Smith in the 20th century. Being far away from home, Kellie desired his new residence to be reminiscent of his home back in Scotland. The castle is perched on top of a hill in what used to be a rubber estate.
William Kellie Smith was an interesting man who was popular with his South Indian workers. Kind at heart, he erected a Hindu shrine for his workers on the castle premises. As a token of appreciation, his workers erected a statue of Kellie complete with a white suit and hat.
Construction of this unique castle began in 1915. However, it came to an abrupt halt with Kellie’s sudden death in 1926. The solitary castle, looks almost surreal in these wild plantations of Perak, it projects a strong personality and an aura of mystery.
Recently, efforts have been made by the Perak State Government to rescue this magnificent structure from the encroaching foliage. Besides being haunted, the castle is believed to have hidden rooms and secret underground tunnels.
The road that leads to Kellie’s Castle follows the contours of the land in a dizzying, maze-like fashion, adding to the mystery and romance of the place.
Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary
Matang Mangrove Forest is the largest stand of mangrove ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia. These ecologically abundant mangrove habitats stretch along the west coast tidal mudflats of northern Perak for almost 50km plus another 40km along the shorelines of the sheltered river systems within the reserve’s five estuaries.
During the migration season between August and April every year, more than 200,000 migratory birds representing some 50 species are estimated to stop over here.
There are also well-equipped and informative visitor centres where you can get detailed educational programmes and displays, which focus on the importance of safeguarding and preserving the mangrove ecosystems and the large numbers of resident and migrant bird species.
The Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary has won the “Best Tourist Attraction (Natural Attraction)” category during the Malaysia Tourism Awards, a prestigious award presented to agencies and organisations which contribute to the development of tourism in Malaysia.
Pangkor, with its charming mix of fishing settlements and resorts, is a fascinating and convenient holiday destination. It presents the visitor with a rare chance to live near fishermen and observe their lifestyle and also to simply enjoy the fine beaches and resort amenities.
The fishermen live in scattered settlements on the eastern side, facing the town of Lumut and Teluk Batik. Visitors get a chance to see some of them on the 40-minute ferry ride from Lumut as the ferry stops at the main settlements of Sungai Pinang Kecil and Sungai Pinang Besar before landing at Pangkor Town.
Pangkor’s two popular beach areas of Pasir Bogak and Teluk Nipah offer sun and sea enthusiasts activities like scuba-diving, snorkelling, wind-surfing and fishing. While Pasir Bogak is quite developed, Teluk Nipah still retains its kampung or village atmosphere. Teluk Ketapang or Turtle Bay still receives turtles on their egg-laying pilgrimages. Some of the resorts on the island also have excellent golf courses on their property.
Pasir Salak Historical Complex
Located about 70km from Ipoh, the Pasir Salak Historical Complex pays tribute to warriors such as Dato’ Sagor and Dato’ Maharaja Lela. There are memorials erected in their honour, in the shape of a sundang (broad sword), a replica of the type of knife used in the killing of Mr. Birch.The complex pays tribute to warriors such as Dato’ Sagor and Dato’ Maharaja Lela, who led the locals against the forces of the British colonial administration.
This is the place where the flames of Malay nationalism had first stirred. When the then British Resident of Perak, J.W.W. Birch was assassinated on the bank of Sungai Perak (Perak River), tension between the British colonial administration and the Malays rose. It escalated into open conflict which eventually led to the country’s declaration of independence.
Other attractions at the complex include the J.W.W. Birch Monument, the grave of Sipuntum (the alleged assassin), Datuk Maharaja Lela’s fort, the Lela Rentaka cannons used against the British colonial army, and two Rumah Kutai (Perak traditional house) filled with local historical and cultural artefacts.
Sam Poh Tong Temple
Sam Poh Tong is a famous cave temple located in Gunung Rapat, about 5km south of Ipoh. It is said to be the biggest cave temple in the country, and is an impressive work of art with various statues of Buddha interspersed among the stalactites and stalagmites.
According to legend, the cave was discovered in 1890 by a monk from China who was passing through Ipoh; he decided to make it his home and a place for meditation. He remained there for 20 years until his death. Till today, nuns and monks who dedicate their lives to Buddha still occupy the Sam Poh Tong.
The present temple facade dates back to the 1950s and a stiff climb of 246 steps will lead you to an open cave with an excellent view of Ipoh and its surroundings. Other attractions at the temple include a beautiful Japanese pond full of Japanese carps and tortoises, which are a symbols of longevity.
Within the temple, visitors can discover the artistic works of man and nature – beautifully carved statues of buddha in various forms sit amidst amazing stalacties and stalagmites.
Sungai Klah Hot Spring Park
Sungai Klah Hot Springs is nestled in the serene and lush forest patches, surrounded by hills and clear cold mountain streams and rivers. All 6.5 hectares enjoy the scenic view of well-tended oil palm plantation and durian orchard amidst a haven of tranquility.
Its unique concept of a specially designed free flowing Hot Springs Swimming Pool and Therapeutic Park at the foothill of the Titiwangsa Range 200 feet above sea level is indeed creatively engineered to attract visitors who appreciate the wonders of nature. Families visiting the park can try out the family baths and enjoy the privacy of this special treat. Another popular family activity not to miss out on is the hot springs egg-boiling experience.
For visitors who are keen to experience the local Malay massage, the park offers one of the finest traditional massage packages to benefit from.
For more adventure, visitors can take on the challenge of the Sungkai River or work off the calories trekking in and around the park as you immerse yourself in the natural wonders that surround the location.
Tempurung Cave (Gua Tempurung)
The cave is probably the largest natural limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia.
Located in the vicinity of Gopeng, 24km south of Ipoh, the cave is approximately 1.5km long.
Made up of five huge domes which ceilings resemble coconut shells, each dome has different formations of stalagmites and stalactites.
The domes also differ from one another in terms of temperature, water level, content of limestone and marble.
The Belum Forest Reserve
Towards the northern parts of Lake Temenggor, in northern Peninsula Malaysia (Perak state), lies a vast area of virgin jungle known as the Belum Forest Reserve.
The area is one of the largest untouched forest reserves in Peninsula Malaysia. The presence of large mammal species such as elephants, rhinoceroses, tapirs and tigers makes Belum very special.
This forest possesses an immense wealth of flora and fauna with much of the area still unexplored and undisturbed by humans.
Various tour operators now offer guided tours to certain areas of the reserve and will arrange for the necessary permits, river and road transport and accommodation, which may include camping.
Orang Utan Island(bukit merah)
Tucked away on the 35-acre Pulau Orang Utan, Orang Utan Island is the world’s first and only 5-acre rehabilitation and conservation facility where Orang Utans roam free. The unique island serves as a breeding sanctuary as well as a conservation, research and education center to better understand this endangered species.
Venture from the main jetty at Marina Village and wait for the ferry to take you to the Orang Utan Island. It’s just a 10-minute boat ride across. The ferry departs every 45 minutes.
At the island, you will be taken through a 100-meter steel walkthrough ‘cage tunnel’ to come up close and personal with these primates. In a twist, you will be enclosed in a ‘cage’ as you observe the Orang Utans roaming free in their natural habitats.