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Discover the hidden gems of Malaysia’s northern state–Perak

11:25 AM January 27, 2018

Malaysia is a melting pot of diverse cultures, festivals, traditions and customs that all come together at the heart of Southeast Asia. Malaysia also offers a wide range of places to visit and unique attractions that will leave you wanting for more. You have the well-known Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur City Center, Genting Island in Pahang, and Batu Caves in Selangor.

Petronas Twin Towers. Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

But there are in fact, other cultural places you can visit especially in the Northern part of the country. Tourism Malaysia brought together 26 media representatives and travel agents from six ASEAN countries—Brunei, Laos, Medan, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam—to take part in the annual Mega Familiarisation Programme last November 10-14, 2017.

These participants had the opportunity to travel through different destinations located in the northern state of the country, Perak. Perak, which means “silver,” was a very wealthy state during the British colonization because of its thriving and abundant tin-ore deposit.

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The state offers several unique cultural places you need to check out on your next family trip or barkada get-away.

Lost World of Tambun

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

The Lost World of Tambun is an action-packed theme park located right smack in the middle of a hill. Situated in Ipoh City, it is the country’s most historic city filled with culture and heritage — offering several exciting activities for the whole family that will make you feel like you are being transported to another world.

Dragon Flight at the Amusement Park. Photo courtesy of Lost World of Tambun.

Petting Zoo
The theme park’s petting zoo holds various animals such as Juwita the hippo, hyenas, and a flock of flamingos.

Juwita the Hippo. Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Other places you can visit are the Water Park, Lupe’s Adventure, Haunted Chambers, Tiger Valley, Tin Valley, Animal Care, Adventure’s Park, Animal Care, Porcupine Trail, and Hot Springs Night Park.

Kellie’s Castle

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Located in Batu Gajah in Ipoh, this unfinished, ruined mansion was built by Scottish planter William Kellie Smith for his wife, Agnes. It was left incomplete because of several reasons. Smith experienced several financial setbacks that work in the castle had to be put on hold. And in 1981, the Spanish Flu pandemic killed most of his workers.

Smith’s castle could have been the most prestigious home at that time because it was the first house to have a lift installed. Yet, Smith was unable to install it because he died of pneumonia on December 11, 1928 while he was on his way back from collecting the lift.

His wife and children never came back to the estate and sold their ownership over it. Thus, the castle was left abandoned and untouched to this day.

Marina Pangkor Island Resort & Hotel

Off the coast of Teluk Muroh/Teluk Batik is Marina Island Pangkor Resort & Hotel. It is Malaysia’s man-made resort that offers an excellent view of the waterfront and a great get-away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Visitors can bask in the sun at the beach or explore their wibit water play at Frenzy Waterpark.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Pulau Pangkor Island

One of Malaysia’s most popular islands is Pangkor Island. It’s name came from the Thai word, Pang Ko which means, “beautiful island”. Before it was called Pangkor, it was also referred to by the British as “Monkey Island” and then later on, Pulau Aman or “Peaceful Island”.

There are several places you can visit while on the island such as the Dutch Fort, Sacred Rock, Mini Great Wall of China and Teluk Nipah Beach.

Dutch Fort

Before the British took over Malaysia, the Dutch settled in the island at the height of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The Dutch built a fort at Tiger rock and it became known as the Dutch Fort. Now it is a popular tourist destination in the island.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Sacred Rock (Batu Bersurat)

A few meters away from Dutch Fort is a huge boulder known as Batu Bersurat or “Sacred Rock”. This rock was placed there in memorial of a Dutch dignitary’s child who mysteriously disappeared during the Dutch colonization.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

There were rumours that the child was attacked by a tiger at that time. And so, there’s a carving of tiger with a child on its mouth on the side of the rock. You can also see the symbol of Dutch East India Company etched on it.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Mini Great Wall of China in Foo Lin Kong Temple

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Foo Lin Kong Temple is a magnificent and huge Taoist Temple located at the heart of the island. Chinese worshippers and tourists flock the place for its rich history and scenic beauty. Local fishermen also visit the temple to pray and consider it to bring them luck. One of its main attraction is the Mini Great Wall of China that goes up the hill.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Teluk Nipah Beach

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

Aside from these cultural places, you can also check out one of their beaches at Teluk Nipah where you can do various watersport activities such as: kayaking, snorkeling, or diving. If you’d rather sit back and relax, their white sand beach is the perfect place to lounge, watch the sunset, or listen to the crashing of waves on the shore.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

These are just some of the places you can go to in Perak. The northern state still offers several interesting places that you should visit.

Aside from tourist destinations, Malaysia also has several festivals held all year round. The international delegates were able to witness the official launch of Deepavali Open House, officiated by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi at Sungai Siput in Perak.

Deepavali Open House Festival

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

The Deepavali or Diwali festival is one of the most popular Hindu festivals that originated in India and eventually celebrated in several countries in Asia such as, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, and Nepal. Known as the “Festival of Lights,” it signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.

Photo by Rea Nico Alfonso/INQUIRER.net

The festival consists of various live performances of traditional dances and songs. To represent the victory of light over darkness, people set off fireworks and light candles. And because it is an open house festival, people can just come in and join the festival even without invitation. There are also Malaysian cuisines that are made especially for the festival.

Want to discover the other facets of this fascinating country? You can book an AirAsia flight either from Manila or Cebu to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. INQUIRER.net/RNA

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