Monday, August 10, 2009

Zoom Malaysia ! - An easy guide to exploring Malaysia

As you leave the busy hub of Selangor and head north towards Perak, the character of the land changes from an urban profile to a scenic, undulating countryside. Here and there, you will glimpse pleasant plots of farmland, palm oil and rubber plantations. The magnificent view is set against a background of green jungle and jagged limestone hills.
Covering some 21,000 sq. km., Perak lies between Kedah in the north and Selangor to the south. The Main Range mountains cut across the state of Perak, standing in dramatic juxtaposition to the flat, steaming plains of the western coastline.
Often referred to as 'The Land of Grace' for its laid-back, timeless beauty, Perak is divided into nine districts.
Each district has its own characteristic beauty and history, and tourist attractions that include old-style Anglo-Malay and Chinese mansions, colonial buildings, ancient limestone caves, temples and cool hill stations such as the Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill) station.
Perak's capital, Ipoh is a slow-moving, quiet town full of quaint old bungalows and is famed for its simple yet excellent hawker food. The hawker fare here has such an excellent reputation that it is not unusual for Malaysians from other towns to drive for up to three hours just for a bowl of delicious noodles!
Perak has a western coastline facing the Straits of Melaka and not far off its coast are a number of islands. The nearest is Pangkor Island, off the coastal town of Lumut. Pangkor's unique island lifestyle offers visitors a variety of experiences and some outstanding beaches. And wait until you taste the cheap, fresh and delicious seafood here!

Getting There :
Ipoh’s Sultan Azlan Shah Airport is accessible via air from Medan.
There are taxi and bus services from the airport to Ipoh as well as
other major towns in the state. Several bus companies operate
services from the north and south of the country to Ipoh while various
taxis ply between Ipoh and major towns in the peninsula. As regular
rail services are available, travellers can also take north-bound trains
as they stop at major towns in Perak.

Perak Attractions:
1 ) Pangkor Island

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.

2) The Belum Forest Reserves

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.

3) Tempurung Caves

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.

4) 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.

Accommodations :

  1. Impiana Casuarina Hotel is conveniently located in Ipoh,with views of rugged limestone hills from all its rooms. ( Price Range--> RM125-352 )
  2. Pangkor Laut Resort (Perak) This internationally-acclaimed resort occupies an entire island and pampers like no other. ( Price Range--> RM 900-2500 )
  3. Bukit Merah Laketown Resort ( Price Range--> RM 230-805 )
  4. Golden Hotel Beach & Resort ( Price Range--> RM 250 - 280 )
  5. Heritage Hotel Ipoh ( Price Range--> RM 300 - 450 )

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