Perak Darul Ridzuan
Jalan Idris 2
Peking Hotel +6058072975Adequate twin room with air-con and wifi for MYR 55.- or US$ 16.- per night.
Exploring the lively, down-at-heel and predominantly Chinese-Malaysian city of Taiping, misleadingly nick-named as “Town of Everlasting Peace”, which takes a pride in her interesting 19th-century CE history of bitter and bloody feuds between many rival Chinese secret societies aka triads.
Listening all day to the artificially generated, ear-piercing and never-ending fake-twitter of nest-producing swiftlets, electronically transmitted and amplified with powerful loudspeakers made in China, in order to attract both salivating white-nest swiftlets (Aerodramus fuciphagus) and black-nest swiftlets (Aerodramus maximus) into those penthouse-like, ramshackle nesting barns, purpose-built on the leaking roofs of Taiping's many old Chinese shop houses, and learning that Chinese men are addicted to the allegedly aphrodisiac power of bird's nest soup.
"Three and a half hours' drive north of Kuala Lumpur, the small town of Taiping nestles in the foothills of Bukit Larut. It was once the administrative centre for the British Empire's tin-mining operations in the state of Perak. In the nineteenth century, transplanted English society strolled in its orderly streets, shopped at department stores, sipped papaya sodas at the soda fountain, played cricket on the padang, dressed up to go to the races. But the tin ran out, as it was always bound to, and the whites moved on. They left behind their colonial buildings - the town's museum, its district offices, its Anglican church - and the most beautiful public gardens in the country..."
Going up the 1,035-m high Maxwell Hill aka Bukit Larut, the oldest hill station in Malaysia, by chauffeur-driven Land Rover Defender (MYR 6.- or US$ 1.75 per person), enjoying in cheerful spirits the fine views over (i) the jungle canopy, (ii) the city of Taiping and (iii) the well-kept Lake Gardens, built in 1880 CE on the site of an abandoned tin mine, and, in the end, hiking downhill at a reasonable pace with the jungle on either side, singing with cicadas and humming with birds and insects, along the steep road with its many hairpin bends and cascading streams, and, to top it all, having a great impromptu pit-stop at pondok no. 3; many thanks, Raymond, for your heart-warming hospitality and for the excellent Chinese tea.
"Get in, sit down, shut up ... and hold on!"
"...some miles off the new highway, Taiping is overlooked, these days, by those rushing between Kuala Lumpur and Penang and is yet undiscovered by tourists. It is like an old relative that has been forgotten by the young. Content in its own home, it carries on in the quiet meditative way of the very old and very wise."
26 Sep - 04 Oct 2013 Sintang
05 Sep - 06 Sep 2012 Hua Shan
12 Feb - 14 Feb 2011 Adam's Peak
20 Jul - 24 Jul 2009 Gunung Gading
03 Feb - 06 Feb 2009 Cameron Highlands
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