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Kuala Lumpur

A TALE OF THE RAGING KAMPAR RIVER

White water rafting is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Since I survived to tell the tale, let me share with you the excitement of rafting in the Kampar River surrounded by the greenery of the Gopeng rainforest.

White Water Rafting in Kampar River, Gopeng, Perak

Gopeng, a small town about 90 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, has many pre-war shop houses. This quiet and unassuming place is the gateway to some of the most adventurous outdoor activities in Peninsular Malaysia.

The most popular adrenaline pumping fun is white water rafting in the Kampar River. The scenic waterway is created by the merging of three rivers, Geruntum River, Geroh River and Pacat River in Perak. Rated as a Grade I to III river, it offers a great combination of water ranging from gentle flows to challenging and technical white water. It is also perfect for beginners.

From Gopeng town, it takes about 15 minutes to reach the starting point located at Kg. Ulu Geruntum. The journey itself is a memorable experience as visitors will pass by some of the most picturesque places in Gopeng with a whole spectrum of landscapes. During the fruit season, you will be looking with envy at the fruit orchards flanking both sides of the narrow, winding road. You can also enjoy the beauty and the tranquillity of the quaint traditional villages along the way. A 100-year-old water pipe stretches from the nearby mountains through the major settlements to the old mining area and the villagers are still using the water supply from it.

Upon reaching the white water rafting site, you will find many resorts there as well as several adventure specialists offering white water rafting and other outdoor activities. These are all a stone’s throw away from the starting point of the white water rafting. Whichever adventure company you go with, you will be given a liability form to sign before you can proceed further. Your river guide will brief you about paddling commands, safety measures and the do’s and don’t’s of white water rafting. Then, armed with a life jacket, helmet and paddle, you are all set to face the raging river.

The number of passengers per raft depends on river conditions and other factors but generally it ranges from two to six people.

It helps to have a skillful and friendly river guide as he will calm you down with his jokes and fascinate you with local anecdotes. Our guide, Max, who sat at the back of the raft, helped us to avoid rocks, kept us on the right path, cracked jokes and made sure we had a great time. Besides the guide, a safety kayaker cum photographer will follow rafters throughout the journey to ensure their safety and capture images of their ride.

Water Confidence Test
One of the most important things a rafter has to do before continuing his or her journey down the breathtaking twists, turns and drops of the white water course is the water confidence activity. Depending on the level of the water, there is a possibility of you being thrown out of the raft. The water confidence activity helps you prepare for the worst. It requires you to do body rafting along a short stretch. Your guide will steer you into the current and then he will let you go. If your water confidence is low, the three-minute body rafting will feel like ages and you will end up swallowing a lot of water. This is definitely not an activity for the self-conscious. However, the most important thing is to have faith in your guide and not panic.

After your water confidence has been tested, it is time for you to try your first rapid. White water rafting is an exhilarating activity that provides you with the ultimate adrenaline rush. Cascading down the rapids is only part of the fun. The whole journey is not one huge “liquid chaos” as it provides scenic and relaxing experiences. There are also flat sections in the river for you to take a breather after conquering tough rapids.

Up, Close and Personal with the Rapids of the Kampar River

Kampar River has been a popular spot for white water rafting since 2003. A trip on this river is a two-hour, adrenaline-fuelled journey along a seven or nine kilometres stretch depending on the water level. There are 10 prominent rapids along the stretch and every rapid has a tale to tell.

The first rapid was named Broken Ledge to reflect the concrete ruins of a dam at the river that was once built for the tin mining industry in the Gopeng area.

One of the toughest rapids in the river is called Easy Drop as rafters including the river guide have the tendency to be thrown overboard. Basically, the rapid has two drops of approximately three metres high. Upon reaching this rapid, the river guide will shout the word “Boom! Boom!” to indicate that everyone has to sit in the centre of the raft to avoid falling into the river. It is very exhilarating as your raft is thrown through the rapid and you are left to the mercy of the powerful water.

Rajah Corner is the longest rapid in Kampar River. It is aptly named after the big colony of Rajah Brooke butterflies swarming over the rocks along the area, especially in the morning.

Whenever a raft passes through the Hyside rapid, it has to be in a 30 degree angle so that it can get through the rapid without capsizing. Everyone must move to the “high” side of the raft so that the raft will be in a slightly tilted position.

Slide rapid is a little tricky and slightly technical as it requires the raft to go through most of the right side before sliding to the middle. A raft can easily get stuck in this rapid, especially when the water level is low. If it happens, rafters must shift to the front or the back of the raft depending on the situation and in the meantime, the guide will push the raft back into the main current. It requires skillful manoeuvering because of frequent obstructions.

One rapid called Paddle Breaker marks the site where a guide had his paddle broken in half while going down it. Snake rapid got its name simply because the curve of the river looks like a snake. Your raft will go through a zigzag pattern to clear out of this rapid.

Enders Rapid refers to a skillful trick river kayakers love to do at this rapid. The play manoeuver involves nosing the boat’s bow down and deep and the stern up resulting in the kayak popping vertically upward.

Seeing a flock of chickens running around the area during their first recce, the guides decided to name one rapid Chicken Run. Another is called Eddy Point, the white water terminology for an area where two currents from the opposite direction met to create a circular or spiral motion in the water.

All these rapids offer different kinds of thrills to rafters. You can never run a river the same way twice as the changes of the water flow make each trip unique.

During the journey, you will find yourself resting between rapids, relaxing and listening to your guide talking about the river. There are several rest stops at some areas of interest.

End of the Journey

The journey ends at Kampung Jahang where you will be transported back to your resort for a quick shower and a change of clothes. Your guide will then take you to a nearby restaurant for a hearty meal after all the hard work and excitement.

No one ever walks away from white water rafting experience in Kampar River untouched. You will either get addicted to this extreme activity or fall in love with the sheer beauty of the river area or both. Either way, you will want to return to this unique place again and again.

If white water rafting is not challenging enough for you, there are other extreme activities that you can try such as water abseiling from the top of a three-storey high waterfall, advanced-level kayaking, mountain biking, jungle trekking and caving.

Getting There
From Kuala Lumpur, get off the North-South Plus Expressway at the Gopeng interchange. It is advisable to join organised groups as they will guide you to the starting point and make all the arrangements necessary.

Who to Contact

DESTINATION PERAK SDN. BHD
(A subsidiary of Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak)
Level 11, Perak Techno-Trade Centre, Bandar Meru Raya, Off Jalan Jelapang, 30020 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.
Tel:1800 22 8772
Email: [email protected]

 

 

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CYCLING IN THE CITY

Question – what do Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam now have in common? Answer – MikeBikes.

Yes, following in the tracks of the cycling city of Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur now has a new attraction – a cycling tour of Kuala Lumpur’s heritage areas utilising the original Dutch bicycle, no less, in the famous “oranje” colour! Nothing short of exciting and thrilling, the MikeBikes Tour offers a unique insight into some of the city’s oldest and historic quarters, and the best way to go off the beaten track in an otherwise modern and cosmopolitan city!

Before we ‘cycle’ any further, let me tell you that the local council of the capital has recently introduced a dedicated blue lane especially for cyclists. The 11-kilometer long cycling-track along selected major roads in Kuala Lumpur will ensure safety for all road-users and is a thumbs up towards reducing one’s carbon footprint in the city. Cycling in the city is still a new concept in Kuala Lumpur, but it looks like we’re headed in the right direction!

To register for a MikeBikes Tour, it’s best to call ahead and book (better than walking in) the tour package of your choice. At the meeting point, you will be given the Oranje Bicycle and a security vest. Two experienced guides will be at your service throughout the cycling tour.

The meeting point is well-placed certainly. MikeBikes is located at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC) in Jalan Ampang, a stone’s throw away from KLCC. It is centrally-located and easily accessible to many places of interest in the capital.

With a group of enthusiasts, I managed to join the tour recently. MikeBikes offers two basic, highly experiential tours namely The Best of KL Classic and The KL Sunset Night Tour.

According to MikeBikes, the first tour takes you along some striking and iconic spots in the city — the Petronas Twin Towers, the fruit and vegetable market in Chow Kit and the Sin Sze Ya temple. This one starts at 8 am and ends at 12 pm.

The latter tour is about discovering the city while it is getting ready for the evening. The guys at MikeBikes painted this picture for us: The locals gather on squares and they set up their food stalls. You will be amazed at the colors and aromas of the city after sunset. Of course, the original Nasi Lemak should not be missed. The beautiful architectural buildings look different at nightfall. The KLCC Tower, Kampung Baru and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building are just a small selection of the places you will visit.

We wisely chose the evening tour (to escape the scorching sun) that would allow us to see the best of of both modern and traditional Kuala Lumpur, a kind of 2-in1 adventure. Plus, I thought it would be interesting to see the changes as the city transitioned from a bustling business centre to whatever goes on at night.

We were all geared up by 5 pm, ready and waiting eagerly at MATIC for a four-hour journey that would cover more than 14 kilometres.

We first cycled to a very special area – the untouched yet famous kampung or village in the city, Kampung Baru. Against the backdrop of KLCC, the only-surviving Malay village of wooden houses looked strangely juxtaposed against its modern surroundings. As we pedalled through back alleys and age-old heritage houses, I realised then that the village wasn’t at all backward but was a symbol of cultural identity that stood proudly against the encroaching modernisation. What makes Kampung Baru near and dear to many is its charm as a street-food institution with more than 200 stalls selling a gobsmacking array of food at affordable prices.

We later passed the Loke Mansion building and then made a brief stop in front of Masjid India at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, an area famous for local shopping and a melting pot of cultures. From time to time we digested morsels of interesting information and facts about the city dished out by our experienced guides.

As the sun started to disappear beneath the skyline, we reached the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It was quite something to admire the Moorish architecture of this iconic national building in the fading light. Special arrangements were made for us to have dinner at the historic Royal Selangor Club, once a British-only place of gathering where membership was reserved to only those in selected social circles…and here we were, quite tired, hungry and sticky, yet able to enjoy a once elitist view of the city. How ironic, yet delightful!

After dinner, we had a chance to view Masjid Jamek by night. As we were photographing this centennial place of worship sandwiched by colonial buildings, I briefly felt like I was stepping back in time to what was once the beginnings of a small riverine settlement that later turned into a modern city of wonder.

In no time, we were weaving our way through the heart of Petaling Street, where small-time vendors did thriving business. We cicyled past the Mahamariamman temple from which aromatic incense wafted and fragranced the air, and later passed by KL Forest Eco Park (formerly known as the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve), the last remaining tropical rainforest in the city.

When I glimpsed KLCC later, I knew that our journey was about to end. Towards the end, I thought that any tourist would enjoy and be happy with this authentic experience of getting up close and personal with Kuala Lumpur through the MikeBikes’ tour programme. Driving by these same places in a car would only leave a fleeting impression, if one were any observant. But cycling through the alleyways, weaving through foot traffic, passing by age-oild buildings within touching distance, really put a sense of perspective in me. Though my legs were tired, I felt a sense of pride to witness how my Kuala Lumpur had progressed well in its beauty and harmony. What a ride!

AddressMikeBikes’ at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTIC), 109 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Web: www.mikebikes.my
Operation     Open daily. Closes 10 pm
Phone:          +6017-673 7322

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ROUGHING IT OUT AT KENABOI FOREST RESERVE


Kenaboi Forest Reserve is located in the district of Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, which is about 85 km from Kuala Lumpur. Standing at 1,462 meters, Gunung Besar Hantu, which is the highest peak in Negeri Sembilan, is situated in this forest reserve along with its highest waterfall, known as Lata Kijang (Deer Waterfall). In 2008, the state government declared an area of 9,420 hectares of the Kenaboi Forest Reserve as a State Wildlife Park but was later renamed Kenaboi State Park.

This is the kind of destination that is certainly a little more challenging than your usual eco-destination, but if I may say so, one that is totally worth the effort.


Kenaboi State Park
Our journey from Kuala Lumpur took about two hours to reach Kampung Chennah in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the change of scenery was very welcoming as we were surrounded by greenery. The journey would have been pleasant if we didn’t have to go through a narrow and long serpentine road, which was a bit challenging for those suffering from motion sickness.

We had to switch to a four-wheel-drive (4WD) at Kampung Chennah as we got ready to go off-road, which meant a rougher ride ahead. It turned out to be fun when we had to go through the Orang Asli (aborigines) villages, where friendly children welcomed us with their friendly smiles and enthusiastic waving. After that, the road kept getting narrower and narrower until we reached our base camp near a small stream.

The soothing sounds of the running stream and the sounds of birds chirping somewhere above, and the smell of clean moist air, as well as the cool temperature were a lethal combination as we could get addicted to it.

Every one of us couldn’t wait to take part in the various activities that the state park had to offer. First, we went tubing in the lazy river for 1.2 kilometers. The river was gentle enough for us to float lazily while day-dreaming about our life but in some parts of the river we had to manoeuvre through bubbling rapids and huge rocks, which made our tubing experience a little bit more exhilarating.

From the river, we moved up to the tree top for a flying fox activity, which was a short distance but nothing short of fun and thrilling. It was definitely an exhilarating and unique aerial journey.

Some of us opted for another adrenaline rush activity, which was abseiling down a small cliff. I was told that the cliff was quite slippery and it was quite challenging to manoeuvre through a huge fallen tree that was blocking their path. And at the end of the cliff, they could just let go and jump down to the cool stream below.

Lata Kijang (Deer Waterfall)
We continued our journey with a visit to the highest waterfall in Negeri Sembilan, Lata Kijang. It took us about 30 minutes to reach this 93-meter waterfall by a four-wheel-drive. It was such a bumpy ride that some of us felt like throwing up.

On the way to the waterfall, we stopped at an ideal spot to check out the hornbill nest on top of a really tall tree. Unfortunately, the hornbill was not at its nest but the surrounding view was really fantastic.

We continued our journey to the waterfall but this time around, the journey was really smooth because the road was tarred. Once we arrived there, the view of the statuesque waterfall really took our breath away. The sounds and sights of the cascading waterfall brought peace to our mind after such a hectic journey and activities. Apart from enjoying the view, there’s nothing much to do at the waterfall except taking a selfie. After that, we returned to the base camp for a
much needed rest.

Jeram Berungut
Our second day mission was to find the “Malaysian Lord of the Rings”, which was the hidden gem at the Kenaboi State Park. Jeram Berungut is flanked by 40-meter high rocky cliffs covered in green moss, thus creating a river canyon that is so breathtaking. It was such a surreal experience. The fantasy-like surroundings that we needed to pass to get to the cool and clear water of Jeram Berungut really made us feel like we were in the “Lord of the Rings” movie.

People always said that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and we can assure you that in the case of Jeram Berungut, it’s all true. The journey tested not just our fitness but also our patience. No wonder it was called Berungut, which means grumbling because you’d find yourself grumbling throughout the tough journey.

The journey started with a 15-minute jungle trekking, which was easy peasy but then the nightmare began. Well, you have to give us the benefit of the doubt because this was our first river trekking. The effort to find our footing on the slippery rocky river floor for 45 minutes made us feel like no river canyon was worth the torture, but it was all forgotten once we saw the stunning view and the cool and crystal clear waters that looked inviting. Some of us couldn’t wait to jump right in but some just let their eyes slowly take in the quiet beauty around them.

We may return to Kuala Lumpur black and blue from the many tumbles we took while crossing the river, but for that kind of wonderful nature, we wouldn’t mind returning to this river canyon again and again.

Contact Person

Juliana Yahya
District Forestry Office
Negeri Sembilan Utara
71600, Kuala Klawang Jelebu
Negeri Sembilan
Tel: 06-6136500
Mobile: 012-7056551

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A Spontaneous Road Trip to Pantai Klebang

An Afternoon at Klebang Beach

As part of the Unesco Heritage Sites, the ‘Historic Cities of the Straits of Melaka’ needs no introduction. Many Malaysians are repeat visitors to this fascinating site. But today my friends and I decided to explore the area outside of the historic perimeter, to be precise, its coastal area.

Over the last couple of years, Klebang Beach (or Pantai Klebang, to the locals), a 15-minute drive out of Melaka City, has become viral because of these two things – food and sand dunes. These were the main reasons we made the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Pantai Klebang all the way from Kuala Lumpur, one fine afternoon. (Note: from Kuala Lumpur, drive southwards on the North-South Highway before taking the Ayer Keroh toll exit at which you can expect to pay RM12.90).

Upon hitting Melaka, we then decided to have our lunch at this newly-opened three-star hotel called MITC Hotel in Ayer Keroh because we had heard their claypot fish head curry was to-die-for. The curry was definitely delicious coupled with ulam (local salads) and stir fried spicy clams, making for a very satisfying lunch.

With our stomachs full, we headed straight to Pantai Klebang for a little bit of exploration and to shed the calories we had just consumed. Our first stop, the Submarine Museum.

Submarine Museum

The Quessant Agosta 70 FS, with a carrying capacity of 41 passengers, was previously used to train Malaysia’s submarine crew from 2005 to 2009 following the acquisition of two submarines by the Ministry of Defence, Malaysia. Today, it has been turned into a museum, allowing visitors to go on board to experience what life is like in a sub.

I already had an idea that the inside of a submarine would be small but I didn’t realise just how narrow or cramped it would be, making me feel almost claustrophobic. The strong smell of diesel still lingered in the air at the front of the submarine where four tornadoes used to be.

My respect towards the training crew peaked after I saw how tiny the captain’s quarters was, not to mention the alley, the galley (kitchen) and the bathroom. To think that they had to spend 9,000 training hours — the equivalent of four years — underwater inside that vessel, was just beyond my belief.

My advise is to visit this museum during weekdays or at low-season. Due to the confined space within the submarine, it will be a little difficult to maneuver yourself in a crowd.

If the guide is not available, you can read about the history of FS Quessant at the information gallery provided by the museum within the compound.

The Submarine Museum is located at Dataran 1Malaysia, Klebang, Malacca. Its GPS coordinate is N 2.213988, E 102.198461 and it is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Visitors pay an entrance fee of RM5.00 while children below 12 are charged RM3.00.

For more information on the submarine museum,
please contact Perbadanan Muzium Melaka at +606 – 282 6526,
or visit the website at www.perzim.gov.my or facebook page at https://ms-my.facebook.com/MelakaMuseum.

Malaysian Desserts

There are three local desserts that have gone viral over the last couple of years and all of them are located at Pantai Klebang. After the visit to the museum, we drove around the Limbongan and Klebang Kecil area to search for them.

Kuih Keria Antarabangsa Hj. Jalil

Kuih keria is a Malaysian-style glazed sugar doughnut that is made from sweet potatoes. The shop that sells this kuih keria is so famous that people do not mind the long queues to get a taste of the sweet and fluffy snack, which is perfect for an afternoon tea, or any time of the day, actually.

The owner, Mr. Jalil Tompang, 74, says he uses around 150 kg of sweet potatoes per day to make about 1,000 pieces of his super delicious kuih keria. He personally prepares the ingredients and fries the doughnuts himself. Our verdict? We just couldn’t get enough of his kuih keria. Bear in mind that it is best eaten hot. One kuih keria will cost you 50 cents and the maximum you can buy is 20 pieces.

Putu Piring Generasi Ketiga

The putu piring is a traditional dessert made of ground rice flour filled at the centre with gula melaka or palm sugar, and then gently steamed in metal conical moulds. The stall selling this famous putu piring by the roadside at Kompleks Niaga Limbongan is manned by Hajah Zalika Lajis, 65, and assisted by her daughter Fazilah Mohamad, 36. According to Hajah Zalika, her mother started the business in 1969 at almost the exact same spot. The only difference is that there used to be a beach where a row of shophouses now stands behind her stall.

Now that her daughter is also involved in the business, she has named the stall as “Putu Piring Generasi Ketiga” or The Third Generation Putu Piring. What is so special about their putu piring is that the rice flour is homemade and not store-bought in packets. Yes, I can see why these pillowy puffs have such a following. At first bite, the putu piring tastes soft and moist, while the melted palm sugar oozing out tastes caramelly delicious.

The putu piring here comes in original, durian and chocolate flavours. Each is presented with a sprinkling of freshly grated coconut tinged with some salt on the side, served on a square of banana leaf, which naturally fragrances the dessert. The original flavour is priced at RM3 for five pieces while the other two flavours are priced at RM4 for five pieces.

Klebang Original Coconut Shakes

We must thank Mr. Shafie Ahmad, 55, from Klebang Kecil because, if not for his ingenuity, we would never have guessed that coconuts and vanilla ice cream go really well together! He created this coconut shake about 10 years ago by blending the white coconut flesh with sugar syrup, ice cubes and vanilla ice cream and topped it off with another scoop of vanilla ice cream. The coconut shake has now become a must-try whenever one makes a visit to Melaka.

It was late afternoon when we reached his restaurant and from the crowd gathering there, it looked like Mr. Shafie’s coconut shakes were very popular among locals and tourists alike. Various food and traditional kuih (desserts) at the restaurant are provided by the locals as he only sells coconut shakes. The restaurant operates from 11 am until 6.30 pm every day. He still maintains his old stall by the roadside for those wanting to buy a take-away coconut shake. Our verdict was the coconut shakes tasted yummy and creamy, perfect for such a hot and humid weather. Expect to pay RM3.50 per shake.

Pantai Klebang Beachfront

We decided to enjoy our desserts at the beach while waiting for the sun to set. By evening, Pantai Klebang is full of activity, filled with people playing kites, kids blowing and chasing bubbles, as well as horses carrying people back and forth. There were many food stalls there, too. Unlike other beaches, it is not advisable to swim at Pantai Klebang, but it was still an ideal place for a family picnic, though.

Pantai Klebang Sand Dunes

Here was the tricky part of the trip. The sand dunes at Pantai Klebang had gone viral for several years now but it was one of those off-the-beaten path attractions that required some navigational skills to find. Still, it attracts photographers, be it amateur or professional, who claim that this place is perfect for outdoor wedding and high fashion photography shoots.

Be prepared to walk several kilometres in or about 20 minutes on sandy terrain to reach the sand dunes. The scenery is worth every difficult step, though, especially when the sun started going down into the horizon, painting the sky with a myriad of colours from yellow to orange to red and purple before going totally dark. The changing colours of the sky also transformed the colours of the sand dunes making it look like we were on another planet. This place is definitely Instagram-worthy and has potential as a film location for movies. It has also become an increasingly popular destination for sandboarding, which is another type of high adrenaline sport.

In reality, the hills of sands which was a result of a land reclamation project in the Klebang area was a perfect mimic of the desert. It is located between Pantai Klebang Melaka and the Submarine Museum. However, there is no signboard and you have to enter at your own risk.

While you are in Pantai Klebang, why don’t you give it a try. I promise that it is one of the best places to see the sun set. And I’ll bet that it is also the best place to do a little stargazing, but only if you dare to stay at the place after dark.

After that long walk and all the climbing that we did at the sand dunes, it was time to get back the energy by having an authentic Peranakan (Nyonya) dish at the Seafarer Restaurant nearby. The food here is a fusion of seafood and Nonya-style cooking, with a hint of Chinese and Malay culinary influences. We had a nyonya-style asam pedas fish (fish cooked in a gravy of chillies and tamarind broth, thus it is both spicy and sour), sambal beancurds and hot plate tofu with white rice for dinner. Everything was delicious and combined with the restaurant’s ambience, it was a must-try restaurant. We actually took our dinner al-fresco by the beach, which was why this restaurant was so cool. It was lively and gave you that “live by the beach” vibe.

All in all, it was a well-spent day with friends at Pantai Klebang.

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Divine Diversions

Malaysia is known for its freedom of religion as enshrined in its constitution. And this right is evident in the many religious symbols and buildings seen throughout the country. Mosques, temples, churches, gurdwaras and others…they cater not only for the believers, but with the popularity of “religious tourism” more people are interested to visit, see and learn about the religious, cultural and aesthetic significance of such places of worship.

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to visit some of the temples in Malaysia.

If you are in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, there is just no shortage of temples to visit. Among the notable ones is Thean Hou Temple that sits along Jalan Klang Lama or Old Klang Road. Built in 1894, it is believed to be one of the oldest and largest Chinese temples in Southeast Asia. The name is derived from Goddess Tian Hou who protects the fishermen.

This magnificent Chinese temple has golden roofed pagodas and strings of lanterns. Located inside are three majestic statues of deities, including the main deity Thean Hou. Within its grounds are statues of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac

The Temple is also known as the Temple of Goddess of Heaven, and reflecting this is its beautiful 6-tiered structure that houses a zen turtle pond, the sacred Bodhi tree and many prayer halls. A visit here is to escape the chaotic traffic jam that Jalan Klang Lama is famous for, and a balm for the stressful mind.

Tourists heading north along the PLUS highway will find temples of a different kind, partly a reflection of the unique geological contours of Perak known for its splendid limestone hills and caves.

Perak, once famous as a tin mining haven, attracted many Chinese workers to the area in search of riches. Naturally, there are many temples in the area to serve the burgeoning community.

As a capital city of Perak, Ipoh is dotted with various temples, mostly nestled among the hills and hidden away in caves. One such temple is the Sam Poh Tong Temple. It is said to be one of the oldest temples, even as old as Ipoh itself.

SAM POH TONG TAMPLE – IPOH

The temple gained popularity for its unique landscape and the caves which were carved and made into chamber halls and altars. Practically built into the limestone

inside a mountain, the temple’s unique ambience and peaceful nature adds to the sanctity of the place.

Apart from that, the temple is also popular for its collection of tortoise ponds. According to Chinese beliefs, turtles and tortoises are much associated with longevity and wealth.

Traveling east to Muslim-majority Kelantan, known as “Serambi Mekah” or  Verandah of Mecca,” one might not expect to see any temples. Surprise, surprise, one of the popular tours in Kelantan is to visit all the Buddhist temples in the state!

Whether they are Chinese or Siamese temples, the existence of such places of worship only drive home the fact that religion is freely practised throughout the state.

Tok Mek Temple in Kampung Cina, Kelantan, stands out among all other temples for its historic significance and origins. Officially known as Tin Hin Kong temple, it is reputedly the most famous Taoist temple in the state.

TOK MEK KONG TAMPLE

Known to the locals as Tokong Mek, it welcomes visitors with a bright red arch into an inner courtyard designed with colourful murals and wall relief. What is so special about the place is that therein lies within the temple a drum that was a royal gift from the Sultan of Kelantan.

While these three temples stand out among Malaysia’s landscape as unique, there are hundreds of other temples scattered all over Malaysia that deserve a visit. Some examples are the Centipede Temple in Seremban and the Snake Temple in Penang. It’s just a matter of choosing whichever temple is nearest to you, and don’t forget your photography gear to capture that viral-worthy shot!

 

Temple:   Thean Hou
Address:  65, Persiaran Indah, off Jalan Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur
Telephone:  +603-2274 7088

Temple:   Sam Poh Tong
Address:  Gunung Rapat, Ipoh, Perak
Telephone:  +605-255 2772

Temple:   Tok Mek
Address:  Jalan Kampung Cina off Jalan Pantai Cinta Berahi, 15300 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Telephone:  +609-748 4477

 

*number may be updated/changed without prior notice

 

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