Taiping

This article is part of my 2018 Taiping and Kuala Sepetang trip series.

Taiping (太平) is second largest town in Perak. During the British colonial administration, the town was the center of Perak's tin-mining industry. Its strategic importance is reflected in the fact that it served as Perak's administrative center from 1875 to 1937. Formerly known as Klian Pauh, the town was renamed Taiping at the end of the Larut War (1861-1874). "Taiping" means "everlasting peace" in Chinese.
Taiping Lake Garden (Taman Tasik Taiping) is a scenic landmark on the east side of Taiping. It was formerly a tin mining pool. Opened in 1880, Taiping Lake Garden became the first public park in Malaysia. Till today, the park remains well-maintained. There are no fees to use the park.
Due to its unique geography, Taiping is the wettest town in Peninsular Malaysia. The yearlong humid climate is the perfect condition for Rain Trees. Standing for more than a hundred years, these majestic trees have shady branches that stretch horizontally towards the lake. Other interesting landmarks around the lake are Chinese Pagoda and Rock Garden.
Taiping Lake Garden is frequented by joggers in the morning and evening. Bicycles are available for rent at very affordable rates. Meanwhile for visitors who wish to explore the lake itself, paddle boats are available for rent at Bougainvillea Point.
Taiping Lake Garden (Taman Tasik Taiping)
34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
Further reading: Taiping Lake Garden

Zoo Taiping & Night Safari occupies at the eastern side of Taiping Lake Garden. Established in 1961, it is the first zoo to open in Malaysia. The zoo features more than 100 species of animals including many mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes.
The zoo is divided into several zones like African savannah and Australian Outback. A 2.5-kilometer paved trail allows visitors to view the animal exhibits on foot. Free train rides provide an alternative way to explore the zoo.
Some of the interesting animals here are Bornean Orangutan, Sun Bear, Asian Elephant, Giraffe, Nile Hippopotamus, Dromedary and more. It takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to explore the zoo thoroughly.
The animals here are usually fed between 10:00am and 11:00am. In the evening, the Night Safari allows visitors to see nocturnal animals in action. A separate admission ticket is required for Night Safari.
Zoo Taiping & Night Safari
Jalan Taman Tasik Taiping, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 5-808 6577
8:30am-6:00pm, 8:00pm-11:00pm (Sunday-Friday), 8:30am-6:00pm, 8:00pm-12:00am (Saturday and eve of public holidays)
Further reading: Zoo Taiping & Night Safari

Bukit Larut is a lovely hill resort at the outskirts of Taiping. Formerly known as Maxwell Hill, Bukit Larut is the first of its kind in Malaysia. During the British administration, many British officers built their summer houses on the hill. Some of these bungalows are preserved to this day.
A 14-kilometer paved road connects the foothill to the summit. The road is extremely narrow and winding, so private cars are not allowed to ascend. However, visitors can take a Land Rover ride from the foothill. Limited tickets are available every day.
The Land Rover only reaches the 11-kilometer mark. If you wish to explore further on foot, I suggest that you continue walking uphill to the end of the paved road. Near the summit, there is a monument and a telecommunications tower.
Bukit Larut
Jalan Bukit Larut, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 5-807 7241
8:00am-5:00pm
Further reading: Bukit Larut

Established in 1883, Perak Museum (Muzium Perak) is the oldest museum in Malaysia. The building is designed with elements of Neoclassical, Victorian and Moorish architecture. The admission fee is only RM2.00 for Malaysian citizens.
There are several outdoor exhibits at the museum, like a former train coach from the Perak State Railway. In addition, the museum flaunts several classic cars like Rolls Royce Phantom VI and Alvis TD21 Tourer. Even a decommissioned fighter jet is put on display.
Indoor exhibits are divided into several galleries. Of particular interest are zoological specimens such as animal skeletons. There is another gallery that features artifacts of Orang Asli.
Perak Museum (Muzium Perak)
Jalan Taming Sari, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 5-807 2057
9:00am-6:00pm
Further reading: Perak Museum

Antong Coffee Mill (安东咖啡厂) is among the oldest coffee factories in Malaysia, having operated since 1933. Visitors can watch how coffee is roasted since Antong's early days: using wood-fired ovens. Visitors are given free coffee samples during the tour.
During your visit to Antong Coffee Mill, be sure to check out both Changchun Garden (长春圃) and The Swallow Paradise (观燕楼) next to the factory. Admission to all attractions here is absolutely free.
Antong Coffee Mill (安东咖啡厂)
8A, Jalan Syed Burhan, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 5-807 5189
8:30am-5:30pm, closed on Sundays
Further reading: Antong Coffee Mill

Novotel Taiping is a 4-star hotel in the heart of Taiping. Sharing the building with Taiping Mall, the hotel is strategically located near many tourist attractions including those mentioned earlier.
The guestrooms at Novotel Taiping are cozy and are equipped with modern conveniences. Many of these rooms have clear views of Taiping Lake Garden and Bukit Larut. The scenery is breathtaking indeed.
Novotel Taiping has two eateries: Food Exchange and Gourmet Bar. The former is where breakfast is served. Other hotel facilities include outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, Kids Club and business center.
Novotel Taiping
1, Jalan Tupai, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 5-820 8288
Further reading: Novotel Taiping

Larut Matang Hawker Centre (拉律马登小贩中心) is the largest and most popular hawker center in Taiping. Filled by over a hundred stalls, you can find almost any kind of hawker food here. The place is quite crowded during lunch hours.
One of the unique dishes at Larut Matang Hawker Centre is Goreng Koey Teow (炒鱼丸粿条). The recipe combines braising and wok-frying techniques, resulting in a noodle that is moist with dark sauce. The dish also contains fish balls, fishcake (鱼饼), char siew (叉烧), sliced pork and choy sum (菜心).
Larut Matang Hawker Centre (拉律马登小贩中心)
Jalan Panggung Wayang, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
5:00am-9:00pm
Further reading: Larut Matang Hawker Centre

Meanwhile, Pusat Makanan 3939 (3939饮食中心) is an open-air hawker center that is only open in the evening. The eatery is actually a combination of three kopitiams. Food can be ordered from any stall regardless where customers are seated.
The Fried Kuey Teow (炒粿条) here has surprisingly good "fiery aroma" (镬气). As an added bonus, the noodle is served over daun simpoh air (大叶婆). Using these large leaves to wrap food has become increasingly rare lately.
Inchi Cabin (胭脂鸡) is fried chicken in Peranakan (Nyonya) style. The chicken is marinated with herbs to make it very flavorful. This delicacy comes with prawn crackers.
Pusat Makanan 3939 (3939饮食中心)
19, Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
6:30pm-12:00am
Further reading: Pusat Makanan 3939

Moving on, Kedai Makanan OK (OK茶餐室) is open for breakfast and lunch only. There are only a handful of hawker stalls here.
The recommended dish at Kedai Makanan OK is Seafood Porridge (海鲜粥). The congee contains fresh seafood and pickled vegetables. The broth has a gentle taste but is quite satisfying.
Kedai Makanan OK (OK茶餐室)
25, Jalan Stesen, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 12-463 8866
5:00am-3:00pm
Further reading: Kedai Makanan OK

PSL Goreng Pisang (PSL炸香蕉) may appear to be an unassuming shop in town. However, it is very popular among locals.
Goreng Pisang is the specialty here. Coated with crispy batter, the banana inside is sweet and tender. Other fried items include Kuih Kelok and Goreng Popiah.
PSL Goreng Pisang (PSL炸香蕉)
85, Jalan Pasar, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
(+60) 16-516 1818
12:00pm-8:30pm
Further reading: PSL Goreng Pisang

Last but not least, Pusat Penjaja Taiping is a hawker center right in front of Novotel Taiping. The stall Yong Tau Foo Asra sells Sotong Kangkong with Yong Tau Foo. The dish is dressed with thick shrimp paste.
Pusat Penjaja Taiping
Jalan Tupai, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
6:00pm-12:00am
Further reading: Pusat Penjaja Taiping

In summary, Taiping is a charming town with a rich history. Many historical attractions here are Malaysia's firsts. Meanwhile, Taiping has an abundance of food choices, so there is absolutely no danger of starvation. Also worth a visit is Kuala Sepetang, a fishing village around a 20-minute drive to the west of Taiping.

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