The name ‘Perak’, which means silver, was gleaned from the glittering tin ore found in abundance.
This rugged swath of Peninsular Malaysia is as rewarding for trekkers as for gastronomes. Perak (literally ‘silver’, a nod to its tin-mining boom times) receives only a modest stream of international travellers, but to Malaysians, its attractions are totemic: white coffee, colonial-era relics, limestone bluffs. Nostalgia is rife in Ipoh and Taiping, Perak’s largest and most appealing towns. But Perak is most interesting beyond its population centres: surrounding Ipoh are temples posing dramatically on cliffs; west of Taiping is a mangrove reserve. Things get wetter and wilder at river-rafting centre Gopeng, and north in Royal Belum State Park, where pristine rainforest is interspersed with lagoons. Perak is also a good starting point to explore the Cameron Highlands (technically in Pahang) and its breezy hill stations, where days are spent hiking and slathering cream onto scones.
Perak is situated along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and covers an area of 21,000 sq km. Meaning silver in Malay, it was so named as the state is home to the Kinta Valley, which once contained the world’s richest tin deposits, drawing visitors from around the globe. Today, it captivates hearts with its intriguing cave temples, thriving virgin rainforests, delicious varieties of cuisine and of course, the renowned Pangkor Laut Resort. Its capital city is Ipoh, the City of Bougainvillaea.
A journey to Perak takes travellers into what was once the key region for Malaysia’s economic prosperity. Tin, the basis for the state’s wealth, was taken from diggings that claimed to be the largest such mines in the world. The wealth from the mines paid for many of the historical structures evident throughout the state. Perak, which means silver in Malay, is Peninsular Malaysia’s second-largest state, reaching from Tanjung Malim in the south to the Thai border, covering some 21,000 sq km (8,108 sq miles). Its sultan’s family is also the last to be able to trace its ancestry to the 16th century sultans of Melaka. The journey north from KL either by train or car takes you through a captivating landscape of forests and plantations, reaching back from the coastal plains to climb the blue hills of the Titiwangsa Range.