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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Taiping: Great Offbeat Destination in Peninsular Malaysia

When one thinks of planning a vacation in Malaysia, the name Taiping hardly comes to mind. In fact, it was no different for me when I spent an entire month in Malaysia around the middle of last year without having this place in my travel itinerary. But on my recent trip to Malaysia that was on an invite from Tourism Malaysia, I discovered Taiping and boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Perak State Museum, Taiping, Malaysia
This absolutely green town used to be a commercial center during Malaysia’s colonial days till Kuala Lumpur and Singapore took center stage in the world of industrial revolution. Today, this is a well laid out town with an easy going pace. It receives the highest rainfall in peninsular Malaysia. In fact, it more or less receives rainfall every day. Due to this, the terrain is full of forests, greenery and wildlife. The people of this town have a laid back lifestyle that augurs so well for tourism. They have the same smile and helping attitude like the rest of Malaysians.

Malay Wedding customs depicted inside Perak State Museum, Taiping
Taiping has one of the earliest museums of Malaysia. Hence, the Perak state museum is where a traveler can start his Taiping tour from. The other thing that is special about Taiping is its zoo. There are only 3 zoos in the world that offer night safaris. One is at Guangzhou, China. The second is at Singapore and the third one is right in the heart of Taiping. A night safari is a great way to get to see some of the world’s rarest and finest animals. I am not the typical zoo type, but on seeing the quality of the zoo and the health of its animals, I have nothing but glowing words about this zoo.

Old Rolls Royce on display at Perak State Museum, Taiping, Malaysia
In addition to it museum, zoo and night safari, Taiping offers lake gardens, a hill station in the name of Maxwell hill, many jungle trekking trails, many waterfalls and natural swimming pools, traditional homestays, center for biological diversity and much more. In fact, if you feel like relaxing and need a place to rejuvenate yourself, I think Taiping has all the ingredients to be that place.

Fire brigade from colonial days at Perak State Museum, Taiping, Malaysia
It is easily accessible from Kuala Lumpur (about 4 hours) and Penang (about 3 hours). Ipoh, Cameron highlands, Genting Highlands, Langkawi and Royal Belum rainforest are also within close reach. This heritage town offers a lot of culture, interesting food, great people, fantastic nature and much more. I would love to visit this town again and I would like you to give it a try if you like off beat destinations.



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