Twenty hours in Taiping

Posted: April 26, 2015 in Taiping Malaysia
Tags: , ,

A quick overnighter to Taiping, from KL. Last visited eons ago in 1999 on the way back from Penang and in 2000 on a bike trip from Kota Bahru to Penang. Nothing much has changed in this sleepy town under the shadow of Bukit Larut or Maxwell Hill. One thing’s for certain are the afternoon rains. It poured cats and dogs and more, a few minutes after we settled into the 4 decade old, but well kept Furama Hotel, close to the Lake Gardens.


Malaysia’s wettest town is true to form. 4000 mm/year over the national average of 2000 mm/year.


Off the wet season, the rains clear in around an hour and life continues…


The road around the very lush lake gardens. Ain’t no drought here.


Rain tree branches teasing the lake waters.


Maxwell Hill transmission towers in the faint distance on the summit. There’s a road to the top, but access is only by hired government run Land Rovers. You can also walk up, but it’s quite narrow.


The old long wooden markets cuts across 3 streets. Apparently there is an old one and a ‘new’ one, both built in 1884 and 1885 (the ‘newer’ one) legacies of Brirish colonial rule.


A much newer post war version that could be 20 or 30 years ‘young’ Concrete ‘food mall’ type of structure that we’re more accustomed to. Row upon row of cheap, quick and easy food, right next to the town taxi stand at the back. Mostly shut down by 2 or 3 pm. It’s not a night place.

P1230274Chairs and tables spill onto the streets at a more recent addition to the town’s food scene. With such ‘modernity’ higher prices are a given. OK for the tourists but not for the grumbling locals.


Typical coffee shop in old downtown area. Even the extractor fan has a wooden frame.


Like Ipoh and Penang, the old streets and largely untouched pre war houses are attractive period film sets.


‘Harrison’ has a Chinese heritage….

P1230304 P1230300 P1230244

A leisurely morning walk reveals some really old homes that look abandoned, but upon second glance are still occupied by older folk, and stray dogs, hanging on to the past long after their children have left for the big city in search of opportunities beyond Taiping or even Malaysia.


The very slow life.


Hand painted probably in the 70’s


Art deco windows above a coffee shop.


I had a beef stroganoff here in 2000. Nice to see it’s still in business. Probably the only place in town to serve western food in the 80’s or 90’s


Nissan, rather Datsun 120Y station wagon, pretty much extinct in the big cities, or anywhere


An extremely new business, for Taiping

P1230331Online research for the 1930 Peace Hotel in Taiping throws up two things. ‘Eclectic Straits Chinese style  in the Chinese quarter of town’ and more recently, ‘excellent roast pork and duck’ from a stall on the premises.

P1230339I recall reading somewhere that it’s more macabre past saw the hangings and beheadings of war victims by the Japanese during WW2.




Slightly refurbished room at the Furama. OK for RM$79.50. I would have covered much more ground on 2 wheels, but alas could only do so much on one sweaty morning, before the drive back to KL.


Of course it is, it’s as essential as running water in the bathroom.


Very reasonable prices almost like Bangkok but not KL and definitely not in Singapore.


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