Bordered by the Thai province of Satun in the north, Kedah in the east and south, Perlis, the country's smallest state, exudes quaint unspoilt beauty and old rustic charm.
The economic activity of Perlis is predominantly agriculture. Rice, rubber and sugar cane are principal economic activity here. The green expanse of the rice fields, thatched-roof huts and local farmers tending to their plots are all part of the state's rustic charm. The villages are quaint and age old customs prevail. Due to the proximity and historical links with Thailand the people here have inherited some Thai traditions and its language. This is evident in the border town of Padang Besar, where the blending of local Malay and Thai elements give the town a unique flavour. Shopping for local products is a popular activity with visitors to the town.
Places of interest include a 370-m long limestone cave, Gua Kelam at Kaki Bukit, Wan g KeIian in the vicinity and the Snake Farm at Sungai Batu Pahat. Kuala Pedis is an attractive fishing town, popular for its sea food and local cuisine. This town is a transit point to the famed Pulau Langkawi. Kangar, the capital town, is the seat of the state government.About 6 km away is the scenic limestone outcrop of Gunung Medan which is a favourite spot for picnickers. Arau, the Royal Town is the residence of the State's Ruler.
A wide variety of food, from local delights to continental fare, is available in Perlis. The prices are reasonable and the service courteous. For the food lover, do sample as many exotic traditional Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes (like the perennial favourite, tom yam) as possible. A delectable time awaits you! The choices of eating places that you can patronise is also excellent, ranging from open-air hawker centres, air-conditioned restaurants to luxurious hotel restaurants. Wherever you choose to eat, rest assured the environment is clean, casual and comfortable.
Places of Interest
The royal town of Arau is located 10km from Kangar, on the Peninsula’s main railway route extending northwards into Thailands. Of interest here is the imposing Istana Arau or Royal Palace, which boasts of classic architecture, and the Royal Mosque.
Arau is the disembarkation point for visitors traveling by rail from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawa. From Arau, taxis to Kuala Perlis, the point of departure by ferry to Langkawi, are available.
The Town acquired its name from a limestone hill known locally as Bukit Chuping. The surrounding landscape is characterized by lush green sugar cane plantations covering some 22,000 hectares.
Kangar is the Capital of Perlis and the seat of government. It is located in the heart of the country’s ‘Rice Bowl’ area and depending on the season, it is surrounded by lush green fields or golden yellow padi, ripe for harvesting. Although new buildings can be seen, Kangar retains much of its old world charm.
A small town, with everything within walking distance, Kangar is not lacking in amenities and facilities. The major landmark of the town is the state mosque, Masjid Alwi.
Tasik Melati ( Melati Lake )
Located just 8KM north of Kangar, this shallow lake is an ideal place for boating, picnics and relaxing walks. More than 150 sandbar islands dot the lake and can be reached by boat or sampan. Elevated walkways across the lake provide vantage points.
Putra Golf Club
Close to the Snake and Reptile Farm is a challenging par 72, 18 hole golf course. The Putra Golf Club is reputed for its technically difficult and challenging course.
Hutan Lipur Bukit Air ( Bukit Air Recreational Park )
Just a few KM north of the Golf Club is the Bukit Air Recreational Park. Cool streams meander through pools. Well constructed paths allow easy access through the park where visitors can experience the sights and sounds of a tropical rainforest. An excellent location for picnics, the park has a camping ground, a car park and all the basic amenities.
Gua Kelam Recreational Park
The peaceful town of Kaki Bukit is home to Gua Kelam, literally translated as the ‘ Dark Caves’. The 370m long cave passage is well-lit and is believed to have been hollowed out from limestone massif by an underground stream over many eons.
Museum Kota Kayang
This new museum is situated close to what was historically a fortified area. In fact, the word ‘ Kota’ translates as fort in English. The area is also the burial ground for two 16 th century Sultans of Kedah. The remains of a palace surrounded by limestone outcrops.
The site is marked by two simple mausoleums with gravestones and the remnants of timbers that demarcated the burial sites.
While the grounds were being excavated for the construction of the new museum, artifacts most likely from the late Neolithic era were found. A bell-mouthed jar of red slip ware with cord-mark style, signifying the Ban Kao Neolithic culture of southern Thailand and Malaya, was found fairly intact. A similar splayed foot beaker and two excellent polished stone adzes, all corresponding to other similar finds in northern Malaya, probably date to around 2,000 to 2,500 years in age.
Also found at the same site was what appeared to be a die or mould of Indian origin. Other artifacts of Indian especially pottery, and date back to about 2,600 to 2,200 years, corresponding with the finds at the museum site.
Padang Besar is a bustling border town with a profusion of colours, sights and sounds. It is also a major stopover along the rail route between Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
The Elongated railway station is mannered by Malaysian officials at one end and their Thai counterparts at the other.
Padang Besar is a bargain hunter’s paradise and boasts duty free shops and a variety of produce, souvenirs and artifacts that bear testimony to the rich cultural legacy of the state.
Perlis State Park
The Perlis State Park is located along the north-western part of the Thai-Malaysian border. Straddling the Nakawan Range, the longest continuous range of limestone hills in the country, the park consists of the Mata Ayer Forest Reserve and the Wang Mu Forest Reserve. It comprises a total area of around 5,000 hectares.
The Nakawan Range has rich, heavily forested slopes, extensive cave systems, sheer cliff faces and numerous jungle streams.
There is also a great diversity of fauna and flora including more than 100 species of birds, the rare serow or mountain goat and the stump-tailed macaque. There are also many plant species found only on limestone hills, some of which are endemic to Perlis i.e.not found anywhere else in the world.
All visitors to the park must register at the Park Visitor Centre. The centre houses an exhibition on the park and audio visual facilities. Those who wish to visit the Wang Burma Cave and Gunung Perlis can hire their guides at the centre. Park accommodation situated at Wang Burma, about 1.2km from the visitor centre.
Various nature trails have been made to provide easy access and trail R-15 to Wang Kelian offers a commanding view of the surrounding countryside, including Timah Tasoh lake and the unique twin peaks of Bukit Chabang.
Wang Kelian houses a popular Sunday market where visitors can cross the Thai-Malaysian border without the use of passports, provided that they remain within the market area.
Taman Herba ( Herb Gardens )
Adjacent to Bukit Air Recreational Park, on 12 hectares of land, is the Herb Gardens. Created in 1998, its gardens now contain over 1,000 species of herb, spice and traditional medicinal plants. Both local and exotic species from other countries are grown and visitors to the gardens can learn about their uses and how to care for such plants.
The Snake And Reptile Farm
Surrounded by the Bukit Bintang Forest Reserve near Sungai Batu Pahat, and located 10km norths of kangar is the Snake and Reptile Farm. The Snake Farm is a research facility set up to develop serums for snakebites. Housing more than 20 pieces of snakes as well as enclosed exhibits. Handlers will assist the public to take photographs with tame snakes.
Getting to Pelis
There are no flights to Perlis. Visitors have to fly to Alor Setar and then take a 45 minute’s taxi ride to Kangar.
By Road (Taxi & Express Bus)
Kuala Lumpur to Kangar – RM300/Taxi
Interstate air-conditioned buses ply between major cities and towns in Penisular Malaysia and offer comfortable rides at reasonable rates.
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