I visited Taiping for the first time in my adult life. I remember my father drove us kids past Lake Taiping (Tasik Taiping). I remember a rest house up on a hill but I'm not sure which one, in Gerik or Ipoh, or was it in Taiping?
Taiping is in Perak, by a big man-made lake, Lake Taiping - remnants of the tin mining activities of the past. The tin dredges and palong have all disappeared. Tin mining is now history with many unforgotten tales, happy and sad.
It was from the tin mining activities and the miners' sufferings that the world came to know about beri-beri among its malnourished miners who were fed white polished rice, and which lacked all necessary vitamins. Beri-beri was discovered by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) in Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur.
White polished rice porridge with hard boiled salted duck eggs are a staple food of many Chinese who are struggling to etch out a living. In Kota Bharu, I met a Chinese man who made curtains for my house. At his shop, his two little girls helped themselves to white rice and salted eggs, and nothing else! I was a bit upset but I let him make my curtains so he could be paid and feed his little girls better food. I still remember the 2 little girls - they should be 22-25 today.
How to get to Taiping
From Kota Bharu, take the East-West Highway from Jeli to Gerik via Batu Melintang. Take lunch at Batu Melintang. From Gerik, take the road to Kuala Kangsar, and turn off into Taiping. There are 2 roadsigns to Taiping, take the second one, after the 2 masjids. It is best to pray at either mosques here before heading to Kuala Kangsar or Taiping. There are no mosques in view from the road between here and Kuala Kangsar or Taiping. There is an abandoned R&R on the left - do not enter as it maybe haunted.
Take the highway exit before the toll house, before the highway to Kuala Kangsar or Taiping. Make a U-turn and go down on the left into the narrow village road (jalan kampung). There is a big rattan building coloured bright yellow and black. This is the same building as in Muni's blog. I didn't have time to photograph it as I least expected to find it there (just after the highway turnoff). I saw it at the corner of my sight, then it was out of sight. I regret I did not photograph this special building.
Taiping versus Kota Bharu
Taiping is small compared to Kota Bharu. Both have old and new buildings. Taiping is ancient and rundown, and so is Kota Bharu. Taiping has an old train station; Kota Bharu does not have a train station - the nearest is at Wakaf Bharu but this is a modern train station. The roads in Taiping are straight and narrow, just like in Kota Bharu. The shop buildings are old and the same at both towns. Many buildings have been neglected; some buildings have been turned into bird houses for commercial burung walit bird nest production (very noisy).
A few Taiping buildings and places are unique and worth mentioning:
- Bismillah Restoran on Jalan Pasar
- Nawab Din's old shop near Esso (KIV)
- Hotel Seri Warisan, corner of Jalan Kota and Jalan Masjid (next to Shell on Jalan Kota)
- First Galleria on Jalan Ong Saik
- the old train station and the new one
- King Edward VII (1) School (on Jalan Stesen)
- King Edward VII (2) School (on Jalan Hulu Muzium)
- SMK St George School (on Jalan Convent)
- Hospital Taiping (at end of Jalan Masjid)
- Masjid Banda Lama Taiping (corner of Jalan Kota and Jalan Masjid)
- Masjid Jamek India Taiping (near Y-fork between Jalan Taming Sari and Jalan Kota)
- Taiping War Cemetery (empty graves, just headstones)
- military camp (Jalan Taming Sari)
- Taiping Prison (Penjara Taiping)
- Taiping markets (like long wooden sheds, painted brown) on Jalan Pasar
- Meridien Hotel-HSBC building (big building at Y-fork)
- Taiping bus station (on Jalan Masjid, behind Hotel Seri Warisan)
- Christian churches (one near military camp and another on Jalan Convent)
- Indian temples (kuil Hindu on Jalan Stesen and Jalan Kota)
- Chinese temples (tokong Cina on Jalan Kota)
- Taiping airport
- Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah (big whitewashed colonial building)
- Perbandaran Taiping (big grey building like an airship)
- old Rest House - this is across from the King Edward VII(1) School playing field. It is dilapidated. There are 3 white buildings, the last is near First Galleria.
- Treacher School - I couldn't find this school.
Layout and roads
The layout of Taiping town is simple but can be very complicated when it comes to actual driving on the road. There are a few main roads - Jalan Taming Sari, Jalan Kota and Jalan Stesen.
- Jalan Taming Sari is the main road leading into Taiping from the highway.
- Jalan Masjid joins Hotel Seri Warisan to Masjid Banda Lama Taiping and Hospital Taiping.
- Jalan Stesen goes from Hotel Meridien-HSBC building to the train station, past King Edward VII(1) school to Jalan Ong Saik.
- First Galleria is sited at the end of Jalan Stesen, on Jalan Ong Saik. It is across the road and at the corner of the King Edward VII(1) playing field.
- Jalan Kota is parallel to Jalan Taming Sari, both are main roads that cut through Taiping.
- Jalan Kota and Jalan Taming Sari converge at a Y-junction and Jalan Stesen goes off from the Y-fork to the train station to First Galleria.
- Jalan Stesen streetsign is yellow font on green bkgr and it was hard to spot and make out the streetname. We passed by Jalan Stesen 3 times before Affandi spotted the streetname (some lorries and motorcyclists blocked our view).
- I think all streetnames must be placed a bit higher and in white font on blue bkgr, so drivers can easily spot the streetnames.
- If driving on Jalan Taming Sari, go right to the end and then take left on Jalan Ong Saik to go to First Galleria. Park along Jalan Ong Saik. There is limited parking in front of First Galleria.
- If driving along Taiping Prison, go right to the end of the prison building and then take right to go to Taiping War Cemetery and Lake Taiping. The road leads back into town, to Jalan Kota, Hotel Seri Warisan, Shell and Masjid Lama Bandar Taiping.
- Jalan Convent is behind Hotel Seri Warisan and has 2 schools and churches and opposite is a row of houses.
- Bring your own map of Taiping if you don't have a GPS gadget. I drew a map of Taiping and its roads and main buildings on 5 pages in my diary.
- We got lost in the heavy downpour in Taiping. We drove around 4-5 times before we figured out where we were in Taiping. We used the Shell and Hotel Seri Warisan on Jalan Kota as landmarks to get our bearings right.
- Jalan Stesen was the most difficult to locate in heavy rain.
- We did not see a streetsign that says Jalan Taming Sari, so we had to guess!
Jalan Taming Sari
|Chinese temple on Jalan Taming Sari|
|Jalan Taming Sari|
|Hotel Meridien-HSBC building. Jalan Stesen is after this building, on the left of the Y-fork.|
|Y-fork at Jalan Kota (rightmost), Jalan Taming Sari (straight ahead) and Jalan Stesen (left).|
|Y-fork. Left is Jalan Stesen. Straight is Jalan Taming Sari. The other road at far right (not in this pic) is Jalan Kota.|
|Another clock tower in Jalan Taming Sari|
|Taiping clock tower, a bit hidden|
|District and Land Office (Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah) for Larut, Matang and Selama districts. Matang was the former name of Taiping. Larut was named after mud slid off elephant backs when they submerged.|
|Jalan Ong Saik viewed from Jalan Taming Sari. Hotel Fuliyean and First Galleria are on the right, at the end of the row of buildings.|
|Perbandaran Taiping (like a spaceship)|
|Striking whitewashed building, like a doll house|
|Church with cemetery|
|same as above|
|same as above|
|Penjara Taiping heritage signage|
|Taiping Prison was built in 1879|
|Taiping Prison (Penjara Taiping)|
Taiping War Cemetery
|Road that divides the Muslim and Christian cemeteries of Taiping War Cemetery|
|Taiping War Cemetery 1939-1945|
|Taiping War Cemetery (Muslim section)|
|Taiping War Cemetery (Christian section)|
|View of picturesque Lake Taiping|
|Taiping markets (comprise 4 old wooden buildings arranged end-to-end, like a long wooden shed)|
|same as above|
|Bismisllah restaurant (left), clock tower (middle) and market building (right; 1 of 4 blocks, looks like one long shed)|
|Close-up of Bismillah restaurant and clock tower|
|Eateries in front of the old Taiping train station|
|Eateries viewed from Taiping train station|
|Interior of old Taiping train station|
|Taiping's old train station|
|Taiping's new train station|
SK King Edward VII (1), Taiping
|SK King Edward VII(1), Jalan Stesen, Taiping|
|SK King Edward VII(1)|
|Jalan Stesen in front of SK King Edward VII(1)|
|SK King Edward VII(1), Jalan Stesen, Taiping built in 1905|
|Jalan Stesen in front of SK King Edward VII(1), leading to First Galleria at the end of the road|