Stuif's Adventures

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A Heritage Trip, September 2014
After I had published my recent blog about the Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley, I wanted to revisit the Lenggong museum and a few of the archaeological locations. I had also been reading again fascinating Isabella Bird's travelogue about her voyage from Butterworth to Taiping, in February 1879, landing in a place called Teluk Kertang. Would that place still exist?

Reasons enough for another heritage trip to Lenggong and Taiping, this time with my waterfall friend Joe Yap. Our first destination was the Suka Suka resort, north of Kuala Kangsar,just to say hello to Aziz, Asiah and Azam. Aziz is always looking for old Malay houses, which he takes apart and then rebuilds on his resort. After a cup of coffee and some chit chat we continued to the famous Ikan Bakar restaurant at Rasik Raban, where we had our lunch.

The entrance of Suka Suka

One of Aziz's recent additions

The Ikan Bakar restaurant

Barbecued Tilapia

Huge choice of veggies

Enjoying my lunch

The main reason that I wanted to visit the Lenggong museum again, was to find out how much attention was given to the "spectacular" discovery of 1.83 million old paleolithic tools, a few years ago. They were supposedly found embedded in suevite boulders, formed as a result of a meteorite impact at Bukit Bunuh. See my blog for details. The museum has two floors, the ground floor shows the Perak man, many stone tools, and describes the various finds in the Lenggong valley. No mention of the Bukit Bunuh meteorite. The first floor gallery consists of a series of posters, describing the archaeological history the Lenggong valley. One poster mentions the meteorite impact. And a (replica? of a) suevite boulder is exhibited, with a hand axe embedded in it. That's all, a bit strange.....

The museum has been built on one of the archaeological locations, the tool shops of Kota Tampan (70.000 BP). I asked the security if there were still remains of the digs to be seen, he pointed at a shelter near the museum, but it was not accessible.

Apparently many of the archeological locations in the valley are now fenced off and can only be accessed with written permission. That was certainly not the case wit our next destination, Bukit Jawa, the oldest find in the valley (200.000 BP). No protection at all, except a roof above the excavation and a ramshackle staircase.

The Perak Man

He may have looked like this

The only mention of the meteorite

A festival going on

A suevite boulder (replica?)

The Kota Tampan excavation

A reail suevite boulder

Shall I use the stairs?

Better not

Bukit Jawa excavation

Sign board to the cave

A steep climb up

That was different with the cave where the Perak man was found. The road signs for this Gua Gunung Runtuh are still there, and a clear trail climbs up the steep slope. But the cave entrance is closed by a solid fence and a gate and there is no way you can sneak in...:-).

After visiting these locations, we continued our route, crossing the Bintang range with the two waterfalls of Tebing Tinggi and Lata Puteh. On our way to Taiping I decided to have a look at Anak Kurau, where there is a quaint barbershop, built against the rockface. Twice already I had a haircut there, so the barber recognised me. A nice tradition and where can get you a haircut nowadays for 5 Ringgit, including a trimming of your eyebrows?

It was almost 7 pm when we finally reached our hotel in Taiping. After a short rest we went for dinner to the Lake Garden foodcourt. One of my favourite eateries. The collage of dishes shows, starting top left corner and clockwise: Loh Bak, Chee Cheong Fun, Prawn mee and Oyster omelette.

Solid fencing!

Tebing Tinggi waterfall

Lata Puteh

Nice padi fields

Barbershop at Anak Kurau

Getting a haircut

My third visit

Dinner at the Lake Garden foodcourt


Dim Sum breakfast

The Kota Ngah Ibrahim

The next morning we had a dim sum breakast in another of my favourite Taiping eateries, located in the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, near the Lake Gardens.
Our itinerary for this day started with a visit of Kota Ngah Ibrahim. This was originally where the Mentri Besar lived in Isabella's days, until he was exiled to the Seychelles in the aftermath of the Birch killing. The court case against his murderers was held here. During WWII the Japanese used it as their headquarters, and later it was a school. Now it is a museum.

According to legend an elephant "discovered" the first tin

Court case against the murderers of Birch

It also has been a school

Captain Speedy's bungalow

An old well near the Kota

Teluk Kartang

Sg Larut where Isabella Bird landed

Mangrove trees for charcoal kilns(?)

Quite near to the museum is the small kampung of Teluk Kertang. Isabella Bird landed here in February 1879 with the steam launch Kinta and traveled from there to the Residency in Taiping in a horse-chart. In those days the railway to Port Weld (Kuala Sepetang) did not yet exist and Teluk Kertang was the main port from where the tin ore was shipped to Penang. Now it is a small fishing village, we noticed lots of mangrove wood, probably for the charcoal kilns.

Our next stop was Kuala Sepetang. Recently a pedestrian bridge has been built across the Sepetang river, connecting the two parts of the village. I have been there many times, it is becoming more touristic now. A bit like Pulau Ketam. There is a ferry service with Kuala Sangga, a fishing village on stilts, I like to go there next time. There are also eagle watching trips and fireflies trips in the evening. We walked around and took the traditional ferry (20 cents only!) back to the main street. In the Taoist temple a festival was going on and we had the famous curry mee for lunch.

The new bridge of Kuala Sepetang

View from the bridge

Lots of traffic

It is becoming a tourist destination



A Brahmini Kite

Still a fishing village

Houses on stilts

Large Chinese population

An outside toilet. AYOR!

No cars here!

Traditional river crossing

Only 20 cents

A Chinese Temple

Puppet theatre

The puppeteer

and the musician

The famous Curry Mee

All that remains of the railway station

The railway from Taiping to Port Weld was constructed in 1885 and is one of the many "Firsts" of Taiping. The railway tracks have been demolished many decades ago, and the slightly elevated railway embankment is now a road, leading in a straight line to Taiping. Entering Taiping town we passed an attractive Hindu temple, still under construction and actually nicer without the bright colors which are so characteristic for Hindu temples.

There was still enough time to do a tour of some historical buildings, several being "Firsts", like the prison. And of course I had to have a look a the two "Shames" of Taiping, the Old Resthouse and the Casuarina hotel behind the pillars of the former Residency. Both in a deplorable state and beyond repair. Sad.

In the past the tracks where here

A nice Indian temple


St Georgius School

A nice old house

Famous Cendol

Larut Matang District Office

The prison

The officers club

All Saints Church

the graveyard

The Old Resthouse :-(

The buildings next to it


What remains of the residency

Once was this the Casuarina Inn

Dinner at Prima

The colorful dobi field

Breakfast at Casual Market

We ended this interesting day, full of variety, with a dinner in one of Taiping's landmarks: the Prima foodcourt. The next morning, after breakfast in another landmark, the Casual Market, and a drive around the Lake Gardens, it was time to go back. We stopped for a while in Gopeng, to have a look at the murals there. Many towns in Malaysia are "copying" these days what started in Penang.

A few weeks ago I had visited my orang asli friend Jinnah in Pos Dipang to take pictures of him and his family. I had printed and framed a few of them, so we paid him a short visit and handed them over. For our lunch we went to the famous duck noodle shop in Bidor. They also sell delicious crispy yam puffs (Woo Kok).

A very rewarding weekend trip!

THe Lake Gardens

Always beautiful

Street Art in Gopeng

JOe and a mural

Another one

This one is quite new

Visiting Jinnah in Pos Dipang

The duck noodle shop in Bidor

The duck soup

Famous for its yam puffs


Our lunch

GE map of Taiping and Port Weld

Bernard wrote on Sep 23, 2014:
Jan, an interesting write up and nice pictures. Kudos!!!

geetee wrote on Sep 30, 2014:
Looks like you both had a fruitful n interesting trip. As usual, great pics. Rock on my fren.

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