Stuif's Adventures

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Fascinating Malaysia
It was not easy to find a suitable title for this post about a 4D3N trip to the northern part of Perak and the southern part of Penang. We did so many different things. We explored coastal fishing villages, tried out many laksa stalls, visited temples, had delicious seafood and much more. No waterfalls this time. Culture and Food could also have been an appropriate title..:-)

Our first stop was in Matang (near Taiping), where we had lunch at the Lighthouse Restaurant. They are famous for their seafood porridge. Delicious. The restaurant is located in Teluk Kertang.
It is here that in February 1879, Isabella Bird landed on her way to Taiping. In those days, before the construction of the Port Weld railway, the tin was shipped from here to Penang. Nowadays mangrove wood is collected for the charcoal kilns

We continued our trip to Parit Buntar, where we had booked a room in the Ritz Kapitol Hotel. These days we try to stay in "boutique" hotels, a bit more expensive, but with "atmosphere". In this hotel we had chosen the Chinese Suite..:-)

Lighthouse Restaurant

Local atmosphere

Asso an antique shop

Seafood Porridge

Lala Shells

Mangrove wood for the charcoal kilns

Isabella Bird may have landed here

Our hotel in Parit Buntar

Boutique style rooms

We had the Chinese suite

After a short rest, we went out again. Aric loves assam laksa and is preparing a website about this Malaysian food. Wherever we go he is on the lookout for laksa stalls. First we went to nearby Nibong Tebal, where there are two laksa stalls opposite each other. After having a laksa in one stall, we crossed the road to have one at the other stall. Laksa is served here with prawn crackers.
I like laksa but find it difficult to describe the differences.

We had planned to have dinner at Pulau Aman. This small island between Penang and Seberang Perai (formerly province Wellesley) is famous for its fresh seafood. But when we arrived at the jetty, we learned that the boat service stops around 5 pm! So you can only have lunch there!

We enjoyed the view of the island with Pulau Penang at the horizon, then drove back to Sg Udang, a small fishing village at the mouth of the Kerian river. We would have liked to see the sun set over the sea, but here the coast is still well protected by mangrove forest.
In Sg Udang we found a nice restaurant, very local, home-cooking style.

Two times laksa

View of Pulau Aman

THe jetty to Pulau Aman


Far away the sea

Sg Udang

Fishing boat coming home

Each fishing village has its temple

View from our restaurant

Almost full moon. Romantic

Nice seafood dinner

Back in our "Chinese Suite", Aric discovered on the Internet that there was a laksa stall in Parit Buntar with rave reviews: PangLong laksa. Not easy to find, open only on Sunday at 11am, and you have to come early and queue. That sounded interesting, the next day was a Sunday, we decided to give it a try.

The next morning we explored the tourist attractions of Parit Buntar...:-) There is not much, a clock tower, some attractive Chinese shop lots, an attempt to create a promenade along the river. Then to the shop, where already a few people were waiting. But we were in time, when the gate opened, we could have a seat. And it was worth the effort, really very delicious laksa. A nice experience.

The clock tower of Parit Buntar

TRaditional Chinese shop lots

Killing our time

Waiting for the laksa stall top open

Pang Long laksa, worth waiting for it


Our next destination was Tanjung Piandang, another fishing village in norther Perak. Here the mangrove forest has disappeared, replaced by paddy fields. The coast protection consists of concrete slabs, no idea how effective that will be in case of a tsunami.

Coastal protection

No mangrove forest

Will it be effective?

A small fishing harbour

Paddy fields

You can eat the seeds..:-)

The main sight in the village is the big Chinesg temple. It is a modern one, replacing a smaller Datok Kong temple. Datok Kong temples are interesting, because not only the Chinese deities are worshipped (in this case the Emperor God) but also local Malay spirits. Therefore in these temples pork is forbidden!

Datuk Kong temple

Stove for burning "money"


Datuk Kong ?

A temple guardian

Huge joss sticks

Time for lunch!. On the Internet we had found a good review of a simple food stall in Tanjung Piandang. Just along the main road, no signboard, but we managed to find it and the food was very nice. I like this kind of shops where the whole family is helping. I showed them the review and took their picture

Father in the kitchen

Lunch for the kids of relatives

Mantis prawns, fish, soup

Nice and VOF (value for money)

Father, mother and son

Ikan Kurau homestay

Where to stay overnight? We had found a promising homestay in Kuala Kurau, but no telephone number, so we could not book in advance. We decided to try our luck, we had the address!. After a mistake (house numbering in Malaysia can be confusing!) we finally found the location and the owner, Khoon. A nice guy, who after being an engineer in UK for several years, had decided to come back home and start a homestay there. Two rooms only and a dormitory.
The bad news was that both rooms had been booked, so only the dorm (for eight people) was available. Cheap, but a risk that others would arrive later to share. We decided to take the risk and it worked out well. We had a quiet night in bunk beds! We now have the telephone number of Khoon, we will come back to enjoy the riverview room.

With Khoon, its owner

River view from the homestay


A dormitory, for a change

Happy? Or not really?

Beautiful tree

AFter checking in and some rest, we went to Kuala Gula. Nice countryside, padi fields. Kuala Gula is famous as a bird sanctuary, but we came for the food. And to visit a temple. Near Kuala Gula, in the midst of a plam oil estate, a huge temple complex has been constructed, the (Buddhist/Taoist) Hua Seng Keng temple.
The complex reminded me of the Haw Par Villa in Singapore, with its vivid depictions of the punishment you will undergo in Hell. Fortunately, before leaving hell, you drink the tea of forgetfulness..:-)

Protecting a shrine

The Hua Seng Keng temple

Guan Yin, a dragon and me


View from Heaven

The heavenly Gods

The judgment

Entering Hell


More punishment

Leaving Hell

A friendly Malay(!) guardian

The Chinese temple had a Malay guard, a friendly old man. In these coastal villages the relation between the races is still quite good, not yet influenced by the race-based Putrajaya politics. Nearby Kuala Gula has a few wel-known seafood restaurants, in one of them we had crab mihoon and baby octopus!

The next morning we had breakfast in a coffee shop, advised by Khoon. Also here a nice atmosphere, with all races coming for their breakfast. Before leaving Kuala we walked around a bit, it is just a pleasant fishing village, less touristic than Kuala Sepetang.

Kuala Gula seafood restaurant

Famous for its crab mihoon

This is how to eat baby octopus

Breakfast in Kuala Kurau

Noodles in funny colors

Old style in Kuala Kurau

Modern style, wild colors

Bike bridge across the Kurau river

The bridge and the temple

The Kurau river, with fish farms

Sam Ong Yeh temple

Our next destination was Ipoh, on our way we stopped in Kamunting to visit the Sam Ong Yeh temple, built in 1882. The tin miner and philantropist Loke Yew was involved in the construction and patronage of the temple. The simple wooden bench that he used as a bed, is still there. I had visited the temple a few years before and the lady still recognised me...:-)


The usual drum and bell

About the temple history

Interesting details

Loke Yew slept on this bench

Ipoh Bali Hotel

Aric had kept the hotel in Ipoh as a surprise for me, and what a surprise it was. The Ipoh Bali Hotel. I loved it at first sight. A room in Balinese style, with our own private balcony, a pond with koi fish at our feet. A place where you just want to stay and relax. But we had still to go out for our lunch.

Not far from our hotel we found a nice coffee shop, an outlet of the famous Chang Jiang white coffee. Coffee was good, the food too, nice place, with a small museum and a shop where we bought of course Chang Yiang coffee.

The friendly reception

Our room

the bathroom

Our own balcony

Quiet and private

Waterfall and koi fish

Hotel interior

Chang Yiang White coffee

Late lunch

In the museum/shop

Our hotel by night

Then back to the hotel and relax..:-) I am sure I want to come back to this hotel!
In the evening we went out for dinner. To Dessert Street, a foodcourt specialising in sumptuous desserts. Never had such a delicious ABC with fruits.

So relaxing

Time to read a book

Dessert street

And what kind of dessert!

Personalised breakfast

The next morning after a nice breakfast, we first visited the murals, created by Zacharevic (of Penang fame...). I have written a separate post about these Ipoh Murals.
We also had a look at the former Lido Cinema, created by Iversen. Something for a new post...

After lunch (laksa of course, but also Yong Tau Foo), before going back home, we went to the Qing Xin Ling Cultural and Leisure Village. Actually Aric had tried to book a chalet here, but it was fully booked, so instead we stayed in the Bali Ipoh Hotel. Thank god...:-).
An interesting, but weird place, I have written a separate report about it: Cing Xin Ling

Iversen's Lido

Zacharevic's Murals


Qing Xin Ling

The coastal region we explored

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