Road Trip to Ipoh – Part 2 (Masjid Muhammadiah, Ipoh Heritage Trail, Pasar Karat)

Masjid Muhammadiah, Taman Tasek Jaya

While googling on where to go in Ipoh town, we stumbled across a newspaper article of the ‘First Chinese Muslim Mosque in Perak’ which was recently completed in September 2013. As we had reached our afternoon prayers time, we decided to make a stop there in order to perform our prayers. So, here we go! This unique little mosque is located in Taman Tasek Jaya, Ipoh. How does it all started? Masjid Muhammadiah has its origin from a small ‘surau’ which was built-in the 80’s and this was a brain child of Allahyarham Tuan Haji Abdul Latif bin Haji Mohd Kassim and the early residents of the neighbourhood too. What makes us so impressed is that we spotted a multi racial community stopping by just to snap a photos in front of the building. From Chinese, Indian, Malay even Bangladesh and Nepalese too. In a way, we could see that it already emerged as an important tourist attraction for all races, including the non-muslims.

In order to successfully convey the image of the ‘First Ever Chinese Muslim Mosque in Perak’, the mosque was built with a complete Chinese architectural design. The roof tiles were imported all the way from the Land of China, whilst the assembly of the roof was supervised by a specialist technician from China too. As mentioned by the Management, the primary objective of having this architectural design is to make it clear to our multi racial society that Islam does not prohibit the cultural practice of any particular race provided that the cultural practice does not conflict with Islamic teachings, just as Islam does not prevent anyone to excel in their own language and culture respectively.

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Ipoh Heritage Trail

Yes, this town is made for walking! You can leisurely stroll along the historical buildings with colonial architecture and the pre World War II which took about 2 -3 hours of your time. A self guided tour is possible with the helpful map. We managed to visit only a few of it as we’re running out of time.

Ipoh Heritage Trail leaflet_Sep09

Source: Ipoh Paradise

If you intend to do this, put on your most comfortable sneakers on and your most trusted sunblock. And now, you’re ready for it!

As we had our mouthful breakfast at Medan Selera Dato Sagor, we basically kick off our heritage trail from there. So, our first pit stop is definitely the Ipoh Town Hall and Old Post Office.

The beautiful building of Ipoh Town Hall and Old Post Office
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The most iconic building in Ipoh which is the Ipoh Railway Station. Those days in the past, it is known as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh and it houses the hotel called the Majestic Hotel. When we were there, it was sad to see that the hotel was no more in operation. In fact, half of the building was left unattended and was not properly maintained. It was such a waste!

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Next spot are the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, standing just in front of Ipoh State Mosque. This memorial tower was built dedicated to the first British Resident in Perak, J.W.W Birch. He was killed in Pasir Salak by a group of Malay way back in the year of 1875.  In the ancient stories, it was told that Mr. Birch was such an arrogant man and showed no mutual respect and sensitivity towards the local customs and religions.

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Right after that, we randomly walked and spotted the Straits Trading Building (OCBC), The Standard Chartered Bank, Perak Hydro Building which is now used by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and many mores. But what attracted us was the art work near to Jalan Dato’ Maharajalela. We ended up heritage trail and walked back to our car near to Medan Selera Dato Sagor. Penat gak lar. 😀

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Pasar Karat

Next was Pasar Karat! Yes, Pasar Karat Ipoh or formerly known as Pasar Loken located at Jalan Horley. The market started as early as 7.00am till afternoon. You can find almost everything from the olden days. ALMOST everything! The next things that we knew is that we keep reminding and talking to each other that ‘I used to have that’, ‘this is what we had masa kecik kecik’, ‘macam pernah tengok jek kat rumah Atuk and Nenek dulu?’ and all kind of statements and questions that popped out from our mouth. It was like walking through the time machine and going back to the old days. Everything was so VINTAGE & RARE. It come to the extend that you never thought that you will find those stuff there at the market. But they look very differently as everything are so valuable.

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The portrait on the right is kind of scary. The eyes especially.

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We spent so much time here as FF’s is really into the Volkswagen Station Wagon Model.

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That Volvo grills reminded me of Arwah Ayah car.

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In overall, Ipoh is definitely a place if you want to run from the city area just to get a short getaway over the weekend. Explore and discover yourself!

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

 

Road Trip to Ipoh – Part 1 (Gopeng Heritage Museum, Kellie’s Castle)

Yes, again, we’re on a Road Trip to Ipoh over the weekend. Did we mentioned that we just love road trip! It’s fun. FF’s lil’ brother just got his new car and we just wanted to try the ‘so called’ new car endurance. Well, that’s the plan and why Ipoh? Somewhere around end of last year road trip, we only managed to cover Taiping and we believe Ipoh and the surrounding town has even more to offer.  We don’t have any fix itinerary as it was just a free and easy trip for 3 of us. We are very much depending on WAZE application through out the trip and it direct us to the correct location each time.

GOPENG HERITAGE HOUSE

As we just a few kilometres away of the Gopeng exit via the PLUS North South Highway, we then decided to drop by to the Gopeng Heritage House. We just knew that Gopeng Heritage House was actually started right after the opening of Muzium Gopeng. The Gopeng Museum was launched on April 2009 and the Heritage House 2 years later. We initially got confused when we did passed by Muzium Gopeng and saw such an identical design, colour and building on our way back from Gopeng Heritage House.

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At the Gopeng Heritage House, we found out and realized that Gopeng town was actually older than Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur 150 years ago where the main 2 activities are the tin mining and rubber plantations. This is even where the most famous traditional chinese medicine product of Eu Yan Sang (such as the ginseng, bird nest and etc) is fully originated.

It all began in 1873 when Eu Kong left his hometown of Foshan, a village in Guangdong province of southern China, to seek his fortune in Malaya. The industrious young man settled down in the small mining town of Gopeng, Perak.

Noticing that the tin mine workers depended on opium to alleviate the pain and suffering from hard work and poor living conditions, he introduced traditional Chinese herbal remedies to nurse their health. This led to the opening of the first Yan Sang shop in 1879.

Source: euyansang.com.my

The house was a brilliant idea of a banker by profession, Bernard Yaw where he returned to Gopeng just to fulfill his mother’s dream. We were so impressed as this is one of his efforts to reminisce the glory years of Gopeng and to show the way of life in the last century.

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Introducing FF’s lil bro. 😀
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They even have a small cafe if you intend to have a cup of coffee and tea at the back-end of Ground Floor. It comes with a small souvenir corner too. It was just nice to watch those Aunt and Uncle having their talk from this top view with such a nice background set.
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The Heritage House is only open on Saturday and Sunday meanwhile the Gopeng Museum opens five days a week and is closed on Wednesday and Thursday. In case you are wondering where’s the exact location, this is it:

Gopeng Heritage House – Jalan Sungai Itik, 31600, Gopeng Perak

Muzium Gopeng – No. 28, Jalan Eu Kong, 31600 Gopeng, Perak

KELLIE’S CASTLE

Right after Gopeng Town, we then moved forward towards Ipoh town. We suddenly spotted the road signage showing ‘Kellie’s Castle’ on the main road and we decided to re route and headed to Batu Gajah. It was our first time here. We were there somewhere around 11.00am and it was scorching hot at that time. We were told that this is the ‘NEW’ kind of look of the castle as it was newly refurbished with an extra features of public facilities such as the ample parking lots, toilet, convenience shop, new landscape and others just to serve as a visitor spot. Plus, local visitors are required to pay for an entrance fees of RM 5. This castle was strategically located where it was surrounded by a river.

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Kellie’s Castle (Kellie’s Folly) is located near Batu Gajah, and it is about 20 minutes drive from IpohPerakMalaysia. The unfinished, ruined mansion, was built by a Scottish planter named William Kellie Smith. According to differing accounts, it was either a gift for his wife or a home for his son.

Unfortunately William Kellie Smith died at the age of 56 due to pneumonia during a short trip to Lisbon, Portugal in 1926. William’s wife was devastated and decided to move back to Scotland. In the end, Kellas House, later known as Kellie’s Folly or Kellie’s Castle, was sold to a British company called Harrisons and Crosfield.

Source: Wikipedia

The main entrance
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The famous Kellas House
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There have been many myths about the castle where it was believe that Smith’s and his daughter spirit are still wandering inside the castle especially along the corridors. There’s also a statement saying that those spirits are from the workers who are died during the construction and 2nd World War. Despite of all the myths, what exactly attracted us is when we found that one of the most famous Project Management Consultant (PMC) – Opus International was originally from Kinta Kellas Tin Dredging Company Ltd owned by William Kellie Smith. And this is how it all started.

The ‘so called’ Haunted Corridor

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The view from 2nd floor where the podium and an indoor tennis court is located. It was believe that the floor was constructed to cater function for all the wealthy colonial planters around Kinta area.

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Besides being haunted, the castle is believed to have hidden rooms and secret underground tunnels. It was believed that there are 4 underground tunnels and Smith’s car is parked in one of the tunnels too. Amazing huh? Perhaps, you might want to include this unfinished castle or mansion to your itinerary if you’re happen to be in Perak.

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Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

From Taiping with Love – Part 3 (Taiping Town again)

Completed our so-called ‘treasure hunt’ in Matang and Kuala Sepetang earlier. But, we definitely need to continue the ‘treasure hunt’ back in Taiping town itself. Right after the overdosed consumption of prawns, we then drove back to Taiping town. Just to kill the time, we strolled down the Taman Tasik Taiping and it’s really KILL me out! I lost my BB right here! I just realized it when we left the place and we quickly turned back to check whether my BB is still there or not. After a few trial, ‘the person’ who found my BB cancelled out the call and turned off the phone immediately. Thanks! You’ve made my day! Tragis gile. By the way, I’m proud to announce that I’m now phone less for almost 8th day. 😀

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In case you’re wondering that big trees, it’s actually ‘Pokok Hujan’ or Rain Tree. Scientifically, it was called as ‘Samanea Saman’. Right after the tragedy, we then left to hotel and had our dinner at the food court next to Balai Bomba Taiping. So, our choice is Kak Lia Yong Tau Fu No. 17 as advise by other blogger. Maybe, Yong Tau Fu is just not our kind of food. We couldn’t complete the whole meal plus the condition of the food court itself. :(.

On the 2nd day, we immediately checked out from the hotel since we need to get back to KL as soon as possible. But we promised our self that we need to get some good local food before we left. FF’s really wanted to go to The First Galleria since we saw the place the night before. Apparently, we got lost and that the reason how we found out about it. Unfortunately, the place will be open somewhere around 12.30pm and we have to pass it out. But, we had fun looking over stuff just in front of the galleria.

The First Galleria.
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Model 221 Class of 22125 which carried the name of ‘Teluk Chempedak’! For many years, the 221 class was used in the back and forth to Singapore via ‘Ekspress Rakyat’.
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This is definitely our last tour to Taiping before we left. We parked our car by the roadside and walked along the old looks of shop houses to the market and end up at the Larut Matang Hawker Centre.
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Oh my, we really impressed on the structure of the old market. It really stand till today.
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The barber. A Pakcik and an Uncle. Love it!
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And this is where our food hunting ends! We tried the Ella Popiah before waiting Pakcik Jabbar to set up his stall. You can see the ingredients. Simple but yet delicious! We then ordered the famous Mee Combat too! Since we’re there early and no one were around, we had a short chit chat and asked Pakcik Jabbar how does the word of ‘COMBAT’ came into the picture. He explained to us with full of action. How cute! He actually love the COMBAT TV series produced way back in 1972 and he always makes fun with the children who came down from the upper floor through the staircases (previously the Larut Matang Supermarket) doing an action of gun shooting. Since then, people around called him Combat! We laughed out loud! To make it more real, Pakcik Jabbar will always wear an army shirt as his uniform too!

Ella Popiah.
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In overall, Taiping really create the scent of calm as for us. And there’s no time concept here. Everything were remained as it should be in this modernization era.

Mission accomplished! Taiping rocks! Where’s next?

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

From Taiping with Love – Part 2 (Matang & Kuala Sepetang)

Within 20 minutes of car ride to Matang, we then stumbled across the Matang Historical Complex signage. We look at each other without words and FF’s very much understand that we need to stop over and visit the place. Actions speak louder than words. :D. Entrance fees are free.

The Matang Historical Complex (formerly known as Kota Ngah Ibrahim Historical Complex) is located at Gantang Hill, Matang (formerly known as Permatang). It was built by Ngah Ibrahim, who carried the title Orang Kaya Menteri Paduka Tuan. He was the son of Che Long Jaafar, the first Malay who opened tin mines in the Larut, Matang and Selama areas in 1840. This complex also doubled as a home, fort and administrative center and covers an area of 0.8094 hectares. This building was constructed using only rock-based materials. After Ngah Ibrahim’s death in Singapore on Feb 4, 1895 the building was put under the English administration until it was converted into the Matang Malay Teaching College (1913-1922). During the Japanese occupation in the Malay States (1941 – 1945), it functioned as the Japanese Army’s headquarters. After Japan surrendered and the World War II ended in 1946, it was transformed into a Malay School (1945-1984). The fort was converted into the Matang Historical Complex beginning in 1985 and was handed over to the Department of Museums and Antiquities (Now Department of Museum Malaysia).

Source: Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Official Website)

The exterior
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The interior (1st floor)
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While driving towards the Kuala Sepetang Town (formerly known as Port Weld), I talked to FF’s and told him that I got goosebumps while walking around at the Ground Floor of the house (especially after passing by the model of prison, once used by Japanese’s Army as the headquarters). FF’s responded the same but we just keep it to ourselves till we finished exploring. Phewww!

On our way to Kuala Sepetang Town, the mangrove forest welcomed us with open hand.
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Once reached the Kuala Sepetang town, the first smell that stuck in my nose is definitely the smell of seafood! You can actually see the fisherman loading up all their ‘catch of the day’ at the nearby jetty. We then saw this old signboard of KTM Portweld dated 1885. OMG! It has been there for about 128 years! We just found out that the whole railway line from here to Taiping is the first railway line in the Peninsular of Malaysia. The only thing left is the signboard and the ticketing booth which is now a coffee shop!

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We then left to Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (Hutan Paya Laut Matang). Again, NO entrance fees required! Did i told you that this is really a low-budget travel but you can really enjoyed it all the way. I believe it’s open daily to visitor. The best part is that it has a boardwalk built over the swamp and you can really observe the mangrove closely.

Matang Sea Mangrove Jungle is 101,877 hectares, with 198 permanent forests reserves that have various flora and fauna species from the shoreline and sea mangrove eco-system. This is the oldest mangrove jungle and recognised as the best mangrove jungle management and administration in the world.

Source: Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Official Website)

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The jetty and the view from here.
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We even saw the charcoal factory signboard nearby. FF’s entered the junction and we stop at one of the factory and asked the workers whether is it possible for us to walk around and see how charcoal were made. They told us that we’re very much welcomed and feel free to walk around. Permission granted! It’s best to seek for permission once you entered other people premises. Current view finder at that time : RUSTIC, DUSTY, HOT, BLACK. We’re very much lucky since the workers are still around at this hour.

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The whole trip wouldn’t be complete with a bowl of local famous ‘Mee Udang’ in Kuala Sepetang. We then end up at ‘Mak Jah Mee Udang’ at Kampung Menteri due to the crowd there. We only ordered a bowl of ‘Mee Udang’ and ‘Udang Goreng Tepung’ for both of us. Just nice since we’re still full with Kuey Teow, Cendol and Pasembur that we had earlier on the same day. :D. I would say that I like ‘Udang Goreng Tepung’ the most than the ‘Mee Udang’ itself. It’s very easy to spot the restaurant with the help of directional signage along the way. You wont get lost.

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We wrapped up the whole journey to Matang and Kuala Sepetang somewhere around 5.00pm and returned to Taiping Town.

We will continue our journey on Part 3 – Taiping Town.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma