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

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Siem Reap – Part 2

On the 2nd days in Siem Reap, we started as early as 4am in the morning. We left our guest house somewhere around 4.40am and reached at the Angkor Archeological Park ticket counter sharp at 5.00am. The ticket counter open exactly at 5.00am and all the staff are getting ready for the big crowd. Ya, its sunrise time! Things not to be missed when you are at Siem Reap! Passes are sold at the price of USD 20 (for 1 day), USD 40 (for 3 days) and USD 60 (for 7 days). We bought the 1 day pass since we gonna departed to Phnom Penh on the next day. Always carry your pass around and it will be checked upon each park entry and all the major temples. The passes are printed with our photo on which has been taken immediately during the passes purchase. Smile! You’re on camera. We only managed to cover only the major temples as mentioned by other bloggers and forumers due to the tight schedule and budget constraints. You can always choose to ride a bicycle in the Angkor park, but it’s way toooo big for me! Mau kejang otot dibuatnya nanti. Hehehe.

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Our first location of the day is Angkor Wat. Yes! To witness the sunrise. As mentioned by our Tuk Tuk driver Nasir, on last 21st March the sun rise exactly on the main tower and it was such a breathtaking moment for him. This is something that he couldn’t forget for the rest of his life.

The entrance of Angkor Wat.
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He reminded us a few times that the best spot to watch the sunrise is at the northern reflecting pool just in front of the temple. Once you entered, you can see the whole crowds there. The sun will rise just behind the Angkor Wat giving the effect of an silhouette. We spent about 2 and 1/2 hours there just to witness the sunrise and to walk around the temple. Angkor wat is the centrepiece of any visit to the temples of Angkor. The walls are covered with the finest Apsara carvings in the Angkorian era.

The sunrise.
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Inside of the Angkor Wat
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On the way out to the entrance again.
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Oh ya, you can have your breakfast here as well. We brought our breakfast with us this time, kuih given by our Tuk Tuk driver. Sedap gile! Don’t even know how to describe it. A lil bit sweet but i definitely love the texture. Baik betul hati Nasir tolong bekalkan kuih nie.

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We spent almost 2 and 1/2 hours here. Its time to get to another temples! But wait, the view outside are awesome!
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This is the typical view that you can see in the Angkor Archeological Park. The place is super clean! If we’re not mistaken, there are Angkor Wat Marathon conducted every year. Ramai juga Malaysian yang join in. Everytime we passed by the area, we definitely impressed on how Fatt (backpackerbusuk.blogspot.com) rode her bike here! Tabik gile lar!
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Later, you’ll reached the Angkor Thom. There are 5 entrances (gates) to the city. South gate is commonly the first stop of a tour. It’s a 3km walled and as mentioned by Nasir,it’s the last capital during the Angkorian era. During the visit, you can see a lots of the statues are currently in restoration process.

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We then headed to Bayon. This is our 1st pit stop after the South Gate. We reached here somewhere around 9am with empty stomach. Apa lagi, we had our pre-packed breakfast (packed by our hotel, Neng from Surabaya) before we started exploring Bayon. Makasih Neng! Sedap Bangat! Bayon in overall was seriously tore down especially at the internal area. Currently, it’s under restoration funded by Japan.

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Next are the Terrace of the Elephant, the 2 1/2 metre long carved with elephant and garudas.
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Terrace of the Leper King is just next to Terrace of the elephant.
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We then moved to Victory Gate where all the statue heads had been cut down. Kindly do some research why all the statue are without heads here. We only received verbal explanation from Nasir but he reminded us several times that it’s just an assumption made by local. This is another gate of Angkor Thom besides north, south, east and west gate. victory gate will lead you to the Royal Palace area.
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Later, you’ll passed by Spean Thma where it’s a stone bridge and it sits just to the side of the river. Next will be Ta Keo where Nasir explained that it once called as an unfinished temple by local since there are no carving shown on the walls. It’s plainly decorated and it has stopped several times during the construction due to excessive lightning. No photo were taken here. We just passed by via our Tuk Tuk.

The next highlight of the Angkor Park will definitely the Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm is the set of the famous movie Tomb Rider starring Angelina Jolie. This temple was actually dedicated by Jayavarman VII’s to his mother. During the ancient history,it’s believe that this place host about 3000 villagers, thousand of staff, a place that they store jewels and golds. The best fact is that, Nasir mentioned that in the past 2 weeks, the restoration workers had found a crown during the excavation works. The whole process of restoration works is now funded by the India.

Passes checked again!
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Welcome
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Restoration works in progress at Ta Promph temple. Currently, the whole process of restoration works is now funded by the Government of India. See how they need to arrange the whole stone again.
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The temple with all the big trees!
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We completed the whole trip in Angkor Archeological Park in 7 hours time. Oh ya, with our official footwear on, Crocs! Hahaha.
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Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma