Pekan, the royal town of Pahang, is one of the most historical towns in Malaysia. Pekan’s history began in the late 18th century when “Penghulu” (Chief) Abdullah bin Mohammad, popularly known as Nakhoda Intan, built a new settlement at the mouth of Bertam river. As time passed, Pekan, Pahang grew into a small town that became the first capital of Pahang after being separated from the Johor Empire following Sultan Tengku Ali’s decision to cede his territory to form Pahang Sultanate in 1757.
The Sultan Abu Bakar Museum is located at Pekan, the capital of Pahang State. It is designed in a shape that looks like an elephant, an animal known for representing strength and power and also depicts the name and origin of this town, Pekan. The Sultan Abu Bakar Museum was built to represent the history, culture and tradition that is unique within the Pahang people.
The museum also serves as a collection centre to gather relics representing Pahang’s contributions to Malaysia’s development. Its two wings and an archive building contains collections from various aspects such as Islamic studies, customs and traditions, agriculture, industry and social sciences.
Watercraft of various shapes and functions can be found here, making it one of the most exciting places to visit in Pekan. The gallery was built in 2000 according to the desire of Sultan Ahmad Shah, who had planned to preserve watercraft that are slowly disappearing from Pahang’s rivers. The collection of more than 100 artefacts to date never fail to pique visitors’ interest.
If you are looking for quality fabrics originating from Pekan, you should arrange for a visit to this gallery. The Silk Weaving Gallery has been around for over 200 years, and the knowledge of craft has been passed down for generations. A wide range of silk products characterised by a checkered pattern that is arranged so that its colour sequence can be changed intermittently from the thread can be found here.
The unique design is due to the Pekan weaving technique, whereby it requires the silk to be waxed before being woven into cloth using hand-looms. This weaving technique is rarely found in other parts of the world except for China, Vietnam and certain provinces in Indonesia.
The Tun Razak Memorial Hall was built in memory of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj (also known as “Tun Razak”). It is located at Jalan Lapangan Terbang Lama, Pekan and was officially opened by the Sultan of Pahang on 4th April 1978. The hall houses a museum displaying relics and memorabilia about the late Tunku Abdul Rahman and showcases some artefacts from China and Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand and Indonesia.
Next to the hall is a special section for children with interactive multimedia exhibits and an outdoor gallery with exciting displays. There is also an auditorium that seats 1,000 people and a small exhibition hall with Malay culture and arts presentations from different areas in Malaysia and the Kuala Lumpur Tower.
According to records, construction on the Sultan Abu Bakar Palace began in 1866 and was completed in 1869 under the orders of the Sultan of Pahang at that time, Abdullah Al-Mutasim Billah Shah. This historical monument was named after his father, who ruled from 1857 to 1860. It has, however, been abandoned since 1916, when His Majesty vacated it due to its poor condition. In 2009, the National Heritage Department took over the management of this heritage site with plans to restore it into a museum complex for public display and appreciation.
The palace consists of three buildings joined together with an enclosed courtyard in the middle. The design is straightforward with little decoration, but it has some elements that are more inclined to Islamic architectural designs. The palace was built of red bricks, with the roof made of ceramic tiles.
Among its most distinctive features is the minaret shaped like a bevelled spear. The minaret is the only one in Malaysia, and it contains four stories. The palace is also decorated with geometric shapes, flowers and vines on the walls. The minaret was built for “adzan”, or also known as the call to prayer, a function that has been discontinued since 1916. The other distinctive feature of the Pekan palace is the masonry which took three years to be completed.
Lata Mentagan Waterfall is one of the favourite spots for honeymooners and nature lovers. There are 35 steps to reach the bottom of the waterfall, which has a height of about 30 meters. From top to bottom, there are wooden platforms installed so you can feel closer to nature as you enjoy your lunch, afternoon tea or spend some time with your loved ones under the calm and enchanting atmosphere that this place has to offer.
You can also observe several kinds of colourful butterflies that flutter their way down from the top to the bottom of the waterfall and take shelter on nearby leaves and branches before they fly off again. The water itself is immaculate as it flows from a pool up on the mountain.
To get there, take the Ipoh-Lumut Highway, turn right to the next road, and follow the direction of Temerloh for around 15 km till you reach the Raub town area or Kuala Klawang. From here, drive straight on Jalan Istana Kenangan – 7 km, about 20 minutes drive from Kuala Klawang. Look out for the signboard along the way, which will lead you to this waterfall after driving above 3km.
Being a town known chiefly for its historical contributions, Pekan offers a variety of attractions for enthusiasts of Malaysian history to delve into and those who enjoy a more nature-based trip. A trip here consisting of most of the attractions listed can be completed in a day as the town is a small one but still as exciting as any other. Locations such as the waterfalls here are something not to be missed.