Kuala Kangsar is Perak’s royal city, with regal palaces, historical landmarks, and lavish architectural expenditures. It’s no surprise that Kuala Kangsar is regarded as Perak’s royal town. Here live keris craftsmen and embroiderers who serve royalty, as well as labu sayong manufacturers who make items for everyday people. 30 kilometres north of Ipoh, visitors to this town of tales and legacies will find much to see and do!
The Ubudiah Mosque is located in the beautiful hill station of Kuala Kangsar, beside the village’s main mosque. This magnificent structure is one of Malaysia’s most gorgeous mosques. It was designed at the behest of Sultan Idris Murshidal Azam Shah following his recuperation from an illness in 1913, but the sultan died before it could be completed. If you wish to visit the mosque, make sure you dress modestly!
This location is one that allows for stunning photo opportunities! The Victoria Bridge, which spans the Perak River near Karai and was erected in 1897, is one of Malaysia’s oldest railway bridges! It was named after Queen Victoria in honour of her Diamond Jubilee Year. Before it was decommissioned in 2002, Victoria Bridge connected Penang with the western Malay states by rail transit of tin ore.
A patisserie near Victoria Bridge sells freshly baked breads as well as Milo Kepal, a mildly sweet iced treat made with one of Malaysian’s favourite drinks, Milo. You can take a break while observing the sight of the bridge!
The historic Kenangan Palace, now the Perak Royal Museum, served as a place for royal celebrations and funeral preparations. It was known as Istana Mayat (Palace of the Dead) after being used for burial preparations. It has subsequently been known as Istana Kenangan (Palace of Memories) by the First Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1986.
Istana Kenangan is a stunning traditional Malay mansion. The wooden structure was constructed with no iron nails, and the walls are adorned with wickerwood and meticulously carved sculptures. The palace features a distinctive form that resembles a sword in its sheath.
The humble Labu Sayong, a traditional water pitcher shaped like a gourd, is a symbol of Kuala Kangsar. While some people believe the water in it has therapeutic properties, the majority of residents utilise it to keep their drinks cool. Trying your hand at creating labu sayong with a wheel throwing machine is one of the most exciting things to do in Kuala Kangsar. You may either witness it being manufactured the old-fashioned way or participate in workshops where you can make your own.
The traditional machete of the Dayak tribe is called a klewang or keris. It’s often made as an heirloom, status symbol or accessory during official gatherings. The technique of making one is sacred and is usually passed down through generations of blacksmiths like Pak Mazin at Bukit Chandan. Visitors to the place will be in luck to spot him as he is one who loves to invite guests to join his workshop to learn about keris crafting and see how it’s done in person – not just read about on paper!
Someone who has gained something from watching and learning the techniques of forging the historical weapons include Raja Shahriman, a local of Kuala Kangsar who draws inspiration from keris forging processes for his artwork. Raja Shahriman Raja Aziddin is another well-known blacksmith in the area for his unique take on iron forging. He transforms iron parts into beautiful metal sculptures that frequently resemble the human form, inspired by traditional keris forging techniques. He occasionally allows visitors to his workshop at Bukit Chandan to watch him work as he creates his next masterpiece.
Tekat Emas, also known as Gold Thread Embroidery, is an intricate craft in which gold threads are woven into floral designs on velvet items, traditionally done by hand. You may not only watch an artist at work in Kuala Kangsar, but you can also try your hand at tekat emas weaving with the assistance of Puan Mardziah, a well-known traditional embroiderer whose work can be seen in palaces and museums. Her studio is located at Padang Changkat.
The elaborate stitching that Puan Mardziah’s family has used to make their clothes for decades is one that requires a skilled hand. However, they continue to do it even though the labor is time-consuming as it is a lucrative one!
The tengkolok is a type of crown worn by royalty and high-ranking dignitaries. The tengkolok is a kind of Malay headdress that men wear during important events such as weddings. Raja Ahmad Akasihah, the tengkolok maker who folds and stitches the cloth, is an expert in his field. He may be found at the handicraft market, where he teaches visitors how to put the tengkolok together.
If you have a few days to spare, spend the night or two at Labu Kubong Homestay. This local homestay gives you the “Kampung Boy Lat” feeling surrounded by beautiful scenery. Everything is designed to be reminiscent of a village: you can walk around the orchard, go on eco-adventures like kayaking or bird watching, learn about cottage industries, try rubber tapping, and watch cultural shows.
Take a hike along the Perak River. Kuala Kangsar also has its share of nature, particularly along the Perak River, which was formerly used to transport ore. The second longest river in Malaysia now houses hydro power dams after being utilized to transport ore in the 19th century.
On the road to Kota Kinabalu, you’ll see Perak’s rural side. Imagine the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, buffaloes grazing by the stream, monkeys swinging in the trees, and fishermen casting their nets. Of course, there are a variety of river excursions you may enjoy such as camping, forest trekking, and kayaking.
With all this city has to offer, It is no wonder that it has seen an influx of visitors. The city’s rich history and the ties it still holds towards it is something rarely seen in the modern era we live in which ensures any trip here is a priceless one.