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Kuala Kangsar – the quiet royal capital of Perak, Kuala Kangsar slumbers in a comfortable corner between two rivers. I arrived in time for the colourful Sunday market. The small town has some nice views across the river – the compulsory yet elegant colonial buildings arranged around the central padang (playing field) and most importantly, a grand gold-domed mosque, Sultan Azlan Shah’s palace, and a museum dedicated to his royal life. A perfectly Malaysian blend of British colonial class, Islamic splendour and Malay royal prestige.

Masjid Ubudiah, the splendid mosque designed by famed colonial architect A.B. Huddock.

The Sunday markets

Kuala Kangsar stretches out lazily along a bend of the Sungai Perak river

Former palace and now the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah, a musuem about the sultan's life

The sultan's palace, Istana Iskandariah, closed to the public

Abandoned houses beside the mosque, slowly dissolving into the jungle

Headscarf holders - I really wanted one, even though I can't think of anything I'd have less use for

Ipoh and surrounding cave temples – a city with a good serving of colonial buildings and Chinese shophouses, plus some great street food, Ipoh is off the tourist map but still has some worthwhile sights, especially the cave temples in the surrounding limestone karsts, which form a lumpy, jungle-covered fringe around the whole city.

Garden outside Sam Poh Tong cave temple

Through a tunnel in the caves, Sam Poh Tong opens up into a giant, circular chasm

Monkeys eye off the turtles, which are released by locals to bring Karmic balance

Kek Lok Tong, the massive, serene and out of the way cave temple that is Ipoh's best, and least-touristed

Inside Kek Lok Tong

Through Kek Lok Tong and out the other side, a beautiful garden amid the karsts

Rain clouds brood over Ipoh's padang but the game goes on

Graffiti on a wall in Ipoh - a startling urban artwork that completely took me by surprise

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