In conjunction with Visit Perak Year 2012, Tourism Perak (the state of Perak’s tourism promotion arm), under the astute leadership of Mr. Ahmad Fathil Ghani, the Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Perak, collaborated with Gaya Travel Magazine to kickstart the Kembara Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia (KCC1M) Perak, a familiarisation excursion that brought representatives from selected Malaysia-based media organisations and travel agents to the state.

With the tagline ‘Jom Terokai Perak!’ (‘Let’s Explore Perak!’), the purpose of the trip was to uncover tourism attractions and destinations within Perak that promises memorable experiences for visitors.Apart from Tourism Perak, other organisations such as Tourism Malaysia Perak Office also chipped in as a co-organiser of the programme, including Starbucks Coffee Malaysia (which sponsored the KCC1M Perak participants’ breakfast at the Malaysia Tourism Centre on the first day of the trip during the morning of the departure to Perak) and Yeo’s (a well established beverage company that sponsored the canned drinks for participants)

To further make Perak one of the destinations of choice in 2012 and onwards, the state of Perak via Tourism Perak embarked on various programmes to help achieve the state’s target in receiving 5 million tourist arrivals by end of 2012. Dato’ Hamidah Othman, the State Executive Councillor for Tourism, expressed her appreciation to the media for their assistance in constantly promoting Perak as one of Malaysia’s top tourist destinations.

“Members of the media have been doing a lot of promotion on behalf of Perak state for they have experienced themselves the excitement that Perak tourism products have to offer. For the first quarter of 2012, a significant increase in the percentage of tourist arrivals to Perak has been recorded based on hotel occupancies in the entire state,” she mentioned during the KCC1M Perak Official Dinner at Best Western Marina Island Resort in Lumut.

Based on the feedback from KCC1M Perak participants, they were remarkably enthralled by what Perak has to offer, from nature and eco-tourism such as white-water rafting and hot spring to exploring significant historical landmarks such as the eye-opening Gopeng Heritage House, Ipoh Heritage Walk and Kellie’s Castle, among others. 2012 is indeed the year to discover Perak and Gaya Travel team invites all readers to not waste time and Jom Terokai Perak!

WHAT WE SAW & DID…

MY GOPENG RESORT

My Gopeng Resort is a destination for those who are gutsy enough to get pulled down into the water or flying high across the landby hanging onto a tiny metal chord. My Gopeng Resort does not offer the conventional type of relaxing and indulging vacation – on the contrary, the activities and attractions at My Gopeng

Resort are designed for guests to enjoy being adventurous through activities such as white-water rafting, wet-caving, waterfall-trekking, night jungle-trekking, all terrain vehicle-riding and obstacles’ challenge, among others.Mr. Ooi Beng Yeaw, the founder of My Gopeng Resort, mindfully urges all his guests to place safety as their top priority. Since the resort’s beginning, My Gopeng Resort has been maintaining zero-accident record.

Other than offering water- and land-based extreme sports, My Gopeng Resort offers comfortable lodgings ranging from two-person chalets up to dormitories that each can fit up to 28 persons. My Gopeng Resort can accommodate up to 300 persons at any one time, making it suitable for organisations to hold their team-building retreats here. A fter a gruelling yet fun and exciting day, guests will be glad to find that My Gopeng Resort’s modest yet satisfying accommodation choices offer the chance for guests to have a good night’s rest.

GAHARU TEA VALLEY, GOPENG

Gaharu – also known as Agarwood, Aloeswood, Eagleswood, Oud (in Arabic) and Jinko (in Japanese) – is proven to possess special medicinal values that benefit mankind in so many areas of health, particularly in the rejuvenation of cells and internal organs, including its use in fragrance.

Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng (GTVG) was set up 20 years ago, covering 300 acres of elevated grounds and at one time, there are approximately 200,000 Gaharu trees whereby 90% of the produce is to meet demand from the global market, primarily from Middle East, China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea. The type that is grown at Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng was adapted from Japan and brought over to Malaysia by Gaharu Technologies Sdn. Bhd, enabling the company to harvest a significant amount of resin from the trees within six to ten years of their growth.

At GTVG, tourists will get to enjoy scenic and expansive view of the Agarwood trees being grown in the area, apart from breathing in the fresh air. Guests to GVTG will also be brought to the 20-year old mother tree, which seeds have been used to populate the plantation, located at the valley’s highest point, surrounded by splendid panorama. On the way out, visitors are invited to shop at GTVG retail outlet, which offers arrays of health products and souvenir items, all processed from Agarwood. Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng opens daily from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

TELUK INTAN LEANING TOWER

Perak has its very own leaning tower that comes in the form of the Teluk Intan Leaning Tower, which has been the landmark of Teluk Intan district for over 127 years. The design of this three-storey pagoda-shaped tower containing 110 steps tricks visitors into thinking that the tower is more than 25 metres tall.

The Teluk Intan Leaning Tower was completed in 1885 by a contractor named Leong Choon Chong, functioned as a cistern for fire and drought, apart from being the beacon for ships sailing into Telok Anson Port, once upon a time. It also has a chiming clock designed by JW Benson-Ludgathy, which was installed in 1894. It still chimes every hour, every day and now becomes one of Perak’s icons.

SITIAWAN SETTLEMENT MUSEUM

Though modest and unassuming, the Sitiawan Settlement Museum represents the pride of the town’s population as it shares with visitors about how the town come about. The museum was the brainchild of the church and the Sitiawan Settlement Museum Committee proposed the setting up of a historical

artefacts museum with regard to the birth of Sitiawan and to be housed in a 70-year old parsonage. Sitiawan Settlement Museum was officially launched on the eve of its centennial celebration, which was the 7th of September 2003. The museum carefully preserves the facts and evidences about the pioneering Foochow Christian clansmen who founded Sitiawan.

The museum features over 500 pieces of well maintained artefacts that are over a century old in various forms for example documents, drawings, equipment, machineries, apparels, furniture and more. Sitiawan Settlement Museum opens on Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Admission is free.

KELLIE’S CASTLE

The KCC1M Perak 2012 participants had the opportunity to explore the mysteriously charming Kellie’s Castle that has perpetually remained under construction for the past 97 years. This unfinished mansion in Batu Gajah was built by William Kellie-Smith, a Scottish planter, for his beloved wife, Agnes, but was never completed due to his untimely demise. William’s pneumonic death brought grief to the family and Agnes, who was never in favour of the plantation, decided to sell it together with the mansion before she and her children returned to Scotland. This is also called ‘Castle in the Long Making’ for it will never be completed by William Kellie-Smith himself.

KAMPUNG SELABAK PINEAPPLE BAZAAR

Just 4 kilometres away from the town centre of Teluk Intan, a village called Kampung Selabak is well-known for its pineapple plantation and various local fruits. The pineapple agro-business that is being run by Kampung Selabak villagers has been around for generations. The state government properly developed the bazaar and turned it into a tourism attraction, offering Kampung Selabak fruit hawkers with proper facilities so that they can generate more income for their households.

GOPENG HERITAGE HOUSE

Gopeng Heritage House was officiated by the Minister of Tourism, Dato’ Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, on the 17th of April 2011. This interesting attraction offers visitors a walk down memory lane by preserving items that were normally used by Malaysians in the past century (some even go as far back as the year 1900), featuring artefacts that has now become collectors’ items such as old models of electrical appliances, television and radio sets, hanging kerosene lamp, barber chair, signboards, classic cutleries and porcelain ornamentals, decorations and many more to accompany visitors when walking down the memory lane. These items, totalling over

800 pieces that include hardwood Chinese furniture, are all permanently exhibited at the Gopeng Heritage House. The noteworthy items all belong to the treasurer of Gopeng Museum himself, Mr. Wong Kuan Cheong, who aims to bring the glorious era of tin-mining in Kinta Valley back to life by setting up a living memorabilia that visitors can experience for themselves. The house exclusively opens on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the admission is free.

PERAK HERBAL GARDEN

Spread over a piece of land covering 22 acres, Perak Herbal Garden, which is managed by the Malaysian Agricultural Department, promises a wonderful experience in exploring the hidden healing properties of the local plants and trees. When the KCC1M Perak participants arrived at the beautifully landscaped Perak Herbal Garden, the air was crisp with aroma from the garden’s vegetation. The participants were welcomed with special herbal tea made from the plants and then learned about the medicinal values of the herbs grown in the garden itself that can be used for medicine, cosmetics and aromatherapy. The participants were also exposed to local herbs and plants that are either remedial or hazardous. The visit was such an enlightening experience because it educates the participants with the knowledge on how herbs and plants are able to cure cancer and cardiac diseases.

PING SIEN SI TEMPLE

Ping Sien Si Temple

Ping Sien Si Temple

Ping Sien Si is just one of the few names tagged onto this temple; however, it is more widely known as Tua Pek Kong Temple or Kuan Yin Temple in Kampung Pasir Panjang Laut in Sitiawan, Perak. It is surrounded by mangrove and the original basic structure of this temple was built over a century ago.

However, after a RM7.5 million major facelift, the modest basic structure has now transformed into a grand house of worship for Buddhists to express their gratitude and pray to Tua Pek Kong, Kuan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy) and Hua Ye (the Tiger Spirit). These three deities are among the ones that guards the temple from the coastline together with the other 99 statues.

The upgrading of the temple turned it into an iconic tourism landmark for Sitiawan, significantly contributing to the improvement of the locals’ socio-economic conditionsdue to the influx of tourists to this small part of the country. The fact that it is a house of worship for Buddhists does not mean that only the locals of such faith have the chance to reap in the benefits from tourism – there are also hawkers and peddlers of different faiths and beliefs that are given the chance to benefit from the travellers visiting the place, aptly demonstrating the harmony and sharing spirit of Malaysia.

THE LOST WORLD OF TAMBUN

The Lost World of Tambun is the sister theme park to the award-winning Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, both wholly-owned by the Sunway Group, a Malaysian conglomerate. Among all of the attractions at this amusement park, the only attraction that is open at night is the hot spring spa that is believed to contain healing properties to cure numerous ailments. The hot water is channelled from one of the nearest limestone hills to the pool within the compound of this theme park. During the day, some of the attractions that can be found in the park include the petting zoo that houses more than 55 species of animals such as raccoons, birds, parrots and reptiles, among others.

Tiger Valley is the house for six Siberian tigers, namely Sultan, Raima, Putra, Jazz, Azian and Nesan, all of which are left to wander free in their compound and perform shows for visitors. The newly added sections in The Lost World of Tambun are the Tin Valley and the Lost World Team-Building Park located within. This new attraction enlightens visitors on the history of tin-mining in Perak and how it contributed to the state’s prosperity. The Lost World Team Building Park offers obstacle circuits and facilities that are bound to exhilarate and uplift those who undergo them, especially the 13 High Rope Course and Leap of Faith a.k.a Para Jump, meant for those who are gutsy.

WHAT WE ATE…

BREAKFAST BY STARBUCKS COFFEE MALAYSIA

While convening at the Malaysia Tourism Centre in Kuala Lumpur to depart for Perak, all participants of the KCC1M Perak programme were served with black coffee and Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins, Apple Multigrain and doughnuts sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Malaysia, which reinvigorated their morning and energised them up for the trip. Each participant also received a special tumbler for filling it up with Starbucks coffee to take it along to Perak.

MASTAN GHANI

Mastan Ghani is a name that requires no introduction in Perak due to its delicious mee rebus (boiled noodles served with gravy) and rojak (mixture of vegetables, fruits, including fried dough and prawn fritters, etc., mixed together and covered in sauce). It is also famous for serving other delightful mamak fares such as laksa, curry mee and mouth-watering desserts such as cendol and special ABC.

The current manager of the Mastan Ghani’s chain is now supervising five outlets, including one in Ipoh and another in Sitiawan. The business, which started in 1932, is now being run by the grandchildren of Abdullah Mastan Ghani, the founder. The descendants of Mastan Ghani are proud of what their forefathers left them, which is a tasty legacy that can be enjoyed for generations.

DUBLINERS CAFÉ

If you love Irish food or plainly want to discover what Irish food is all about, then head to the Dubliners Café, which dishes out tasty Irish and European cuisines. On top of that, Dubliners Café also offers Asian Fusion dishes to match many palates that come through its doors.

The chef cum General Manager of Dubliners Café, Niaz Khan, was born and bred in Batu Gajah, Perak. However, he continued his study in Ireland and fell in love with the country as well as its food. Having lived and worked in five-star hotels there for over 11 years, Niaz came back to venture into the culinary business and giving the chance for locals to taste authentic dishes from a different continent without having to leave Malaysia. Dubliners Café opens from Mondays through Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. It also provides catering service for small groups or parties.

WHERE WE STAYED…

MH HOTELS, IPOH

The first lodging to welcome the KCC1M Perak 2012 participants was the new MH Hotels Ipoh. This impressive yet understated 20-storey structure houses 111 rooms that are beautifully furnished and contemporarily

designed. This property offers facilities to meet the guests’ needs such as LCD TV and safety boxes in the rooms, including the Sky Lounge for unwinding and Unique Seafood Restaurant for a tantalising dining experience. The hotel is also conveniently located close to shops, restaurants, a petrol station and fast-food outlets.

BEST WESTERN MARINA ISLAND RESORT

The latest offering by Best Western in Malaysia is the Marina Island Resort, which dominates a man-made island covering an area of 318 acres of reclaimed land. The only towering structure on the island, which is the hotel’s main building, contains 170 guest rooms.

The property offers many conveniences for guests such as entertainment, water activities, yacht dock, jetty and airport transfer, sunset cruise, sports facilities, swimming pool, fishing lagoon and more. For meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market, Best Western Marina Island Resort is well equipped with small and medium class rooms and mini lecture hall, as well as the ballroom called Loban Hall that is able to fit up to 300 persons at any one time. Guests can experience dining at the Karang Restaurant, which promises a long list of exciting epicurean delight that ranges from Asian to Western cuisines be they succulent meat, fresh sea catches or crisp salads.

KCC1M PERAK OFFICIAL DINNER BY TOURISM MALAYSIA PERAK OFFICE

One of the highlights of each KCC1M programme is the official dinner normally held on the last night to fete and celebrate the KCC1M participants. This is usually the time when all parties involved in the KCC1M Perak programme had the chance to mingle around and get to know everyone else better.

The night was also the time when the KCC1M organisers present their tokens of appreciation to all parties such as the government agencies and tourism product owners for their valuable cooperation in making the programme a success.For the KCC1M Perak’s Official Dinner, which was held at Best Western Marina Island Resort, Tourism Malaysia Perak Office took the lead in arranging the special event, while working closely with Tourism Perak and Gaya Travel Magazine. The Guest of Honour for the event was The Honourable Dato’ Hamidah Othman, the Perak State Executive Councillor for Tourism.

The theme for the dinner was ‘beach garage’, which was open to the participants’ own interpretation and allowed them to appear at the dinner as they pleased. The participants also belted out group performances based on their experience traversing Perak for the last three days. The talent and spontaneity of the participants were hilariously entertaining thus leaving behind good memory in everybody’s mind.

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