Hotels in Taiping, Malaysia
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Taiping is Waiting for You
Taiping is a city of firsts. Malaysia’s first railway, museum, and newspaper published in English, Tamil, and Malay originated here, and this trailblazing city has continued to impress ever since. Taiping is also known as the City of Peace, but it might be its other moniker that is most appropriate – with the largest rainfall on the peninsula, the City of Rain is aptly named. But don’t let a few raindrops deter you, rain is often light, and where there’s rain, there’s lush hillsides and verdant vegetation that adds to the city’s appeal. Misty mornings with views of the bluish-green Bintang Range in the distance also make for some great photo opportunities, so pack your umbrella, choose a hotel, and start planning a memorable visit.
Get Up to Some Monkey Business
Perhaps one of the most visited attractions in Taiping is the Taiping Zoo. A good idea is to plan your time around peak hours and you won’t have to share the animals with as many crowds. Because who wouldn’t want to get up close and personal with one of the lanky giraffes or a friendly elephant shading itself from the sun? And if you’re interested in more than the usual suspects like African animals and native birds, make sure that you check out some of the unusual creatures of the night at the Night Safari. Bathed in artificial moonlight, guests can explore under the cover of near darkness while learning about nocturnal animals, many of which are waiting to greet you with glowing eyes.
If your visit coincides during day time hours, consider renting a bike. The oldest zoo in the country is also one of the largest, and 34 acres is a lot of ground to cover, especially on a hot day. Bikes are also available for rent at many of Taiping’s hotels, and while the town centre is compact, exploration is always more fun on a bicycle. When your visit to the zoo is over, animal lovers have another option to get their fix. Orangutan Island is worth the two-hour journey from the mainland, plus the exhilarating ten-minute boat ride. Guests can learn about these gentle giants and the challenges that they face, particularly deforestation and loss of habitat. Babies might even be in the nursery, so make sure that your camera is fully charged.
Make the Most of Your Time in Taiping
Other standout attractions that Taiping has to offer include Perak Museum and the Taiping Lake Gardens. Both have been around for a long time, but you’d never know it based on the continual upkeep and new additions. The museum boasts over 8,500 display items, with exhibits ranging from nature, archaeology and culture. Visitor favourites include the ethnographic gallery and zoological exhibit. Of other interest is the striking building that the museum is housed in. Be sure to take a moment to soak up the perfectly preserved Moorish colonial architecture of the museum that sets the tone for what’s inside.
Luckily, the Lake Gardens are a short walk away, and if you plan to see both the museum and gardens, choose to see the museum in the afternoon to beat the heat. Established in 1880, the Lake Gardens were originally a mining site. Today, there are no less than 10 lakes and ponds, as well as 160 acres of flowers, trees and grasses that will make you want to linger awhile. When it’s time to return to your hotel, street food snacks are the perfect accompaniment to a long day of sightseeing. And really, you can’t leave Taiping without sampling the abundant street food offerings. Meat on a stick will probably never taste as good, and don’t forget to look for apam balik , a sweet treat that should be a part of any Malaysian adventure.
Try Something Different
If you’re the type who would rather visit local sights which are a little more off the beaten path, Taiping has a few spots to keep in mind. The Taiping Clock Tower dates back to 1881 and is perhaps one of the most recognizable structures in the region. It was initially made out of wood, but bricks proved to be a better replacement for longevity. Today it serves as a visitor information centre, so pay a visit to make the most of your stay. From here, follow your nose to the pleasant aroma of the Taiping coffee mill. A bit of coffee history is in store, along with a tasting where visitors can purchase various blends, including the unusual durian coffee made from durian fruit extract. When you’re sufficiently caffeinated, Spritzer EcoPark might be calling your name. It’s the 330 acre home of Malaysia’s Spritzer mineral water company, with its many natural water sources that need careful guardianship. Aside from a factory tour, the park is designed with family activities in mind, including 18-hole mini golf, various interactive exhibits for kids, and of course a café to quench your thirst.