Malaysian returns to her home state Perlis and rediscovers its unique gems

The writer and her husband took their wedding photos a few years ago at the Wang Kelian Viewpoint. — Photos: AIDA YASMIN OTHMAN

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As I left behind the bustling cityscape of Shah Alam in Selangor, bidding farewell to my full-time job, a sense of anticipation mingled with nostalgia filled me. My decision to return to my roots in Perlis wasn’t just about familial duty; it was a deliberate choice to offer my son a life far removed from the urban chaos – a life deeply connected to nature and tradition.

Nestled in the northern corner of Malaysia, Perlis has always been more than just a state to me. It’s a tapestry of memories woven with childhood adventures, family gatherings, and the warmth of its people. The decision to trade the city’s frenetic pace for the serene countryside of Perlis wasn’t an easy one, but every day since, it’s proved to be the best decision I’ve made for my family.

The very essence of Perlis lies in its simplicity and authenticity. One cannot claim to have truly experienced Perlis without exploring its hidden gems.

Timah Tasoh Lake emerges as a serene spot, its calm waters mirroring the surrounding greenery, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace.

The writer with her husband and son taking a boat ride at Timah Tasoh, with Bukit Chabang in the background. The writer with her husband and son taking a boat ride at Timah Tasoh, with Bukit Chabang in the background.

Gua Kelam, an ancient limestone cave, beckons adventurers to explore its depths. The play of light and shadow on the cave walls creates an otherworldly atmosphere, revealing nature’s artistry.

Superfruit Valley showcases the agricultural diversity of the region, offering a delightful insight into the cultivation of unique fruits like gac and passion fruit, and the opportunity to taste these exotic flavours.

Kuala Perlis, meanwhile, unveils a transformed Kampung Nelayan Warna-Warni Seberang Ramai, where a fisherman village is now a vibrant tourist attraction. Explore Laman Bunga Kertas, Laman Laksa, Jambatan Tuanku Syed Putra, Anjung Persinggahan Diraja, and Laman Bunga Raya – each a unique facet of this evolving cultural tapestry.

The Wang Kelian Viewpoint offers a breathtaking panorama that stretches as far as the eye can see. It’s a spot where one can lose themselves in the majesty of Perlis’s natural beauty. Standing atop this hill, one can gaze upon the undulating landscapes that paint a picturesque canvas.

Padang Besar, the border town to Thailand, offers a unique blend of cross-cultural influences. Visitors can immerse themselves in the fusion of Malaysian and Thai flavours, traditions, and explore its famous shopping market.

And then there’s Nipah Kipli Farm, where palm trees stretch endlessly. Beyond admiring the beauty of these plants, visitors can savour the fresh, sweet juice crafted from these palms – a true taste of Perlis’s natural abundance.

A beloved delight for residents is the flavourful laksa, a culinary masterpiece that delights with its savoury broth infused with a myriad of spices. This cherished dish epitomises Perlis’s culinary legacy, delivering an explosion of genuine flavours in each mouthful, often found in local eateries or warung.

What sets Perlis apart from other states is not just its picturesque landscapes but its rich cultural heritage. The locals, known for their warmth and hospitality, take pride in preserving their traditions.

Pesta Angin Timur (East Wind Festival) is a celebration that showcases the state’s vibrant culture. Traditional dances, intricate handicrafts, and delectable local cuisines take centre stage during this festival, offering visitors a glimpse into the soul of Perlis.

The Kangar Heritage Trail winds through the heart of the town, unveiling its historical treasures. From ancient mosques like Masjid Alwi to the regal Istana Arau (Arau Royal Palace), each step along this trail is a step back in time, narrating tales of the past.

Kampung Jejawi, like many other villages in Perlis, has a road that’s flanked by padi fields and ponds.Kampung Jejawi, like many other villages in Perlis, has a road that’s flanked by padi fields and ponds.

Choosing to return to Perlis wasn’t just about relocating, it was also to reconnect with my roots, a deliberate choice to provide my son with a childhood enriched by nature’s wonders and the embrace of a close-knit community.

Perlis isn’t just a state, it’s an embodiment of tranquillity, heritage, and genuine hospitality. As I witness my son thrive in this serene environment, I’m reassured that the decision to embrace the countryside was the best gift I could give him – a childhood steeped in the essence of Perlis.

In a world where the pace of life seems to be ever-accelerating, Perlis remains a sanctuary – a place where time slows down, allowing one to savour life’s simplest yet most profound pleasures.

As you plan your travels for 2024, remember to include Perlis in your itinerary. Come and experience the embrace of this charming state, where tradition dances with nature, and the heart-warming smiles of its people welcome you. Discover the magic of my home state!

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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