What to see in Kuala Kangsar, a royal town full of varied marvels

Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar displays vast collections of items from the bygone era. — Lembaga Muzium Negeri Perak

The royal town of Kuala Kangsar in Perak has a colourful historical and cultural background, making it an interesting place to visit.

Ubudiah Mosque, for example, is just one of the buildings there that has a lot of stories to tell. This grand worship house – situated at the top of Bukit Chandan – was built between 1913 and 1917 by the 28th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I.

The mosque is a showcase of British colonial architecture, combined with a touch of Mughal designs. The most prominent feature is its horseshoe arches that dominate the space, accompanied by a beautiful golden bulbous dome and surrounded by minarets.

Ubudiah Mosque was designed by British architect Arthur Benison Hubback, who was also the brains behind some of the country’s most important heritage structures, like the Ipoh Railway Station, as well as the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and Sultan Abdul Samad Building in the capital.

Here are some other things you can check out in Kuala Kangsar.

The royals

The Muzium Diraja Kuala Kangsar features traditional Malay architecture – the most prominent being that it was built on stilts – and is decorated in Malay motifs and patterns.

Like many traditional Malay structures, the museum was constructed by a local carpenter (named Haji Suffian) without the use of nails. It was originally built as a palace about a century ago and served as the temporary residence of Sultan Iskandar Shah, the 30th Sultan of Perak from 1931 to 1933.

Although not known to many, the wooden building went by various names in the past, such as Istana Kenangan, Istana Lembah and Istana Tepas.

Today, there are several interesting collections of historical royal items on display, all of which belonged to Perak’s past rulers.

Located just a stone’s throw from the museum and facing Sungai Perak is Istana Iskandariah, the official palace of the past and present Sultans of Perak since its completion in 1933. The name refers to Sultan Iskandar Shah (1918-1938), who commissioned the construction of the palace.

Labu Sayong is traditionally used as a kitchenware to store water. — MSZF 92/Wikimedia CommonsLabu Sayong is traditionally used as a kitchenware to store water. — MSZF 92/Wikimedia Commons

Labu sayong

Head to Sayong, a quaint village known for the state’s most popular traditional craft, the labu sayong vase or pitcher.

Just as its name implies, the labu sayong bears a close resemblance to a gourd, and is traditionally used to store drinking water. It is made of clay, and usually decorated with intricate designs all around it.

Today, only a handful of artisans are still able to create this once-essential household item by hand. One such person is Harun, who also operates the Muzium Labu Sayong at Kampung Kepala Bendang. Dedicated to preserving the tradition, Harun holds workshops for visitors who want to try their hand at making the labu sayong.

Find out more about the museum at its website (https://tangankraf.com/muzium-labu-sayong/).

You can check out the country’s oldest rubber tree in Kuala Kangsar. — BernamaYou can check out the country’s oldest rubber tree in Kuala Kangsar. — Bernama

Oldest rubber tree

Did you know that Kuala Kangsar is home to the nation’s oldest rubber tree?

As the story goes, in 1877, an English botanist named Henry N. Ridley planted some para rubber seedlings in the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This particular species of rubber trees thrived in the Malayan climate, and so seedlings were planted in other areas in the peninsula, including Kuala Kangsar.

One of the first rubber trees that were planted in Kuala Kangar is still around today – it is said to be 147 years old. Naturally, this tree is considered a treasure in Perak’s history, and is properly maintained year-round.

In the heart of Kuala Kangsar, look for a tree that bears this sign: “Pokok Getah Pertama Malaya”.

Victoria Bridge is now a popular tourist attraction. — TINU711/Wikimedia CommonsVictoria Bridge is now a popular tourist attraction. — TINU711/Wikimedia Commons

Victoria Bridge

Tucked away in the quiet town of Karai, some 11 minutes from Kuala Kangsar, is the nation’s oldest railway bridge – Victoria Bridge.

This ancient bridge, named after England’s Queen Victoria (1837-1901), began operating in 1900, and had a single track.

From being used to transport natural resources such as tin and coal (coal was abundant in Karai back then; it was the only place in Perak where coal was mined), to partly getting destroyed by the British during the Japanese occupation, this 353m-long bridge has its fair share of history.

The bridge was operational for more than a century until 2002, when it was replaced by a new concrete bridge built parallel to it.

The Victoria Bridge was then abandoned for over 10 years and nearly covered in plant overgrowth. But soon, local authorities saw its potential as a tourist attraction, and began restoring the bridge. In 2016, Victoria Bridge was gazetted as a national heritage by the Department of National Heritage.

Today, it is a popular spot for couples to shoot their wedding pictures.

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In Travel

Which country has the highest pickpocketing rate in Europe?
Singapore's vibrant culinary scene lies in its rich heritage
Top 10 cleanest airports in the world – guess who's not on the list?
Younger China tourists visiting Hong Kong now opt for free tours, affordable eats
Learning how to appreciate the little things in life
The giant benches of Spain's Andalusia
More airline deals and promotions to satisfy your wanderlust
With these airline deals, it's a good time to plan for a holiday in Malaysia
What it feels like to fly First Class with one of the top airlines of the world
This Malaysian was mesmerised by Ireland's charm and beauty

Others Also Read