LENGGONG Valley is where Malaysia’s prehistory began. And it has been found to be the migratory route of early Homo sapiens who moved from Africa to Australia.
The valley’s Kota Tampan is also Malaysia’s earliest known site of human habitation with many discovery sites located within a small area.
As an ‘open-air museum’, the valley is home to legends, ske-letons, cave drawings and arte-facts such as stone tools, weapons, pottery and even jewellery.
The discoveries in the valley, especially the skeletal remains of the 11,000-year-old Perak Man in 1990, have placed Malay-sia on the world archaeological map.
The remains were found in Gua Gunung Runtuh, one of many caves in the Lenggong Valley, which is surrounded by the Titiwangsa Range to the east and Bintang Range in the west.
Other caves where artefacts and drawings were found are Gua Teluk Kelawar, Gua Kajang, Gua Dayak, Gua Harimau, Gua Ngaum, Gua Batu Tukang, and Gua Singa.
Samples of these ‘treasures’ have been preserved and open for viewing at the Lenggong Archaeological Museum on a 3.2ha palaeolithic site in historical Kota Tampan.
The RM2.7mil museum was opened to the public in 2002.
Its curator Hamid Mohd Isa, who was involved in the Lenggong excavations including the discovery of the Perak Man, said about 11,000 people, mostly students, visited the museum in August and 141,000 throughout last year.
“Lenggong Valley is a treasure trove of prehistory artefacts and is now called the Capital City of Prehistoric Heritage (Lenggong Warisan Ibukota Prasejarah),” he said.
The Perak Man is being preserved in a small room with controlled temperature and is not accessible to the public except with permission from the museum authorities.
However, a replica of the skeleton can be viewed at the Gua Gunung Runtuh gallery in the museum. Also here, is a mock identification Mykad containing some details of the Perak Man.
With such treasures, it is no wonder that this part of Perak is paradise for local archaeologists and nature lovers.
Anglers like to head for Tasik Raban that teems with fresh- water fishes such as jelawat, baung, tegalan, patin, toman, kelah, haruan, lampam jawa, sebarau, seluang, tilapia and kaloi. Some from Ipoh even drive to Tasik Raban on weekends just to fish.
The lake, with the Kuala Kangsar-Lenggong trunk road running below the sprawling Titiwangsa Range spanning it, is a breathtaking sight to behold.
Several scenes of the movie Anna and The King were shot in these beautiful waters.
Tasik Raban is actually part of the bigger Tasik Chenderoh, one of four lakes in the Hulu Perak district, and is dotted with fish cages and platforms. The Tasik Raban Tourism Complex has restaurants offering specially grilled fresh-water fish, and a rest and re-creation area.
Halim Bakar, who has 88 fish cages in the lake, grills the fish with a special paste blended with his own secret ingredients. Customers are allowed to choose the fish.
The grilled fish is served with rice and other dishes under coco-nut trees beside the lake.
Shops at the complex have locally processed food. Snacks such as the popular ikan pekasam (fermented fish) have earned a name for Perak. About 10 families staying in nearby Kampung Kuak specialise in fermenting the fish.
Besides mountains, caves and lakes in the Lenggong Valley, the other attraction is the many waterfalls originating from the main range.
Places like Lata Kekabu, Lata Air Ibol, Lata Papan, Lata Pusing and Lata Air Bahagi are good picnic spots.
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