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Perlis State

History

Perlis was once a part of Kedah, which the Thaïs conquered in 1821. When Kedah was subsequently restored to the sultan of Kedah, Perlis was separated from it and established as a vassal state in its own right. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred Thai sovereignty over Perlis to the British but the Japanese ‘handed it back’ to Thailand during its occupation of the Malay Peninsula. After the Japanese surrendered, Perlis once again came under British protection until it gained independence under the banner of Federation of Malaya in 1957

Physical geography

Perlis lies at the northwestern tip of the Malay Peninsula; bounded by Thailand in the north, and by Kedah to the east and south. Its western coastline borders the straits of Malacca. It measures approximately 810 sq km and has a population of 217 480. The state capital is Kangar while Arau, 10km away, is the royal town.

Introduction

Perlis may be smallest state in Malaysia, but it boasts a wealth of natural, cultural and historical splendours that rival the bigger states. The many quaint villages, picturesque scenery and centuries-old traditions may mesmerize you wherever you go. In short, Perlis is the perfect destination to head for if you prefer old world charm instead of the hustle and bustle of the city, where life is unhurried and the environment naturally fresh and crisp.

January to April the weather is generally warm and dry. Days are hot and windy but night can become cold towards dawn. September to December is wet. The average annual rainfall is between 2,000 ml and 2,500 ml (80" to 100") and humidity is high throughout the year. Temperature varies little the year round, ranging from 21° to 32° C.

Although small in size, Perlis is not without its attraction, foremost which is its serene beauty. Perlis, too, abounds with rustic rural scenes and rolling green fields of paddy.

Economy


Traditionally the economy of Perlis has been dominated by agriculture, fishing and forestry pursuits. The state also shares with Kedah the distinction of being the ‘rice bowl’ of the country. Rubber and sugar cane are also extensively cultivated while fruit cultivation includes mango and watermelon realising the need to prosper economically, the state embarked on the development of medium-scale industrial and manufacturing activities. Beside a sugar refinery at Chuping and cement factory at Bukit Keteri, Jejawi, Chuping, Kuala Perlis and Padang Besar Industrial Estate, complete with infrastructure, were created to facilitate this rapid growth.

Cultural Heritage

For pleisure, the people of Perlis enjoy a variety of activities ranging from traditional dances to traditional games and pastimes handed down through generations.

Tarian Canggung

Tarian canggung a traditional dance was brought from early historical times and performed by the people as a form of celebration after harvest time. In fact, it is the people’s dance where singing and exchanges of words in stanzas are freely and jestingly called for to the accompaniment of music.

Awang Batil

Awang Batil is akin to a story –teller who tells of the glory and richness of life of the people of olden times. Awang batil is an expert with words, albeit colloquial, and as he proceeds with his story he beats a small drum and plays a tune on his flute as and when the story line demands.

Tarian Terinai


Tarian terinai is yet another dance and musical presentation, performed specifically during a royal ceremony. The beating of gendang terinai normally performed by five musicians usually provides the musical accompaniment.

Seni Silat


Seni silat is the traditional Malay art of self-defence. It has become an integral part of an official function as individuals also perform it, singly or as a team, as part of the festivities associated with the function. Silat takes on various forms, depending on the origin, body thrusts and artistic representations.

Transportation

By bus 


Perlis is well link by road from Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur to Kangar, the normal bus fare is approximately RM 23.50 per person.

Air
There is no direct air service to Perlis. Visitors have to fly into Alor Setar and from there take a taxi to Kangar. The drive takes about 45 minutes. At the Alor Setar Airport (State of Kedah), the normal taxi fare is approximately RM 35 per vehicle.

By rail


There are daily services from Kuala Lumpur to Arau. From Kuala Lumpur to Arau, the rail fare is approximately RM 70.00 per person (1st class), RM41.00 per person (2nd class) and RM 35.00 per person (2nd class -seat).

Ferry


Ferryboats provide scheduled crossings between Kuala Perlis and Langkawi. The fare varies from RM 12 to RM15 per adult. The journey takes an hour to reach Kuah jetty.

By taxi 

From Kuala Lumpur to Kangar, the taxi fare is approximately RM200.00 per vehicle.

Places to Eat/Special Foods

A wide of food, from local delights to continental fare, is available in Perlis. The prices are reasonable and the service courteous. For the food lover, do sample as many exotic traditional Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes (like the perennial favourite, tom yam) as possible. A delectable time awaits you. The choices of eating that you can patronise are also excellent, ranging from open-air hawker centres, air-conditioned restaurants to luxurious hotel restaurants. Wherever you choose to eat, rest assured the environment is clean, casual and comfortable.

Place of interest

Kangar


Kangar, 56 km northwest of Alor Setar, is the state capital set amidst a vast expanse of green paddy fields that turn a golden yellow at harvest time. A major landmark of the town is the state mosque, Masjid Alwi. A small town, Kangar’s stadium, general hospital, hotels and schools are all within walking distance.

Arau


The capital of Perlis is Kangar and the Royal capital is Arau. Here lives the Raja of Perlis. The Raja or hereditary monarch is Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin. He was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia from 2001 to 2006. Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra was the Regent of Perlis during the five-year period when Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin was Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Arau is the royal capital of Perlis in Malaysia. It is located in Peninsular Malaysia, 14 kilometres southeast of the official state capital of Kangar. Of interest here is the imposing Istana Arau or Royal Palace and the Royal Mosque, which boasts some of the finest examples of classic Malay /Islamic architecture in the country. Arau is the disembarkation point for visitors travelling by train from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi.  From Arau, taxis are available to Kuala Perlis, where the ferry terminal to Langkawi is located. Arau is also listed as one of the tourist attractions for visitors. Surrounded by different types of fruit trees and flowing coconut palm trees among the residential areas, Arau is situated on the Peninsular major railway route that heads towards Thailand.
No doubt, the term “royal town” implies. The Istana Arau is here, also known as the Royal Palace. Many tourists would usually have a stopover at Arau to view the fine architecture of the buildings as it takes into the influence of the Malay culture and design. Besides the Royal Palace, the Royal Mosque is also one of the key attractions.  Tourists will be mesmerized by the mosque, as the design of this mosque adopts the Islamic architecture in the country. The Royal Mosque, or also known as the State Mosque, can easily accommodate roughly 7,000 people in one prayer session, and that proves to show how humongous the mosque is.
Tourists, who are interested in the fine art of architecture are advised to drop by Arau for the different points of constructional designs. Foreigners from various other countries may find that the Malaysian-concept of architecture is as something more intriguing and never before seen. So it may be a nice experience for tourists as an enlightening experience. Even so, many local Malaysians can drop by Arau to see the beauty in their own country, and have some sense of patriotism.

Kuala Perlis 

The coastal fishing town of Kuala Perlis, 13 km from Kangar is the major departure point for the fabled Langkawi island and has a ferry terminal for island bound passengers. The town of Kuala Perlis has just a couple of streets with plenty of restaurants, which are popular for seafood, and the local speciality of ‘laksa’ (rice noodle dipped in a fish-based gravy).

Chuping


Chuping derived its name from the limestone hill known locally as Bukit Chuping. It has an area of 22,000-hectare sugar plantation and harvesting takes place in December till June.

Padang Besar


This is a border town. It can be said with some degree of truth that Thailand and Perlis merge in this town, because the border is unseen although the relevant signboards and checkpoints bear testimony to the fact. The town is also the major stopover from rail travel to Thailand. Beyond the rail tracks is Pekan Siam-a bargain hunters’ paradise. Besides agricultural goods, duty free shopping is also available in Padang Besar. The town is filled with all shades and designs of textiles, footwear, handicrafts, decorative items, foodstuff, souvenirs, fruits and much more.

Kota al-Marhum Kayang


In the same vicinity are located the burial grounds of two of the 16th century sultans of Kedah. These are now seen as simple mausoleums marked by gravestones with remnants of wood used to mark the site. Nearby too, is an area of land believed to be the site of one of the sultan’s palaces surrounded on each side by limestone hills. This is reminiscent of the palace built by Almarhum Sultan Dhiauddin Almukaram Shah of the late 16th century who had given the name of Indra Kayangan to Perlis then. Two of the Sultan’s personal efforts are still evident today. One is a partially enclosed spring, which supplied fresh mineral water to the palace and is still seen intact today. The other is the canal built by the Sultan in about 1680 connecting Alor Setar to his palace in Kuala Perlis and from the palace to the burial grounds, thus permitting boat passages between the points.

Tasik Melati


Tasik Melati is a small but picturesque lake located in a partially marshy lowland about 8 km north of Kangar. The lake is shallow. More than 150 sandbar-islands may be seen all over the lake. Sampans can be rowed to these tiny ‘islands’. Elevated walkways are also found over the waters of the lake, providing vantage viewpoints and seating for visitors. There is also a parameter walkway as well as telephone kiosks and toilet facilities.

Snake Farm


Perlis is noted for its large population of venomous snakes, the limestone caves and crevices offering the best of natural habits for the slithery creatures. The snake farm at Sungai Batu Pahat houses a large collection of 23 species of live snakes in large open-air enclosures. In addition, there is a crocodile and a fishpond. It is open daily from 10.00am to 4.15pm.
Admission fee. Adult RM2.00
Child RM1.00

Putra Golf Club


An 18-hole golf course, offers the golf enthusiast the challenge of a reputedly difficult par-72 course with its numerous obstructions and traps.

Hutan Lipur Bukit Ayer

Cool streams meandering through a lush tropical forest setting and waterfalls cascading excitingly into frothing rocky pool down below, make it an ideal location for picnic. It is 12 km from Kangar and it offers camping site, car park facilities and basic amenities to make your trip comfortable.

Gua Kelam, Recreational Park


Gua Kelam, Kaki Bukit refers to the 370-metre long limestone cave at the small town of Kaki Bukit. Its name literally means, "at a foothill (Kaki Bukit) lies a dark cave (Gua Kelam). Access to the cave is by way of a suspension bridge. The uniqueness of approach, as well as the experience of walking along the bridge, makes a visit to this place an intriguing and adventurous experience. A subterranean stream flows in the limestone range near Kaki Bukit for about a quarter of a mile long. As in other limestone areas, the stream has built a long cavern over the centuries. This physiographic phenomenon was enlarged throughout the length of the underground stream in 1935 by a resident Englishman who saw it as a marvellous way of transporting tin ore from a mine located near the stream entrance through the underground cavern. A wooden walkway hangs suspended throughout the length of the underground cavern providing a wondrous means of communication from Kaki Bukit to a valley on the opposite end-the Wan Tangga valley.
Admission fee: Adult RM1.00
Child RM0.50

Hutan Lipur Bukit Kubu


Hutan Lipur Bukit Kubu is a natural limestone cave in a forested limestone hill known as Wang Pinang, located near Kuala Perlis. The cave is an interesting geological formation. Bukit Kubu is now a ‘cave park’, sheltered and ideal for joggers and cave trekkers.

Wang Kelian State Park


The Wang Kelian State Park is a haven for nature lovers and eco-tourism buffs. Close to the Thai border, the 1,000 ha area in the Mata Ayer Forest Reserve is a treasure-trove of biodiversity. It contains one of the few semi deciduous forests in the country, closer in type and species to Thai vegetation. Its limestone forest is also rich in fauna, including birds, mammals and reptiles. A challenging jungle track leads from the camping area past a little tripping waterfall to the Gua Wang Burma cave system. Possibly the northern most cave in Peninsula, its narrow passages lead to chambers boasting interesting formations.

Perlis Craft Cultural Complex


The Perlis Craft Cultural Complex at Kuala Perlis, about 8 km from Kangar and 15 minutes drive to Kuala Perlis Jetty, is a must stop over for visitors. The complex offers a wide range of Malaysian handicraft such as delicate hand drawn batik, intricately carved silverware and an assortment of hand made items such as basketry, ceramics as well as rattan based products.

Taman Herba (Herbs Garden)

Adjacent to Bukit Air Recreational Park, on 12 hectares of land, are the Herb Gardens. Created in 1998, these gardens now contain over 6,000 species of herb, spice and traditional medicinal plants. Both local and exotic species from other countries are grown and visitors to the gardens can learn their uses and how to care for such plants.

Shopping

Farmers Market

Farmers sell their farm produce directly to consumers on a plot predetermined by the authorities. Non-farmers take advantage of the influx of buyers by selling their wares, which are non-agricultural. Prices are reasonable. Freshwater fish and prawn, vegetables and fruits galore, are all fresh as they come. The market is held from 8.00 am till 1.00 pm.

Days Place

Sunday Sena Indah

Monday Arau

Tuesday Taman Kemajuan

Wednesday Sena Indah

Friday Beseri

Satuday Sena Indah

Night Market


Pasar malam is an open-air affair where business is already brisk at 5.00 pm, and are very popular because of fiesta-like atmosphere. A pasar malam is held on an open ground or even a full stretch of a road or thoroughfare according to what has been approved by the local authorities. The police keep a friendly surveillance, especially when a road has been blocked off and passage impeded. A feature of a pasar malam is that it is held in a different place each night and the schedule is repeated week by week. In a sense, therefore, there is held once a week at a predetermined place at night.

Days Place

Sunday Utan Aji

Monday Padang Melangit

Tuesday Kuala Perlis

Wednesday Kangar

Thursday Pauh

Friday Arau

Satuday Jejawi.

Hotels

Kangar travellodge
135, Main Road
01000 Kangar
Tel: 04-9767755
Fax: 04-9761049
146 rooms
RM200-RM360

PENS Hotel Kuala Perlis
Jalan Kuala Perlis
02000 Kuala perils
Tel: 04-9854122
Fax: 04-9854131
25 rooms
RM75-RM92

Federal Hotel
104 A&B,Jalan Kangar
01000 Kangar
Tel: 04-9766288
Fax: 04-9766224
46 rooms
RM21-RM120

Malaysia Hotel
67, Jalan Jubli Perak
01000 Kangar
Tel: 04-9761366
25 rooms
RM30-RM50

Utara Semarak Resort
Batu Pahat
01000 Kangar
Tel: 04-9772233
14 chalets
RM50
State Tourism Office

State Economic Planning Unit
3rd Floor
Dato’ Mahmud Mat Building
01000 Kangar
Perlis
Tel: 04-9761957
Fax: 04-9762951

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