A quiet and pleasant town, Taiping's name means "great peace" in Chinese. During the English colonial rule, it was one of the main tin mining towns of Malaysia. As a result, it is home to many immigrant Chinese families. Cendol, an Indian dessert made of green noodles in a concoction of brown sugar, coconut milk soup and shaved ice, is a must try in this town.
There is no place better to enjoy the serenity of Taiping than Taiping Lake Gardens, a network of man-made ponds and landscaped gardens created out of the abandoned tin mines of the past. Make sure you visit the rain tree lined road; the trees are centuries old and droop picturesquely towards the lake's edge. Due to the tropical humidity of Malaysia, the best time for visiting is in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler. From Taiping Lake Gardens, it is easy to access the Taiping Zoo (which offers a nighttime safari), Perak Museum, and the Taiping Prison. The best place to find a hostel in Taiping is a short walk away from Lake Gardens, near the Taiping Clock Tower.
A trip up to Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut) is a miniature journey back in time. Known as Malaysia's first hill resort, Maxwell Hill does not have many hostels, but a stay in one of its many bungalows or guest houses is recommended due to the place’s old world charm. Midway to the top is the Tea Garden House that was once part of the tea-estate. The summit offers lovely views of Taiping, the Lake Gardens, and on a clear day even as far as the Malacca Straits. Being the site of a key battlefield during World War 2, the road up to Maxwell Hill is lined with gravestones of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting the Japanese army during that time.
A short night trip out from your hostel to the town of Kuala Sepetang is also worth your while. Here you can rent small boats called “sampans” to see the fireflies along the river, although it is recommended that you take strong mosquito repellent with you.
Hi, I'm Steph,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Taiping hostels. Welcome.