Taiping town is not a popular Malaysia destination as the hottest Penang and Ipoh even if it’s full of history and charms. Known as the Rainy City for being the country’s wettest place, the average annual rainfall is about 4,000mm while the peninsula's average is 2,000mm – 2,500mm. But its unusual rainfall has also led to a fertile collection of flora and century-old rain trees in the Taiping Lake Gardens. A great attraction for joggers and cyclists and for everyone loves wild nature.
Once a wealthy tin mining hub, Taiping saw bloody feuds and rapid development in the 19th century. British colonialists set up base here, leaving behind churches, gardens and neoclassical buildings. After the latest Larut war, the city - one of the oldest of Malaysia - was rechristened with a Chinese name, Taiping, “The city of eternal peace”.
If you hate crowded places and don’t want to be a tourist when traveling, Taiping is the perfect hidden gem for a misty and eco-green adventure. You can rent a bike to find the most scenic spots, eat delicious fresh food in the big market town - on top of local dishes try kuay teow goring, wok fried noodles with fishballs, and chee cheong fun, rice noodles drenched in spicy sauce and sesame seeds – and find cheap accommodation for 25 euro a night. Animal lovers shouldn’t miss Taiping Zoo and the Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary: 15 miles full of rare birds, monkeys, snakes and dolphins.
Taiping is also known as the towns of “firsts”:
- The first museum in Malaysia.
- The first railway road.
- The first Anglican church.
- The first library. The first clock tower. The first lake gardens.
Getting there is not impossibile. Take the ETS train from Kuala Lumpur and during the three-hour journey admire the beautifully rugged, limestone landscapes. A different south-east Asia to escape from the beaten path destinations.