Heritage Trail Walk In Taiping (Part 2 Of 2)

Previously, we stopped at the red telephone booth whilst strolling Taiping town, remember? Now, buckle up, let me tell you how it looked like and what we did next… Few minutes before discovering it, we were admiring the buildings around town. Because some of them look similar to British architecture, whilst some resemble more to Chinese architecture especially the villa next to Antong Coffee Mill. It is located just six minutes’ drive away from our hostel. It is well maintained and showcases various Chinese calligraphy items and antiques. In my opinion, it is an ideal example of heritage building preservation.

Signboard of Antong Coffee Mill in the heritage town
Antong Coffee Mill is the oldest operating coffee mill in Malaysia. The yellow villa next to it has the characteristics of Chinese architecture. It functions as a museum for visitors.
Photo by Shaalni Param

Heritage Of Taiping

Taiping – “Great Peace” in Mandarin used to be a mining town where migrants from China had settled down after the discovery of tin. Subsequently, the British colonised the town in the early 1870’s. Hence, we could observe a diverse architecture throughout the town centre. There are about 40 landmarks listed in the heritage trail walk. In addition, important landmarks throughout the town are marked with red flagged heritage trail poles. So that tourists could easily identify them and follow the heritage trail as they walk around the town. Due to time constraint, we visited only three heritage places: Taiping Lake Gardens, Taiping Clock Tower and Burmese Pool.

London? Nay… It’s In Taiping

Have you ever been to London? Seen a flock of tourists bustling around a telephone kiosk just for a picture? Well, I wondered how would they feel if they found the same telephone booth in Taiping, Malaysia as well? By the way, I was one of those tourists waiting for my turn to take a picture with the iconic red telephone booth when I visited London in the year 2014.

The iconic red telephone booth at heritage trail
The iconic red telephone booth isn’t well maintained and looked pretty rundown. Nevertheless it is still an important historic figure – reminiscence of British colonisation in Taiping.
Photo by Shaalni Param

I used to think it only existed in London but looks like I was wrong. Hence, I was shocked when I spotted a familiar-looking booth beside a clock tower in Taiping. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be a big surprise as Malaysia was colonised by the British starting from the year 1824 but it caught me off guard in the middle of the street because it appeared when I least expected it.

Weathercock On Top!

The clock tower next to the telephone booth is Taiping Clock Tower. It was the town’s police station as well as fire station between the year 1908 and 1950 in Taiping. But for me, it is reminiscent of a building from a fictional Halloween themed movie – where a weathercock would spin on top it. I spent about two minutes observing it, hoping that it would turn so that I could take a video of it but it didn’t even flinch. Eventually I gave up as I started to feel hungry.

Weathercock spotted on top of Neoclassical clock tower in heritage trail
Weathercock spotted on top of a Neoclassical clock tower. Red flagged poles could be seen trailing along the street indicating important historic landmarks that are not to be missed.
Photo by Shaalni Param

The tower looks abandoned just like the telephone booth which I discovered earlier. I wish the local municipality would consider preserving and maintaining it as it is part of Taiping’s heritage. What do you think of this heritage building? How can we use it in today’s era? Let me know your thoughts in the comment below.

Inexpensive Meal In Heritage Town

I could hear the sound of tables and chairs being dragged from a distance, wok getting hit, chunk of ingredients being thrown into the wok. Well, those are the indications that a hawker centre is nearby. Li and I are no stranger when it comes to the hawker food, as we love going to a hawker centre to eat because the food is cheap and tasty. Besides that, hawker centre is also a place where we get to taste local delicacies.

A hawker tossing the ingredients in the wok over the flame
A hawker tossing the ingredients in the wok over the flame – a common sight at hawker centres.
Photo by Kishor on Unsplash

What Is Taiping’s Hawker Food Speciality?

We ordered a plate of Chee Cheong Fun and Chai Tow Kway. We paid less than MYR10.00 for the meal as it was cheap as expected and the hawker was generous with the portion. Thanks to that, we had a hearty meal for dinner and then we headed back to our hostel. The next day, we had a typical Malaysian breakfast – toasted bread, half-boiled eggs and Taiping’s famous Pasembur for lunch. And, it cost us MYR6.00.

Two type of dishes served on the table
On the left is Chai Tow Kway and on the right is Chee Cheong Fun. The portions are huge.
Photo by Shaalni Param

However, our question – “What is Taiping’s hawker food speciality?” remains unanswered. We expected to find something like Laksa Sarawak, Asam Pedas Melaka and Laksam Kelantan but unfortunately that wasn’t the case in Taiping. By the way, if you think we have missed out an important dish in Taiping, feel free to comment below. We will check it out during our next visit to Taiping.

In short, we spent less than MYR30.00 for meals during our two days and one night stay in Taiping. We decided to return to Penang by noon but… we had one more place in our bucket list to visit in Taiping – Maxwell Hill.

The Last Location In The Heritage Trail

It was raining heavily the night before our departure from Taiping, and we were in dilemma whether we should visit Maxwell Hill – a landslide-prone area. So we opted out and visited Burmese Pool instead, which is a part of the heritage trail, merely a three-minute drive away from Maxwell Hill. Along the route, we passed by the Taiping War Cemetery which is a place to commemorate the war dead. I found it unique because I have never seen such a cemetery in Malaysia as the tombstones were neatly arranged with perfect symmetry on a huge green field. It was a memorable sight to behold.

Signboard showing Burmese Pool, the 40th landmark in the heritage trail
Burmese Pool is the 40th landmark to visit in the heritage trail. The number ’40’ is indicated beside its name.
Photo by Shaalni Param

We reached Burmese Pool at half past noon and the surroundings looked pretty abandoned due to heaps of dry leaves on the road. At one moment, we were doubting ourselves whether we were at the right location. Luckily, there was a huge signboard indicating Burmese Pool with a brief history written on it.

Take A Dip At The Burmese Pool

It was scorching hot. We saw a group of family swimming along the river despite the heat. How I wished I have brought a change of clothes, I could have joined them in the water too. Because taking a dip in cold clear water would have been a perfect activity to do during this hot weather. Nevertheless, I sat on a huge rock and dip only my feet into the water. Ahhh… It was so refreshing! Li and I were busy contemplating about our future travel plans whilst looking at the small fishes swimming against the current.

Burmese Pool is in the heritage trail
A small pool of fresh clear water as the fishes could been seen swimming in it. We dip our feet here.
Photo by Shaalni Param

As minutes passed by, we felt the water current getting stronger. Hmm… It could probably be raining upstream, I thought. Slowly, we could see a huge cluster of dark clouds starting to form. Yep, it would be raining soon. So, we stood up and left the place before it rained. Well, Taiping town truly lived up to its reputation – the land of rain like how I described it in the previous episode.

Next Adventure…

During our drive back to Penang, my phone went beep! Someone texted me, “Hey Shaalni! Did you visit the mangroves swamp at Kuala Sepetang and Bukit Berapit Old Railway Bridge?” I realised that those two locations were just 26 minutes’ drive away from Taiping town. Looks like I have missed them! So, I told myself, if I happen to come to Taiping another time, I would probably go there. Are you curious about these places? Want to know more? Let me know in the comment below. I would highly encourage you to visit Taiping, Malaysia’s beautiful rain town.

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About Shaalni PARAM

A mechanical engineer, polyglot (she speaks English, Malay, Tamil, French and German), and a travel junkie, Shaalni is a self-professed introvert who loves meeting new friends. Highly ambitious, with many goals in life all neatly lined up, but most importantly, to have fun pursuing them.

One Reply to “Heritage Trail Walk In Taiping (Part 2 Of 2)”

  1. Pingback: Taiping, A Getaway To The Land Of Rain (Part 1 Of 2) - Espoletta

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