Back Roads of Kedah & Perak

I have been exploring some of the more unspoilt corners of Kedah and Perak this week.

‘Jamaican Sunset’ (allamanda cathartica) blooming nicely outside St. Patrick’s High School.

I started out in Kulim, which was a small Kedah town until the 1950’s but has since mushroomed into a city of a quarter of a million people, thanks partly to the establishment of an industrial estate called Kulim Hi-Tech Park.

Low lying clouds lingering in this sleepy kampung.
Low lying clouds lingering in this sleepy kampung.

Heading east towards the Gunung Inas Forest Reserve, the road passed rural scenery and sleepy villages.

Raging cascade at Sungai Sedim.
Raging cascade at Sungai Sedim.

It had been raining heavily overnight and the rivers were in full flow.

Tree Top Walk Sungai Sedim
The 950m long Tree Top Walk is said to be the longest canopy walk in the world.

The Tree Top Walk at the Sedim River Recreational Park is one of Kedah’s top attractions. ¬†Although it is of robust construction the elevated walkway has a disconcerting wobble as you walk on it 25 metres above the forest floor.

Pristine Rainforest At Sungai Sedim
The Tree Top Walk provides a great view of life in the rainforest canopy.

There are some challenging hiking trails that begin here. I’ll leave those for another time perhaps.

View From Tree Top Walk
White Water Rafting is another activity available at Sungai Sedim.

Leaving Sungai Sedim I headed south towards Mahang.

OilPalmPlantation Near Mahang Kedah
The sun trying to break through the clouds near Mahang.

The oil palm industry comes in for a lot of criticism from environmentalist types (due to destruction of rainforest wildlife habitat and so on) but these palm plantations can look quite attractive.

Tebing Tinggi Falls Perak
Waterfall in spate after heavy rain.

Near Selama, the highway passes the impressive Tebing Tinggi Falls.

Unspoilt Selama District Perak
Illegal logging is a problem in parts of Malaysia but thankfully not here.

The view from here is a reminder that Malaysia is a big country with still plenty of lush forest areas. Let’s hope they stay that way.

Gua Gunung Runtuh
Near Lenggong in Perak are a number of caves under the control of the Department of National Heritage.

This hill contains a cave in which a 10,000 year old skeleton was discovered which has been dubbed ‘Perak Man’. I struggled to find the cave due to lack of signage but somehow managed to locate it after a half hour hike and much scrambling over wet rocks.

Cave Entrance Gua Gunung Runtuh
The entrance to Gua Gunung Runtuh was hard to find and locked.

It is not surprising that the skeleton was not discovered until 1991. Since the cave was locked I had to content myself with peering through the railings.

A short drive away are a number of other archaeologically significant caves but they too were padlocked which is a bit disappointing for an area which touts itself as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Skeleton Of Perak Man
The original skeleton of the Perak Man can be viewed at the Lenggong Archaeological Museum, Kota Tampan.

The Lenggong Archaeological Museum displays the original skeleton of the Perak Man when it is not being loaned out to other museums.

Perak Cave Men
Artist’s impression of life 10,000 years ago in a cave in Perak.

As for Lenggong town itself, it seems a quaint place with some old wooden shophouses and a colonial era post office.

Lenggong Main Street Perak
Lenggong Main Street Perak
Lenggong Post Office
Lenggong Post Office

Last stop on my tour of the back roads of Kedah and Perak was at the tranquil Chenderoh Lake, popular with anglers seeking catches such as Peacock Bass and Toman (giant snakehead).

Chenderoh Lake Perak
This lake was created in the 1920s by building a dam across the mighty Perak River, Malaysia’s first hydro-electric dam and power station.