lifestyle/October 15, 2023
There's more to the smallest state in Malaysia than just its paddy fields and village vibes. We've put together 50 attractions for an ultimate adventure in Perlis.
There's more to the smallest state in Malaysia than just its paddy fields and village vibes. We've put together 50 attractions for an ultimate adventure in Perlis.
Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia, perched at the northenmost point of the country. Ask anyone what they know about Perlis, and there's a good chance they would only mention the paddy fields. Quaint and quiet, this rice-producing region is often overshadowed by the neighbouring Langkawi island and Thailand border.
Beneath its unassuming surface lies a colourful past of being ruled by Kedah and Siam, which has given Perlis a unique cultural heritage you would not get to see or experience elsewhere. Emerald rainforests and limestone karsts also add to the state's impeccable natural beauty.
Without further ado, here is a list destinations you can visit in Perlis, categorised according to the different areas in the state.
Kangar is the state capital and the largest town by far in Perlis. It is also Malaysia's smallest capital. About 350 years ago, it was a key trading port located by the Perlis River.
Some believe that Kangar was named after a large tree that became an important landmark at the port, while others claim it is named after a unique type of hawk only found in the part of the country.
As the state's largest town, Kangar is the first place people visit when they are in Perlis. Amidst the modern buildings, Kangar still retains its charming small town vibes and is filled with lush paddy fields. The plethora of hotels and restaurants here make it a great place as your base.
Kangar Street Art is a narrow 100-metre walkway at Jalan Lencongan 2, graced by 80 beautiful street art that illustrate the state's heritage, small-town charm and creativity.
Bearing the 'Colours of Perlis' theme, the vibrant murals were painted by 30 student artists. Look out for a mural of the Awang Batil, Kangar Book Store, and more!
Built during the British Colonial era, Alwi Mosque is the oldest mosque in Perlis. It was declared a National Heritage Site in 2008 by the Malaysian National Heritage Department.
The beautiful monument has a classic Mughal architecture with an onion-shaped dome, stately minaret, ornate arches and turrets.
Hidden from plain sight in Kangar town, Arulmigu Arumugaswamy Dhevasthanam is one of the only Hindu temples in the world that displays Lord Murugan in his battle form.
Established in 1965, it has a golden vel that is used in many significant temple festivals, such as the 'Vaigasi Vishagam' that honour Lord Murugan's incarnation to fight evil 'asuras'.
Given its proximity with Thailand, Perlis is home to a small Thai community of around 8,000 descents. Needless to say, this northernmost state of Peninsular Malaysia has a distinct cultural identity.
Wat Suwankhiri is a majestic Siamese-Buddhist temple complex in Guar Musang Village, surrounded by majestic paddy fields and limestone hills.
At the entrance of Wat Macchimaprasit, there is a three-headed figure, a common sight in shrines in Thailand. With the complex grounds, the ordinance hall stands tall with ornate dragon figures and colourful bird carvings. You'll feel like you are in another country!
Located approximately 17km away from the main town, Timah Tasoh Dam (sometimes referred to as Tasik Timah Tasoh) is a water catchment area. It was named after the two rivers that met here - the Timah River and Tasoh River. Not only is it a source of livelihood for fishermen, it is also popular for activities such as kayaking, camping and boating.
Bukit Chabang is renowned for its two lush outcrops that branch out amidst green fields and little Malay villages. Locals call it a much smaller version of Lauterbrunnen where you can see sheep and goats roaming the grasslands, and a stunning sunset framed between the two hills.
Filled with rocky trails, it is also one of the most adrenaline-pumping hiking spot in Perlis.
Bukit Jernih is one of the state's fascinating geosites consisting of 220-million-year-old Chuping limestone formations.
Formed by tidal erosion that occured when the ancient sea levels were much higher around 6 to 10 thousand years ago, it is a treasure trove of Triassic fossils like crinoids, foraminifera, nautiloids and other fossil fragments. There are also geotrails with caves, rivers and other geological structures.
According to local legend, the water at Bukit Jernih quickly becomes clear within a few days after big storms.
Located roughly 20km away from Kangar town, the 69-metre Bukit Guar Sami is part of the Kubang Pasu Formation that consists of alternating beds of shale and sandstone. It boasts a fairly challenging hiking route that takes visitors approximately 1 to 2 hours to reach the peak. Once there, it rewards visitors with sublime views of the paddy fields and forests.
Tucked in Kampung Ujung Bukit, this beautiful stretch of limestone hill is named after the Zebra Dove (also known as Merbok in Malay), a bird species with a long tail, and brownish-grey feathers, that had permanently made this place their home.
Those with a love for nature and adventure can hike at Bukit Merbok. Along the way, visitors get to see bamboo plantation, a cave filled with legends of mountain elves, ancient living fossils known as the Cycad plant, a cave-abseiling spot, and of course, the spectacular paddy field views as far as the eyes can see.
Love the challenge of climbing up a limestone hill? Head to western face of Bukit Keteri to try multiple climbing routes of different grades and styles.
You can even up the ante, by trying out the mini Ferrata. With a guide, you can also have a cave tour or enjoy a quiet moment looking out at the graceful paddy fields of Perlis.
Gua Cenderawasih is also known as Gua Sami, or the Monk's Cave in English. During the late 90's, a monk was spotted meditating in the cave here, hence its namesake. As one of the more easily accessible hills in the state, Gua Cenderawasih remains a popular place for locals go to hiking or rock climbing.
If you are a plant enthusiast, Perlis Herbal Forest would catch your eye. Established in 1998 by the Perlis Forestry Department, this 12-hectare park houses a horticultural collection of over 1,000 types of wild plants, medicinal plants and other herbs in the state. Look out for interesting plants like Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah and Misai Kucing.
The only thing to note is that there aren't many labels to indicate the plants, and the signboards are mainly in Malay. The entrance ticket is RM2 for adults and RM1 for children.
Not for the faint of heart! The only one of its kind in Malaysia, Perlis Snake and Reptile Farm was established as a research facility for the production of anti-venom. That said, its cold-blooded residents are the reason most people pop by here.
There are roughly 200 snakes here, with 34 species from Malaysia and around the world. 10 of these species are poisonous. There is a closed exhibition with mini showcases, and an open-air enclosure and a petting zoo.
Photogenic explorers will love the sunflower garden just next door, with rows of bright yellow flowers to brighten your day.
Hungry for something local? Set in the centre of Kangar town, Pusat Penjaja Mahkota is a popular and convenient place for food in Perlis. Open daily from 7am to 10.30pm, it features shops selling Malay, Chinese and Thai cuisine.
Did you know that Perlis is famous for its own mango species, only found in this part of Northern Malaysia? Harumanis is sweeter and juicier than other mango varieties found in the country. We love the creamy taste and unique fragrance of these mangoes too!
The mango season is between April to July. The price can be on the premium side, but while you might be tempted to get the slightly cheaper ones by the roadside sellers, bear in mind that they might be 'fake' varieties! It would be better to get them at specialised plantations.
Ladang Harumanis is where this distinct golden crop is planted and harvested. They produce Grade A mangoes that have undergone proper quality control.
Built in 1970, Putra Golf Club boasts a sprawling 18-hole golf course and a haven for golf enthusiasts. The landscape is flat but strategically designed to give golfers a bit of challenge. Putra Golf Course is also surrounded by the magnificent limestone outcrops and emerald forests of Perlis.
Perlis State Exotic Fruit Park is a specialized fruit farm dedicated to exotic fruits. Spanning across 9 hectares, the fruit park is thoughtfully divided into three distinct sections: Laman Anggur, Laman Superfruit, and Laman Nadir. Apart from learning about and tasting different fruits, you can find a large variety of grapes here.
Small and serene, Taman Bunga Kertas Tuanku Lailatul is a 4-hectare bougainvillea flower garden, dedicated to this tropical plant you would commonly see in Malaysia. Named in honour of Her Royal Highness of Perlis, it is frequented by locals out on their evening exercise
The beautifully-landscaped Taman Melati is surrounded by natural wetlands, used by local farmers for the irrigation of paddy fields.
Once a tin mining lake, it is now dotted with hundreds of waterlilies and oriental-style pavilions. Resembling the Forbidden City of China, it is one of Malaysia's most gorgeous parks - perfect for jogging, birdwatching and fishing!
Ujung Bukit is a traditional Malay village graced by a scenic paddy field and a peaceful rural ambience.
There is a village homestay here where people can stay in chalets, have traditional food, and enjoy activities such as cultural performances, paddy cultivation experience and BBQ.
Sitting in the Bukit Bintang Forest Reserve, Taman Eko-Rimba Bukit Ayer is home to a hill dipterocarp forest with a gurgling waterfall.
The newest addition here is a miniature theme park, making it a lovely place for picnics and gatherings with loved ones.
What makes Pintu Wang Gunung such a unique hiking spot is its spectacular location at the Nakawan range, between Malaysia and Thailand. With plenty of vertical climbs and boulders, it offers hikers a challenging route.
Once you reach the top of Pintu Wang Gunung, the picture-perfect scenery does not disappoint, with untouched green landscapes and rugged limestones that take your breath away.
Kuala Perlis is the state's second-largest town and is home to its main port. Not only is it close to the border of Thailand, it has several seafood restaurants in the area.
Named after the late King of Perlis, Jambatan Tuanku Syed Putra, or Tuanku Syed Putra Bridge in English, stretches across the scenic river mouth of Kuala Perlis. The multicoloured bridge stands out amidst the serene fishing villages and fishing boats gently bobbing by the river.
From the top of the bridge, you can catch a glimpse of the Thailand on one side, and the lush Langkawi hills on the other side. We suggest getting here in time for the sunset!
Run by Putra Brasmana Hotel, the Ocean Glow Putra Brasmana is a jetty that links to the esplanade by the shore. Suspended in the middle of the sea, it is a popular spot for weddings and events.
Kampung Pulau Ketam is a small island in Kuala Perlis with fishing villages scattered around it. The mangrove swamps along the shore are the main highlight here, which helps to prevent soil erosion. The mangrove trees attract plenty of fishes and crabs, which is what gives the village its name.
Originally a simple fishing village, Kampung Seberang Alor was given a fresh new look with its village transformation. It is one of the seven traditional villages that became the 'Rainbow Village'. Walk through the village to see vibrant homes, lovely landscaped gardens and thematic murals.
Kampung Seberang Ramai is part of the 'Rainbow Village' programme run by the Raja of Perlis, which gave the once dilapitated neighbourhood a much-needed facelift. Now it is flocked by colourful streets, charming homes and nostalgic little shops.
Kampung Wai is a rustic little village tucked at the northernmost point of Perlis. Laidback and charming, it is actually filled with hidden gems. There is a 22km waterway here that leads towards the Timah Tasoh Dam, where visitors can explore on a kayak.
Kota Kayang Museum was once the site of the ancient Indera Kayangan fort and the palace of the Kedah-Perlis royalty. History enthusiasts would certainly be interested by the exhibitions here, freom Neolithic artefacts to Islamic manuscripts, musical instruments, weapons and royal paraphernalia.
Be sure to check out the replica of the bunga emas, a golden plant-shaped tribute that dates back to the Siamese rule, and two 16th century royal mausoleums.
Kuala Perlis Jetty is the main port and ferry terminal of the state's second largest city. For those travelling to Langkawi island by car, this is the main stopping point to get on the passenger ferry.
Stately and stunning, Masjid Al-Hussain is a floating mosque and an iconic place of worship in Kuala Perlis.
Its 31.3-metre hexagonal twin minaret is the first of its kind in the world. This shines a signal light out to sea, which indicates the prayer times to fishermen.
Paddyfeel is a community-driven landscape project that lets you enjoy the agricultural heritage of Perlis. With the gorgeous paddy field as your backdrop, you can take in fresh air and snap photos of the state's natural beauty.
If you are heading to Kuala Perlis by bus, this would be the main stopping point. It is close to the attractions in the state's second largest city, including the Kuala Perlis Jetty.
At the very tip of Perlis lies The Northernmost Coastline, edged by a boundless sky, boat-dotted sea, and stunning scenery. There is a signboard here to indicate its location.
A haven for nature enthusiasts, Bukit Kubu Recreational Forest has a striking collection of caves and limestone formations. Within the pristine forest, there are scenic viewpoints and Tasik Puteri Kayangan. It is also the natural habitat of the Dusky Leaf Monkey.
Arau is the royal capital of Perlis, often overshadowed by its neighbouring towns like Kangar and Kuala Perlis.
You need not try so hard to find beautiful places in Perlis. As you drive along Jalan Chuping Lalang, you will be greeted by the picturesque grasslands that stretch for miles. Now and then, you might find cars stopped at the side of the road, with photographers snapping away at the grasses and limestone hills.
Did you know that Chuping is the hottest place in Malaysia? Look out for the curious monument that shows how the highest recorded temperature in Malaysia - a mind-boggling 40.1°C - was recorded on 9 April 1998. This occured because of the 1997-1998 El Nino phenomenon.
If we were to pinpoint one of Perlis' most unique yet understated attraction, it is this morning market in Kampung Kubang Paya, Arau. 'Nat' in the local Northern dialect means morning market, while 'pokok getah' refers to rubber tree.
Every Friday and Sunday from 7.00 am to 1.00 pm, this rubber plantation comes to life with Nat Pokok Getah, an eclectic morning market with local food and items you can only find in the Northern part of Malaysia.
Go with an empty stomach as you can find delicious local noodles, rice dishes and kuihs at the little stalls. Look out for clothes, household goods or antiques at bargain prices, sold under the shady rubber trees. Or simply take in the vibrant atmosphere as the locals buy their fresh produce and traditional medicines. This is a Perlis experience you would not want to miss!
Located next to the Perlis Royal Palace, the Arau Royal Gallery has a remarkable collection of royal paraphernalia and exquisite artefacts that give a glimpse into the life of the Perlis royalty.
Admission is free, but it is not open to the general public and you would need to submit a written request.
Kaki Bukit is an old mining town located 26km away from Kangar, close to the Thai border and sharing the Nakawan Range of Thailand. In Malay, its name is literally translated to 'foothill'. Embraced by limestone karsts, it is home to Chinese villagers and a small population of Thais.
Perlis' most well-known attraction is Kelam Cave, or the Cave of Darkness. Discovered during the golden era of tin mining in Malaya, this 370-metre cavern was used by the British to transport tin ore from a mine near the undergound river at the entrance. It also allowed residents in Wang Kelian and Kaki Bukit to travel between the villages.
Beautifully tucked amidst limestone karts, Kelam Cave is one of Malaysia's most unique caves. Thrillseekers can venture down a wooden walkway enclosed by geological formations that date back 480 million years. Be sure to look out for cave residents like bats and insects, and tin-ming relics!
Set against the beautiful limestone hills near the Thai border, the laidback tin-mining town of Kaki Bukit has many local Chinese and Thai restaurants, stores, and places of worship.
Wang Kelian was once known for its lively border market, although this fell out of popularity after it received unfavourable attention from the media.
Unknown to many, Wang Kelian is the state's Forgotten Valley with a wealth of unique and rare wildlife. It is the native habitat of the stumped-tailed macaque (Beruk Kentoi), a rare primate that can only be found right here. To enjoy the natural heritage of this area, you can hike or drive up to the Wang Kelian View Point, where you can catch the sunrise framed by magnificent limestone hills from the Nakawan Range and lush forests.
Nature is plentiful in Malaysia's smallest state. Perlis State Park claims its glory in the form of the country's only semi-decidous White Meranti Gerutu Seasonal Forest.
The lush forest is home to over 600 plant species, 200 bird species, 70 mammal species and 35 reptile species. The state park rests on the longest continuous limestone hills in Malaysia, which is part of the 500-million-year-old Setul geological formation.
Adventure seekers love to visit Perak State Park to admire its vast natural expanse, as well as explore the depths of the Wang Burma Cave here.
Just a short drive further up from the Perlis State Park, you will reach Wang Prachan Boundary Post. This small border is where people can cross between the Malaysia and Thailand boundary. Along the route, you can enjoy the fresh air and wilderness that Perlis has to offer.
Wang Burma is a pristine cave within the Perlis State Park, known for its collection of unique insect and fungi species. The first part of the cave has an easier route with remarkable stalactite and stalagmite collections. The second part has dark and winding passages where thrill-seekers can discover more awe-inspiring cave formations.
Padang Besar is a bustling border town with vibrant markets and a distinct cross-cultural blend of Thai and Malaysian influences.
If you love shopping and finding a bargain, Arked Niaga should be on your list!
Being in the border town of Padang Besar, you can find all sorts of bits and bobs in this shopping mall, including handicrafts, clothes, and food products from Thailand.
Most people come to Padang Besar to cross the border to Hat Yai. If you prefer to stay on this side of town, there are shopping complexes, shops and food stalls selling Malay and Thai cuisine across Padang Besar.
Animal lovers can drop by the Perlis Ostrich Farm in Taman Agro-Lancong, where you can get close to the world's largest bird. The entrance is free, but you are welcome to buy some food to feed the ostriches.
There are other animals like sheep, horses, deer, peacocks, ducks, geese, chicken and tortoises within the premise. Large and well-maintained, it is great for a family adventure.
Sanglang is a quaint town in the southern side of Perlis, primarily run by its farming and fishing industries.
Ladang Nipah Kipli Sanglang is a plantation and agrotourism hub in Kampung Tanah Timbul with over 2,000 nipah palm trees.
Most people come here to enjoy the food here, such as laksa, bee hoon soup, pulut and cendol made with the sweet nipah nectar. Sheltered by the shady trees, it is an escape from the tropical Malaysian heat.
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