lifestyle/December 12, 2023
The serene district of Selama is awakening with breathtaking waterfalls, hidden histories and small-town cultural gems. Here are 15 things you shouldn’t miss in the charming district of Selama.
Located in the northernmost region of Perak, the sleepy town of Selama rests in an endearing slumber.
It is a modest township with humble beginnings tracing back to 1870, where a man by the name of Abdul Karim bin Raja Aman Shah - who served under the then Orang Kaya Menteri Laut, Long Jaafar; and his son, Ngah Ibrahim after him - was granted permission to establish his own village north of Larut.
The village was initially given the name Selamat, which translates to ‘safe’ in the Malay language, but was later christened to Selama, meaning ‘forever.’ Today, Selama is a cherished hidden gem that offers more than what you can imagine from an outsider looking in.
Selama is a prime location for ecosystems to flourish, with 57.2% of the district blanketed by tropical rainforests. Its natural beauty is a sight to behold. Cascading waterfalls, snaking rivers, and verdant cliffs, coupled with the human touch of its important history and people, renders Selama a beauty that is mistakenly overlooked in Perak.
If you ever make your way to this region, here are 15 things you shouldn’t miss in the charming district of Selama
There are no skyscrapers here. No trendy theme parks or extravagant malls lined up with glamorous retail outlets. Instead, what you’ll find is a thriving multi-ethnic society living life amidst a backdrop of vintage shophouses and towering emerald hills.
Here, you can idle the day away with the locals, or load up on essentials for your next adventure. The town itself is sprawling with greenery which makes travelling by foot or motorcycle a pleasant experience.
If time permits, take a slow stroll through the town and admire its classic kampung style houses and the many murals that festoon shophouses and alleyways.
Of the many natural beauties that Selama holds, Lata Puteh waterfall is right there at the top. It presents a jaw-dropping, picturesque view of a potent waterfall in full force, cascading down a rocky slab and onto jagged boulders. Late Puteh etches itself prominently by the cliffside, and you’ll be able to catch it even at the start of the trail.
To get to this waterfall, you will need to hike approximately 20 minutes. It is a beginner-friendly climb, although certain sections near the top can get a little steep.
On a less intense level, Lata Tebing Tinggi is an inviting spot for recreational time with friends and family. It is nature’s very own family-friendly paradise with gentle streams flowing into a vast pool of water.
Lata Tebing Tinggi is a popular swimming and picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. It has plenty of facilities in the surrounding area, including parking, restrooms, nearby food stalls, and even camping grounds.
Amp up the adrenaline with a few extreme sports on the itinerary. For this, take a trip to Lata Rambung where a variety of riverside activities await.
Sungai Siputeh offers a great spot for white water rafting, where you can wrestle with rapids of varying difficulties between levels 1 - 4. Either that, or go off road to explore the surrounding landscape of Selama with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
For a more slow-paced adventure, rent a kayak and flow easily down the calm sections of Sungai Siputeh.
If you wish to experience any of these activities, kindly engage with respective tour operators to book your slots!
Complete your adventure by camping out alongside the scenic waters of Sungai Siputeh. A night out in the Selama wild is truly an adventurer’s dream. Remember to keep your eyes up to the night sky and watch the many constellations decorate the heaven’s above.
You will need to book the campsite beforehand, which you can do so by contacting Selama Beach Campsite.
Here’s an activity that perhaps isn’t for the faint-hearted: waterfall abseiling.
Test your grit on the vertical slopes of Lata Damak with the rush of water pressing against you as you make your cautious descent. It will take a level of resilience, but like the thrill of climbing a mountain, you will experience a wave of accomplishment by the time your feet touch the ground. As it turns out, rock bottom isn’t so bad after all.
Remember to contact local operators to book your slot. You will have access to various facilities in the area, including restrooms and a Surau.
Like Lata Tebing Tinggi, Lata Panggung is a serene spot for families to enjoy a day out. It is nestled within Selama’s natural landscape, with the main attraction being Sungai Teras.
You are free to set up a picnic in the area and relax under the shady canopy of trees. If you’re adventurous enough, you can even set up camp to experience a night in the woods. Just remember to keep it as clean as you found it!
Located approximately 30KM away from Selama town, Lata Buluh is a relatively secluded waterfall reachable via a narrow kampung road and some easy trekking. The word ‘buluh’ in Malay means ‘bamboo’, which grows in abundance in the surrounding area, and is also what inspired the name of this waterfall.
The views at Lata Buluh are nothing short of spectacular. Lata Buluh isn’t so much a towering waterfall, but the rushing water flowing over wide rocky cliffs is a sight to behold. You can wade in the shallow pool it leads to, or enjoy a picnic at a clearing beside the river.
Of the many roadside attractions that Malaysia has to offer, Lata Titi Dua is perhaps one of the best. It is beautiful - but off-limits to visitors.
Lata Titi Dua sits about 33KM away from Selama town, and the views are accessible simply by driving down the Lenggong-Ijok Highway. You will be able to catch the long, perpetual plunge of its frothy white water from afar. There is a spot by the highway which you can pull over and take some scenic photos. Just remember that this is a case of ‘see, no touch’ as Lata Titi Dua is under the purview of Lembaga Air Perak and trespassing is prohibited.
Seafood thriving in the mountains is perhaps not what you’re expecting to hear, but in Selama, it does.
Kolam Udang Galah Air Gunung is one of the many ponds home to gigantic freshwater prawns. These prawns, known locally as ‘udang galah’, grow anywhere between 5 to 8 inches long. You can try your hand at netting some of these prawns to bring back home, or hand them over to nearby restaurants to whip something up for you.
Many of these ponds are located at the foot of green mountains teeming in flora, so your visit will be met by panoramic views of verdant Selama valleys.
How’s your aim? Take up a bow and arrow and fire away at the APS Archery Excellence Centre. This is a training ground for archers at both beginner and intermediate levels. Rest assured, the centre will provide you with all the tools needed for you to feel like a full-blown archer.
Aside from the archery range, there is a large swimming pool as well as a shady seating area to relax.
Pay homage to Abdul Karim bin Raja Aman Shah, who founded Selama in 1870. Abdul Karim passed away in 1890 and was laid to rest in the cemetery next to Masjid Selama.
The surrounding area of the tomb is open to visitors, where you’ll find an information board detailing Selama’s history and old photographs of the town’s bygone years.
Selama’s colonial past is evident in its many historical landmarks, one of which being Telaga Gergasi, or ‘Giant Well.’ Built in 1936 by the British, this gargantuan well is 30 metres deep and has a diameter of 6 metres.
Back then, the well was used to transport tin ore by channelling the river’s strong currents. Today, however, the well plays an important role in irrigating the paddy fields in Kerian district.
The well is enclosed with metal fence and concrete, but you can still witness Telaga Gergasi swallow up the colossal amounts of water from the outside.
Admire the artistry of one of Malaysia’s most prominent royal symbols - the keris. The Keris Gallery of Selama is home to over 100 antique keris, displayed together with a priceless collection of traditional weapons and vintage vehicles.
The gallery was established by Encik Abdul Wahab bin Hassan. Encik Abdul Wahab served as a commando in his younger years, and was thus also affectionately known as Pak Din Komando. He passed away in 2023, leaving the care of the gallery under his son.
Hailing from a long line of woodcarvers, Pak Din Komando himself was a skilled keris sheath maker, carving keris sheaths mostly out of Surian Batu wood.
It would be a trip incomplete without a visit to Selama’s oldest market. The Sungai Bayor Friday Market occurs every Friday with its throng of stalls selling local street food, fruits, clothes, and household goods.
If you have not yet gotten yourself a souvenir, you’ll have ample choices here.
With its breathtaking landscape and deep-rooted history, Selama is undoubtedly one of Malaysia’s finest hidden gems. It is a district that welcomes you with open arms and encourages you to embrace its natural beauty and its people.
So the next time you’re anywhere near Perak, remember, Selama beckons.
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