Perak Darul Ridzuan, which means Perak, the Land of Grace, is a state in Malaysia. It has a land area of 21,000 sq km, making it the third largest state in the country after Pahang and Johor. The state of Perak is located between the main urban centres of Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Its capital, Ipoh, is becoming an increasingly vibrant city. Perak has a population of over 2 million people, making it one of the more densely populated states in the country.
The state of Perak is divided into nine districts. Apart from the state capital Ipoh, major towns include Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, Kampar, Teluk Intan and Lumut. The sultan, or constitutional state ruler, of Perak resides in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, approximately an hour from Ipoh.
For centuries, the state of Perak is synonymous in Malaysia with tin mining. It is believed that the name of the state (Perak means silver, a misnomer for tin) came about because the word for tin appeared later than silver in the Malay language. According to another belief, the name was derived from the name of Tun Perak, the Bendahara (an archaic term for prime minister) of Malacca.
The Sultanate of Perak traces its roots to Sultan Muzaffar Shah, the eldest son of the last Sultan of Malacca. After the Sultanate of Malacca fell to the Portuguese in 1511, the Sultan of Malacca retreated to Johor, where he consolidated his power. His eldest son, however, chose to head north, and became the first Sultan of Perak in 1528. Perak is the only state in Malaysia whose royal house is descended directly from the Sultanate of Malacca.
The state of Perak is named after its namesake river, just like Kelantan and Pahang. The capital was originally in Kuala Kangsar, until the discovery of huge quantity of tin led to the transfer of the capital, first to Taiping, and then finally to Ipoh. This wealth of tin deposit made Perak constantly under threat from foreign forces.
The Achinese from Sumatra raided the state in the 16th century. The town of Teluk Intan was founded by a woman from Mandailing, Sumatra. In 1641, the Dutch attempted to monopolise the tin trade of Perak by building a fort on Pangkor Island, at the mouth of the Perak River, but met with little success. In the 18th century, Perak had to withstand threats from the Bugis from the south and the Thais from the north.
To work the tin mines, the Malay rulers brought in Chinese miners. This however lead to the destabilisation of the Malays. In the 1870s, succession dispute over the Perak throne and the gang-wars among the Chinese tin miners led to British intervention. They imposed the Pangkor Engagement and took control of the state, installing a British Resident in Perak who is the de facto ruler. However, opposition of the Perak Chiefs to Resident Birch resulted in his assassination at Pasir Salak, and a brief war.
Perak is a state with lots of natural as well as man-made tourist attractions. The central part of the state has numerous limestone mountains with an abundance of caves. The most magnificent cave in Perak is Gua Tempurung in Gopeng. Along the coast, visitors can enjoy a relaxing beach getaway at Pulau Pangkor, Perak's foremost beach destination. If you are looking for a taste of a traditional fishing village, there are several along the coast of Perak including Lumut, Kuala Sepetang and Kuala Gula. Much of the coastal areas of Perak is covered with mangrove swamp. For an educational experience, head to the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve. Further inland, you can visit two of the biggers waterfalls in Perak, Lata Kinjang and Lata Iskandar. If you are interested in Perak history, visit the historical towns of Taiping, Kuala Kangsar and Pasir Salak. For something even more ancient, go to Lenggong, the place where the skeleton of the prehistoric Perak Man was found.
Truly, there is a lot for you to explore and discover in Perak. What we have mentioned is just a selection of places. You can view even more in the listing on the left side of this page. We hope that this Perak has given you ideas for a wonderful holiday there.
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