Just came back from Taiping. Yes.. playing host again. This time my ex colleagues had two vouchers to stay at Taiping Golf Resort so we made the trip.
When we reached the hotel, which is way far from taiping, about 15 to 20 minutes to town centre (which is damn far by Taiping’s standard), we saw the building with the paint peeling off, one of the girls said – let’s scram from here!!! Haha. It indeed looks really creepy.
We checked in, but was not given the condotel nearer to the entrance. We were given the building after the golf course, which is secluded and it was really creepy. There was no reception at the counter in the building. When we arrived, it was dark and raining. Imagine there’s only a light at the reception. Honestly, it looked like some ghost movie scene.. of a dilapidated hotel, with nobody at the reception and only lit with faint orange light.
We scrambled to look for a switch so we could see which rooms we are in but couldn’t find it. So I guess 101 and 108 is not on ground floor but on first floor. The moment the elevator open, it was pitch black.. then, lights suddenly flickered on. There’s a mirror in the elevator so imagine you actually saw somebody in an empty elevator! Which is your own reflection! We were jostled out of our wits!
The room which has a balcony is actually not bad. But my room facing the parking lot looks a bit creepy. Coupled with the very susah to open door knob – it seems that, if you couldn’t open the door on your first try in a hotel, you better go get another room! I knocked and said politely we will only come stay for a night, so please pardon us. And the door could be opened. I wanted to keep the lights on but then, we planned to move to another room, so we switched it off. Which I regretted.
Only to go to the reception and was told, it was fully booked. I doubt it. I didn’t see a single soul – apart from the 4 of us and one couple who left after we arrived for the night… which my friend said, did you see somebody? I didn’t see anybody also! Well, I tried not to question her after she made the remark, since we will be staying there for the night.. better to shut up and say unnecessary thing!
Also I saw a huge spider when we left the room earlier but I didn’t tell my friend.
My friend was taking a shower in her room when the lights suddenly switched off in the bathroom after 5 minutes. She thought the room mate was playing pranks on her but actually, it was just short fused. So she continued taking her shower in the dark, with the light from her handphone.
The security latch in my room was broken so it gave me sleepless night. My sleep was intermittent throughout the night and I kept the lights on in the bathroom and also the passage way to the door.
So.. kinda disappointed.. no ghost and the hotel is so dilapidated. Haha! Actually, the place is nice if they take the trouble to upkeep it. Afterall, now many people are looking for places like this to rest and relax. They should really consider making it into a nice resort. Revamp the place. I am sure many people will pay good money to stay in places like this. Further, it’s really cooling and the air is really fresh. Ah well.
Sorry to disappoint. No ghost story here.
Things to do in Kuala Sepetang
Go to Kuala Sepetang. It’s about 20 minutes/25 km drive from Taiping. Upon reaching Kuala Sepetang, the road is flanked both sides by mangrove swamp.
On your left would be the charcoal factory. You may drop by for an education tour. Mr Chuah charges Rm5 per person. Sometimes, you can go around for free, without guide.
Further up the road towards Kuala Sepetang town after the charcoal factory, on the right of the road is the Jabatan Perhutanan Paya Bakau. Entrance is free. You can have a walk around the compound. It’s very huge.
On the way to Kuala Sepetang, there are plenty of Mee Udang stalls. Famous one is Mak Teh and Mak Jah. But I never tried the mee before. Please be extra careful when you drive through here as there are many cars parking on the narrow road to get to the restaurants along the road.
Uncle Tai’s Curry Mee
Eat late lunch/early dinner at Mr Tai’s curry mee stall. It’s situated right at the sharp corner towards the main road, called Trump Road. Open from 3 pm to 7 pm or till pots of curry are finished. Closed on Mondays.
More than 100 Years sign board
The sign board of the old Port Weld’s railway is still standing proud in front of the curry mee stall… it’s more or less situated diagonally across the curry mee shack. This is where the first railway of Malaya started – right from Port Weld, built in 1885!
Strolling along Seberang Sungai/Koay Kang
After eating, take a stroll into the village behind the curry mee shack. Walk about 2 minutes and you will see a newly blue colored built bridge. Cross over the bridge to go to the other side. The locals called it “Koay Kang” which translated to “Across the River” in English. Take photo in the middle of the bridge, overlooking rows of boats. It’s exceptionally scenic during sunset or sunrise!
There’s nothing much at the small river village. You just get to see many locals in their homes – gambling, cooking, feeding children, mending their fishing nets etc. It can be quite a good photography moment if you enjoy watching lives of the kampong folks. I think it’s good to ask for permission before snapping away.
While it is relatively safe to walk here on your own, it’s better to be careful. When I was there last weekend, I saw dubious characters buying drugs from a dilapidated house nearby the bridge!
Kang Kao/ Xin Kuala Sepetang Restaurant/ Restoran Tepi Sungai
Kang Kao – you can have dinner at Kang Kao – the place with big eagle on its roof. Or you can choose Restoran Tepi Sungai or Xin Kuala Sepetang Restaurant – all situated on the same row from the main road – Trump Road. I’ve been to Xin Kuala Sepetang and Restoran Tepian Sungai so far because they belong to my relatives. Haha. Food in Restoran Tepian Sungai is much better than Xin Sepetang but we would go to Xin Sepetang because we don’t have to climb stairs – we have elderly people mah. Both are pork free restaurant. My mom just had lunch at Kang Kao last weekend and said the food is not bad. So you can try it if you want. I haven’t tried it myself, so I cannot say.
Food is cheap. Seafood is fresh. Scenery is amazing. What more can one ask for?
Day Cruise – Eagles, dolphins, harvesting cockles, passing by kelongs, Kuala Sangga/Lao Kang.
Night Cruise – Fireflies, eagles, sunset
Boat rides – you can go on boat rides anytime throughout the day, though it’s more advisable to go for sunset cruise – less hot and you may see fireflies. For morning boat rides, you get to see people harvesting cockles at the nearby mangrove swamp, the many flying eagles, sometimes you may even see pink dolphins – if you are lucky!
The boat will stop by Kuala Sangga/Lao Kang – a very old village, which was built by Catholics missionary many years ago. It is also called “30 keng” translated to “30 houses” from hokkien. Now, most residents have left this place for better lives on land. The 30 houses are still there, some dilapidated from tides of times. Boat ride costs about Rm25 each person. The boat jetty is just next to the Kang Kao restaurant (to the left if you are facing Kang Kao).
Honestly, I have only been on a boat ride once in my life when I was a teenager and got it for free because my relatives own their own fishing boats! That was many years ago.
Miku So’s curry mee and other bowls of goodness!
If you plan to stay for the night in Kuala Sepetang/Port Weld, which is highly recommended, you can try the really good curry mee by Miku So in the morning. Personally, I love Miku So’s curry mee. It is served with coagulated pig’s blood which tastes like tofu! For somebody who don’t eat pig’s innards, I find this really weird. I love coagulated pig’s blood. Haha!
Miku So’s stall is situated at the third shop house from the main road from Taiping, if I remember correctly. Right next to the two restaurants nearest to the corner of the entry into Trump Road. Miku So is really old, so don’t rush her when she’s preparing your meals. She’s now hunched back due to age. She operates her shop in front of a barber’s shop, which belongs to her husband. Uncle Miku is really old too, probably in his 90s already and he’s no more cutting hair, I supposed. So whenever we are in Port Weld, we will assist her to serve ourselves some bowls of curry mee, ching tng kueh teow or kon lou mee.
Nasi lemak bungkus
Usually when I am in Kuala Sepetang, I don’t go out and buy breakfast. Most of the time, the moment I opened my eyes, there will be food on the table! This time, since we played host to Raub Kia & family, we woke up early at 7 am just to eat breakfast.. yawn….
So I find out where the nasi lemak stall is. It’s sold on a cart near the corner of the street where Uncle Tai’s curry mee is situated. Manned by a lady and a man, not sure if they are husband and wife, they sell really good RM1.20 nasi lemak bungkus! Thinking of it makes me salivate nia! It has a good sized small fish and plenty of tiny prawns. The sambal to me is not very fiery but for people who cannot eat spicy food, perhaps you should avoid this! For those people who can eat spicy food (what a blessing!), nom nom nom away!
We checked in at Kuala Sepetang Inn (speak Mandarin/Hokkien/Cantonese please) for Raub kia & family. We find the place clean and good. It’s just situated behind my late grandma’s house so it was quite easy for our guests to reach us if they need anything. Or you can also check out Happy 8 Retreat which is situated at Kang Kao restaurant. It’s pricier and fancier, depending on your preferences. There’s many upcoming hostels soon in Kuala Sepetang. I think it’s best to visit now before the boom of tourists (already booming!) spoil the authenticity of my hometown! Actually, most places in Kuala Sepetang is just within walking distance. The mangrove swamp is a considered a little bit far, about 15 minutes walk from the curry mee place. It’s best to drive.
I have tagged most of my Kuala Sepetang posts here. Please feel free to have a look!
Travel advice: Please drive really slowly and carefully as you are approaching this small village as most of the villagers rode their motorbikes and bicycles recklessly. It’s been that way for many, many years.. so it’s best to watch out for the children dashing in and out from their houses.
Well, after I posted some “happening” instagram photos, many of my facebook friends have been harping on an itinerary to visit Taiping and Kuala Sepetang. I think after the movie, “The Gathering”, be prepared for influx of tourists, fellow Taiping kias!
I’ve been to Taiping and Kuala Sepetang numerous times… well, I was born and bred in Taiping and Kuala Sepetang for almost 13 years before my family uprooted ourselves to Kuala Lumpur. So, most of the time really, I don’t really eat outside as my mom cooked all the time. But we do love our food at Casual market at the space below the old Larut Matang supermarket.
I specifically miss the hawkers peddling their delicious food on their motorbikes and mini vans in Taiping Garden. I remember the delicious chee cheung fun sold by a very elderly man on his motorbike every morning. The elderly Indian man in his roti motorbike, whom we always patronized to get the freshly baked cream buns and sandwich bread. I miss the lanky guy who peddled vegetables, fish and meat behind our house three days a week. And I miss the aromatic coffee guy, who sold freshly blended coffee beans right from his van in front of our house! And the kueh guy! The old kueh guy selling us all types of kuehs – the blue colored glutinous rice we eat with kaya, the fried radish kueh dipped in sweet chili sauce, the triangular shaped glutinous rice wrapped in leaves, to be eaten with condensed milk or just as it is. Our top favorites. How I miss my childhood!
I shall call this the tentative guide.. since places are always changing and evolving. Makan places sometimes changed. These are my usual haunts whenever I am in Taiping. As for how to get there, well, this is the technological era.. so google and waze your way through! I am just going to throw a bit of tips or advice here and there.
Disclaimer: These tips/guide are the things I usually do or eat, whenever I am in Taiping and Kuala Sepetang. Taste buds and preferences would be different as not all of us are the same. So far, I think most of my friends enjoy whatever I ask them to try.
Taiping – Kuala Sepetang Trip
Exit Changkat Jering toll. Keep left after toll, don’t have to go through the traffic light ahead. Keep left after junction. Go straight. You will pass by Caltex, Shell and Petronas on your left. Go straight till you see cross junction at Simpang.
Turn right to go to Taiping town. Turn left will lead you to Kuala Sepetang.
Things to do in Taiping
Places to visit – the Lake Gardens, Maxwell Hill, the War Memorial Park (on the way to Maxwell Hill), Taiping Zoo, Taiping Museum – exit from Lake Gardens, after Taiping prison (all situated within the vicinity).
Places to makan at Taiping town
Jalan Panggung Wayang, 34000 Taiping, Perak
Some people call this Cashier market or Cashew Market, etc.. ah well. I am confused myself.. so let’s stick to Casual market.
Casual market – a very old food court. The top row of shop used to be the older supermarket in Taiping called Larut Matang Supermarket. The lower part of the building is the old Cashier market, serving local delights such as char kueh teow, satay, popiah, prawn fritters, nyonya kuehs, wan tan mee, mee rebus, etc. Try to go early before 10 am if you want to try out the nyonya kuehs, especially the fried radish cake as it get sold out pretty quickly!
I usually order the fishball char kueh teow from Stall no. 63 and wan tan mee from stall no. 78. Quote the number on your table so they could send you the food after preparation. Pay when served.
Ais Kacang, Casual market
Jalan Panggung Wayang
It’s at the corner of the Casual Market, facing Hotel Peace, which is situated just opposite of the road. Made famous by the movie, “The Gathering”. Actually, it’s been a local favorite for many years even before the movie. Honestly, I have never tried the ais kacang there before! Maybe I have, when I was little. I couldn’t remember! You may try the ais kacang here. It was always packed but I think the waiting time is quite alright.
Jalan Panggung Wayang
Famous for lobak, chicken and duck rice. Check out the really antique tiles and the swallow mosaic on the walls. I guess this is how prewar houses used to look like.
111, Jalan Pasar, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia.
Opens daily from 6.00am until 1.00pm.
Closed on Mondays.
Kueh teow soup, fishball, and steamed chicken.
Honestly, too many people visiting this shop. I prefer Golden Corner. I think their service is much more friendly. I’ve been to Kakak only twice and I totally despise one particular waiter. So I rarely go there.
94, Jalan Pasar, 34000 Taiping, Perak
Only opens at night. Can be quite packed.
Go inside shop to choose your yong tofu. They will bring to your table and give you a price of the bowl. Then order your noodles and drinks from waitress/waiters who will go to your tables. Add on a dish of chicken feet if you like. They are pretty delish! The noodles/kueh teow soup or kon lou will come with shredded chicken.
Bai Ling aka Restoran Prima Taiping
Along Jalan Kota
My cousin brother personally loves this restaurant. There’s really good chicken rice, wan tan mee here. I maybe bias but everything in this restaurant seems nice! That’s why this place is always jam packed throughout the day. That’s why we always park rather far to walk to this restaurant, in order not to get into dead lock jam while looking for parking.
92, Jalan Barrack, 34000, Taiping, Perak, 34000
012-633 3641012-633 3641
I always visit this shop whenever I am home for Ching Ming. It would be a real good thirst quencher if you are slogging in the hot sun to clear your ancestor’s grave! Or, after you walk about the Taiping Lake Gardens and need a place to quench your thirst in a really hot afternoon, Ansari is your place. If I remember correctly, the price of the cendol is only RM1.30 for cendol biasa or RM1.40 for cendol with kacang merah. You may also add pulut in your bowl of cendol if you like.
It’s nearby Ansari Cendol. I’ve eaten the cendol here before and it’s not bad either. Actually not much of a difference lah.
Duck rice at Old Mandarin Cinema, next to HSBC Taiping
This is our old favorite joint for duck rice. Order duck rice and their mui choy soup.