Ever hear of a place named Perlis? Perlis is the tiniest state in Malaysia. But being located on the Malaysia-Thailand border, it has a vivid history and heritage. And this is what makes it exciting.
Many Malaysians would have passed through Perlis many times, headed to Langkawi or Hat Yai, Thailand. And most of us had assumed it was pretty much a what you see is what you get kind of destination.
The weather-worn fishing boats docking in the coastal waters and unending miles of paddy fields being the usual symbol of this quiet northwest state of Peninsular Malaysia. But guess what? There are many fascinating things to do in Perlis!
Ladang Nipah Khipli
In Sanglang, near the Kedah border, Ladang Nipah Khipli is located in the middle of a Nipah Palm plantation. And not only is Ladang Nipah Khipli is a plantation with a restaurant. But it is also a Nipah Palm Plantation specializing in Nipah Juice’s production (Nira Water).
At the open-air Ladang Nipah Khipli Restaurant, you can relish in a cool glass of the delightful Nira Water. They also offer Laksa Kedah, Cendol, and more. You will be happy that you saved your appetite!
Masjid Al Hussain
Before the Kuala Perlis Ferry Jetty, catch the call to prayers at the Masjid Al Hussain Mosque. Often known as the ‘floating mosque,’ the Al Hussein Mosque was constructed on the Kuala Perlis’s waters. The mosque appears floating when the tides are high. Construction on this stunning mosque began in 2006, and it opened in 2011.
The use of paint to beautify the mosque was only used on the ceiling of the building. The rest of the coloring embraces an eco-friendly concept and comes from golden-colored natural materials, such as quartz stone fragments, coral, marble, or specially selected gravel and pebbles. The mosque’s colorful dome lights up during prayer time. And it also serves as a landmark for the offshore fishermen and can be seen from up to 10 kilometers away. It is stunning at dusk and sunset.
Masjid Al Hussain is open to non-Muslim visitors but avoids walking through the mosque door showing a lot of skin. Arms and legs covered are preferable, as well as a head covering for women. Mosques in Malaysia are open to non-Muslims. However, you need to wear proper attire to wear inside, including headscarves (tudung or hijab).
Restoran Asputra Ikan Bakar
Wrap up your day in Perlis with a hearty meal at Restoran Asputra Ikan Bakar. Very popular with Perlis locals, Restoran Asputra serves an excellent sweet-n-sour seabass, water spinach with shrimp paste and sambal. The spacious dining area is family-friendly, and the customer service comes with a smile.
Warung Tepi Sawah
Stop in at Warung Tepi Sawah for a breakfast fix. This restaurant is impeccable. The open-air kampung-style views the lush paddy fields against a scenic backdrop of a rocky limestone hillside. It’s truly breathtaking.
But it’s not just the view that attracts customers. Warung Tepi Sawah serves delicious Apom Lenggang with curry or sambal. In fact, they are known for their crepes, so be sure to get there early to beat the crowds.
Magnificent Gua Kelam is about 1 kilometer from the small town of Kaki Bukit in Arau. The access to the 370-meter cave was pick axed by hand. Eager ore miners were anxious to make their fortune back in Malaysia’s mining days. The high perched suspension bridge, presently used to get to the cave entrance, was recently part of the government’s refurbishment efforts. Additional refurbishing includes a new gallery and landscaping: the Galeri Gua Kelam and the Secret Garden.
Today, guests to Gua Kelam have a choice of two caves to explore; Gua Kelam 1, which includes a 400-meter underground river, and Gua Kelam 2, an above-ground cave. Gua Kelam 1 was earlier used as a shortcut to transport heavy minerals from Gua Kelam 2. It was also used by locals as a non-mountainous route to get from Kaki Bukit to Wang Kelian.
Kangar Street Art
Do check out the impressive Kangar Street Art on Jalan Kangar. The theme ‘Colors of Perlis’ is an intriguing mix of traditional Perlis culture and heritage with modern-day culture splashes.
More than 80 murals are located along Jalan Kangar and nearby buildings on Jalan Lencongan. These beautiful murals were produced by 30 talented visual arts students from around Malaysia. The initial ‘Kangar Street Art’ program was part of the National Level Arts Festival 2016.
Nat Pokok Getah
Possibly one of Perlis’ best-kept treasures is the Nat Pokok Getah which is a morning market. It happens every Friday and Sunday at an extensive Rubber Tree plantation in Arau’s Kampung Kubang. It is from 8 am until 1 pm. Sundays are the more attractive of the two days. So get there early with an empty stomach as there will be lots of food to try.
There are two sections to this market; one section focuses on food and produce. The second section leans more towards everything else, from clothing and plants to medicinal herbal remedies and homemade knives.
One of the exciting aspects of this market is its name. The word ‘nat’ is a Thai loanword, which means ‘market’ in Thai and Malay languages. Most Malaysians refer to morning markets as Pasar Pagi, Perlis, and Kedah folks, refer to morning markets as ‘nat.’
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