If a city without old buildings is like a man without memories, then Taiping would be a man full of vibrant memories. Once a mining town that was the capital of Perak from 1875 – 1937, Taiping was also one of the very first cities to be established in Malaysia. Naturally it has many historical buildings, whether built by the British for municipal uses, or built by the different communities in Taiping. Many of these buildings are more than 100 years old and are also Malaysia’s “firsts” to be built. For example, the first railway station, ,the first post office, the first wet market, and more. You don’t have to purposely plan for a Taiping Heritage Trail to see these buildings, because you will inevitably see some of these buildings if you happen to be driving around in Taiping.
To find out more about Taiping, here are a few more related posts to read :
Taiping can be easily combined with a trip to Ipoh, basing yourself in Ipoh and make a day trip to Taiping from Ipoh. Here is Dream & Wander Homestay to consider if you need accommodation in Ipoh (sleeps 6-8 people, rates start at RM 330 per night).
1. The Wet Market ／ 太平百年大巴剎
Built in 1884, the wet market on the the main road is Malaysia’s very first market, and also the best preserved market from the 19th century. A subsequent market was built in 1885 on Kota Road. Using wood and cast iron as raw materials, the markets have intricate details both on the interior and the exterior. A retro clock tower nearby the market indicates the age of the market with “Pasar Lamar, 1885” written on it.
Address : Main Road, Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : 1 am – 5 pm.
2. The Taiping Railway Station ／ 太平火車站
Inaugurated in 1885, the railway route from Taiping to Kuala Sepetang was Malaysia’s first railway track to be built. The original station built in 1885 was located at where the King Edward VII School is today, but that has already been dismantled. The one you see below was built in 1893. Walking into the vintage train station felt like going into a movie set. The colors are worn-out colors of pink, brown and white; yet the design is no-fuss and timeless. The old machineries that were once used to manuever railway tracks still remind us of the station’s former glory. Part of the old station is used as a a gallery to exhibit “Taiping’s 33 Firsts”, while other parts are transformed into cafes. The trains that pass through Taiping now stop at the adjoined new station built in 2014.
Address : Jalan Stesen, 34000 Taiping.
Opening Hours : The train station is open according to train schedule. The gallery and the cafes at the old station close at 5 pm.
3. The Hokkien Association Building ／ 太平福建會館
The Hokkien Association’s history goes all the way back to 1862. The first president of the association, Ng Boo Bee donated the land in 1904, while the the second president Lim San Kip built the building later on. The best time to capture the grandeur of this building is during sunset, when fantastic colors dance right behind the building.
Address: 290, Jalan Kota, Kampung Jambu, 34000 Taiping
4. Peking Hotel ／ 北京酒店
The Anglo-Indian architecture built in 1929 was once in the hands of a businessman, Japanese military and the Rubber Association, before it eventually became Peking Hotel. The interior surprisingly has not been modernised and perhaps is as old as the building itself. It was intriguing for me to see this beautiful hotel, but definitely a tad too eerie for me to stay.
Address: Jalan Idris, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
5. Peace Hotel ／ 太平和平酒店
It’s not an uncommon thing to see kopitiams operating in a pre-war shoplot, but not many has the opportunity to operate from one as ornate as the Peace Hotel. When I visited, the hotel looked worn-out but it has since been repainted and now details like gorgeous inlaid Peranakan tiles and lion head sculptures on pillars are much more noticeable. The kopitiam is open for breakfast serving drinks and toast, while the char koay teow and duck rice served at lunch time are popular choices for Taiping locals.
Address : 32, Jalan Iskandar, Taiping, 34000, Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : from 8 am for drinks only. Lunch is served from 11 am onwards.
6. Taiping Prison ／ 太平監獄
Before the establishment of the Taiping Prison, it was the Mantri’s house in Matang Larut that was used to detain prisoners. When the Taiping Prison (also known as the Taiping Gaol) was established in 1879, it became Malaysia’s very first prison. The prison is not open to the public as it is still in use.
Address : Jalan Taming Sari, Taman Tasik Taiping, 34000 Taiping.
7. All Saints Church / Anglican Church ／諸聖公教堂
Established in 1883, the church is the oldest Anglican Church in Malaysia. It’s amazing that this wooden architecture is still very much intact today, including the stained glass panels that survived World War II. The church is open for services on Sunday. Here is more information about the church on wikipedia.
Address: Jalan Taming Sari, Taman Tasik Taiping, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
8. The Perak Museum ／ 霹靂博物館
Designed with Victorian and Moorish elements, the Perak Museum is Malaysia’s first museum that was constructed in 1883. If you have heard of “Hugh Low Street” in Ipoh (named after the British Resident of Perak, Sir Hugh Low), it was the same man that commissioned the museum. At the museum’s ground floor, the Nature Gallery exhibits a variety of animal specimens. The first floor consists of a Culture Gallery that showcases Malaysian traditions through costumes, handicrafts and games. The second floor is dedicated to Orang Asli’s culture and different types of earthenwares in Malaysia. Don’t miss out this museum with more than 8000 pieces of impressive artefacts if you are a fan of history and anthropology.
Address : Jalan Taming Sari, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : 9 am – 6 pm.
Entrance Fee : RM 2 for adults. FOC for children below 12 years old or for those that are in school uniform.
9. Larut Matang & Selama Land & District Office ／ 拉律馬登縣屬
Completed in 1897, the Larut Matang & Selama District Office was designed by a senior engineer, St Francis Caufiled. The Victorian Neo-Classical building was designed in the shape of the letter “C” (for Caufield), and was declared a national heritage in 2012. The big red heart at the front of the building makes it a photogenic spot.
Address: Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Larut Matang dan Selama, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm.
10. The Clock Tower ／ 太平大鐘樓
There are two clock towers in Taiping – one is next to the wet market and one is THE Clock Tower that’s now the tourist center as seen in the picture below. The clock tower was built in 1881 by using timber, and rebuilt again in 1891 by using brick. This fort-like building was once used as a police station. Today the clock tower functions perfectly well as a tourist center that provides visitors with maps and information of Taiping. You’ll also be able to find out about the “33 Firsts of Taiping” here.
Address: Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : Daily 8 am – 5 pm.
11. St George’s Institution ／聖喬治中學
When I drove past the school for the first time, I could not help but slowed down to catch the school’s magnificence. The Catholic school was founded by a group of La Salle brothers from Penang and the construction of the school was completed in 1915. During WWII, the school was closed and had its short stint as Japanese military’s headquarters.
Addrss : Jalan Stesen, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
12. King Edward VII School ／ 愛德華七世中學
The school was built in 1883 and it was shifted to its current location in 1905. The school building is not the only thing that’s more than 100 years old in the compound. The gate (1908) and the rain trees (1910) are also prominent features of the school that deserve your attention.
I visited the school after school hours. There were only a few guards at the gate that seemed curious about why I wanted to go inside the school. After explaining to them that I just wanted to take a few pictures, they were more than happy to let me in. I felt so at peaceful at the school – there was only me; the buildings were gorgeous; the sun rays were warm but not scorching; and the giant rain trees were simply marvellous.
Address : Jalan Muzium Hulu, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
13. Taiping Rest House ／ 太平旅邸
Built in 1879 by the British, the Taiping Rest House was used as accommodation by visitors and government officials. The rest house was the first to be built in Malaysia. The rest house was previously converted into a hotel, though now it seems to be abandoned.
Address : Station Road, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
14. Chung Keng Kwee’s Residence ／ 鄭景貴甲必丹屋
If the name “Chung Keng Kwee” sounds familiar to you, chances are you might have seen this name from the Peranakan Mansion in Penang, as he was the man that commissioned the stunning mansion. The Chinese Captain played prominent roles in both the Hai San Secret Society and the tin mining industry. The town house on Jalan Barrack built with Peranakan elements is among one of the properties that belonged to the captain.
Address : Jalan Barrack, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
15. The Municipal & Sanitary Board Building / 市政廳
The building was built in 1891 in the style of Anglo-Indian architecture, using brick and timber as its main building materials. Find out more about this building from http://www.heritage.gov.my/. The green vintage train that’s just outside the building is definitely instagram-worthy. And about the street lamps nearby, don’t underestimate them as they are imported from the UK and have been around since 1903 !
Address : 105, Jalan Stesen, Taman Jambu, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
16. Masjid Melayu ／ 古打回教堂
The Malay Mosque was built in 1897 and it is the oldest mosque in Taiping. The mosque is unique as it was built in a hexagonal shape, with influences of Dutch-English architectural style. The cemetery behind the mosque is the final resting place for a few notable figures in Taping.
Address : Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
17. Taiping Sri Nagamuthu Mariamman ／麗華拉雅廟（興都廟）
The Hindu Temple was first registered in 1879 and it is currently managed by the Taiping Hindu Devalaya Sabah. Religious activities and weddings are held regularly at the temple.
Address : Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
18. Hosian Temple ／ 和善堂
The original temple was built in timber in 1890 and later rebuilt with bricks in 1905. The temple was financed by a wealthy business man named Chen Yen Xin who wanted to fulfil his daughter’s wish of becoming a monk. His daughter, Lin Ai Zhen was the first female monk of the temple.
Address : Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
19. Silver Jubilee Jetty ／太平湖銀禧紀念碼頭
The jetty with colonial design was constructed in 1936 to commemorate the silver jubilee celebration of the reign of King George V of England. The jetty was the first to be built in Malaysia and it was the starting point of any sports activity that was being held at the Lake Gardens. On the pedestal pillars, the 1910 and 1935 mark the 25 years of King George V’s reign.
Address: Taiping Lake Gardens
20. He Xian Gu Temple／何仙姑廟
The temple worships “He Xian Gu”, who is among one of the Eight Immortals. When she was young, she was instructed by a deity in her dream to consume mica powder， which eventually led to her immortalisation. He Xian Gu Temple is located next to the Kwangtung Association and it’s also managed by the association. There is not too much information on the construction of the temple, though it is known to be built even earlier than the Kwangtung Association that was established in 1887. Many items in the temple are dated from the Guangxu period (1871 – 1908).
Address : Jalan Tokong, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : 8 am – 5 pm.
21. Shun Tak Association ／ 順德會館
The Shun Tak Association Building was built in 1896 by people from the Shun Tak District of China (this district is now known as Shun De). There are 7 Shun Tak Associations in China, with the one in Taiping being the second oldest. The building was originally used as a community hub, providing help and resources for immigrants from the Shun Tak District. The building has since been renovated and now it houses a a hip restaurant called the Atrium Lounge.
Address : 36 Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : 4.30 pm – 12 am.
22. Officers’ Mess / 陸軍辦公室
Built in 1906, the building was built as a recreational space for British Officers staying in Taiping. Today, the building is utilised by the Malaysian army.
Address: Jalan Kelab Baru, Taiping.
23. Taiping New Club / 太平俱樂部
The Taiping New Club was established in 1885, when the older club, the Perak Club decided to impose restrictions on members, only allowing a certain level of officials and miners to enter the club. The Perak Club no longer exists while the New Club today is still a members-only club.
Address: Jalan Kelab Baru, Taiping.
24. Telegraph Office / 電訊報辦事處
Malaysia’s first telegraph office started off as a small timber building in 1877. It was rebuilt in 1884 and at one point it also housed the post office. The building at the moment looks miserable; hopefully it will get restored soon.
Address: Station Road, Taiping, Perak.
25. Post Office / 太平郵政局
The Taiping Post Office was established in 1877. It occupied the same premise as the telegraph office before it was shifted to this current building in 1899. As of 2017, postal services have been operating in this building for the past 118 years ! The facade of the building does look a little uninteresting, but just take a walk to the side of the building, you’ll discover some interesting metal lockers attached to the wall.
Address: JKR 102, Jalan Barrack, Taiping, Perak.
26. Public Library 公共圖書館
The Victorian building was constructed in 1912 with a specific purpose to house the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. Established in 1888, the Chartered bank was also Malaysia’s first Chartered Bank. The building is currently a public library known as the “Independence Memorial Library”.
Address: 264, Jalan Kota, 34000 Taiping, Perak.
Opening Hours : 9 am – 5.30 pm.
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