Monday, December 24, 2012

Nice Food in Kampar

Finally we have the chance to stay overnight at Kampar again. Of course, earned the opportunity to try more nice food in Kampar. First in our list, the famous curry chicken bread. We learned that there are a few famous restaurants offering the same dish. Kam Ling Restaurant and You Kee Restaurant are two of them. However, we tried that dish at Restaurant Jia Kampar (家好月圆大饭店). We really liked that restaurant, because it was fully air conditioned, good service, and easily accessible. Above all, very nice food. We took our lunch with our family there. The price, around RM12 per person. More information about Restaurant Jia is available here. Surprisingly, curry chicken bread was not introduced in the restaurant's webpage. Luckily, we have Bryant and Livien with us, or else we might never visit that restaurant. They knew the place well.

 Restaurant Jia Kampar is located at the corner of a two-storey shoplot at Masjid Road (upper left). The restaurant is clean and fully air-conditioned (upper right). The restaurant serves the famous Kampar Curry Chicken Bread (lower row).

A snap before enjoy our food with family members.

Evening, after we visited Kellie's Castle and Gopeng Gaharu Estate, we went to Kampar old town's market to take our dinner. At night, the area around the old town was quiet, but we were surprised by the happening at the food court. Under the dim fluorescence light, smoke from burning stools, sound of people talking and laughing indicated that we were at the right place. Hot? Nope, but the smoke was everywhere, due to the poor ventilation system. But, who cares? People like the food more than anything else. We really tried many food there with our family. Char kuey tiaw with clam and egg, chu cheong fun (or chee cheong fun), water spinach with squids, porridge with chicken, and wantan noodle were several of them. The wet market is located at Masjid Road, at the northern side of the old town. We learned from this blog that the market has many nice food to offer under the daylight.

Some of the food that we took at the market- chu cheong fun (upper left), water spinach with squids (upper right), char kuey tiaw with clam and egg (lower right) and taro cake.

This is what we saw around us at the market.

After taking our dinner, we went back to Kampar new town and took a walk around our hotel. Well, the temptation was tremendous, as there were many shops offering tempting food. We stopped at a small cart selling "lok-lok". Lok-lok is nothing new to many. But, how about RM 0.70 per stick of food? Well, price did the talking. We took several sticks of clams, water spinach with squid, and pork. The taste, not the best, but the price compensated. We found the cart at Hala Timah Road 1, west to Grand Kampar Hotel. Anyway, the cart might be moving around so, you might need some luck to find it.

 Various choices of food were offered.

 A few youngsters gathered around the cart, enjoying their supper.

Just before we went back to our hotel, we stopped at Black Ball Taiwanese Tea and Dessert at another side of Hala Timah Road 1. The shop was narrow, selling dessert and milk tea. Nice, but just a bit noisy, crowded with youngsters.

Black ball offers exquisite Taiwanese dessert and delighting Taiwanese pearl tea.

This is the first time we tried so many food in Kampar. The experience, great! Never thought that a small place like Kampar could ever come out with so many nice food. There are many more food in our list. We should visit Kampar again to try them all. Check up about food in Kampar by They provided many useful information to us.

Our sharing on other places nearby are available as well, as listed below.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last Tin Dredge in Malaysia

We read about tin dredge in our history class many years back in our secondary school, "kapal korek" we called it in Malay Language. Now, we see it with our own eyes in Batu Gajah, Perak. It goes beyond everything that we had ever imagined. It is gigantic.

Tanjung Tualang Dredge No 5 (TT5) was one of the largest mining machine of its kind. Three storeys high, 4,500 tonnes, supported by a pontoon of 75 meters in length, 35 meters in width, 115 digging buckets which could dig 15 meters deep, once supported 17 workers working in shift, swallowing the marshes and mud to extract the valuable mineral.

Many years ago, these machines were the symbols of prosperity, which had brought handsome revenue to our country. 75 of them in total between 1954 - 1964, feeding 45% of the world's demand. Then, the tin price nosedived in 1980s. When the operational cost rose above the production cost, these giant machines were shut down one by one. Now, it is the last survival of its kind, laying quietly in a small pond at Batu Gajah. Many years back, people believed that it would be a matter of time for this metal giant to be consumed by rust. However, it stands tall and proud as we can see today, result of the preservative works done by many. You can read more about the preservation of this last dredge at

Starting from Kampar, we reached Batu Gajah through Gopeng. Then, we followed the sign boards to Tanjung Tualang. The dredge is located about 10 km from Gopeng towards Tanjung Tualang. There was no clear sign showing the exact location of the dredge along the way. If you are driving from Gopeng towards Tanjung Tualang, the dredge should be about two minutes away after Chenderong, on your left. The opening hours of the dredge are 8:30 am - 6:30 pm daily, with a lunch break at 12 - 1 pm. The admission fees are RM6.00 for adult, RM5.00 for student (with student card) and RM3.00 for child.

 This three storey high mining machine lies quietly in this old mining pond.

 Walking around the pond, we can see the dredge from different angles.

 The front side of the dredge.

The ladder with buckets still attached. The ladder can reach 31 meters below the water.

 Close up of digging buckets.

 The entrance to the first level of the dredge.

 One of the workstations in the dredge.

Separated from tin, stones and sand were discharged from these chutes located at the back side of the dredge.

"Safety first" in four languages.

You will have a better idea of how big is the ladder by looking at this photo.

The spare metal bucket in the dredge.

A canvas banner was hung at the entrance of the dredge museum, which is around 100 meters away from the main road (upper left). A small information centre with some old black and white photos and objects on display. Not much that we can learn from there.

We passed by Chenderong before reach the dredge (upper left). The dredge was hidden and we couldn't see it from the main road (lower left). There was a "Jom Teroka" or "Come and Discover" sign board beside the road, facing Tanjung Tualang direction (upper right). We had to look back to see the sign. The overgrown shrubs made the dredge hard to be seen, even from the information centre.

Our photo at the right flank of the dredge. The sun shine proudly during our visit. It was very hot.

The tin mining was a very important activity, not only at Kinta Valley, but it brought a rise to whole Malaysia. For us, the tin dredge visualized what we had learnt in our history and geography lessons, far back to our secondary school. Well, this is the last survived one in our country. Without it, we would have to go to other country to look for one.

No food and drink are sold around the tourist area. The nearest towns that we can look for a meal are Batu Gajah to the north, or Tanjung Tualang to the south. However, in our trip, we traveled further north to Ipoh to take our lunch. Sunny day is good for taking good photo with clear blue sky. However, the blazing sun might be unforgiven for those who wish to take a walk around the dredge. So, we would advise that bringing an umbrella might be necessary. Again, like Kellie's Castle, this site might not strong enough to be your standalone point in your itinerary. Take the opportunity to visit Kellie's Castle at Batu Gajah, Kampar, and Ipoh around the area. We heard that Tanjung Tualang is famous with its prawn, take a look about the food at this site- Tanjung Tualang Prawns. You might like to take a try.

We learned some useful information from these sites about the last tin dredge. Maybe you would like to take a look as well- TT5 Tin Dredge, Dredge up the Past, and Thiffytraveller. Driving your own car or joining a local tour in Ipoh or Kampar might be a good idea to go to both Kellie's Castle and the Tin Dredge at Batu Gajah. As far as we could see, there was no public transport around the area.

Our sharing on other places in Perak are available as listed below.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Kellie Castle, an uncompleted masterpiece

Kellie Castle was huge to be considered as a mansion during the time it was built. It was a symbol of richness, a sign of power, a home to an European family and, of course, joy of a father to his son, and love of a husband to his wife. Today, the mansion in Batu Gajah again brought us back to the British Colonial Era, where the European plantation owners gathered for afternoon tea, or sat around the dining table for beer and laughs.

The mansion was built by William Kellie Smith, a Scottish who found his fortune through his investment in rubber plantation and tin mining in Malaya. It was late 1890s. He was in fact doing the right thing, on the right time, at the right place. His fortune grew like a rolling snowball. He went back to Scotland to marry Agnes, and had been blessed with a son and a daughter. He started the construction of Kellie's Castle in 1915. Dubbed by London Financier Newspaper 1911 as the most unique building in far east, the mansion was destined to be an uncompleted masterpiece, followed by the death of his master.

Kellie's Castle from the entrance.This prominent structure can be clearly seen from Gopeng Road that connects Gopeng to Batu Gajah.

The uncompleted mansion designed with 14 rooms, a four-storey tower, flat roof top that overlooking the beautiful surrounding, and a lift shaft, which is believed to be the first elevator designed in Malaya. However, the building never reach its completion, and the elevator, left uninstalled.

Kellie's Castle located in Batu Gajah, in between Ipoh and Gopeng. The entrance fee for adult was RM5, with RM1 discount for MyCard holder, RM3 for student (need to show the student card), and free for children below 6 years old. The operation time is from 9 am - 6 pm.

We took about 30 minutes to reach the castle from Kampar and reached Kellie's Castle at around 4:15 pm. We stayed for more than one hour, not because of the size of the mansion, but the picturesque surrounding.

The white door leads to the bridge that connects ticketing counter to the mansion at the other side of the river.

A lone mansion on the hill. We wonder if this mansion was completed by Kellie, would it still attractive? Or the flaw of uncompleted  building is the attraction?

There are two routes to the mansion. We took the left one.

Corridor on ground floor of the mansion.The far side of the corridor leads to the staircase to upper levels.

The wine store room which can be accessed from the ground floor (upper left). The arches are common design which can be found through the building (lower left). A hidden staircase that leads to the underground level that Kellie's family can hide in case of emergency.

A view from the hidden underground room.

Corridor on the first floor of the mansion.

Narrow staircase that leads to the rooftop of the mansion.

This is how the rooftop looks like. You can go even higher if height is not a problem to you.

This is how the old Kellas House looks like from the rooftop of the mansion. Kellas House was the house that Kellie and his family used to stay in. The surrounding area of Kellie's Castle was well landscaped.

The entrance to Kellie's Castle from the highest rooftop.

This is what we saw when we look east from the rooftop.

Back to the ground floor, we roamed around the area and took a close look on the damaged structure, which used to be the worker's quarter and kitchen (upper left), Kellas House (upper right), the guard house and the stable (lower left). Kellie's Castle can be clearly seen from the old Kellas House.

Of course, before we left Kellie's Castle, we took a photo on the highest point of Kellie's Castle with our family members.

Then two of us. Smile while enjoying the cool blowing wind.

If you ask whether Kellie's Castle is a must visit place in Malaysia? Well, it was a filming site of Anna and the King in 1999. A mysterious tunnel of several hundred meters was found. The ghost of Kellie is believed still haunting the castle. Apart from that, it is just an empty mansion on a silent hill, accompanied by a very old love story of rich and famous. Visit the mansion only if you are visiting somewhere nearby, such as Ipoh, Gopeng, Kampar, Cameron Highlands, or the Last Tin Dredge in Batu Gajah, and make it a stop in your whole itinerary. For us, it was just a stop in our 3 days 2 nights Kampar-Ipoh trip.

We visited the Kellie's Castle in late afternoon, and found that the lighting was excellent for photographing. It was less hot as well. If you are planning to visit the mansion, please make sure that you bring some drinking water with you, as we found no vendor or hawker around the area. Try your best to reach for the highest rooftop of the mansion to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view. As the rooftop is covered by dark carpet, the area might be hot on sunny day.  Not much information that we could acquire on the site. So, please read before your trip. The site might be quite boring for anyone who doesn't know the background of the mansion. We found that these few sites provide good information about the mansion-, Explore-ipoh, and malaysia-vacation-guide, and Spooky stories at New Strait Times.

Well, our next sharing, our trip to the Last Tin Dredge in Batu Gajah, 30 minutes away from Kellie's Castle. Our other sharing on Perak are listed below.