Perlis, Malaysia


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Perlis may be the smallest state in Malaysia, but it boasts a wealth of natural, cultural and historical splendours that rival the bigger states. You may be mesmerised bythe many quaint villages, picturesque scenery and centuries-old traditions wherever you go. In short, Perlis is the perfect destination to head for if you prefer old world charm instead of the hustle and bustle of the city, where life is unhurried and the environment naturally fresh and crisp.

Perlis lies at the northwestern tip of the Malay Peninsula; bounded byThailand in the north, and byKedah to the east and south. Its western coastline borders the Straits of Malacca. It measures approximately 810 sq km and has a population of 217,480. The state capital is Kangar while Arau, 10 km away, is the Royal town.

Although small in size, Perlis is not without its attractions, foremost among which is its serene beauty. Perlis, too, abounds with rustic rural scenes and rolling green fields of padi.
January to April the weather is generally warm and dry. Days are hot and windy but nights can become cold towards dawn. September to December is wet. The average annual rainfall is between 2,000 ml and 2,500 ml (80" to 100") and humidity is high throughout the year. Temperature varies little the year round, ranging from 21C to 32C.

Malaysia Map. The Norwestern State of Perlis


Perlis, the smallest state in Malaysia, lies at the northwestern extremity of the Malay Peninsula; its western coastline borders the Straits of Malacca. Bounded byThailand in the north, and byKedah to the east and south, it measures approximately 759 sq. km and has a population of 175,000. Kangar is the seat of the State Government.



HistoryState Museum


Perlis was once a part of Kedah which the Thais conquered in 1821. When Kedah was subsequently restored to the Sultan of Kedah, Perlis was separated from it and established as a vassal state in its own right. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred Thai sovereignty over Perlis to the British but the Japanese 'handed it back' to Thailand during its occupation of the Malay Peninsula. After the Japanese surrendered, Perlis once again came under British protection until it gained independence under the banner of the Federation of Malaya in 1957.


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Traditionally the economy of Perlis has been dominated byagriculture, fishing and forestry pursuits. The state also shares with Kedah the distinction of being the 'rice bowl' of the country. Rubber and sugar cane are also extensively cultivated while fruit cultivation includes mango and watermelon. Realising the need to prosper economically, the state embarked on the development of medium-scale industrial and manufacturing activities. Beside a sugar refinery at Chuping and a cement factory at Bukit Keteri, Jejawi, Chuping, Kuala Perlis and Padang Besar Industrial Estate, complete with infrastructure, were created to facilitate this rapid growth.

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Entry Formalities

All foreign visitors are required to go through immigration, customs and health formalities at their first point of entry into the country. The usual gateways into Perlis are Padang Besar and Bukit Kayu Hitam near the Thai border in the north and Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru in the south.

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Cultural Heritage

For leisure, the people of Perlis enjoy a variety of activities ranging from traditional dances to traditional games and pastimes handed down through generations. "Tarian Canggung" and "Tarian Ayam Didik" are examples of dances and equally irresistible feet stomping may still be seen today.

Tarian TerinaiTarian Canggung, a traditional dance, was brought from early historical times, and performed bythe people as a form of celebration after harvest time. In fact, it is the people's dance where singing and exchanges of words in stanzas (called 'berbalas pantun') are freely and jestingly called for to the accompaniment of music.

Tarian Terinai, is yet another dance and musical presentation, performed specifically during a royal ceremony. The musical accompaniment is usually provided bythe beating of Gendang Terinai (drums), normally performed byfive musicians.

Awang Batil is akin to a 'story-teller' who tells of the glory and richness of life of the people of olden times. In a sense, Awang Batil is not much different from the minstrels of old England. Awang Batil is an expert with words, albeit colloquial, and as he proceeds with his story he beats a small drum and plays a tune on his flute as and when the story line demands. Such a presentation was normal during a big feast and during one form of festivity or another in times gone by.

Seni Silat

Seni Silat is the traditional Malay art of self-defence. It has become an integral part of an official function as it is also performed byindividuals, singly or as a team, as part of the festivities associated with the function. Silat takes on various forms, depending on the origin, body thrusts and artistic representations.


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DelicaciesA wide variety of food, from local delights to continental fare, is available in Perlis. The prices are reasonable and the service courteous. For the food lover, do sample as many exotic traditional Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes (like the perennial favourite, tom yam) as possible. A delectable time awaits you!

The choices of eating places that you can patronise are also excellent, ranging from open-air hawker centres, air-conditioned restaurants to luxurious hotel restaurants. Wherever you choose to eat, rest assured the environment is clean, casual and comfortable.

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by Air

There is no direct air service to Perlis. Visitors have to fly into Alor Setar and from there take a taxi to Kangar. The drive takes about 45 minutes.

Note: At the Alor Setar Airport, the normal taxi fare is approximately RM35 per vehicle.

Day Operation
Ekspress Langkawi KTMB
Kuala Lumpur to Arau
9.15pm - 6.25am
1st Class (Bed)
RM 70.00 per person
Arau to Kuala Lumpur
8.10pm - 5.10am
2nd Class (Bed)
RM 41.00 per person
2nd Class (seat)
RM 35.00 per person
Ekspress National
Kuala Lumpur to Kangar
RM 23.50 per person
Ekspress PPMP
Kuala Lumpur to Kangar
RM 22.00 per person
Alor Setar to Kangar
RM   2.00 per person
Ebban Ekspress
Butterworth to Kangar
RM   6.20 per person

* Half fare for children under 12 years old.

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by Local Bus

Four bus transport companies operate within the State, via:

*Syarikat PPMP ( From Kangar - Express)
*Syarikat HBR Express (From Kangar - Local)


RM 6.50

55 - Kodiang

RM 1.20
Alor Setar
RM 2.50

56 - Kuala Perlis

RM 1.50
Kuala Lumpur

57 - Simpang Empat

RM 1.20

58 - Bukit Keteri Mata Air

RM 1.20
Johor Bahru

59 - Padang Besar

RM 2.15

     - Kaki Bukit

RM 2.20

60 - I.T.M.

RM 1.00

121 - Alor Setar

RM 3.20

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by Taxi

Alor Setar
RM   16.00
RM   50.00
Kuala Perlis
RM     8.00
Kuala Lumpur
RM 200.00

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by FerryFerry

Ferryboats provide scheduled crossings between Kuala Perlis and Langkawi. The fare varies from RM12 to RM15 per adult. The journey takes an hour to reach Kuah Jetty.

For the Kuala Perlis-Langkawi service, the first ferry of the day leaves for Kush Jetty in Langkawi at 9.00 am, and the last ferry leaves at 2.15 pm. The last ferry back to Kuala Perlis leaves at 4.00 pm.

There are four ferry service operators, namely Kuala Perlis Langkawi Ferry Service Sdn Bhd, LADA Holdings Sdn Bhd, Samavest Sdn Bhd and Water Tour Development Sdn Bhd


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Putra Golf Club

Putra Gold Club

An 18-hole golf course, offers the golf enthusiast the challenge of a reputedly difficult par-72 course with its numerous obstructions and traps.


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Kota Al-Marhum KayangKota Al-Marhum Kayang

In the same vicinity are located the burial grounds of two of the 16th Century Sultans of Kedah. These are now seen as simple mausoleums marked bygrave stones with remnants of wood used to mark the site.

Nearby, too, is an area of land believed to be the site of one of the Sultan's palaces surrounded on each side bylimestone hills. This is reminiscent of the palace built byAlmarhum Sultan Dhiauddin Almukaram Shah of the late 16th century who had given the name of Indra Kayangan to Perlis then. Two of the Sultan's personal efforts are still evident today.

One is a partially enclosed spring which supplied fresh mineral water to the palace and is still seen intact today. The other is the canal built bythe Sultan in about 1680 connecting Alor Setar to his palace in Kuala Perlis and from the palace to the burial grounds, thus permitting boat passages between the points.

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KangarKangar, 56 km northwest of Alor Setar, is the state capital set amidst a vast expanse of green padi fields that turn a golden yellow at harvest time. A major landmark of the town is the state mosque, Masjid Alwi. A small town, Kangar's stadium, general hospital, hotels and schools are all within walking distance.


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There are many interesting places and things to see in Perlis. Of special note in ARAU, the royal town, are the Royal Palace, fronting the main road and the nearby Royal Mosque which can easily accommodate up to 7,000 people in one prayer session. Aran itself, which has clusters of fruit trees and coconut palms interspersed among quaint residences is worth a visit.


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Tasik MelatiTasik Melati

Tasik Melati is a small but picturesque lake located in a partially marshy lowland about 8 kilometres north of Kangar. The lake is shallow. More than 150 sandbar-islands may be seen all over the lake. Sampans can be rowed to these tiny 'islands'. Elevated walkways are also found over the waters of the lake, providing vantage viewpoints and seatings for visitors. There is also a parameter walkway as well as telephone kiosks and toilet facilities.

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Snake FarmSnake Farm

Perlis is noted for its large population of venomous snakes, the limestone caves and crevices offering the best of natural habitats for the slithery creatures. The Snake Farm at Sungai Batu Pahat houses a large collection of 23 species of live snakes in large open-air enclosures. In addition, there is a crocodile and a fish pond.

It is open daily from 10.00am to 4.15pm.
Admission Fee: Adult RM2.00 Child RM1.00

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Hutan Lipur Bukit AirHutan Lipur Bukit Air

Cool streams meandering through a lush tropical forest setting and waterfalls cascading excitingly into frothing rocky pool down below, make it an ideal location for picnic. It is 12 km from Kangar and it offers camping site, car park facilities and basic amenities to make your trip comfortable.


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Hutan Lipur Bukit KubuHutan Lipur Bukit Kubu

Hutan Lipur Bukit Kubu is a natural limestone cave in a forested limestone hill known as Wang Pinang, located near Kuala Perlis. The cave is an interesting geological formation. Bukit Kubu is now a 'cave park', sheltered and ideal for joggers and cave trekkers.


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Gua Kelam Recreational ParkGUa Kelam

Gus Kelam, Kaki Bukit refers to the 370-metre long limestone cave at the small town of Kaki Bukit. Its name literally means "at a foothill (Kaki Bukit) lies a dark cave (Gua Kelam)".

Access to the cave is byway of a suspension bridge. The uniqueness of approach, as well as the experience of walking along the bridge, make a visit to this place an intriguing and adventurous experience.

A subterranean stream flows in the limestone range near Kaki Bukit for about a quarter of a mile long. As in other limestone areas, the stream has built a long cavern over the centuries. This physiographic phenomenon was enlarged throughout the length of the underground stream in 1935 bya resident Englishman who saw it as a marvelous way of transporting tin ore from a mine located near the stream entrance through the underground cavern.

A wooden walkway hangs suspended throughout the length of the underground cavern providing a wondrous means of communication from Kaki Bukit to a valley on the opposite end - the Wan Tangga Valley.

Admission Fee: Adult RM1.00 Child RM0.50

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Wang Kelian State ParkState Park

The Wang Kelian State Park is a haven for nature lovers and eco-tourism buffs. Close to the Thai border, the 1,000 ha area in the Mata Ayer Forest Reserve is a treasure trove of biodiversity. It contains one of the few semi deciduous forests in the country, closer in type and species to Thai vegetation. Its limestone forests are also rich in fauna, including birds, mammals and reptiles.

A challenging jungle track leads from the camping area past a little tripping waterfall to the Gua Wang Burma cave system. Possibly the northern most cave in Peninsula, its narrow passages lead to chambers boasting interesting formations.

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Farmers' Market

Farmers sell their farm produce directly to consumers on a plot predetermined bythe authorities. Non-farmers take advantage of the influx of buyers byselling their wares which are non-agricultural. Prices are reasonable. Freshwater fish and prawns, vegetables and fruits galore, are all fresh as they come. The Market is held from 8.00 am till 1.00 pm.

Days Place
Sunday Sena Indah
Monday Arau
Tuesday Taman Kemajuan
Wednesday Sena Indah
Friday Berseri
Saturday Sena Indah

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Night MarketNight Market

Pasar Malam is an open-air affair where business is already brisk at 5.00 pm, and are very popular because of the fiesta-like atmosphere. A pasar malam is held on an open ground or even a full stretch of a road or thoroughfare according to what has been approved bythe local authorities. The police keep a friendly surveillance, especially when a road has been blocked off and passage impeded.

A feature of a pasar malam is that it is held in a different place each night and the schedule is repeated week byweek. In a sense, therefore, the Market is held once a week at a predetermined place at night.


Days Place
Sunday Utan Aji
Monday Padang Melangit
Tuesday Kuala Perlis
Wednesday Kangar
Thursday Pauh
Friday Arau
Saturday Jejawi

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Perlis Craft Cultural ComplexCultural Complex

The Perlis Craft Cultural Complex at Kuala Perlis, about 8km from Kangar and 15 minutes drive to Kuala Perlis Jetty, is a must stop over for visitors.

The complex offers a wide range of Malaysian handicraft such as delicate hand drawn batik, intricately carved silverware and an assortment of hand made items such as basketry, ceramics as well as rattan based products.


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