The Istana Kenangan is a charming wooden yellow and black painted building that was one of the best buildings I came across in my time in Malaysia. Also known as Istana Lembah and Istana Tepas, it's located a short distance from Istana Iskandariah and the Ubudiah Mosque. It was built around the same time as the current royal palace, Istana Iskandariah. After the calamity of the Big Flood of 1926, when the original palace, Istana Sri Sayong, was almost swept away, a decision was made to build a new palace on higher ground. Istana Kenangan was built as a temporary mausoleum for the late Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Iskandar Shah (Marhum Kadasallah), while awaiting the completion of the Istana Iskandariah. Today, it houses the Perak Royal Museum with a few exhibits on the royal family.
Open: 9.30am-5.30pm daily, closed 12.15pm-2.45pm Fri.
The Istana Iskandariah is located within a short drive from Istana Kota, Istana Kenangan and the Ubudiah Mosque. It is the official residence of the Sultan of Perak. The Moorish style palace was built in 1926 after the Big Flood of the same year almost swept away the original palace, Istana Sri Sayong, which was located on the riverbank. Its style is reminiscent of palaces in north India. In 1984, the palace was extended with an annex to house the Banquet Hall and Ceremonial Function Hall. A driveway encircles the palace, offering views of it from three sides but trees do get in the way as you can tell by my photos.
The Perak Royal Mausoleum, also called the Al-Ghufran Royal Cemetery, is located next to the exquisite Ubudiah Mosque. This is the final resting place for much of Perak royalty, and holds the graves of Sultan Abdullah, who was exiled from Perak for his involvement in the murder of JWW Birch in Pasir Salak.
The Ubudiah Mosque is reputed to be one of the most beautiful mosques in Malaysia and I can confirm that with my own eyes. The word "ubudiah" means "to yield oneself to the will of Allah". Appropriately, it was the name chosen by the then 28th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shah I when he decided to build the mosque in 1911. He was convalescing in Port Dickson, and there, he made a vow to build a magnificent mosque as thanksgiving for recovery from the ailment that plagued him. Its striking design was achieved by an Englishman, AB Hubbock, who also designed many of the public buildings in Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. The mosque, with its huge golden onion-dome, was begun in 1913 but, due to wartime delays and the smashing of imported Italian marble by rampaging elephants, wasn't completed until 1917. Sadly, Sultan Idris never got to see it to its completion, having passed away a year earlier. It's not possible to go inside unless you're Muslim.
Located in the Istana Kota, the former palace of the Sultan of Perak, this museum showcases some of the personal effects of the current Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah. On display in a separate building across a fountain from the main building are his royal motorcars (Rolls Royce’s) and patrol cars used in the motorcade when Sultan Azlan Shah reigned as the Duli Yang Maha Mulia (King) of Malaysia. Also on display is his personal Louis Vuitton luggage! Exhibited in the main building are his personal collection of sunglasses, his passport, driving licence, university gown and shoes, sports equipment, suits and other clothing, ceremonial swords, dining sets, and gifts presented to his from foreign dignitaries.
Open: 10am-5pm Sat-Thu, 10am-noon & 2.45pm-5pm Fri. Admission: RM4.
This impressive palace was built in 1903 during the reign of the 28th Sultan of Perak. It was used as the sultan’s residence until 1954, when it was taken over by the Education Ministry, and turned into the Istana Kota National School. Then, in 1970, it was used as a girls' school, called the Raja Perempuan Mazwin School. Eventually, however, the school also moved out, and the building was left unused for many years until around 2002, when the state museum authorities began restoration work on it and today it's used as the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah for showcasing the current Sultan's personal affects (see my next tip).
The Sultan Abdul Jalil Bridge was named after the past Sultan of Perak who reigned for a short period between 1916-1918. This concrete bridge takes some load off the older Iskandar Bridge which was built by the British. It was officially opened by Sultan Azlan Shah, the Sultan of Perak, in June 2002.
Now, I've seen some strange sights in my time, and being that Kuala Kangsar is a royal town, the last thing I expected to find right in the middle of town is this fighter plane. Well, actually, the reason why it's here is due to it being presented to the Sultan of Perak in 2004 and as he resides in town then why not put it on display here!
The Malay College Kuala Kangsar is where the cream of the Malay society received their education. When it first opened in 1905, under the name Malay Residential School, only the children of the Royal Family, high ranking Malay dignitaries and royal court officials were received. At that time, it operated in its original attap premises. The syllabus was a fusion of modern education with knowledge of Islam and Malay culture mixed in. The name of the school was changed to Maktab Melayu, or Malay College in 1909. During the Japanese Occupation in World War II, the school was turned into administration offices and a hospital for the Japanese Imperial Army, who interrogated and subsequently beheaded anyone found to be a traitor. Today, it's regarded as one of the best boarding schools in the country and some of the Malay political and corporate figures hail from this institution.
The Pavilion Square Tower is one of the most charming buildings in Kuala Kangsar and overlooks the Padang of the Kuala Kangsar Malay College. Built in 1930, it was used as a recreational centre for court officials and other dignitaries, before today becoming part of a public park.
Ridzuaniah Mosque, long overshadowed by the immensely famous Ubudiah Mosque, is the biggest mosque in Kuala Kangsar. It was built shortly after the Ubudiah Mosque, in 1915, during the reign of Sultan Idris Murshidul'adzam Shah, the 28th Sultan of Perak (1887-1916). The land, which was endowed by the Sultan for religious purposes, is situated within a stone's throw from the Oldest Rubber Tree in Malaysia.
The cost of construction was borne by the Sultan Idris Shah I Fund, which is managed by the Sultan Idris Religious and Charitable Trust. The mosque was officially opened by Sultan Abdul Jalil Karamatullah Shah in October 1916. It consisted of a praying area in the shape of eight squares with a dome in the centre. Since then, it has undergone a few renovations. During the reign of Sultan Iskandar Shah (1918-1938), the praying area was extended to accommodate 600 people and in 1968, during the reign of Sultan Idris Shah II (Marhum Affifullah) (1963-1984), it was extended again, to accommodate 1000 worshippers.
This rubber tree was the first one planted in Malaysia. It was planted when the country was still called British Malaya. It was one of nine seedlings brought over from Brazil by the English botanist H.N. Ridley (Henry Nicholas Ridley) in 1877, and is one of the two oldest rubber trees still standing in Malaysia.
This rubber tree helped usher in the rubber plantation era of Malaysia in the late 19th and early 20th century, making Malaysia the world's largest producer of rubber at one time. This was made possible by the encouragement of Sir Hugh Low, the Resident of Perak, who planted several in his garden in Kuala Kangsar.
The Istana Iskandariah is the official residence of the Sultan of Perak... A magnificent and imposing architectural structure, it was designed around the northern Indian Muslim motif which accounts for its strong "Saracenic" or "Moorish" features... In 1984, an extension was built, adding an annex to contain a banqueting hall and a ceremonial function hall, also known as Dewan the Santapan and Balai Rong Seri, respectively...
The istana or palace is not open to public but one can see its splendour as you drive around it on the perimeter road that goes round the palace...
Malay College Kuala Kangsar (aka MCKK) is a premier and first fully-residential school in Malaysia... Established on 2nd January, 1905, it was originally known as the Malay Residential School of Kuala Kangsar... The school was established as a special residential school for the education of Malays of good family (including royalties) and for the training of Malay boys for admission to certain branches of Government service... However, this changed dramatically after 1947, as a result of rising Malay nationalism where selected Malay boys aged from 12 to 17 from all around Malaysia are admitted to the school...
The MCKK buildings and grounds are extensive... The most recognizable feature of the school is the "Big School" (built in 1909), a building with pseudo Greco-Roman architecture in front of a rugby field... The "Prep School", built later in 1912, is smaller but with equally prominent features... In 1955, the "West Wing" and "East Wing", as well as the "Administration Block and Clocktower" were added... Another prominent feature of the school is the "Big Tree", a raintree (samanea saman) in front of the East Wing that is said to be as old as the school itself, if not older...
The alumni association of MCKK is known as the Malay College Old Boys' Association (MCOBA) and was established in 1929... The alumni includes sultans, prime minsters, ministers and who-is-who in the Malaysia's corporate world as well as personalities in all aspects of Malaysian society...
Also known Istana Kota, this former palace was built in 1903 by Sultan Idris Mursyidul Azam Shah, the 28th Sultan of Perak... The architect of the palace was Capt Maurice Cameron... The architecture was a fusion of Acehnese, Victorian and Indian... The building has high beams, wide halls, ornate marble floors and winding iron staircases complete with secret hideouts and lookout points... The istana ground is also extensive... In 1916, the palace was occupied by his son and successor, Sultan Abdul Jalil and two years later, by Sultan Izzuddin Shah... In 1954, the palace was taken over by the Education Ministry and was subsequently turned into the Istana Kota National School and in 1970, it was converted into the Raja Perempuan Mazwin School, named after the wife of Sultan Idris Shah...
The palace is now a museum called the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah showcasing memorabilia and personal items belonging to the present Sultan of Perak, including the present Sultan's personal effects from his schooldays, his sporting days and the days of his legal career to the country's Chief Justice and then Lord President... There is also a separate wing showing the royal motorcars and patrol cars used in the motorcade when Sultan Azlan Shah reigned as the Yang DiPertua Agong (or King) of Malaysia... There is also a souvenir shop selling items related to the Perak sultanate... Entrance fee to the galeri is RM4 for adults and RM2 for children...