Image by Cheryl Chan

Perak

Cave temples, drowned forests, a town famous for bean sprouts – Perak's highlights are a motley group. This rugged swathe of Peninsular Malaysia is as rewarding for trekkers as gastronomes. Perak (literally 'silver', a nod to its tin-mining boom times) receives only a modest stream of international travellers, but to Malaysians, its attractions are totemic: white coffee, colonial-era architecture, limestone bluffs.

Nostalgia is rife in Ipoh and Taiping, Perak's largest and most rewarding towns. But Perak is most interesting beyond its population centers: surrounding Ipoh are temples posing dramatically on cliffs; west of Taiping is a mangrove reserve. Things get wetter and wilder at river-rafting centre Gopeng, and north in Royal Belum State Park, where pristine rainforest is interspersed with lagoons.

Perak is also a good starting point to explore the Cameron Highlands (technically in Pahang) and its breezy hill stations, where days are spent hiking and slathering cream onto scones.

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