Kellie’s Castle

Top choice in Perak

Steeped in tragic legend, this monument to British eccentricity stands marooned by the highway, 5km east of Batu Gajah. Known as Kellie’s Folly, the Gothic- and Moorish-style castle was commissioned by wealthy Scottish rubber-plantation owner William Kellie Smith, whose sudden death left it abandoned. It's now reasonably well restored, with a few rooms richly furnished in early 20th-century style. Take in views from the upper floors (note the secret passageway) and watch for ghosts, rumoured to haunt the corridors.

Smith commissioned the building as a future home for his son. Not only bricks, but artisans and labourers were sourced from India to build what would have been, if finished, one of the most magnificent residences in Malaysia.

When the Spanish flu pandemic swept across the world in 1918, more than 70 of Smith's construction workers died, fuelling gossip that the project was cursed. Then in 1926, when Smith was attempting to import an elevator for his beloved castle, he caught pneumonia and died. His widow Agnes was less than enthusiastic about living out her days near Batu Gajah, so the mansion was left to ruin.

Private transport is needed to visit the castle, an easy 20km drive south of Ipoh (parking RM2).