Perak's second-largest town is defined by water and greenery. Locals laud it as the 'City of Peace' for trailblazing Malaysia’s first museum, first railway and first newspapers in English, Malay and Tamil. But it’s Taiping’s ‘Rain City’ title that has stuck. Taiping has the biggest volume of rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia: all the better for its verdant lake gardens (and the pastime of 'rain betting', where locals take a punt on what time downpours will start and stop).
Taiping has the same ingredients as Penang and Ipoh – great food, elegantly weathered colonial architecture, street art – but on a smaller scale. It's a worthwhile detour in its own right, and a stepping stone to hill station Bukit Larut and the mangrove reserve in Kuala Sepetang. Kid-friendly attractions such as the zoo have also made it a favourite getaway for Malaysians with big families and even bigger umbrellas.