Walking Tour: Colonial Taiping

  • Start Perpustakaan Taiping
  • End Hotel Peace
  • Length 2km; one to two hours

Taiping's former role as a prosperous and important colonial-era outpost is still palpable in the city's well-preserved architecture. This walking tour offers the chance to admire Taiping's most notable colonial-era buildings, from religious monuments to state institutions (most can only be seen from outside).

Start at Perpustakaan Taiping (1882), the red-roofed public library. Nearby, the white neoclassical District Office is on Jln Alang Ahmad. Continue southwest along Jln Kota until you reach Jam Besar Lama (1890), the Old Clock Tower. It once functioned as Taiping’s fire station (and later, its tourist information centre, though it was closed for a lengthy renovation when we passed through).

Turn right at Jln Lim Tee Hooi. On your left upon reaching Jln Stesen is the wood-shuttered Town Rest House (1894), formerly the governor’s residence, in a shabby state of repair. Across Jln Stesen is the well-preserved colonial King Edward VII School (1905), the classrooms of which were used as torture chambers by the Japanese during WWII. Taiping’s original train station is a few steps west; Taiping was the starting point for Malaysia’s first railway line, now defunct. Opened in 1885 it ran 13.5km to Port Weld (Kuala Sepetang).

Walking further west on Jln Stesen, you can see St George’s School (1915). Head south on Jln Iskandar, then turn right onto Jln Taming Sari; here you'll find Taiping’s tiny Little India. Follow the street west until Jln Masjid; opposite you’ll see the Old Kota Mosque (1897), the oldest in Taiping, notable for its hexagonal design.

Moving south along Jln Masjid, turn left on Jln Panggong Wayang, where you’ll see the Hotel Peace. Its Peranakan design features stained glass, stucco tiles and gold-painted lion heads roaring from stone columns. The scruffy hotel is better avoided, but the coffee shop downstairs is a serviceable spot for kway teow (fried noodles with fish balls) and a soda.