Friday, November 17, 2023

[KUALA PERLIS] A Short Day Trip

I could have taken the ferry directly to Kuala Kedah instead of Kuala Perlis, but we still have the goal of visiting all of Malaysia’s states, now don’t we? Perlis is the country’s smallest state and considered by some to be rather inaccessible, wedged there at Malaysia’s border with Thailand. It is served by the country’s train system via Arau. If you are coming from neighboring Kedah state’s island of Langkawi, a ferry to Kuala Perlis is also available. The trip lasts an hour and costs MYR27 (~PHP320).

Be warned, though, that there is nothing much to do here. Both Google and Wikitravel seem to be in agreement that the sites on offer are quite limited. The most obvious candidate for a visit is the Masjid al-Hussain. Situated right next to the jetty port where your ferry will be docking, this is too accessible for you to pass up. It is a really small mosque overlooking the water, which I believe always gives it something extra. What better way to reconnect with your spirituality than with the backing track of gentle waves along the bay, no?

The area is rather commercial, and rightfully so. People come and go because of the jetty. This means you will find enough dining options there, from the typical Malay cuisine all the way to KFC. I also saw some travel agencies offering tours to nearby islands. As for transportation, Grab is easily accessible in Malaysia and affordable to boot. So affordable, in fact, that I think I got quite addicted to it. After checking out the mosque, I only had one attraction left before heading back to Kedah.

Book a Grab from the jetty to Kota Kayang Museum, which is one of the few recommended attractions on Wikitravel. Grab will be charging you just around MYR7 (PHP85) for the twenty minute ride, passing through some small villages and seaside communes. The museum does not charge an entrance fee, which is a good thing. WiFi is offered for free and is surprisingly fast. And so, what will you see at the museum, then? Some history here and there.

Apparently, most of the history of Kedah and Perlis are always intertwined with that time when the neighboring Siamese would invade them, which is rather expected because these are borderlands after all. There are also some tidbits of history related to the Japanese occupation and the involvement of Thailand in facilitating the invasion. I must say that is one part of war history I wasn’t quite familiar with. That history part is at the main hall, rather small and direct to the point.

The museum itself is just three traditional houses facing the parking lot. The east wing is dedicated to a weapons gallery where you will learn more about the likes of spears and the traditional Keris. The west wing is focused more on the area’s early history. Pots. Jars. You know the drill. Once again, the hall is small and won’t take much of your time, unless archaeology is of special interest to you. Once done inside, it’s time to head back out.

The premises have a royal tomb, in all its yellow glory, about one of the previous kings of Perlis and Kedah. The backyard is more than just a backyard, but rather a huge garden full of flora and huge rocks scattered all around. Serving as the centerpiece before you reach the museum is a fountain. Overall, it was so serene because there was nobody else there, which is why I just took the time to relax and admire the scenery before going to Alor Setar.

[KUALA PERLIS] A Short Day Trip

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