One cannot claim to have visited Taiping without taking some time off to soak in the natural beauty of the Taiping Lake Gardens. Built on top of an abandoned tin mine, the gardens were opened in 1880, earning them a place in the history books as the first public garden in then-Malaya.
Huge ancient rain trees (“angsana”) line the lake; their branches stretching from one end of the road into the waters across, making the perfect backdrop for couples taking their wedding photos.
Spread over 64 hectares, the lake has ten scenic lakes and ponds, a Lotus Pool, charming bridges, tracks for jogging and reflexology, all surrounded by tropical plants, flowers, trees and wildlife. For kids, a roller-skating rink, paddleboat rides, and a playground ensure that the outdoors appeal more than the latest video game.
Heritage structures surround the lush greenery, including the Old Residency, formerly the home of the Secretary to the Resident, the Raja’s House and army officers’ residences. The nearby Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut) also makes an ideal place for jungle trekking and camping.
The nearest airport is the Penang International Airport, about a 90-minute drive from Taiping. Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is about a four-hour drive south via the North-South Expressway.
To get to Taiping from the North-South Expressway (PLUS), exit at Changkat Jering Interchange and take the Simpang route before turning right towards Taiping. The Taiping Lake Garden is easily accessible through Jalan Istana and Jalan Kelab Baru.
Taiping is well connected to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia by express buses, which arrive at and depart from the long-distance bus station at Kamunting (6km from the town centre) and Simpang (7km from the town centre). Buses also travel direct from Taiping to Singapore and Hat Yai in southern Thailand. Southbound buses depart from Kamunting and call along Simpang (Medan Simpang) to pick up passengers before heading to the highway via the Changkat Jering interchange. Bus tickets are available from counters located at Medan Kamunting and Medan Simpang.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) operates a number of daily services along the main north- south line which stop at Taiping station.