13 – 14 Nov 2021
My parents had an event to attend in Kuala Kangsar (shorten to Kuale) this weekend so I decided to drive them there. I haven’t been back in Kuale in years so I thought it would be nice to drive out from Kuala Lumpur (KL), especially after the recent Covid lockdown.
We left KL on Saturday (13 Nov) evening and spent the night in Ipoh at Hotel Impiana. It’s an old hotel that we always go to whenever we have short trips to Perak.
The following morning (14 Nov), we left Ipoh early to make our way to Kuale. Kuale is nostalgic to me as I spent 5 years of my high school there, at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK).
I dropped off my parents at the event place and later went sightseeing around Kuale. I had 3 hours to myself to I thought to make the best of it.
My first stop was the Istana Kenangan. Located at Bukit Chandan behind Istana Iskandariah, it was built in 1933 as a temporary residence of the then Sultan while waiting for the construction of Istana Iskandariah.
The main feature of Istana Kenangan is that it was built without any metal screws. They had a small exhibition at the lower part of Istana Kenangan showing the woodwork and old instruments. Honestly, the local authority could have designed the lower part much better and make it more attractive.
From Istana Kenangan, I drove back into Kuale town and went to visit my alma mater, MCKK. Because of Covid SOPs (due to students being back at school), I wasn’t allowed in the school compound. So I just stood outside the fence admiring the Big School.
It’s always an amazing sight. So much memories, both good and bad. To those who are not familiar, the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) was established in 1905 by the British Colonial government at the time. For more details, please refer to the wikipedia entry.
I was able to to view the new Form 2 building from the main gate. During my time at MCKK (1996 – 2000), it was used as the dormitories for Mohd Shah house for those from Form 3 to Form 5. Nowadays, it seems, it’s been used for Form 2. It must feel nice to be staying in a new building.
From MCKK, I dropped by the Pavilion opposite Big School. It was build in 1920 by Sultan Iskandar Shah. It is situated near Iskandar Polo Club (at the time) and used as the resting place by the Sultan after polo matches. It is also used to watch football, rugby matches and military parades. The polo matches at the time was played at the opposite field facing Clifford School.
I parked my car at the pavilion and then walked to the Oldest Rubber Tree in Malaysia. The tree is located near Masjid Ridhwaniah, which is just 10 minutes walk away from MCKK’s main entrance.
I was pleased to see the local authorities have built historical infographics and installed exhibits near the tree. The rubber tree arrived in Kuala Kangsar in November 1877 from Kew, England. It doesn’t produce any rubber now, but the tree is still very healthy and will probably outlive all of us.
After that, I drove around town to check out the improvements. I noticed more common shops have opened up in Kuale, such as McDonalds, Dominos and even Family Mart. Back in 2000, the best thing in town was just KFC. They have definitely come a long way since then. I parked near the valley (locally known as Lembah) walked towards the bazaar by the riverside. It was buzzing with activity with lots of stalls selling a variety of goods.
I made my way through the bazaar and arrived at the Cendol and Laksa foodcourt. Back in 1996, the best cendol in Kuale was served by the river and the ice was still stored in coconut fiber. It was like a different era completely. It was in 1999 or 2000 when the cendol foodcourt was built with modern facilities.
I went to pick up my parents around 1PM. From the event place, we dropped by Masjid Ubudiah, an iconic mosque in Kuala Kangsar near the Sultan’s palace. Ubudiah was built in 1917 and is well known for its golden-looking dome.
We performed our zohor prayers and later visited my great grand-father’s grave, Syed Abdul Hamid (1886 – 1949 CE). He served as Orang Kaya Besar Maharaja DiRaja during the reign of Sultan Izzuddin.
From Masjid Ubudiah, we left Kuale and made our way back to Kuala Lumpur. The drive south would not be complete without stopping by for some Yik Mun pau at PLUS R&R Ulu Bernam . Initially we intended to go into Tanjung Malim town and go to the original pau shop, but it was getting late. About 10 years ago, there were a number of Yik Mun cafes in KL. But I gather business wasn’t that good in KL and they had to scale back to the key locations only.