Taiping is the largest town of Perak state, a growing tourist destination nestled at the foothills of Bintang Highlands about 70km north of Ipoh or 90km south of Penang. This developing region offers visitors an abundance of nature activities courtesy of its landscape - centuries-old rainforests, cooling waterfalls and dramatic mountains that include Maxwell Hill - the oldest colonial hill station in Malaysia now known as 'Bukit Larut'. Lake Garden is also one of Taiping's iconic attractions, the largest park of its kind in the country. In town, many historical buildings and heritage landmarks from the colonial era can be observed as the British once used Taiping as the state administrative center.
Taiping begin life as a little settlement called Larut, with the discovery of tin in 1848 by a Malay chieftain. The opportunity for fortune quickly attracted droves of miners from mainland China, who established a large township by 1870. Soon, a series of civil wars arose between different triad groups, each with their own side of the state royalty. Seeing their business interests threatened (and an opportunity to exert political dominance), the British intervened in 1874, leading to the 1874 Pangkor Treaty. The British divided the mines between the triads and introduced 'Residents'; state affairs were administered under mandatory counsel of an appointed British representative.
To commemorate the event and cement the truce, Larut town was renamed 'Taiping' (meaning 'Everlasting Peace' in Chinese). Ushering an era of relative peace, many historic 'firsts' of infrastructural and urban development were achieved at Taiping, including the first railway station, lake garden, hill resort, school, prison, museum, government buildings and port (Port Weld). It was even the capital of Perak until 1937, when it was moved to Ipoh. Eventually, when tin deposits ran dry and economic activity stalled, Taiping regressed into the sleepy town that visitors see today.
Taiping is also the wettest spot in Peninsular Malaysia with unusually high rainfall reaching 4000mm annually. This abundantly humid climate leads to a diverse proliferation of native flora, including rain trees, ferns, lianas and shrubs that thrive in surrounding rainforests along with a varied range of wildlife. Subsequently, hiking, bird watching and jungle trekking have become popular activities among locals and visitors, who arrive from places as far as Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to enjoy its inherent serenity and appreciate nature. Meanwhile, Bukit Larut remains a popular highland resort among visitors to enjoy cooling weather with temperatures that can reach as low as 15°C - the highest rainfall occurs during the monsoon months from October to January.