GRAND TOUR – continued.
Kuala Kangsar is a lovely little town.
Being a royal town, home to the Sultan of Perak, it contains three palaces, two of which have been converted to museums.
Istana Iskandariah is the more modern one and is the actual Royal Palace.
This quaint old palace, Istana Kenangan now serves as the Perak Royal Museum but on my visit today was unfortunately closed for upgrading works.
The third palace, Istana Ulu, is now the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah. It is tastefully laid out and displays personal and official possessions of the Sultan and his wife including crown jewels, costumes, photos, medals, gifts, kris, and mementoes from his educational, working and sporting life. I liked his collection of Mont Blanc pens.
Just down the road is the Ubudiah Mosque, one of Malaysia’s most famous and attractive mosques. Construction started in 1913 but was delayed when two elephants had a fight and completely wrecked the marble which had been imported from Italy for the project.
Kuala Kangsar is also home to the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, an all-boys and all-Malay boarding school founded in 1905 – Malaysia’s equivalent of Eton. The Latin motto means ‘Manliness Through Wisdom’.
Opposite is the Pavilion Square Tower, built in 1930 for the Royals and VIPs to watch polo matches. The structure is now unsafe to enter.
In the same street is what is said to be the oldest rubber tree in Malaysia, having been one of the original nine seedlings brought over to Malaya in 1877.
Kuala Kangsar is known for its gourd shaped earthenware jars called labu sayong. They are used to keep water cool. Some say water stored in these jars acquires healing powers. I bought one to take home – RM12.