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KAMPAR
Ben van Wijnen


The bell tower

 

Upon entering Kampar we were greeted by the bell tower. This was the first landmark of Kampar, that we saw. A straight wide street with old Chinese shop houses on both sides followed. There are not many old buildings in Kampar, because the city was founded in the early 1900s. The rivers that flow into the lowlands, brought with the washed soil also a lot of tin. First people who came to Kampar were the Malays from Malacca. They saw the importance of the mining, followed by the Dutch (from Pangkor) and the British. Later the tin became a popular trade item for the Chinese, who wanted to earn money with it.
Kampar became the centre for the production of tin in Perak province and Ipoh was became the administrative centre of the tin mining. Without finding tin, Kampar could never have such a multicultural identity. Perak means "silver" in Malay, which is probably derived from the silvery colour of tin.

The mining of tin happened in surface. This means that there is mined at the surface and therefore don't need to build deep mines. In the beginning it was simple. They digged tin just with shovels off the ground. The tin was separated from the sand, as one does with gold: They separated the tin from the sand with a pan and water. The heavier tin remains in the pans behind.
Later on they mined the tin with machines. Due to the digging there came large pits in the surface (see photo at right).

In some places they stopped the search for tin, because there was nothing more to find in the ground. Later, the global tin industry collapsed completely. Many local tin mines were forced to close and at the same time it had crippling effect on the economy of Perak. The pits filled themselves with water. Nowadays the region around Kampar has many small lake with standing water. These were the the tin mines.
 

In the city of Kampar is Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel Pump) Museum. In this museum you can see the evolution of the tin. Images from earlier times can be admired outside and inside to see his models of tin mining and there are "pieces" to excel of silvery tin. The museum is located in the new center of Kampar, near the Grand Kamper Hotel. This can't to be missed, because it sticks striking above the surroundings. Most visitors stay for about 1 hour in the museum, which is freely accessible.

The city is currently under construction. Large apartment blocks are built and in Kampar is the University Tunku Abdul Rahman, which attracts many students to the city. Special student blocks are built for them. You'll see them in the campus. These houses for students are specially built for children of wealthy parents. For them is a new entertainment centre that looks like a kind of Disneyland. Some street names refer to there. Everywhere in the city and in the evening in the restaurants you see students.
The university is located between two of these flooded tin mines: East Lake and West Lake.


A flooded tin mine and Grand Kampar Hotel in the background.

The town of Kampar is developing rapidly. There's railway station and a new shopping centre "Econsave" has been built (near the museum). There is a sports hall and a cinema (the Lotus Five Star (LFS)), where a people are used to come. There are eateries, which are frequently visited by young and old, including a McDonalds and a Starbucks.
There are very large hypermarkets (Tesco and Giant) with several shops before you enter the store. One has a KFC and the other one has an extensive hawker centre. In Tesco is the Sushi King, which is mainly frequented by students.
At the hypermarkets will be sold everything from spectacles and pastries to clothing. Even alcoholic beverages are sold in these hypermarkets. These stores are often visited by whole families at the weekend. It is then very busy and the parking lots are crowded.

 

What should you visit, if you stay in Kampar?

  Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng
A very special tea plantation. Totally different than in the Cameron Highlands. Here they grow this tea, but the leaves grow on trees. The cultivation of tea is not the most important: from the trunk of the tree, they get a raw material for the perfume industry. This gives the most earnings.
The entrance fee was only RM10 and you'll get a tour of the plantation with a mini van. The van stops at an important point and you get out: enjoy, photographs and so on, the van drives by and after a few minutes stops another bus, where you can step in again. This is repeated several times.
The tea is also medicinally: against diabetes, high blood pressure and more. The Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng is 16 km away from Kampar.
  Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel Pump) Museum
The museum located in the city in an area that known as "Tin Village". In this museum you'll see the basis of images, who work in the former tin mines. There is an outer portion and an inner portion. Admission is free, although you will get a ticket. In the outdoor area you will find many statues depicting winning tin; in the inner part you can see beautiful models on the tin mining.
  Lata Kinjang Waterval
This is one of the most beautiful and popular waterfalls in Malaysia. If you'll drive across the north-south highway, you'll get to see him. Although you can see this waterfall, it is an experience not to get from the busiest motorway. If you go to the waterfall, you'll drive past some small villages and in the end you'll go (via a bridge) arcoss the highway. Then you're there. There are some souvenir shops and eateries. To really see the waterfall you have a short walk through the jungle. The waterfall comes in several cascades (floors) down. There is even a suspension bridge to the higher waterfall, where the water spectacular falls.
There are enough parking spaces.
  Kellie’s Castle
The castle was intended to be the center of social life for the planters and officials in the area. It should be a stately mansion with a tower of six floors, a wine cellar and stately columns to come. were decorated Moorish arches and walls with Greco-Roman designs. There was a roof in the courtyard, where celebrations were held and there was even an elevator. The first elevator in Malaysia.
More about Kellie's Castle (click).
  White Water Rafting
The region main attraction is the white water rafting. Experience an exciting 1˝ - 2 hours by river rafting through the rapids of the Kampar River. Depending on weather conditions the water can be wild or wilder. Children must be 12 years old and able to swim well. You will be informed about the security and how it relates to the rubber boat goes by professional instructeurs.Alle participants receive a PDF (Personal Floatation Device). If you get into the water, then keep a PDF upright in the water.



 

 

  Ben van Wijnen

 

 

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