on-line contest

What's New

Most Popular


Story and photos by

Kuala Kangsar is located 32 miles (51 kilometers) northeast of Ipoh, Malaysia in the State of Perak. To get there from Kuala Lumpur, drive north on the E1 or North-South Highway.

Ubudiah Mosque minarets and domes
Ubudiah Mosque minarets and domes
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

What can you see and do in Kuala Kangsar? The town is best known for its Malay cultural heritage sites in Bukit Chandan, just 1.2 miles (two kilometers) from downtown.

Ubudiah Mosque

For architectural eye candy, it is hard to beat Ubudiah Mosque, also called Ubudiyyah Mosque and Masjid Ubudiah. Golden domes and black-and-white striped minarets rise above a white Indo-Saracenic building, embellished with Moorish arches and decorations.

Muslim students in Kuala Kangsar mosque
Muslim students in Kuala Kangsar mosque
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

As we viewed the building from the Royal Mausoleum (the burial grounds of the Sultans of Perak and their families), our tour guide, Yap, explained that Ubudiah Mosque opened in 1917.

"Sultan Idris Shah commissioned the mosque in thanks for a return to good health after an illness. Its construction was interrupted twice," he said, "once when two elephants ran over the imported Italian marble floor, breaking it, and once during WW1."

We walked around Masjid Ubudiah, taking photos of the mosque’s arches, onion domes and minarets. At the washing area near the entranceway, we watched a father and his young son wash before entering the mosque.

Besides us, groups of male and female students were touring the exterior of the mosque. Carrying pens and paper, they worked on a school project, recording the architectural features of the building.

Sultan of Perak's palace

Nearby, behind a fence, was another dazzling white building topped with gold domes. "It’s the Istana Iskandariah, the royal residence of the Sultan of Perak," said Yap.

Istana Iskandariah, residence of Perak's Sultan
Istana Iskandariah, residence of Perak's Sultan
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Built in 1930, it is used for Perak State events and royal weddings. Driving through the white gate, we saw the white, yellow and black Perak flag waving in the breeze from a tall flagpole in front of the palace.

Yap Hock Kee holds open pomelo.
Yap Hock Kee holds open pomelo.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Malay cultural heritage sites

Also on the grounds is the Perak Royal Museum (Istana Kenangan). "It was built without architectural plans and nails in the Malay style," explained Yap. "It houses royal photographs, musical instruments, china and degrees."

The next time we travel to Perak, we resolved to visit other Bukit Chandan cultural heritage sites, such as the Sultan Azlan Royal Gallery and Padang Changkat, which preserves royal handicrafts, such as tekat (gold thread embroidery on velvet) and gambus music.


We spent so much time in Kuala Kangsar that we had no time to eat lunch if we want to drive to Penang by nightfall. Instead, Yap stopped at a roadside stand selling pomelos. The large green citrus fruits were stacked in pyramids and hung from the ceiling in pink net bags.

"They grow only in this area of Malaysia," said Yap. We bought a pomelo the size of a soccer ball. Its succulent flesh resembled that of a pink grapefruit, but it was much sweeter and juicier. It was big enough to satiate our hunger on our 71-mile (114-kilometer) drive to Penang.



Tourism Malaysia

Malaysia Airlines

More things to see & do in Malaysia

Day Trips from KL Malaysia to Batu Caves, Melaka and Genting Highlands

What to See and Do in Georgetown and Penang Malaysia

Cameron Highlands Resort — Green Roses and Boh Tea

Ramadan, Hari Raya, Eid — Muslim New Year in Malaysia

Borneo Holiday in Sarawak Malaysia Longhouses