Perak Darul Ridzuan, the Silver State, covers an area of 21,000 sq. kilometres It has a population of around two million people.
The state is divided up into nine districts. Its major towns include Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping, Teluk Intan and Lumut, where Kuala Kangsar is the Royal town of Perak and Ipoh is the state capital.
For centuries, Perak was renowned for it's rich tin deposits. It is believed that the state derived its name from the silvery tin ore.*
The discovery of tin by Long Jaafar brought about a large influx of immigrants to Perak. Today, Perak has developed into a harmonious multi-racial society characterised by a diversity of language and culture.
* In the Malay languauge, "perak" means silver.
The present sultanate's origins traces back to Sultan Muzaffar Shah, the eldest son of the last Sultan of Melacca. Because of its rich tin deposits, Perak had always faced numerous threats to its sovereignty. The state was first attacked by the Achinese during 16th century. After 1641, the Dutch then attempted to establish a monopoly over Perak's tin trade by building forts at strategic places, on Pangkor Island and at the mouth of Perak River, but they did not have great success. In the 18th century however, Perak was threatened by the Bugis in the south and the Thai in the north. The state was saved from Thai domination with assistance from the British in the 1820s.
As the importance of tin grew tremendously in the world market, Perak saw an influx of Chinese miners who flocked into the tin rich fields of Larut. This development however destabilized Perak's traditional Malay policy. In the 1870s, Perak was then torn by succession disputes to the throne and war in Larut between the fueding tin miners. This gave an opportinity for the British to intervene and in 1984 they imposed the Pangkor Engagement on Perak chiefs, thus taking control of the state.
But constant opposition from the Perak Chiefs resulted in the assasination a the first British Resident and a brief war. In 1896, Perak became one of the faur Malay states to form the Federated Malay States.
Perak has a track record of making the best of all situations and cicumstances. Despite the tin slump in 1983, it has succeeded in the restructuring of its economical developments, thus resulting in continuous growth in the industry. With a sound infrastructure and international strandard facilities, Perak makes an ideal environment for the business enterprise.
Perak's capital, Ipoh City was originally an obscure kampung with many dilapidated buildings. It has now become one of the largest cities in Malaysia. Poised to become the focal point of the industry, business, investment and education, Ipoh is seen as a reflection of the overall progress and development that the state is experiencing.
Modern shopping centres are aplenty in Perak especially the major towns where malls and supermarkets are mushrooming. Besides shopping complexes, other venues to obtain good bargains are at the pasar malam and hight markets. These are street bazaars that stock everything from local handicrafts, casual wear, farm fresh produce to folk and herbal medicine.
Traditional handicraft is a prominent cottage industry within the state. it is predominantly found in Kuala Kangsar than anywhere else. Handicraft centres sell many different types of local crafts like earthenware, gold embroidery, bamboo carvings and seashell designs. While you will most probably be able to find well stocked handicraft centres along every route you travel, the most famous and popular centres are at Enggor, Kampung Berala, Kampung Padang Changkat and Kampung Bendang.
The Pasar Malam or night markets are a kaleidoscope of colors, sights and sounds. It is a truly facinating Malaysian identity. Comprising of makeshift stalls which stock anything from folk medicines to household utensils, food to fasionwear and jewelry, these night bazaars are a treat for the senses and a paradise for bargain hunters.
A trip to Perak in never complete without a taste of pomelos. Pomelos are seedless and sweet citrus fruits which are usually the size of a soccer ball. These fruits are grown exclusively in the state and are very popular especially during festive seasons. Other succulent fruits available include seasonal rambutans, mangosteens, durians and of course the seedless guavas.