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March 7, 2013

Taiping has potential to be a tourist destination

Bukit Larut
Refreshing spot on a hill: Visitors and tourists are taken up by jeep up the half-hour journey at Bukit Larut in Taiping. — filepic

WHILE the days of tin mining are far gone in Taiping’s history, locals believe that the town can be developed through other means as a heritage tourism destination.

Taiping Heritage Society president Yeap Thean Eng, 52, opined that with careful planning, the town had the potential to become an attractive tourist destination.

“This historical town and its surrounding areas have numerous places of interest such as the Taiping Lake Gardens, Bukit Larut, Taiping Zoo and Night Safari, Matang mangrove forest, bird sanctuary and Kampung Dew firefly sanctuary.

“The problem is that the attractions have not been properly marketed and developed in the past until the implementation of development programmes under the Northern Corridor Economic Region,” he said.

Yeap, who was born and bred in Taiping, added that sustainable and environment-friendly development in Taiping would also boost its liveability and attract investments.

“The roads should be made bicycle-friendly as the town is naturally flat and pedestrian walkways could be built to connect nearby shopping malls with other public amenities.

“Besides attracting tourists, those who have shifted out of Taiping due to the slow development would also feel inclined to return here to retire here,” he said.

Civil servant Mohd Ayob Barkatullah agreed that the tourism industry in Taiping could be further improved by properly planning and promoting its various attractions.

“Proper maintenance is key and the council can also consider having a no-car day once a week at the lake gardens.

“The council can also create a tram ride at the lake gardens to enable visitors to travel from one point to another without having to drive, which also allows them to further explore its various attractions,” he said.

Mohd Ayob said there was also need to create a cable car service to take visitors to the hillside resort of Bukit Larut.

“There is a little-known scenic waterfall by the hill, which I feel will continue to go unnoticed without the cable car service.

“I hope the authorities will also consider bringing back the Tulip Garden attraction on top of the hill,” he added.

Technician P. Patmanathan, 42, also agreed on the need for a cable car service up Bukit Larut, stating that it was a safer option for tourists compared to taking four-wheel-drive vehicles up the hill.

“There needs to be action taken rather than just talk if we want to improve tourism in Taiping.

“It is equally important to maintain the town’s many infrastructures such as roads, which are riddled with potholes,” he said.

Published 7 March, 2013 - The Star