Taiping is a town in the northern part of Perak, famous for its generally cooler climate, hogging the limelight for being Peninsular Malaysia’s absolute wettest town, with average annual rainfall doubling the average of other towns. While usually we relate cloudy weather to forlorn frowns and depressive states, but in Taiping, the unusually heavy rains have led to the fertile growth of flora, especially the century-old, breath-taking rain trees lining the perimeter of Lake Gardens.
Aside from its rich heritage, spanning a historic momentum since the 1844, when Taiping was the first town to initiate tin mining activity in the peninsula, the town is equally famous for the resplendent array of street food. From Chinese style of hawker fares to Malay-Indian (mamak) eateries, with the exceptionally famous Bismillah Cendol serving possibly thousands or millions of bowls of the delectable Cendol since the olden days, the town is developing rapidly as of late, with the opening of several departmental stores and chain eateries such as Noodle Station and Sushi King, fast food outlets, as well as cafes and bistros.
But the real charm lies in the most ancient of places. One brilliant example being Peace Hotel and Coffee Shop (Kedai Kopi dan Rumah Tumpangan Peace) on Jalan Panggung Wayang in town centre. A colonial corner shoplot with a dodgy guesthouse on the first floor, with the ground floor being a coffee shop populated with several stalls selling Chinese hawker food. The interior of the coffee shop plain screams nostalgia, with the same mosaic tiles on the floor since the pre-independence era, and the ceramic tiles lining the walls with colourful designs of swallows.