Old Perak: Taiping’s environmental history


A former Taiping resident has contributed these nuggets about the environmental history of the historical town.

Did you know that over a hundred years ago:

  • abandoned mining pools were turned into Malaysia’s most famous botanic gardens with iconic rain trees.
  • there was a law protecting the mangrove forests allowing for only sustainable harvesting of bakau wood for building and charcoal.
  • the hill range was proudly protected with the forest reserves extending to the fringes of the town.

That was Taiping, the town that means ‘everlasting peace’ … the Matang coastal area and Maxwell, now Larut, hills). In fact, the Malayan Nature Society(MNS) was born in Taiping.

The former resident said he grew up there and spent a 16 wonderful years growing up in an multicultural environment. There was also a big commonwealth military base with Fijians and “Rhodesian” and even the only Parsi cemetery in the country.

Share your recollections of Taiping history especially its natural environment and charming town, in the comments section below.  Send old photos using the ‘submit photos’ link at the top of the page.

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semuanya OK kot

I suspect that with rising poverty (promoted by displacing Malaysian workers with exploited foreigners), it will not be long before “development” forces its way into the Gardens. After a robbery or two, there will come pavements, lights, guards, grand toilets, fountains, stalls, open-air theatres… If you doubt this, visit Lake Gardens in KL.


All it takes is to ‘create’ a problem or crisis & the father of solution > development or Satu Lagi Projeks will kick in for kang taus. This is already happening in many places where the peace of living in harmony with the environment is causing uneasiness or ‘itch’ for developmental progress putting the peace factor as not desirable. Penang is one hellish of an example of hill development & Coast-Mud-Politan frenzies for the rich & famous. Nevermind that one richie fella can rise up in the glory morning to face a mud flat from his super-expensive condo at Gurney… Read more »

tan tanjong bungah

Hi everyone, I have been visiting Taiping very often during my school holidays, have relatives and friends there. Only in the last 5 years have not visited Taiping being busy with visiting other places! My late father hailed from Taiping! The Taiping Lake Gardens area is one of my favourite places to visit due to its serene surroundings! Remember going up to Maxwell Hill (Bkt Larut) by either hiking or jeep with my Taiping cousins, always fun to be up there with its cool and refreshing atmosphere! Definitely, very against the setting-up of permanent stalls in the lake area, once… Read more »

Bill Garnett

According to an article dated 27 July in The Star, this project is RM3.6 million. If there are to be 16 stalls, then that would be RM225,000 per stall. I have discussed this with a local quantity surveyor knowledgeable about building costs in Taiping, who stated that for this price 16 modern two story houses could be built. Can someone suggest an explanation?

There is already an underutilized food court on Jalan Kota adjacent to the Lake Gardens.

Does anyone know who initiated this project, who is promoting this project, or who will benefit financially from this project?

Tan Choo

quote from above “the hill range was proudly protected with the forest reserves extending to the fringes of the town” Is this still stands? We have hillslopes approved for 18 floors condominiums. How can this happen?

Tan Choo

“the hill range was proudly protected with the forest reserves extending to the fringes of the town” – This does not seems quite ture as we have 18 floors condominiums approved at the hill slopes HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?.