KANGAR, the Perlis state capital, is an unremarkable town whose compact city centre, a shabby mix of old shophouses and concrete box architecture focused around the Kangar Square D’Mara shopping complex, sits immediately north of the little Sungai Perlis. It’s really only somewhere to change buses, most likely if you’re heading between the Thai border and Langkawi. About 10km east, ARAU is the least interesting of all Malaysia’s royal towns – the Royal Palace on the main road is closed to the public and looks like little more than a comfortable mansion – but it’s the nearest train station to Kangar.

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