Most visitors whisk through Perak State, which occupies most of the area between KL and Penang, and is crossed by the rail line and fast expressway. Between the sixteenth century and the 1960s, tin kept Perak wealthy, causing fisticuffs at various times between Dutch, British, Thai and Malay factions, funding a royal seat outside modern Kuala Kangsar and leaving the cities of Taiping and Ipoh awash with solid colonial and Chinese architecture. These, along with the Cameron Highlands remain interesting places to step off the tourist trail for a day or two and take in ordinary life in modern Malaysia, though Perak’s most popular attraction is the laidback resort island of Pulau Pangkor, accessed from Ipoh via the port of Lumut.

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