HAVE you seen a stump-tailed Macaque or “beruk kentoi”? If you have, then you must be one of those who had visited the Perlis State Park.
Like the proboscis monkeys or “kera Belanda” which can only be found in Sabah, the stump-tailed Macaque (scientific name “Macaca Arctoides”) can only be found in this state’s park, a reason why many nature lovers love to go there.
The red-faced monkey may be a shy animal but can be easily found in this 5,000-hectare park, a large portion of which is located in the country’s longest limestone range, the Nakawan range.
The Perlis State Park bordering the Thaleban National Park in southern Thailand, also boasts of rare plant species like wild ginger, the balsam tree as well as a pre-historic plant species called “bogak”.
The park is also home to many wild animals, such as leopards and serows (or mountain goats), along with various types of reptiles and more than 200 species of birds, including the hornbill.
If you happened to be one of those who had set foot there, be proud that you had been to the northern-most jungle in Peninsular Malaysia.
Features of Perlis State Park
Among the interesting features of the park is its 2.8-metre high border wall separating Malaysia and Thailand. The wall can be clearly seen once visitors are close to the border gate at Wang Kelian.
You can also be proud that you had seen the Nakawan range which is among the oldest limestone formation in the country besides being the longest.
The limestone formation found in the Nakawan range is known as Setul limestone formation, which is about 500 million years old.
The main characteristic of the Setul formation is its cliff-shaping process, where a closed crater-like valley known as “wang” (a Thai word which means hollow in between stones) is later created.
Since people in the old days named places after their natural features, it is not surprising that Perlis has several settlements in the valleys named “wang”. For example, “Kampung Wang Kelian” has about 150 families, most of whom are farmers.
Besides Wang Kelian, there are several quiet and uninhabited valleys around the park like “Wang Tangga” and “Wang Mu” which were popular tin mining areas when rich ore were found in their caves.
A cave also known as Gua Wang Burma is a favourite of nature lovers because of the natural beauty of its stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Exploring the cave requires patience, strength and stamina as certain sections of the cave require one to crawl.
For a more challenging feat, the visitor can explore the jungle for five hours in order to climb Perlis mountain, which is part of the park.
The mountain, standing at 733 metres, promises a cool and refreshing respite.
Still at the park and not very far from Kaki Bukit town is a lake called “Tasik Meranti”. But to get there, you have to walk for about one hour from the car
Visiting the state park will not be complete without going to Gua Kelam, a recreational area. The cave is a naturally-formed tunnel, a rare archaeological find. Only two of such naturally-formed tunnels exist in the world – here in Perlis and the other in Brasilia, Brazil.
Also interesting to note about the cave in Perlis is a stream flowing along the length of its walls, apparently a result of years of tin mining in the area.
A “hanging bridge” that runs along the tunnel has been built to provide convenience to visitors.
To get to the Perlis State Park, you can either drive or book a taxi from Wang Kelian and register yourself at the Park’s Visitors Centre which is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
The centre is located just 41 km from Kangar, and throughout the journey to the Park from the state’s capital, you can have a panoramic view over parts of northern Perlis. You can also view this from Kangar’s tower called “Menara Kayangan”.
Perched on a more than 100-metre high hill, the tower enables you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Bukit Chabang, better known in the state as the “Twin Peaks of Perlis”, besides other hills like Bukit Keteri, Bukit Jernih and Bukit Cuping.
From there too, you can see part of Timah Tasoh lake which is one of the state’s new tourist attractions.
Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the state government is also planning to provide duty-free shops in Wang Kelian for the convenience of tourists.
At present, Wang Kelian receives 30,000 to 50,000 visitors every Sunday because of its weekend market.
The state government is planning to upgrade the Perlis State Park’s infrastructure to include chalets that can be rented by the public.