The Perak arts aficionados have a multitude of museums to visit including The Perak Museum that was built in 1883 making it the countrys oldest museum. Located in Taiping on Jalan Museum it showcases some 3000 artefacts on zoology, pre-history, the economy and ethnology.
The Lenggong Archaeological Museum is located on a paleolithic-era archaeological site that existed some 33,000 years ago and is about 6 km south of the town of Lenggong.
Another former palace, called Istana Hulu which was built in 1903 is now The Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery that features many items reflecting the present Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Muhibbudin Shah. There are many personal items belonging to the Sultan on display as well as many extraordinary items that were given to the Sultan as gifts from various heads of state around the world.
When in Perak if you are looking to purchase traditional handicraft items then the place to go is The Handicraft Development Corporation located on Jalan Ipoh in Enggor (about 10 km outside of Kuala Kangsar).
This handicraft centre specialises in ceramics, terracotta and glazed pottery and is popular with tourists and locals alike for the quality of craftsmanship and the very reasonable prices charged.
Yes it was only a political soundbite, but the fact that the Perak state government recognises the benefits a state art gallery can bring by attracting tourists and encouraging local artisans should be viewed positively.
A prominent local politician encouraged the arts society to find a suitable premises for a Perak art gallery and the Perak government will then investigate whether something can be worked out.
However, the 40th annual art exhibition for the Perak Art Society was held in September 2010 at the Ipoh Parade shopping complex and it featured not just art but a glimmer of hope to the Perak arts scene.
For a state that has so many interesting museums it is a odd quirk of fate that Perak does not have a state art gallery despite being home to so many talented artists.
Situated on Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah in Ipoh The Geological Museum is host to more than 600 samples of minerals and ores found in Perak.
It is only fitting that the house of a former tin miner is now the location for The Darul Ridzuan Museum as it is stocked with many historical remnants of the tin mining and forestry industries of Perak.
This unmistakeable building stands majestically attracting attention not just for the contents of the museum but also for the architectural beauty it radiates.
Built as a royal residence in 1926 on Bukit Chandan in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar this once royal palace is now The Perak Royal Museum showcasing Peraks Royal heritage as well as pictures and history of the Royal family.
The Lenggong Archeological Museum is the first Prehistoric Archeological Museum in Malaysia and is situated on the Kota Tampan Paleolithic site which raises the question is this museum slightly older than the Perak Museum? Ok Ok, I know it's a moot point.
Besides displaying artefacts that have been excavated from the dig site the museum has two further galleries which are the Lenggong Pre-Historic Gallery and the Human Civilization Gallery, which includes the interesting 10,000-year old Perak Man skeleton.
Its collection of archaeological treasures such as ancient weapons, aboriginal implements and ornaments reflect well on Peraks' rich historical heritage.
The festival included a colourful procession accompanied by a backdrop of traditional music and drums. Many of the participants showed their devotion to their faith with some painful looking piercings before the tradition of walking across the hot coals was performed by many of the devotees.
Festivals are also abundant in Perak and I had the good fortune to be invited to the Thiruvalla festival in Taiping by some friends.
The festival was rounded off by a sumptuous meal with music being played late into the night and a great time was had by all.
Peraks Archaeological Treasures
Located on Jalan Panglima in Ipoh this beautiful building is more than 100 years old although the museum was only opened as recently as 1992.
The museum also houses an impressive selection of fossils, precious stones and one of the finest specimens of cassiterite found anywhere in the world.