Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia with a population of about 230,000 based on the 2010 estimates. It is located at the northwest of Peninsular Malaysia bordered by Thailand in the north and Kedah in the south. The state has an area of 785 square km with Kangar as its capital and Arau the royal capital. This state was originally a part of Kedah which was conquered by the Siamese in 1821.
The British took over the state from the Thais under the 1909 Anglo-Siamese Treaty. During the Japanese occupation, this state was returned to Thailand. However, after the defeat of the Japanese in WWII, it was returned to the British rule until it became part of the Federation of Malaya in 1957.
While you are here, visit Perlis State Park which is located at Kaki Bukit. This 5,000 hectares White Meranti-Gerutu Seasonal Forest sheds its leaves during the dry season. This park has hornbills, goats, birds and the Stump-tailed macaque.
There are trails that you can trek, Wang Burma Cave that you can explore as well as camping in the park. It is opened from Monday to Friday with admission fee of RM2 per adult and RM1 per child.
Gua Kelam Recreational Park also at Kaki Bukit is the place to go for caving adventure. There are bats, fossils and hanging bridge at this well lighted cave. In the olden day, this 370m cave was used to transport tin ore from Wang Tangga. Today, this cave is the main access route for Kampung Kelian villagers. It is opened daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission fee is RM1 per adult and RM0.50 per child.
The state flag. Yellow represents the Raja of Perlis and blue represents the people.
The Snake and Reptile Farm at Bintong, about 10 km north of Kangar has live snakes such as pythons, cobras and pit vipers. It was established in 1981 by the Institute for Medical Research to study and develop anti-venom for snakebites. Crocodiles, iguanas, monitor lizards and tortoises are also housed here. This farm is opened daily with admission fee of RM4 per adult and RM1 per child.
For history, try visiting Kota Payang Museum in Kuala Perlis where you can learn the history of Perlis. Artifacts such as stone tools, royal regalia, documents, brassware, coins and weapons are exhibited here. Admission to the museum is free and it is opened daily from 9am to 5pm. Galeri Di Raja in Arau has collections of potraits, royal regalia, weapons and state gifts that belongs to the state royalty. Admission is also free.
Your visit may not be complete if you do not go to Padang Besar for shopping. This town borders Thailand and is popular with tourists and locals who want to purchase duty-free goods. The Padang Besar Arcade sells foodstuff, handicrafts, clothes and other household products. The Emas Kerajang Complex sells liquor, souvenir, perfumes and imported chocolates. Pop over to Pekan Siam, a town in Thailand which is just across the railway tracks and purchase some souvenirs, clothing or textiles. You can even try some Thai food at the restaurants here.
The other bazaar shopping you can go to is Wang Kelian Sunday Marketwhich is opened everyday. This market sells food, clothes, fruits, handicrafts and other household products.
Other places of interests include the Melati Lake which is about 8km north of Kangar and is a good place for recreational activities such as boating, picnics or simply taking a stroll. Notice the massive limestone hills at the background. Hutan Lipur Bukit Air has waterfalls and streams that originates from the tropical rainforest. This park is another good venue for picnics and camping.
The Rimba Herba at Bukit Air has over 1,000 plants which include medicinal plants and herbs such as Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah, Mengkudu, Kayu Manis and Cekor. It is opened from 9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday with admission fee of RM1 per adult and RM0.50 per child. While you are here, drop by Bukit Ayer Recreational Park.
If you need to travel to Langkawi Island, there are ferries that you can take from Kuala Perlis Jetty.
Being close to Thailand means that you can find plenty of Thai food here. One dish which is unique to this state is called "Kensom", a fish dish that you eat with rice. The other one is "Nasi Kandar", rice taken with curry dishes, fried chicken, mutton, fried prawns, fried squid and vegetables.
If you are in Kuala Lumpur and is a budget traveller, take a bus from Hentian Duta which is located at Jalan Duta, KL to Kangar, Kuala Perlis, Changlun or Padang Besar depending on your destination. The main bus companies that you can travel with are Mara Liner or Transnasional. The journey to Kangar will take about 8 hours.
If you have the time and prefer to travel by train, take the KTM Intercity Train to Arau or Padang Besar. The journey from KL Sentral to Arau takes approximately 12 hours 20 minutes.
If you are driving from KL, head for North-South Expressway. You will pass by the state of Perak, Penang, Kedah. Exit at Changlun Interchange and go along the Changlun-Perlis Expressway to Perlis.
You can also take a flight from Kuala Lumpur by using Alor Setar airport in the state of Kedah as there isn't any airport here. From Alor Setar, the duration by road to Kangar takes about 40 minutes. AirAsia, FireFly and MAS fly to Alor Setar regularly.
Most of the accommodation in this state ranges from 1 Star to 3 Star with prices ranges from RM50-RM260 per room per night. Hotel Seri Malaysia, Putra Putri Lodge, Putra Palace and Putra Berasmana Hotel are some of the hotels you can stay.