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Kampar, in the Kinta Valley at the foot of Cameron Highlands


Kampar lies within the Kinta Valley and it is very near to the Cameron Highlands which stretches out almost next door to Kampar Town. The town was a center in the tin mine industry, founded in 1887. The name of the town originates from the Cantonese words kam pou. It means 'precious gold' and refers to the town's previously large tin reserves.

Near Kampar you can go fishing in old mining pools, it's amazingly quiet here

In the area around the town you can go fishing in old mining pools, it's amazingly quiet here

The town and surrounding is still very local, few foreign tourists visit the town though some come to visit the well known caves of Gua Tempurung. This is sad as Kampar has enough to offer local and foreign tourists alike to keep them busy for a few days.

As you would expect from me, I visited the town on bicycle. It's my preferred way of transport because I can see more of the surrounding and, to me at least, I get a much better impression of the countryside.

The amazing roti kari yama restaurant in Kampar
The amazing roti kari ayam restaurant in the old town

And I have to say, it was such a pleasure cycling to this area in Perak, the countryside is beautiful and the town has an excellent hotel available: Grand Kampar Hotel, a new and very comfortable hotel in the new area of Kampar town.

Kampar is located 170 km north of Kuala Lumpur (on the north/south motorway), 30 km south of Ipoh and 85 km east of Pangkor and Lumut.

The question of course is why you would want to visit Kampar?

Attractions

Kampar is only found on a few tourist map. The town and the area are known mainly for its tin mining industry but only a few visitors know that there are several tourist attractions which make a visit worthwhile.

Probably the most well known is the caves of Gua Tempurung. These centuries-old caves are very well preserved. You can penetrate up into 3km of caves in higher and lower areas.

Inside the Gua Tempurung Caves near Kampar and Ipoh

Inside the Gua Tempurung Caves

Some caves go quite deep and you will have to pass and wade through underwater rivers. In the lower caves, you will have the possibility to experience total darkness. It is so dark you will not be able to see anything including your own hands 2 cm in front of your face. It is quite an unnerving experience.

Read about one of my visits to the Gua Tempurung caves

Golf enthusiasts can play their game at the Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort, in Batu Gajah, 20 minutes drive from Kampar. See for details our golf page

Kampar, Malim Nawar lakes
There are numerous lakes which contains a lot of fish, here a lake in Malim Nawar

White water rafting is another experience you will never forget. Shooting the rapids would give you an intense adrenaline rush. However, if you are not that adventurous, you may want to go fishing in one of the many lakes left over from the old tin mine industry. 

Jungle trekking is also possible. Kampar is built at the foot of the hills which, for a large part are still raw and dense tropical rain forests.  Pony riding is also available for children.

And of course, Ipoh is nearby. With its long history, Ipoh is a great visit. Here is more about Ipoh

But the town is also famous for its food and in case you are not interested in any physical activities, the food alone is worth a visit !

Japanese Carbide Factory Chimney

A very unknown but very interesting piece of Malaysian history can be found in Malim Nawar. Here you can see the very last chimney of a Japanese carbide factory. After the 2nd World War the factory was demolished and the bricks used by the locals for their own use.

The Japanese Carbide Factory Chimney in Malim Nawar The Japanese Carbide Factory Chimney in Malim Nawar
The Japanese Carbide Factory Chimney in Malim Nawar

The story I have heard from my friend Martin who used to live in Malim Nawar, is that second chimney was sold brick by brick. The owner of the land left only the very base of the chimney. The Chimney is located about 15 km from Kampar town.

The Japanese Carbide Factory Chimney in Malim Nawar

Food specialties

Kampar is famous for its food. In the area, the fishball noodles are famous but very special for Kampar is the chicken biscuit. I was also invited to try the roti kari ayam.

Roti Kari Ayam in Kampar

Roti kari ayam after cutting the bread open

This amazing dish is a white bread filled with curry chicken. The way it is produced is quite simple, first the curry mee is cooked, then it is filled in the dough and then baked in a bread. The restaurant where Miss Rosma and Miss Bibi, from the Grand Kampar Hotel took me serves two different sizes of bread: big and small. Even the small bread takes 3 to 4 people to finish. An amazing dish.

Where to stayGrand Kampar Hotel

Kampar has one very good hotel: the Grand Kampar Hotel which opened doors in 2008.

I have visited the hotel a few weeks later after the opening, around Chinese New Year. What a pleasant surprise! The hotel has surprisingly low prices, even during the Chinese New Year, for the rooms and the meals offered.

We have created a special page about the Grand Kampar Hotel and we are happy to inform you the hotel has a series of special packages available that will make your stay even more spectacular.

If you traveling on a small budget, in the old town there are a few local cheap hotels available. Don't expect anything more than a bed and a shower but you won't pay much too.

Getting there and away

By Car

From Kuala Lumpur

If you have your own transport, take the North-South highway to Tapah junction and follow the directions to Ipoh and Kampar, 23 km away.

From Penang

Take the North-South highway to Gopeng and follow the direction to Kampar and Teluk Intan (from the highway junction at the traffic lights, go left onto the A1).  You will pass the Gua Tempurung caves. Kampar is about 15 km from the junction.

Amazingly quiet roads through plantations and undisturbed jungles near Tanjong Tualang
Amazingly quiet roads through plantations and undisturbed jungles near
Tanjong Tualang, just 15 km from Kampar

From Pangkor and Lumut

Take the road out of Lumut to Ipoh until you reach Pusing. In Pusing you will follow the direction to Batu Gajah.  You will pass Kellies Castle on the way to Gopeng. Follow the direction to the North-South Highway but do not enter. Just follow road no.A1, it is another 18 km to Kampar.

There are a few alternative roads.

Take the road out of Lumut to Ipoh, pass Ayar Tawar until you reach the junction to Tanjong Tualang. Follow the local road for a few kilometer until you reach a "T" junction, go right for a few kilometer until you reach another "T" junction. Going right leads to Tanjong Tualang town. Go left here to Malim Nawar until you reach the main road No.1 and follow this road for about 8km until you reach Kampar.

Alternatively you take the junction in Bota Kiri to Kampung Gajah (not to be confused with Batu Gajah). Follow this road until you reach Kampung Gajah (28 km) and follow from here the direction to Tanjong Tualang and Kampar (A15). Just before Tanjong Tualang is Kampong Timah where you can take the junction direct to Kampar or you continue following the A15 to Malim Nawar. Both roads are scenic, very quiet and in good condition.

On the way to Tanjong Tualang

On the way to Tanjong Tualang

Another option is take the road out of Lumut to Teluk Intan. Follow this road for 31km until you reach a junction to Pasir Salak.  Go left and follow this road until you reach a T-junction and go right to Kampung Gajah. After 2 km there's a junction. Going straight leads to Pasir Salak, going left leads to a bridge/

View to Cameron Highlands
Photo taken from the roof of the Grand Kampar Hotel with views to Cameron Highlands

Cross the bridge of the Sungai Perak and turn right and continue to the first traffic light. Here you turn left (A15) to Tanjong Tualang. In Tanjong Tulang you can turn right and visit Tronoh Mines before arriving in Kampar town. The other option is pass Tanjong Tulang and take the first junction after the the town to Malim Nawar (A114). This road is equally scenic but leads you after another 15 km to the connecting road of Gopeng and Ipoh. Kampar is another few kilometers to your right.

Should you take one of the two mentioned road, visit Pasir Salak which is right on the way.

Public Transport

There are frequent buses from Puduraya bus station in Kuala Lumpur taking about 2 hours (specify to the driver you want to go to Kampar because the express buses only pass Kampar).

From Ipoh, several local buses serve Kampar too. If you come from other destinations you have to change buses in Ipoh.

Trains serve Kampar too. Although the journey is pleasant, it takes about 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Kampar. The railway station is on the south side of the old town center.

And as if this is all not enough, we have this map for you. Click here to see the map

Read more about the Grand Kampar Hotel

Read more about Ipoh

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Grand Kampar Hotel

A traveler needs to lay his/her head in comfort after a long day of adventures. A comfortable room, a hot bath, watch a little TV and ... some excellent food. The Grand Kampar Hotel does this for you and much more. But what most impressed me with this 155 rooms hotel was the attention of the staff.

Grand Kampar Hotel

They were all smiles and very helpful, like finding new friends on the road. And as a long time traveler, this was exactly what I was looking for.

Here's more about the Grand Kampar Hotel


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Three times I have visited the caves, here's a report of one of my visits. I am not really a cave enthusiast but the Gua Tempurung caves I enjoyed so much I did come back, several times already.

The Gua Tempurung Caves of Perak


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Ipoh

Ipoh is the capital of Perak and just over 30 km north of Kampar. It's the transport hub but the city itself is worth a visit. Read more about Ipoh on this page.


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Leaning Tower Teluk Intan