The state of Perak in Malaysia is undoubtedly charming with its beautiful limestone hills surrounding the countryside. Just a stone’s throw away from the capital of Ipoh is one such spot, which the local council has turned into a relaxing retreat, dubbed the Gunung Lang Recreation Center (which translates to Eagle Mountain).
It is a 15-minute drive from town. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some local eagle species flying about – which is presumably how the place got its name.
Visitors are greeted by a roaring man-made waterfall at the entrance, with the signage written on top in large white letters. At the foot of this structure is a large lake surrounded on all sides by rising green limestone hills. The effect is quite similar to other well known tourist destinations like Halong Bay in Vietnam. Tickets for a boat to the small man-made island across the water can be bought at the counter for a cheap RM3.
Our guide for the day told us that the lake was a former tin mining pond, reaching depths up to 40m. Despite this, we were not given safety vests on the boats, because the ride was only two minutes. I imagined a scenario where the boat somehow toppled over and spilled us all overboard – we would have drowned for sure.
That aside, I saw a monitor lizard swimming across the water. It was quite a sight!
The ‘island’ houses a few attractions, such as a mini animal farm with ostriches and deer. Fashioned like a garden, it also had replicas of traditional Perak kampung (Malay village) homes, which are usually made from papan (wood planks) and have attap roofing (woven palm leaves). The interior is a simple single room and has a cooling effect on the inside. Built on stilts, the old houses would have a separate outhouse and kitchen.
For those wanting to spend some quality time with family and friends at a cheap price, Taman Rekreasi Gunung Lang is as good a place to go.