As a travel blogger, I can say that I have traversed the length and breadth of the state of Perak, looking for content, unearthing hidden gems and taking the road less travelled.
I had the opportunity to visit Selama a few days ago, and was delighted that I could check out some of its attractions. Of course, I have been to Selama previously but it was only for several hours, unrelated to tourism, unfortunately.
To give you background information on Selama, which is situated about 120km north of Ipoh, it was originally known as Kampung Selamat. The area was founded by one Abdul Karim bin Raja Aman Shah on 22nd January, 1870.
Even before the arrival of Abdul Karim, a village was already in existence, where residents were Malaysians from Pattani, Southern Thailand.
The settlement was located by the bank of a river just 10km from Selama town. This village was named Kampung Sungai Bayor.
Abdul Karim and his entourage arrived in Selama via a boat, cruising along Sungai Kerian. They initially stopped at Tanjong Medan (now Kampung Medan) but later moved to Kampung Selamat, situated between Jalan Sir Chulan and Kampung Gudang. Kampung Selamat was subsequently renamed as Kampung Selama.
With the discovery of tin ore in the area, population in Selama expanded to include people of Chinese and Rawa descent, as tin mine owners and workers.
Abdul Karim passed away in 1892.
Selama is a fresh tourism product, still very much unexplored. The local authorities only began to intensify the promotion of Selama’s tourist offerings this past couple of years. It is interesting to note that the District of Selama is as large as the size of Perlis state. There are three sub-districts (mukim): Ulu Ijok, Ulu Selama and Selama. Half the district is covered by forests and vegetation.
Although a large area of Selama District is undeveloped, it is still a potential tourist destination to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to eco-tourism.
Indeed, Selama is rich in flora and fauna. The entire district is like a playground of nature for those who like to be in the great outdoors. Within the district, there are some twenty attractions, seven of which are waterfalls. Isn’t that amazing?
If time permits, these attractions are best visited in an overnight trip, unless you want to enjoy every single waterfall! But what if you were pressed for time? Can you still enjoy Selama? Yes, of course! In this article, let you show you my own 1/2-day trip to Selama and the places that I visited.
Sungai Atas Sungai (River Above A River)
The name is pretty self-explanatory but it does bring up a question mark. How is it even possible to have a river above a river? Ah, ha! That’s why you have to personally check this out to understand its mechanics.
An irrigation system designed by the British that was built in 1936, it was constructed to channel water from Sungai Ijok to Tasik Bukit Merah (Bukit Merah Lake) and a nearby dam as well as to support the paddy fields in the vicinity. The river at the bottom is Sungai Redang Panjang.
Telaga Gergasi (Gigantic Well)
Just 2km from Sungai Atas Sungai, driving along the bank of the river, we arrived at Telaga Gergasi (Gigantic Well), located in Kampung Bagan Baharu. Again, the name is very descriptive. But why does the community need a gigantic well? Believed to be built by the British, also in 1936, this well is part of the Sungai Atas Sungai structure.
Still being used today to divert water from Sungai Ijok to Tasik Bukit Merah, the well is 18 metres deep, mainly to prevent erosion to the river bed and also to filter debris before the water flows out to the lake, via an underground channel.
Why would travellers want to visit Telaga Gergasi? Besides learning British engineering, on a good day when the water level is high, multiple rainbows are formed when sunlight shines onto water sprays created from the steep drop of the blanket of water.
Kota Persembunyian Raja Bersiong
Kota Persembunyian Raja Bersiong, or simply Kota Raja Bersiong, is located at the fringes of a forest in Mukim Ijok, Selama, adjacent to a small oil palm holding.
Raja Bersiong, said to be the 4th descendant of Merong Mahawangsa, was believed to be a tyrannical king from the neighbouring state of Kedah. The story goes to say that one day, his cook suffered a cut on the finger while preparing food for the ruler. After consuming the blood-tainted food, Raja Bersiong kept needing to be fed blood, to the point of killing his subjects just for blood.
Because of this Dracula trait, he was wanted by authorities, causing him to be on the run. Raja Bersiong and his men were said to have hidden under those rocks, and even threw parties on the plateau above one of the large rocks.
Whether this happened for real it is hard to tell. However, when Raja Bersiong’s hideout was first discovered, furniture, pots and pans, etc. were found.
Lata Tebing Tinggi / Lata Mengkuang
One of seven waterfalls that is open to the public, Lata Tebing Tinggi is also known as Lata Mengkuang. Merely 300 metres from the main road, the waterfall is easily accessible, without the need for a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
The seven waterfalls offer different levels of impediment and challenges. Lata Tebing Tinggi is one of the mildest, suitable for even young children. I was there on a weekday and only had to share the awesome nature with a few locals. On weekends, there would be more vacationers. Entrance to the waterfall is free-of-charge.
The authorities are currently upgrading the facilities here. 20 units of chalets are being built, estimated to be ready by mid-2018. Then, visitors can opt to spend a night or two here and enjoy nature at her best.
Selama Inn @ Rumah Rehat Selama
Although one can manage a half-day or full-day tour of Selama, there may be travellers who wish to break their journey, especially if they are heading north to Thailand. Selama makes a great pit stop. This quiet town is to be explored leisurely to be appreciated.
There are 23 rooms of various categories offered by Selama Inn. Additionally, there is a homestay under the same management, just adjacent to the inn. Combined, they are able to accommodate up to 60 pax comfortably.
In case you didn’t know, Selama Inn was known as Rumah Rehat Selama. This new name was adopted in 2016 to reflect a more modern, upgraded accommodation.
VIP room (1 unit) – RM180 / night
Chalet (4 units) – RM135 / night
Standard (18 rooms) – RM90 / night
Add: Jalan Kolam Air, 34100 Selama, Perak.
Tel: +605-8391448 / +605-8394201
During my two visits to Selama, I dropped by at Refuel for a meal both times. Refuel comes highly recommended by locals, that’s why. Located between the town’s Caltex fuel station and SuperEZ launderette, Refuel is easily spotted from far away.
Refuel is Selama’s version of a hipster café. This self-service café won second place in the recent Celebrating Visit Perak Year 2017 @ My Perak Green & Clean Campaign for “Kemudahan Pelancong Terbersih Restoran”.
Refuel is a top choice for the younger crowd to come for rest and relax, especially in the evenings. What’s the item that one must order? It’s Arabic Ayam Crispy – only RM7.50 per serving.
So, here you have it! What to see and do in Selama should you have half a day to fill. I personally think that to really enjoy all the attractions of Selama, one should allocate at least 2D/1N, or better still, 3D/2N.
The following are the packages available for group outings:
*Course / Workshop
– to Lata Buluh
– to Lata Mengkuang
These packages are priced from RM100 per person. Minimum 30 pax to go, up to 60 pax each package.
For more information about these packages or to visit Selama, contact Selama District Council directly.
Majlis Daerah Selama (Selama District Council)
Add: 34100 Selama, Perak Darul Ridzuan.
Tel: +605 8394 201
Fax: +605 8394 377
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