Kangar is the capital of Perlis, the northernmost state in Peninsular Malaysia. The state is the smallest in terms of size and population and is one of the gateways that connect Malaysia with Thailand in the north. Perlis has a rich history and culture which intertwines the local heritage with some elements of Thai traditions which has been absorbed throughout history.
Facts about Kangar
- Currency: MYR (Malaysian Ringgit)
- Dialling code: calling the fixed line numbers in Kangar will require you to use the prefix of +604.
- Airport: due to its size, Perlis does not house its own airport. The nearest airport here is located in Alor Setar in neighbouring state Kedah which is the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport.
- Airport Tax: applies for all flights
- Distance from airport to city centre: The Sultan Abdul Halim Airport is located about 60 kms away from Kangar town
- Temperature: Kangar experiences temperature between 26 and 35 degrees Celsius annually
- Climate and Weather: Tropical with high humidity
- Common languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Chinese and Tamil
Besides Kedah, you can get into Kangar via other airports from neighbouring states like Penang and Langkawi Island (part of Kedah). However, you can get here through domestic express bus services from all major towns across Malaysia as well. Some express buses that come here would head towards Thailand. Train services are available which stops at Arau, some 15 kms from the town centre.
Within Kangar, you can get around on public buses and taxi services.
Highlights around Kangar
Although the town of Kangar is small, there are quite some places to go and things to do around here which includes:
- Gua Kelam – The Kelam Cave is a great place to go if you like beautiful sceneries. The foot of the cave was a former trading route with the Siamese and is one of the most beautiful caves in the country.
- Snake and Reptile Farm – a unique attraction here where there are more than 20 types of snake species housed here. One of the major objectives of this place is its function as a research and development centre.
- Tasik Melati – a lake with a great view. Use the elevated walkways so that you can enjoy and appreciate the view of the surrounding lake spreading into the horizon.
- Nearby cities and towns – From Kangar, you can head out to other cities like Penang and Alor Setar. For the more adventurous, you can head up north to Hat Yai from here as well.
Foods around Kangar
If you know your way around Kangar, you would be able to try some really good local food. Among the places you should visit include:
- Medan Ikan Bakar – around Kuala Perlis, this is where you can try the Ikan Bakar or grilled fish. Marinated with their original recipe to perfection, pick and choose to your liking and dig in!
- Hai Thien Seafood – This is where you get some really fresh seafood at prices that are reasonable and affordable. The Thai steam fish is one of its signature dishes
- Restaurant Anjung Keli – Ask anyone around Kangar where this place is and they will direct you there easily. It is among the most famous names for food here.
Leisure and shopping in Perlis
As Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia, it is commonly associated with being the sleepy town of Malaysia. This is because apart from shopping for imitation goods and leather products from Thailand, there are not many options in terms of entertainment. Many people come through Kangar as the hop-off point leading to Thailand.
In recent years, shopping has become more prominent and Downtown Kangar has become quite a popular place which refers to the main city center of the town. Apart from that, options are very much limited to museums and places of interests like:
- Dato’ Wan Ahmad’s House
- the Kubu Hill Recreational Park
- the Malay World Weaponry Museum
- the State Museum
- and the Heritage Hall among others
Getting in and around Kangar
Kangar is connected to other states of Malaysia through inter-state express bus services. Meanwhile, within Kangar itself, one can easily get around using the local bus services which start at Jalan Penjara in Kayangan Square. Taxis can be easily flagged at most major roads, hotels and commercial areas of Kangar.
Commercial Centers of Perlis
The main commercial areas of Kangar are located in the main town center of the town. This is made up around Jalan Raja Syed Alwi, Jalan Bukit Lagi, Jalan Jubli Perak, the Jalan Kangar-Alor Setar main road, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and the surrounding regions. Around this vicinity, there are supermarkets, food courts, government offices, banks and shops which serve the people and residents of the areas.
Government Offices and Education services
Kangar is the main center for administration for Perlis. The town center houses all the major government offices of the state. The Kompleks Pejabat-Pejabat Kerajaan Perlis is a centralized building of several public departments located off the main road of Jalan Kangar-Alor Setar where the Jabatan Bendahari Kukum is located further east.
At the junction connecting to Jalan Jubli Emas is the Bangunan Persekutuan while there are many public schools and insitutes located at Jalan Sekolah Derma adjacent of this road. UniMAP or Universiti Malaysia Perlis is the only institute of higher learning here which is located at Bangunan KWSP in Jalan Bukit Lagi, known to be the highest building in the state.
Safety and local culture of Northern Malaysia
In terms of safety, it is advised to stay indoors at night as some of the local culture here includes the likes of Mat Rempits or illegal racing motorcycles. The groups are known to come out on weekends and on certain weekdays where they carry out dangerous stunts on their motorcycles. These groups are known to congregate and race along the main roads of the town center although they avoid like Jalan Dahlia and some stretches along Jalan Kangar-Alor Setar.
As Perlis is a small town, it is possible to travel around on foot where one should do so cautiously.