Heritage tourism potential in north Malaysia?

An editorial feature discussing the tourism potential of northern Malaysia in the light of Visit Malaysia Year 2007. It mentions specifically two locations of archaeological interest: the Bujang Valley at Kedah, which was an Indian outpost under the Chola empire in the 11th century, and the Lenggong Archaeological Museum, home of the Perak Man.

25 July 2007 (The Edge Daily) – An editorial feature discussing the tourism potential of northern Malaysia in the light of Visit Malaysia Year 2007. It mentions specifically two locations of archaeological interest: the Bujang Valley at Kedah, which was an Indian outpost under the Chola empire in the 11th century, and the Lenggong Archaeological Museum, home of the Perak Man. You can read more about the Perak Man on this site here (exhibition at the Muzium Negara) and here (podcast).

Reinventing and boosting tourism in the northern region

Malaysia will be turning 50 soon with Merdeka Day just around the corner. In celebration of our nation’s five decades of independence, 2007 has been declared as Visit Malaysia Year in a bid to promote Malaysia as a holiday destination of choice.

While the country has a myriad of historical sites and recreational spots that could potentially become major tourist attractions, access to funds for maintenance and conservation has not been sufficient in previous years leading to neglect and poor visitor volume.

Many of the lesser-known sites are difficult to access without proper signboards and they have not been promoted properly, hence most of the visitors to these sites are domestic tourists with lower spending power.

This is disappointing as there are a number of heritage sites in the NCER that meet the listing criteria like the 5th century Lembah Bujang kingdom in Kedah, Suffolk House and Dr Sun Yat Sen’s base in Penang which has not been nominated for consideration.

Sabah and Sarawak have always been the ecotourism hotspots in the country but the NCER has its own off-the-beaten-path treasures. Caving enthusiasts will be able to enjoy walking through the 370-metre Gua Kelam limestone caves in Perlis, while white-water rafting and treetop walking are available at Sungai Sedim in Kedah.

On the other hand, it is little known that Perak has in fact been in existence since the prehistoric age. The discovery of the 11,000-year-old Perak Man in Lenggong Valley in 1991 is still one of the country’s most significant prehistoric find and yet the archaeology museum in the area has fallen into disrepair.

Because of the lack of funds from the poor visitor volume, these potential tourist sites are badly maintained and difficult to find. This has been pointed out by a good number of international visitors who have posted comments of their visit to Malaysia on the Internet.

Read more about tourism potential in Malaysia’ northern corridor.

For more information about the Bujang Valley and the Perak Man, you might want to read:
Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula by P. M. Munoz
Monuments of India and the Indianized States: The Plans of Major and Notable Temples, Tombs, Palaces and Pavilions, South-East Asia by F. W. Bunce
Early History (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia) by Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman (Ed)
Cultural Sites of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia by J. Dumarcay and M. Smithies

Related Posts

Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *