Perak Museum to be turned into archaeological museum to showcase Lenggong Valley

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A museum in Ipoh, the state capital of Perak, will be converted into an archaeological museum in anticipation of the inscription of Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage Site. Malaysia had previously proposed the Lenggong Valley, where a large amount of prehistoric sites have been found, for World Heritage listing last year. It is not known if and when a World Heritage listing will be granted.

There is already an archaeological museum at Lenggong, but it is a little out of the way (slightly over an hour from Ipoh). I am a little uneasy over the government official’s description of the museum as a “tourism product”, though.

Darul Ridzuan Museum to be upgraded into Perak Archaeological Museum
Bernama, 31 January 2012
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Heritage tourism potential in north Malaysia?

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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

Podcast 02: Lenggong Archaeological Museum and the Perak Man

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IT’S FINALLY UP!!! Okay, not really… It’s been ready since a week ago, but I’ve been having technical difficulties which haven’t fully been resolved yet. But I’ve decided enough is enough, and to upload the podcast anyway. You can hear it at the podcast page.

19/11 Update: After tweaking every possibe setting, I finally found out what was going wrong with the MP3 encoding. You can now hear the podcast from the media player on the website!

02: Lenggong Archaeological Museum and Perak Man

The SEAArch podcast goes to Lenggong in Perak, Malaysia to check out the Lenggong Archaeological Museum and to also talk about the Perak Man, the oldest complete prehistoric skeleton found in this area.