15 minutes’ drive from Ipoh old town – Malaysian traffic permitting, of course – you will find Gunung Lang park. This is a slightly odd recreational area, frequented by tourists and locals. We didn’t know much about it before we arrived, except that it involved a boat in some way. The first impression was a little dubious; the attractive jungle covered mountain being topped with a broken sign.
On the other hand, once we had bought our boat tickets, we strolled through to the quay and were met by a lovely view. The boats, it turns out, are there to ferry you across a small lake to the main area. The lake is very nice and surrounded by mountain greenery.
It is also teeming with catfish…
…and has quite a few turtles.
The boats themselves are in quite good condition, but not exactly luxury. You only spend about 90 seconds on them, so that’s not a huge problem.
You disembark to a small enclosed space with a series of walkways and paved paths, which link pergolas, gazebos and other places of varied levels of interest.
There is a small love bird enclosure in the middle of all the paths and gazebos, with just a handful of birds inside. Perhaps they are going to populate it further later.
You can also rent brightly coloured bikes for your kids in the next door gazebo. This of course means you have to dodge other people’s kids as they wobble around, unused to cycling in the tropical heat.
We went a little off the main path, and found a pond which was considerably less pleasant than the lake.
However, just beyond that was a more interesting sight: a cave with an ominous sign – any accidents or lost property are your responsibility – which I began to explore tentatively.
The mouth of the cave was quite tall, and the interior initially seemed reasonably well lit, so I ventured in. I wondered how deep the concrete path would go, as surely they couldn’t have paved much of the cave.
However upon reaching the first corner, it became obvious the cave wasn’t somewhere you were likely to lose your possessions, being merely a small access tunnel to the rear of the park. We could even see a convenience store in the distance once we reached the end.
Also toward the rear of the park is the first observation tower I climbed of the two present, which is octagonal in shape and 66 steps in height.
It provides a view of the park, but not really of the lake, as the trees get in the way.
There are a few cages at the back containing animals. The first was empty apart from the monkeys which seemed to come and go as they pleased; the second had some domesticated deer; and the third, oddly, had a pair of ostriches. This wasn’t particularly nice, as the cages seemed to have more animals than they should for their size.
Also tangentially related to animals is the children’s play park. This is more fun, with climbing frames designed to look (a little) like dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs are next to the second tower which is square, and has 75 concrete steps to get you to the top. If you decide to climb only one tower in the park, make it the square one.
This is because it not only has a nicer view of the park, but also a glorious lake scene. You can watch the boats come and go, and feel a bit of a breeze up here.
On the way back across the lake, don’t forget to check out the turtles again. They swim quite close to the boats, which I assume is due to being fed by visitors. You can buy food for yourself and for the aquatic creatures at the jetty.
To finish off our visit, we shared a delicious guava and sour plum drink for just a couple of ringgit, while taking in the final sight: a section of pipe, for some reason made into a garden feature in the car park.
There are bits and pieces here which make it close to worth visiting Gunung Lang park. I enjoyed the tiny boat trip, and some of the views are quite nice. However it feels more like a place for an occasional trip for locals to get a little exercise, rather than a tourist area. If you think you’d enjoy it, the boat costs RM3 for adults and RM1.50 for concessions, and operates from 0830-17.00 Mondays to Fridays (with a break from 12.00-14.00, except Friday when it is 11.30-14.45), and from 08.30-1800 without a break at weekends and public holidays.
Address: Jalan Damai, 30100 Ipoh, Perak