Tranquility at the Taiping Lake Gardens (4 February, 2006)
Taiping Lake Gardens (GPS: 4.84886, 100.7482) is the biggest urban parkland in Malaysia. At 222 acres, the gardens is about as big as Taiping Old Town, such was the size of recreational comfort enjoyed by the folks of Taiping today. Within it is housed massive ponds, lakes, and reputably, the best zoological gardens in Malaysia. However, it was not always joggers' treks and tranquil ponds.
Taiping Lake Gardens is one of the earliest public gardens in the Federated Malay States (not counting the Straits Settlements of Penang, Singapore and Malacca). To trace the beginnings of the Taiping Lake Gardens, we have to go back 130 years in time, to around 1880. At that time, there was no gardens, no joggers, and every Chinese man in Taiping town is connection with the preoccupation of extracting one particular ore from the earth: tin. You won't see a single tin dredge in or anywhere near Taiping today, but 130 years ago, Taiping town (at that time known as Larut) was the world's biggest exporter of tin. The high price of tin in the world market propelled poverty-strickened Chinaman to descend on Taiping as miners.
Although the Lake Garden was created out of ex-mining pools, it was not without serious planning and an eye for the aesthetics. Different sections of the garden offer a new and refreshing scenery. Along Circular Road (Jalan Pekeliling), one find the raintrees that have become almost synonymous with the garden. The many meandering rivers and ponds offer great delight to nature buffs and photography enthusiasts alike.
Within the garden is the Taiping Zoo, reputably one of the best zoological gardens in Malaysia. Its night safari allows visitors to observe the nocturnal animals and birds in their natural habitat.
Throngs of people flood the Lake Gardens every weekend to jog, exercise and simply breath in the air under the foot of Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut).
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