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The town centre of Gopeng
Gopeng is a town located in Mukim Teja, District of Kampar, Perak, Malaysia. It is situated approximately 20 km south of Ipoh, the state capital. The town is located on the west side of the North-South Expressway stretch of Tapah-Simpang Pulai. The limestone hills and the Titiwangsa Mountains are clearly visible; the expressway penetrates between them and the view of the Tapah-Gopeng stretch is one of the most picturesque areas on the west side of Peninsular Malaysia. Due to its strategic location, locals are indeed very fortunate[according to whom?] to have major towns approximately half an hour from Gopeng, Batu Gajah to the west, Ipoh to the north and Kampar at the south.
Gopeng is classified under the newly created District of Kampar, the 10th district of Perak. Previously Gopeng was inside the Kinta district. The two Mukims under District of Kampar are Mukim Kampar and Mukim Teja. According to the official website of PDT Kampar, the whole area of Gopeng, along with Teja and Kota Baharu are grouped together under Mukim Teja which is now administered by the Penghulu, Mr. Mohd Helmi Jamaludin.
Once this town was bustling with tin miners and locals who busied themselves with the great tin mining industry of Malaysia until the collapse of the tin empire in 1980s. According to locals, there were once French, British and local tin mining companies developing tin mine industry there. Among them was called the Osbourne & Chappel which opened its franchise here in one of Gopeng's rich tin mine. Both locals and immigrants worked there. People started to flee the town and seek better opportunities in neighboring towns and cities soon after the collapse of the 1980s.
However, the love towards the town has never been faded and now Gopeng already flourished with heritage, cuisine and eco-tourism attractions developed by the locals themselves. Gopeng is also well known for limestone caves such as Gua Tempurung, located approximately 5 km from the town centre.
- 1 Significant landmark
- 2 Town layout
- 3 Business and commerce
- 4 Attractions
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Public health
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Cuisines
- 9 Religious congregational buildings
- 10 Education
- 11 Famous residents
Gopeng often affiliated with the old mine giant water pipes stretching above the trunk road, Jalan Gopeng, between the Shell Gas Station and Masjid Baru Gopeng. The rusty pipes channeled the water all the way from the hill slopes into the tin mines in the low lands which is now, Gopeng. Locals called it, Paip Besar (Malay), literally, Huge Pipes in English. Although there are no more mining activities, the giant pipes remained intact on the original stilts and became a very significant landmark of recognizing Gopeng. However in July 2010 most of the pipes were removed for scrap metal, leaving just a small section at the side of the main road - the ones that crossed over the road were removed.
Gopeng and its surrounding population is also known for an extremely high concentration of Rao people, with its famous Rao Dialect (Chakok Rao),the Adet Bojojak (Adat Berjejak in standard Bahasa Melayu), the Kelamei (a type of Rao distinctive cuisine) and the all time favourite, Gulei Nangko (Gulai Nangka or Nangka Masak Lemak in standard Malay). The Rao closely related to the Minang and Mandailing instead of the Malays in which both the Rao and the Malays are exclusively distinguished culturally particularly language and cuisines.
In the central area of Gopeng, there is an old bus station. There are mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples and a Sikh temple located near each other. The Gopeng Police Station is located near the Gopeng Post Office and a field named as Padang Bandaran Gopeng. This area is considered the central area of Gopeng since the field is essential for the locals for various occasions, especially for local soccer matches and other special events. Central Gopeng is filled with old pre-war shophouses which are extremely valuable for conservation and perhaps tourist attractions.
Among the most recognized places in the town centre, particularly nearby the Gopeng Bus Station is the Alif Cafe Restaurant, the local post office, the police station, Giat Mara Gopeng, Padang Bandaran Gopeng, Pasaraya Ku,the Goodyear Tyre Workshop and newly opened Indian restaurant Hega's Spice. The Podal Video Rental Service is located along the same row of shophouse of the Pasaraya Ku. There are local tailors and a brand new bundle shop located nearby the area. A newly opened stationery shop is located opposite the driving school office at the High Street.
The major settlements in Gopeng are:
Most of these settlements are located along the prominent, straight and long Jalan Gopeng connecting Ipoh to the north and Kampar to the south. Some of the villages are located away from the main road but are still accessible by various types of vehicles.
A quite significant proportion of neighborhoods are also situated within the Taman Kinta area, mostly terrace houses and shop houses. New housing scheme and neighborhoods are being built around the Taman Kinta areas today.
Roads in Gopeng
Business and commerce
There are two banks operating at the centre of the town, the BSN (Bank Simpanan Nasional) and the RHB Bank. A newly opened Pasaraya Ku is located exactly next to the town bus station. It became one of the large all in one mini supermarket in Gopeng replacing the Soon Hing Supermarket which is now has ceased operation in High Street. There are also several hair salons both the traditional Indian barbers and the modern hip hair salon operated by locals. There are also a few gold stores in the town and numerous convenient stores located all around the town.
Once, Gopeng had a cinema, an old wooden building which was situated at the town's only roundabout now. After the cinema left defunct, it started to decay and finally demolished, creating a vacant land. At that time during the 1990s, mobile theme park was held there with merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel. Soon after, a roundabout was created and new row of modern shop houses started to be built at the foundation of the old cinema. There is not even a single portion of the old cinema left to be preserved. However the Wayang Lane (Lorong Wayang) name is derived from the late cinema itself commemorating the glory and almost forgotten history of the one and only Gopeng's cinema.
Medan Purnama is a mini business centre comprising small restaurants, computer workshop and a few smaller kiosks. It is located on the same foundation of the Old Gopeng wet market which was redeveloped in mid-1990s. The people of Gopeng now have a larger and proper wet market located at the edge of Jalan Tasik (High Street).
Adilkap Sdn Bhd is located along Lorong Tasik (High Land), just next to the RHB Bank Gopeng, operating the JPJ driving license test compound as well as driving lessons for beginners.
Other commercial activities equally dispersed into restaurants, hawker stalls, photo studios, workshops and convenient stores.
Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng
Approximately 2 kilometres from Gopeng’s town center, you will find Gaharu Tea Valley, the 1st Organic Certified Agarwood Plantation (Malaysia Book of Record) with 300 acres of grown special 12 in 1 hybrid Aquilaria spp trees Agarwood, Gaharu, Chén-xīang (沉 香), Jin-koh (沈香), or Oud (عود)]. To add to its natural beauty, the wonderful fragrance of the Gaharu tree will mesmerize you whilst the clean, crisp breeze filled with valuable anion touches your face amid a beautifully canvassed green backdrop surrounded by an iconic 3-metre tall, formidable fortress that local folks call “The Great Wall of Gopeng” encompassing the plantation. There are also lots of other natural landscapes to view as you savour the freshly brewed Gaharu tea and other nutritious products made primarily from the super hybrid Gaharu which can be found at the deli on the plantation. The naturally healthy ambiance of Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng will without a doubt make your visit a memorable one.
Kandu Eco Adventure
Nestled within the vicinity of a historic limestone cave, Kandu Eco Adventure offers a variety of activities such as flying fox, rock climbing, caving, mountain obstacle, night trekking, white water rafting, water-tubing, water abseiling. Many tourists gravitate towards our rustic chalets which houses freshwater lakes, making it a perfect place for team-building and group get-together. It is strategically located along the North-South Highway, making it an ideal transit for stopover.
My Gopeng Resort
Eco tourism has been developed in recent years to promote Gopeng for its lush nature rain forest. My Gopeng Resort located in Ulu Geruntom, known for its packages of outdoor activities. Although remotely located from the town centre, approximately 7 kilometers away into the hill slopes, tourist continue to flock by, including international tourists. This is a place for those in love with active outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting in Sungai Kampar and jungle trekking in the hill sides. The Orang Asli also participated in this eco tourism as travel guides for hot spots in the forests.
Gopeng Rainforest Resort
This is another outback oriented resort for those who are in love with nature. It is located approximately 6.5 kilometers to the east of Gopeng town center surrounded by traditional Malay villages, flaunted with its virgin rainforest. It is a must see attraction for those who want the experience of jungle trekking, water rafting and many other activities. The facilities includes a multi-purpose hall, fruits orchard, car parks, electricity, piped water, clean toilets, bathroom, BBQ sets, kitchen and natural stream run through the resort.
Nomad Adventure's Earth Camp & Mountain School
Operated by Nomad Adventure - the only outdoor adventure company with ISO 9001: 2008 certification in Malaysia, Earth Camp is an outdoor learning centre in Kampung Chulek, Gopeng with accommodation and facilities built largely from re-purposed materials. Since 1994, Nomad Adventure has provided whitewater rafting trips, corporate team building events and adventure races. The company was the first to develop white water rafting along Sungai Kampar and is the training centre for Rescue 3 International in the region. Nearby, the Nomad Mountain School garnered Tourism Malaysia's 'Most Innovative Adventure & Nature Tour' Award in 2009. It has drawn acclaim as one of the most unique adventure ropes courses in South East Asia with rockclimbing, abseiling, high ropes, low ropes (through a cave) and the latest addition, a zip line canopy tour.
Traverse Tours Sdn Bhd or fondly known as RIVERBUG Crew, a 100% Bumiputera owned company has grown to being the leading name in its field and continues to thrive, along with the tourism industry, and is renowned as 'The White Water Rafting Specialists'. Adventure activities namely; white water rafting, kayaking, corporate training, jungle trekking, wildlife close up, Rafflesia, nature adventure and camping sites located in Kampar River (Gopeng, Perak Darul Ridzuan) which offers excellent outdoor facilities for guests convenience. RIVERBUG's crew consists of professional tourist’s river guides with more than 10 years of experience in adventure activities, with proficiency in both, Swift Water Rescue Program and White Water Safety. At present, their rafting crew consists of 50 staff which can handle 300 people in a single journey and at any given time.
Rumah Rehat Adeline
Rumah Rehat Adeline or Adeline Resthouse is located in Sungai Itek, Gopeng. It provides outdoor activities such as white water rafting, wet abseiling, caving, nightwalk, high rope course and river boarding. Similar to the other neighboring resorts, this is an outdoor oriented resort with most of its visitors were active weekenders from abroad and also local Malaysians, mostly from the big cities.
Gua Tempurung is set up as a show cave with some large chambers and impressive formations and an underground river. There are 2 entry points to the area both from Gopeng and Gunong Mesah. There are food stalls within the compound.
The Gopeng Homestay has attracted so many tourist particularly students, both locals and internationals. The Homestay Program already recognized by the Tourism Board of Malaysia to be one of the highlighted events in Malaysian tourism calendar. Among the interest of many who came by is the Adat Berjojak which is still being practiced by the local Rao in Gopeng. Four villages namely Kampung Sungai Itek, Kampung Pintu Padang, Kampung Baru Jelintoh dan Kampung Tersusun Jelintoh collaborated with the ministry to work this program. The traditional Kelamai (popular Rao cuisine in Gopeng) also being promoted during the homestay.
The most recent attraction in Gopeng is the one and only Gopeng Museum, launched on April 18, 2009. The house-turned-museum is a small unit of pre-war shophouse lot at 28, Jalan Eu Kong, at the centre of Gopeng town. It is developed by Bernard Yaw, a businessman, a Gopeng origin. A number of artifacts and pictures depicting an unseen before Gopeng are well displayed in this town museum which is now under secure supervision of Gopeng Museum Management Society, also headed by Bernard Yaw.
There are daily intercity bus services. The Kinta Omnibus runs between Kampar, Kota Baru Estate, Batu Gajah, Gopeng and the Ipoh Bus Station at Medan Kidd. There is only one known public bus commuter service in Gopeng. Express bus services from various locations will generally pick and drop passengers in Gopeng, many of these express buses are en route to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang to the north. Taxi services are also available in Gopeng, they are stationed at the Gopeng Bus Station.
Although there are no public hospitals built in Gopeng, many of its residents depends on the smaller private clinics by various doctors, there are seven registered local medical practitioners under the National Medical Research Register of Malaysia in various part of the town including the rural settlements.
- Clinic Tham, 7, High Street, Gopeng
- Klinik C K Chan, 30, Jalan Eu Kong, Gopeng
- Klinik Gopeng, 6, High Street, Gopeng
- Klinik Rakyat, 19-D Jln Kg. Rawa, Gopeng
- Klinik Thomas, 6 Taman Gopeng Baru, Gopeng
- Klinik Pergigian Gopeng (Gopeng Dental Clinic)
- Persatuan Kebajikan Untuk Orang Cacat Gopeng Perak, No. 8, Wayang Lane, Gopeng
Gopeng is made up of a multi-cultural society with majority of Gopeng's residents are Chinese. It is believed that there are more than 100,000 people consisting the Semai, Melayu (Perak), Rawa, Mandiling, Chinese (Cantonese), Tamils and the Punjabis, reside in Gopeng.
The once booming tin mining industry attracted many Chinese immigrants to live and work in Gopeng along with the British occupation of Tanah Melayu. The huge influx of Chinese migrants dwarfed the local Malays population. There are also significant numbers of people of Indian descent (mainly Tamil), Malay and Orang Asli (Peninsular Malaysia's indigenous people) living in Gopeng.
Gopeng is well known nationwide for its Rawa community which is believed to be the center of the Rawa in Malaysia. There are a significant number of Rawa descendants reside in Gopeng. From Kampung Gunung Mesah Hulu and Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir to Kampong Rawa, Kampung Jelintoh to Kota Baru Estate, the Rawa people resides here for centuries, long before the tin mines were established. Gopeng is actually the name of the town center, not the entire area. Earlier settlements such as Sungai Itik, Jahang, Kampong Pulai, Gunong Mesah, Gunong Panjang, Culik and dozens of other settlements were opened by Rawa and Mandailing settlers centuries earlier.
The Rawa people are sub-ethnic from the larger group of the Malay Race (bangsa Nusantara) who speaks with a noticeable different form of language from the standard Bahasa Melayu (Malay Peninsula Standard), similar to the other variations of Bahasa Melayu dialects around Malaysia like the Northern, Perakian, Sarawakian, Kelantanese and the Minang (Negeri Sembilan). The Rawa dialect is well preserved in Gopeng for many of its Rawa residents is very concern for conserving the Rawa dialect. The Rawa people speaks Rao Language with a certain words and dialect resembles the Negeri Sembilan's Minangkabau community. Many would generally presumed that the Rawa people is the Jawa, apparently these two community are essentially different, culturally.
The Rawa people and the Rawa dialect are thriving in almost every Rawa settlements in Gopeng, very genuine and exclusive Rawa dialect could be found in villages neighboring the Gopeng town area. Famous cuisine associated with the Rawa is Kelamai, Gulei Lomak Nangko (Gulai Nangka) and Rondang Atok (Rendang Tok) are still available in Gopeng particularly during wedding ceremonies and festive seasons. Among the best known tradition of the Rawa is Adet Berjojak (Adat Berjejak).
Durian is the most anticipated fruit season in Gopeng, dozens of stalls erected in various parts of Gopeng town and numerous Malay villages around Gopeng. The rambutan, langsat and nangka are also popular during the fruit season. People will usually stop and buy these local fruits along their way from Ipoh to Kampar. Self erected fruit stalls will be visible from the trunk road along the areas from the Gopeng Exit PLUS Expressway Toll to Gunong Mesah.
Gopeng Lai Fun or rice noodles is a well known dish locally, particularly among the Chinese community in Gopeng and surrounding towns. It is best served with laksa and homemade tauhu. Gopeng tauhu is distinguished with its darker top rather than ordinary tauhu which is light brown.
During Aidilfitri holidays, the Kelamai becomes the highlight of the day and it became the signature cuisine of the Malays in Gopeng. The Kelamai partly resembles the Lemang but Kelamai is treated with tedious care and complicated procedures of preparing the bamboo and its contents. Above all, it tastes sweeter than Lemang with the addition of red sugar, and the Kelamai is in dark brown in colour. People will have to crack open the bamboo just like the Lemang itself to have its contents to be served for the guests. In other variations, coconut floss are also served on top of the sliced Kelamai to add the sweetness.
Besides the Kelamai, Gulai Nangka is also well known as local Malay favorites, it is usually served in most of local Malay wedding ceremonies in which it became almost compulsory to distinct the Gopeng Malay wedding cuisines. Gulai, also known as Masak Lemak is a yellowish gravy cuisine with numerous variation in its contents. The Gopeng Malays used the jackfruit or Nangka (in Malay) instead of meat or vegetables. The Gulai Nangka is an all time favorite in which it sustains the popularity for an extended period of time among both the youngsters and the senior citizens. Gulai Nangka is best served hot, together with white rice, belacan and ulam.
Religious congregational buildings
Mosques, Madrasahs and Surau
There are dozens of mosques in Gopeng and its outskirts, mainly in the Malay concentrated neighborhood including those remotely located. There are mosques, madrasahs and a handful of surau as well. Most of the local Muslims attend their Friday Prayers weekly at the major town mosques such as the Masjid Baru Gopeng and Masjid Ar-Rahman located in Gunung Mesah Hilir area. These mosques were also used for small community services for the local Muslims of all races.
- Masjid Al-Azim Kampung Gunung Panjang
- Masjid Al-Mardhiah Kampung Sungai Itek
- Masjid Ar-Rahman Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir
- Masjid Jamek Gopeng
- Masjid Baru Gopeng
- Masjid Jamek Kota Baru Kota Baru
- Masjid Kampung Changkat Legong Kota Baru
- Masjid Kampung Changkat Tualang Kota Baru
- Masjid Kampung Redang Sawa Kota Baru
- Madrasah Ihsaniah Kampung Tersusun Kampung Pulai, Kampung Tersusun Kampung Pulai
- Madrasah Al-Muttaqin Taman Gopeng Baru, Taman Gopeng Baru
- Madrasah Lama Kampung Lawan Kuda, Kampung Lawan Kuda
The Gopeng Kuan Yin Temple which is located next to the Gopeng Fire Station is believed to be 137 years old since used by the local Buddhist for prayers and religious activities. It was recently refurbished to enhance its charm and glory. There is also another one located in Kopisan.
There are many Hindu temples in Gopeng and the most prominent located at the entrance of the Gopeng town, just to the right of the Gopeng Road uphill, next to the Sikh Temple. It is called the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple of Gopeng. There is also another Hindu temple in Kopisan which is called Arulmigu Maha Muthu Mariamman Thevasthanam.
The Sikh Temple of Gopeng or the Gudwara Sahib Gopeng is located next to the Hindu temple at the entrance of Gopeng town centre, near to the Taman Changkat Golf and a row of shop houses.
Gopeng has several schools such as:
- SK Gunung Panjang, Kampung Gunung Panjang, Gopeng
- SRK Gopeng Jalan Ilmu (Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Gopeng Jalan Ilmu)
- SK Gopeng (Sekolah Kebangsaan Gopeng)
- SRK Sungai Itek (Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Sungai Itek)
- SRJK(C) Man Ming Gopeng (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Man Ming Gopeng)
- SRJK(C) New Kopisan Gopeng (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina New Kopisan Gopeng)
- SRJK(T) Gopeng (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Gopeng)
- SMK Idris Shah Gopeng (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Idris Shah Gopeng)
- SMK Seri Teja Gopeng (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Teja Gopeng)
- SBPI Gopeng (Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Intergrasi Gopeng)
There is a matriculation college, Kolej Matrikulasi Perak (KMP), located near the small town of Kota Baru Station, in the outskirt of central Gopeng. Located on a small hill in an oil palm estate, KMP is well known for its breathtaking scenery overlooking the Titiwangsa Mountains and numerous limestone hills especially on a clear day.
- Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, also known as Lat, is a famous Malaysian cartoonist. He was born in the small village of Kota Baru, (not the state capital of Kelantan) on 5 March 1951. Most of his cartoons portray the daily life of Malaysians in various perspectives and are published in mainstream newspapers such as the New Straits Times. One of his famous Kampung Boy books was published by the French. Kampung Boy was also adapted into an animated series on local and international television.
- Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin is the former Minister of Rural & Regional Development (31 March 2004 – 17 March 2008), a Rawa descendant of Gopeng, also the UMNO Gopeng Division Chief.
- Amir Sofea, ex-singer rock band (Sofea) originally from Kampung Gunung Panjang.
- The grandparents of the Malaysian rap trio KRU are the resident of Kampung Tersusun Kopisan Baru. Their grandfather named Abdul Wahab Fenner @ James Thomas Fenner died in 2006.
- Dr Sun Yat Sen, the leader of the historic Chinese revolutionary leader, stayed in Gopeng briefly during the period 1909-1911.
- Akil Hayy famous "Ustaz Rock" ex-singer for rock band (D'Riyadh) originally from Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir.
- Mr. Eu Kong Pui (1853–1892), founder of the traditional Chinese herbal medicine under the title of "Eu Yan Sang"
- Rashid Maidin was born on October 10, 1917 in Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir, Gopeng. He was one of the senior leaders in the Malayan Communist Party during the Second World War. He died at the age of 89 on September 1, 2006 in Sisakoin, Narathiwat, Thailand.
- The grandfather of the champions of Akademi Fantasia, Season 8 finale concert, Shahir AF8 is the resident of Gopeng, Perak.