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The name "Tapah" is said to be originated from the name of a freshwater fish, "Ikan Tapah". The scientific name of the fish is Wallago attu. The locals said that the name has been taken from the Malay-Perak dialect word which means "no worry".
The Batang Padang River flows through this town. Major neighbouring towns are Kampar and Bidor. The Lata Kinjang waterfall is about 18 km from Tapah on the road to Chenderiang. It is an impressive series of cascades down a 100 m drop. The falls can be seen from the North–South Expressway (PLUS).
Tapah is located on the trunk road between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. There is an entrance to the North–South Expressway at Tapah. This town is also widely considered as the main entry point into the old Cameron Highlands route, which is a winding and narrow road uphill. The nearest train station is Tapah Road.
- The Directory & Chronicle for China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Sian, Netherlands India, Borneo, the Philippines. Hongkong Daily Press Office. 1910. p. 1394.
- http://www.suaraperak.com/tidak-boleh-makan-ikan-tapah-bukan-sekadar-mitos/ (in malay)
- Nathan, R S (1970). "Batang Padang". Malaysia in History. Malaysian Historical Society. 13 (1–2): 20.
- Richmond, Simon (2010). Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. Lonely Planet. p. 147. ISBN 9781741048872.