Friday, December 04, 2009

Pilgrimage trip to Gopeng-cum-Kampar, Perak

During the fourth weekend in October, my darling and I joined a busload of 24 others on a pilgrimage tour to St Jude's Chapel in Gopeng, Perak. But, our base was actually in the nearby town of Kampar, less than half an hour's drive away or 19 km apart. We stayed a night at the Grand Kampar Hotel.

That was the first time ever that John and I set foot in Kampar, a town established in 1887 in the Kinta Valley in Perak, well-known previously for its tin ore reserves. The name Kampar was derived from the Cantonese words, 'kam pou' which translates to 'precious gold' in reference to its large tin reserves then. The tin mining industry had subsequently ceased and now, visibly seen on the outskirts of its town are abandoned mining-ponds that are used for fishing. More info on Kampar at wikipedia.

Our first stop in Kampar was at the Church of the Sacred Heart, to pray, praise and sing, give thanks and worship Our Lord Jesus. It is situated quite close to the Kampar Independence Clock Tower at No. 21, Jalan Iskandar. Spent less than an hour at the Church before proceeding to the old town area for lunch.

Kampar Independence Clock Tower, PerakChurch of the Sacred Heart in Kampar, Perak

Streets in the old town area are lined with pre-war shophouses, including coffee shops and local retailers, to name a few. Some of them looked a little rundown and in need of a fresh coat of paint. Lunch at our own expense was at a food court in the vicinity of the market, I think.

Collage of various hawker food-fare in Kampar, Perak

There, the food stalls served mostly hawker food-fare, such as yong tow foo, chee cheong fun, curry laksa, fruit rojak, ice kachang, nonya kuih, etc. Though prices were fairly reasonable, the food weren't as tasty as I had expected. Frankly, I prefer Kuala Lumpur's style of cooking where basic seasoning ingredients are aplenty and sauces yummier.

After lunch, we traveled to Lata Kinjang Waterfall in Chenderiang about 38 km away. We have often seen a section of its huge cascade when traveling the North-South expressway but never expect to be able to enjoy it up-close one day. Absolutely a breathtaking splendour of nature with multi-tiered waterfalls cascading 850 m down the rocky terrain. Truly spectacular and dramatic indeed! It offers various lovely spots for visitors to bathe, swim, slide or a gentle massage beneath a steep cascade. Many come to picnic under the shady tropical forest, to relax and enjoy the cool and fresh air or just simply to gape and marvel at its magnificence. For the adventurous, trekking trails are available too.

Upper and middle sections of Lata Kinjang Waterfall in Chenderiang, Perak

Lower section of Lata Kinjang Waterfall in Chenderiang, Perak

After spending an hour at Air Terjun Lata Kinjang that included tasting its famous 'cendol with glutinous rice' dessert, we journeyed back to Kampar to check-in at the Grand Kampar Hotel. It is a fairly new hotel with a swimming pool, situated in the heart of Taman Bandar Baru Kampar, which is the fastest growing township in the 'new town' area. Its surroundings include the Universiti Tengku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Tesco hypermarket, commercial banks and corporations, as well as various restaurants and bistros. Their presence have transformed Kampar to be a more vibrant and bustling town, from a lacklustre one previously.

Grand Kampar Hotel in Kampar, Perak
Grand Kampar Hotel,
2188, Jalan Timah,
Bandar Baru Kampar,
31900 Kampar,
Perak Darul Ridzuan.
(tel: 605-4662111 and its website)

Not only were we impressed by the hotel's Spanish architecture and enormous size, but the standard deluxe room that we stayed in was enormous too, whereby another king-sized bed could easily be accommodated.

We managed to catch forty winks before getting ready to travel in the evening to attend the Saturday's Novena and Mass Celebration at St Jude's Chapel in Gopeng.

Dinner was served after Mass, but we skipped that and traveled back to Kampar.

Our dinner destination was at the Seafood Restaurant ('Restoran Makanan Laut') Dai Chong, located in the 'old town' area. George Yeow, our tour leader, had already made prior reservation and chose the menu earlier. Hence, a sumptous 8-course dinner was quickly served within minutes of our arrival and ravenously consumed. The tasty dishes were sesame-seed chicken in honey sauce, stir-fried choy sum, tau foo, red talapia fish steamed thai-style, fried prawns topped with mayonnaise, stir-fried veggie with belachan, stir-fried deer meat with ginger and spring onions and local fruits as dessert.

Collage of delicious food consumed at Seafood Restaurant Dai Chong, Kampar in PerakCollage of delicious food consumed at Seafood Restaurant Dai Chong, Kampar in Perak

After dinner, we adjourned back to the hotel. Had a peaceful sleep through the night and were up by 6 am to get ready for buffet breakfast served at the hotel's cafe. Checked out at 9 am to travel to Gopeng again to attend the Sunday Mass Celebration at St Jude's Chapel on its feast day.

Thanks be to God...indeed, it was a wonderful spiritual uplifting to start the day! We partook of the delicious lunch that was generously served at the Chapel's grounds and then traveled back to Kampar to do some light shopping for its famous chicken biscuits, egg tarts, etc. at Kedai Biscuit Kampar and at Kam Ling Restaurant for its famous chicken bread ('min pau kei' in Cantonese). Hehe...along the way, we stopped at a durian stall to enjoy a few fruits too, the kampong kind.

Collage of Kampar biscuits, 
bread chicken, etc.

Finally, departed Kampar approximately 4.15 pm. While homeward bound, we chanted the Divine Mercy Prayer, sang hymns of praise and worship and even watch a meaningful and educative DVD on The Power of the Rosary by Father Capiro. We arrived in Kuala Lumpur and home-sweet-home about 6.30 pm.

Of course, no cooking for dinner that night for my beloved and me! We just ate the chicken bread that was bought at Kampar for RM22. Though classified small-sized, approximately 12"(W) x 7"(D) x 6"(H) if I recall correctly, it was more than sufficient to feed both of us, plus a friend who happened to visit that night to extend his wedding invitation card, with some extras for lunch next day! The bread texture is fairly soft and lovely, and the curry chicken palatable but could have been more delicious. Hmm....I think my own home-cooked curry chicken is much tastier! ;-)

Collage of bread chicken from Kam Ling Restaurant, Kampar in Perak

If you're interested to try and bake a chicken bread yourself, do hop over to No-frills Recipes for her Bread Chicken recipe. Her curry chicken has a lovely serai (lemon grass) flavour that will surely whet your appetite.

All in all, the pilgrimage to St Jude's Chapel in Gopeng and travel within and around Kampar nearby had been an enriching and enjoyable tour. Cost per pax was only RM160 which was affordable and worthwhile. God bless you, George Yeow, for organizing this wonderful pilgrimage-cum-leisure tour!


  1. Hi Jacqui,

    This is my first time to visit this blog, as i am more often in the plant site. You have wonderful photos here. But most of all my envy is the making of collages here, i really dont know how to do them. I wonder if you might possible tell me how. Or can you provide me the link, so i can study them too, though i am not good in reading computer instructions. Thank you... andrea

  2. Thanks for visit and lovely comments, Andrea. For my collages, I use Photoshop. Though I haven't tried it, I know that lots of Flickr members use the Mosaic Maker (one of Big Huge Labs Flickr toys) instead for creating wonderful collages and the best thing is it's free and easy. You may want to have a look here: Mosaic Maker


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