Batu Gajah Road Trip: Kellie’s Castle, Heritage Driving Tour, The Last Dredge, and Kinta Nature Park

Kellie's Castle
Kellie’s Castle

Kellie’s Castle

We have heard of this castle for so many times and it’s time for us to take a first hand look.

Based on the story I heard, the castle was built by a Scottish planter called William Kellie Smith. But it was never complete.

The remnants of Kellie’s Castle is now a popular tourist destination and it was used in the film Anna and the King. Also it’s popular venue for wedding photos.

Kellie’s Castle is located near Batu Gajah and about half an hour drive from Ipoh.

The castle is visible from the roadside and you have to buy tickets to get an entry.

When we were there, the castle was closed due to Hari Raya Aidilfitri. We could only take a far glimpse from the entrance. At the same time, a ticketing building (not a small one) is under construction – which I personally feel is totally unnecessary as it spoils the surrounding and authenticity of the historical mansion.

Directions: If you are coming from Gopeng heading Batu Gajah, it’s on the left of the road before reaching Batu Gajah town.

Entrance fees: RM4. Students RM3.

Batu Gajah Heritage Driving Tour

Batu gajah of Batu Gajah
Elephant stone (aka Batu Gajah) in Kinta River

Little do I know Batu Gajah is the place for many historical buildings.

Armed with a heritage trail map I downloaded from, we toured around Batu Gajah by following numbers on the map.

Here are some pictures that take you through a history lesson:

Wah Onn Theatre
Wah Onn Theatre – Now Restoran Masuri that is famous for its mee rebus
Kuan Tay Temple
Oldest Chinese temple in Batu Gajah – 1895
Government Offices - Court House
Government Offices / Court House – 1892
Batu Gajah Old Town
Batu Gajah Old Town – 1880’s
St Joseph's Church
St Joseph’s Church – 1928

I fall in love with Batu Gajah and very impressed with the cleanliness of the town. It also has a hilly place that is very scenic.

If you like history and interested in ancient architecture, then Batu Gajah is the place.

The Last Dredge

The Last Dredge

Did you know tin mining used to be the driving force of Malaysian economy? And at the peak, tin dredges were deployed to speed up the mining of tin.

Tin mining is no longer available now. What’s left is lakes from mining and of course, tin dredge.

Based on my research, the tin dredge in Tanjung Tualang is the last one in Malaysia. It’s preserved and open for public tour. Hence the name “The Last Dredge.”

Tin Dredge is called kapal korek in Malay which I used to learn in school.

Tin Dredge

You are allowed to step on board the tin dredge (only the ground floor and it’s actually a huge floating factory). It’s highly educational and the children can take a hands-on history lesson on how tin was mined. The only thing missing from this is information on how the tin dredge works which we think should be put on display. Or better yet, a guide is provided to brief on the workings of tin dredge.

Tin Dredge - Buckets

At the entrance, there’s a small museum showcasing artifacts and history of tin mining in Malaysia, especially in the Kinta Valley.

KM 9, Jalan Tanjung Tualang,
31000 Batu Gajah,
Tel: 05-370 2253
Opening Hours – 8:30 am to 6:00 pm daily
Admission Fees – RM6.00 (adults), RM3.00 (children. Below 6 free)

Directions: From Batu Gajah, head Tanjung Tualang. The tin dredge is located on the left after Chenderong Village. Approximately 9 km south of Batu Gajah.

Kinta Nature Park

Kinta Nature Park entrance
Kinta Nature Park Entrance

Being a nature lover, I can’t afford to miss this bird sanctuary.

Kinta Nature Park (or Taman Alam Kinta) is the only place in Malaysia that hosts breeding population of herons and egrets.

Kinta Nature Park Island

We were there in the morning. You don’t need to do anything there but enjoy the peace and tranquility of the nature haven has made your trip worthwhile. If you want, you can bring along some food to enjoy there.

Besides birds, we saw an otter swimming in the lake near the island.

Kinta Nature Park lake

There’s a problem with the management of the park. The park is supposed to open every day from 7 am to 7 pm but sometimes the gate is locked and no one is in sight during opening hours. Another problem is there’s no contact number that you can use after the administration has been transferred from The Penghulu of Kampung Pisang to local council.

To top it off, what is shamefully lacking is signages leading to Kinta Nature Park. The authorities have talked about erecting signposts for years but when I went there, still nothing has been done and I had to find the way myself.

Seriously lacking in coordination.

Anyway, that should not hinder your intention to visit Kinta Nature Park.

Kinta Nature Park Track

A multi-story observation tower is built for visitors to the park. Remember to bring your binoculars.

Observation Tower

Directions: Fortunately it’s not difficult to go to Kinta Nature Park. From Batu Gajah to Tanjung Tualang direction (southbound), take a left turn right after the traffic light at Kuan Tay Temple entering Kampung Pisang (look out for a sign here). After crossing the bridge (about 500 m from the junction), turn right and follow the dirt road that is next to the river. About 4 km down the road, there’s a T-junction, turn left. The entrance to Kinta Nature Park is less than 1 km away and it’s on the right.

Entrance fees: Free.

Note: This article is part of Family Road Trip to Ipoh.