Pioneer town's heritage deserves to be preserved
HISTORICAL: Besides its rich tin-mining past, Gopeng is also known for its eco-tourism products
GOPENG: AS a pioneer town which has been in existence for 162 years, it is not surprising that talks have surfaced on the possibility of Gopeng being gazetted as the heritage town of Perak.
The small town, located about 30km from Ipoh, was the first area in the Kinta Valley to be extensively mined.
It was also where Kinta Valley's Orang Asli community first came into contact with the British, the Sumatrans and the Chinese.
Besides having been a rich mining town, Gopeng is also popular for its eco-tourism products around Kampung Sungei Itik.
To appreciate Gopeng's heritage, all a tourist has to do is to walk about the town centre.
The town centre showcases rows of old buildings, including some with Chinese architecture.
There is also a row of Malay timber houses known as the Kampung Rawa attap homes.
Next to these is a soya sauce factory where one can buy freshly made sauces.
Another must-visit place is the Gopeng Museum and Heritage House located along the main road. The museum houses artefacts which were used by the early settlers, like furniture, grandfather clocks and mining tools.
Another site worth visiting is the Gopeng Pipeline (1908), a monument of sorts to the town's industrial heritage and located at the town's entrance. Installed by the Gopeng Tin Mining Company for its Kinta Valley tin mines in the early 20th century, the pipeline is the last reminder of Gopeng's heritage as a once-bustling tin-mining town.
There were initially five pipelines, but four were subsequently dismantled to make way for development projects after tin mining ceased in 1985.
Alternatively, one can take a 10-minute drive to the vicinity of Kampung Sungei Itik where beautiful Malay traditional kampung houses are still standing.
The drive will also lead to an Orang Asli settlement where one can see the livelihood of the Semai tribes.
Perak Heritage Society used to organise trips here for its members to learn about the heritage value of Gopeng town.