Bordered by the Thai province of Satun in the north, Kedah in the east and south and lapped by the gentle waters of the Straits of Malacca on its western coastline, Perlis exudes quaint unspoilt beauty and old rustic charm. Its land area of 795 square kilometres and population of 217,480 makes Perlis the smallest state in Malaysia. Expansive green padi plains, punctuated occasionally by limestone mounds, and the laid-back rural lifestyle makes driving a refreshing and pleasant way to experience the offerings of this destination.


The state capital of Perlis is Kangar while the royal town of Arau, only 10 kilometres away, is the disembarkation point for visitors travelling by rail to Perlis. Perlis lies on both the road and rail routes linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the south and Bangkok in the north. From January to April, the weather is usually warm and dry with September to December being wetter months. The annual range of temperature is from 21? C to 32? C while the average rainfall is between 2000ml to 2500m.

Paddy Fields - Perlis


Penis was originally a part of the older Kingdom of Kedah which was conquered by Thailand in 1821. After the restoration of the Sultan of Kedah to his throne in 1842, the Thais established Perlis as a vassal state. In 1905, Perlis obtained from Thailand the services of a European advisor to help in the administrative and financial affairs of the state. The Anglo - Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred suzerainty of Perlis from Thailand to Britain and a British advisor was appointed to administer the state. A formal treaty between Britain and Perlis was only signed in 1930.


In World War II, the Japanese occupation forces handed Perlis back to Thailand. After the war, Perlis again came under British protection and it continued until Perlis gained independence with the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1957. Archeological evidence of ancient man have been found in Perlis. Gua Bintong has provided details of Hoabinhian culture dating back to around 5,000 years ago, while pottery and stone tools (adzes) from the late Neolithic era were found not only in Qua Bintong, but also during excavation works for the new Kota Kayang Museum.


The economic activity of Penis is predominantly agriculture, which takes up 63% of the total land use, while forestry and fishing are other important activities. Rice, rubber and sugar cane are extensively cultivated while fruit production, especially mango and watermelon, is also significant. The manufacturing and mining sector, although accounting for only 0.1% of land-use, is a major contributor to the state?s coffers, yielding around 25% of GDP.


A sugar refinery exists in Chuping while a cement factory is located at Bukit Keteri. Industrial estates have also been established with industrial activity covering plastic products, electrical and electronic products, scientific equipment, textiles and fabricated metal products. The state is also venturing into high technology industries with the new Sungai Chuchoh Industrial Park being specifically designed for such activities.


Perlis boasts a multiracial mix of people and an interesting potpourri of traditions, customs and religions.


Malay Village - Perak


Like other parts of Malaysia although Perlis has a multiracial society, there is a predominance of Malay and Thai influence here. One aspect where this is evident is in its colourful musical and dance performances. Canggung, a traditional dance, is a post - harvest celebration dance. During the Tarian Cariggung, singing and the exchanging of words in Pantun (poetic stanzas), often humorous, allow the whole community to participate and respond to the accompaniment of foot-stomping music. The Tarian Terinai, another traditional dance, is usually reserved for royal ceremonies. It is performed to the accompaniment of the gendang terinai (drums)  usually played by five musicians.


Story tellers called Awang Bath tell of the glory of bygone days. Similar in many ways to the minstrels of old, the Awang Bath! is an expert with words and they weave mesmerizing tales of past heroes and great deeds. The Awang Bath will beat his drum throughout the story, occasionally playing a tune on the flute as the story line demands, keeping the crowds enthralled to the end. Seni Silat, the Malay ant of self defence, is practised by both individuals and groups. Stylised versions now grace official functions and festivities.


Perlis offers a delightful variety of ethnic cuisine. A fusion of Malay, Chinese, Thai and Indian food aroma waft continuously through the air. Western fare is also available in hotels and cafes. All major towns are within 20 kilometres of the coast, making fresh seafood easily available. Laksa Perlis? is a seafood noodle soup and it?s ingredients can be combined according to your preference. The thick, rich, spicy and creamy fish gravy is exhilarating to the palate.


The choice of eating places ranges from hawker centres to air-conditioned restaurants and luxury hotels. The prices are reasonable and the service friendly and courteous.

Laksa Perlis - Local Delicacy


The farmer?s market is held in designated locations around the state. Farmers and vendors sell a variety of fresh produce, fruit, vegetables, fish and prawns as well as non-agricultural goods.


The ?Pasar Malam? or Night Market offers a fiesta- like atmosphere and business is usually brisk even at as early as five o?clock in the evening. Night Market are held usually on open ground or alongside roads which have been approved by the authorities. The ?Pasar Malam? sells everything imaginable - clothing, food, hardware, clocks, watches, shoes, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, household goods and electrical wares. The market is held at a different location each night of the week.

Perlis Night Market


By Air

The airport at Alor Star in the state of Kedah receives flights from Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru. From the airport at Alor Star, there are taxis to Kangar and Arau. The drive to Kangar takes about 45 minutes. A taxi to Arau is cheaper and takes less time.


By Buses

Several bus companies operate within the State and offer regular shuttle services to Kangar, Padang Besar, Arau, Kuala Perlis, Pauh, Alor Star, Jitra, Kodiang, Simpang Empat, Padang Melangit, Chuping and Kaki Bukit.


By Taxis

Taxis from Kangar are available to all destinations within the state.


By Rail

There are daily train services from Kuala Lumpur to Arau and Padang Besar and onward to Thailand.