This Malaysian city is one of the most sustainable cities in the world

This relatively sleepy Malaysian town just came out on top. Source: Shutterstock.

TAIPING, a town in northwest Malaysia, has been recognized as among the top three sustainable cities in the world, behind Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and Vancouver, Canada.

The award ceremony was conducted during ITB Berlin (ITB is Internationale Tourismus-Börse or International Tourism Market in German) on Wednesday.

Taiping Municipal Council president Datuk Abd Rahim Md Ariff said the council was informed of the win via an e-mail on Feb 20, 2019. Among those present at the ceremony were Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and tourism exco Tan Kar Hing.

Abd Rahim dedicated the award to the people of Taiping and the agencies involved in preserving the town’s beauty.

“I hope all quarters will double up efforts to upkeep the town’s cleanliness,” local publication the Malay Mail Online quoted Abd Rahim as saying.

Taiping, which developed quickly in the 19th century when tin was discovered, is known to locals as the wettest town in Peninsular Malaysia. The average annual rainfall is about 3,000mm in Taiping while Peninsular Malaysia’s average is 2,000mm – 2,500mm.

But thanks to the bountiful of rainfall, Taiping also boasts lush greenery and a fertile collection of flora for miles and days which has become its trademark.

Source: Shutterstock.

In fact, the Taiping Lake Gardens, established in 1880 on the site of an old tin mine, is a popular public park with shady angsana (Pterocarpus indicus) trees and a lotus pond. This provides a perfect backdrop for weekend family outings and even wedding photoshoots.

But that is not all. The northwestern town is also famed for its well-preserved century-old architecture such as the Old Clock Tower and the Taiping railway station, which was was the first operational train station in Malaysia.

It was first established to serve the local tin mines, transporting ore to Port Weld (now Kuala Sepetang) and mine workers to workers settlements but in the 1930s, railway connections to other towns like Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore started.

Travelers to Taiping will also love the Taiping Zoo, which breeds endangered species such as the Malaysian tiger. Apart from that, the Perak Museum is a must visit, for it displays indigenous crafts, tribal artifacts, and animal skeletons in a 19th-century building.

In December last year, the relatively sleepy town of Taiping was listed in the 2018 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 by the Green Destination Foundation, an international non-profit foundation for sustainable tourism.

The council previously received awards for the Best Destination Manager 2016 from Tourism Promotion Board for Asia Pacific Cities, Asean Clean Tourist City Standard 2017, Malaysia Tourism Council Gold Award 2017 for the category of Best Heritage and Ecotourism, and Malaysia Tourism Council Gold Award 2018.