The Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan, Malaysia

My parents hail from Ipoh, so we travel about 3 hours from the city to get back here a couple of times a year. When I was younger I used to find the trip incredibly boring, but these days I’ve learnt to appreciate the sights and panoramic views of the limestone hills as we head home. This time, instead of a regular trip, we did a couple of detours to interesting places of visit along the way.

IMG_6176-tileWe decided to take the coastal path, which passes by many small villages and sleepy townships. The journey would take longer, but there’s so much more to see. Like this beautiful view of Sabak Bernam at dawn as the sunrise hits the roofs, bathing them in a bright yellow light.

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We passed by stretches of dark green and bluish hills, palm oil plantations and little villages on both sides of the road. Chickens ran rampant around wooden kampung houses on stilts, while children pattered around barefoot watching cars and bikes whiz by the narrow tarred road. Cows held up traffic, leaving ‘presents’ behind in the middle of the street. The long hours in the car whizzed by quickly as we took in the sights.

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We got to Teluk Intan after nearly two hours. The name literally means ‘Diamond Cove’. This small idyllic town is well-known for having Malaysia’s very own ‘Leaning Tower’, or Menara Condong in the local language. Drawing inspiration from the  tower in Pisa, the Teluk Intan clocktower was built in the 18th century as a clocktower, and to store water in case of fire or drought. It slants slightly to the left, so when you’re walking inside don’t be surprised to feel that your footing is a little off.

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Spanning 5 stories high *on the outside it looks like 8*, the tower holds a large water storage tank at the uppermost floor, and circular chambers on each floor which lead out to the balconies going around the tower. Mom loved it since it was so cooling, not like our modern day concrete houses, and was overheard mumbling floor plans if we were to move in – “okay first floor will be the kitchen, then your brother can have the top floor…” lol

The tower is actually tallest structure in town. Learnt from mom that in the past Teluk Intan was originally called Teluk Anson, back in the days when the British used to rule over Malaya.

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The wooden floorboards were freaky coz they creak when you step on them. 200 year old floorboards. I do hope they replace them regularly.

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No individual toilets on each floor. Imagine living here and the toilet is on the ground floor. That would be a good workout. Otherwise it would be a cool place to live in. It really is very cooling, without a need for fans or air conditioning – probably coz of it’s tall, hollow structure and the fact that it’s mostly made from wooden materials.

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Architectural fans shouldn’t miss out on visiting the place to admire the building’s superb craftsmanship :)

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There’s not much to do in Teluk Intan town apart from visiting the tower, but if you like seeing idyllic Malaysian life and the coast, it’s worth a visit! A good place to get away from the city for a bit.

Entrance to the tower is free.

Opening hours

  • Mon – Fri (8am – 5pm)
  • Weekends and public holidays (9am – 6pm)

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