Bidor Town

Perak, Malaysia

Bidor is a countryside town along the trunk route to Cameron Highlands by car, about 10km before the foothills at Tapah. Like other rural towns etablished during British rule, colonial shophouses still permeate its streets, but with modern embellishments such as satellite dishes and electricity poles. Historically, Bidor was once part of a medieval kingdom, evidenced by the discovery of millennia-old artifacts.

Later, it became an important trading and transit point by river for tin during Perak's illustrious mining era. Bidor was also part of the retreat route for the British during World War II, as Japanese forces advanced down their ranks from Southern Thailand. As soon as the war ended, another conflict quickly arose in the communist movement.

The jungles surrounding Bidor were one of several hideouts and staging grounds for the armed struggle (before their surrender in 1989).Today, the town's slow pace of life is sustained by agriculture and tourism; Bidor is a popular stopover along the trunk road journey to Cameron Highlands by Tapah route. Pun Chun Restaurant, perched along the main road, first drew the attention of visitors with its signature duck noodles and homemade Chinese biscuits.

As it steadily became a tourist trap with increasing customers, culinary attention shifted to the daily morning market; here, a large collection of hawker stalls lay hidden along an alley, behind some shophouses not far from the main road.Exceptional food, cheap prices, and a fantastic range of traditional Chinese breakfast dishes ensured a busy mess of locals and outsiders on weekends, from morning till noon. The next popular tourist activity is shopping for local fruits, supplied by countless orchards and plantations lying in the outskirts.

The wet market, roadside stalls and shops here stock a myriad variety, seedless guava and durians being the most famous. The town organises a marathon run each year, which attracts a relatively small but dedicated number of participants from as far as Singapore. Overnight accommodation at Bidor can be found in Hotel See Foo (05-434 1662) and Hotel Ah Moi (012-344 5119), both dilapidated shotplot budget hotels.