Among all the Malaysian states, Perlis is the smallest. It is situated at the northern side of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It borders the state of Kedah to the south, and to its north; it borders Satun and Songkhla provinces.
Initially, Perlis was part of Kedah state and for that reason, the two states are closely related to each other in many ways. When the Siamese captured Kedah in 1821, the British, who intended to secure their interests especially in the neighbouring Perak, successfully negotiated the 1826 Burney and Low Treaties. This led to the establishment of the formal relations between the states of Kedah and Perak.
Nevertheless, Ahmed Tjuddin, the Kedah Sultan who was in exile at the time, was not returned back to his throne. For this reason, Sultan Ahmed and his supporters fought from 1830 - 1842 for his restoration. Finally, he decided to agree with the Siamese terms and in that way, the exiled Sultan Ahmed was restored to his throne as the Sultan of Kedah.
However, the Siamese decided to separate Perlis and that’s how it was made into a separate principality. The first Raja of Perlis was Syed Hussain Jamalulail, who was a descendant of the Sultan of Kedah. Later on 9 July 1909, Perlis fell under the rule of British, which came about because of the Bangkok Agreement that the Siamese and the British signed.
People & culture of Perlis
The influence of Thai and Malay dominates the state of Perlis. The most common traditional practices that people indulge in include traditional dances, games and many other interesting entertainments. If you are visiting Perlis just after the harvest period, you will see the traditional colourful music and dance performances known as the Tarian Canggung. Another performance that most vistitors and the locals love is the Tarian Terinai, a traditional dance performed during royal ceremonies.
The economy of Perlis depends largely on forestry, agriculture and fishing industries. It is one of the largest sugarcane producers in Malaysia. Again, Rubber is cultivated in large scale. Perlis’ main forms of fruit produce are watermelon and mango. The state is slowly moving towards development of both large scale and medium-scale industrial and manufacturing activities.
If you go to Perlis, there are many places to find delicious dishes. First, you can decide to eat at a luxurious restaurant or at the standard, air-conditioned restaurants. You can also decide to go casual and dine at the hawker centres. The prices are reasonable and the services are nothing less than excellent. Perlis is unarguably the one state in Malaysia that serves the best tom yam and it is probably because of its neighbouring relations to Thailand.
Apart from Thai dishes, you could try other traditional foods such as Indian meals, Chinese cuisine and traditional Malay fare. Try the Laksa Perlis, a homemade thick, spicy and creamy seafood noodle. Remember; you can specify the ingredients that you want your chef to combine.
Don’t fail to schedule a stop to Kuala Perlis, which is popular for its lip-smacking and easily available seafood. The seafood here is fresh because they are straight from the water and they are relatively cheaper as compared to other parts of Malaysia.