Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah, Malaysia.

In the past one year, I’d been travelling with two cameras: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, a digital camera; and Olympus OM-2n, a film camera.

This is until I struggled to juggle between the two during a holiday in Guangzhou last month. I hesitated which camera to use on multiple occasions. 

In the end, I didn’t make much use of the film camera.

It was unproductive.

So, I flew to Malaysia equipped only with the film camera. In any case, I still had my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as a backup.

There were two photo spots in mind: Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kampar, both located in the state of Perak. I will share more about the latter in another post.

Kellie’s Castle is a century-old mansion commissioned by William Kellie Smith, a Scottish rubber plantation and tin mining mogul, when Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia) was still a colony of the British Empire.

The construction of the mansion started in 1915; it was never completed as the owner passed away in 1926.

The mansion is now easily accessible after being turned turned into a tourist attraction.

The scars from decades of abandonment however, can still be clearly seen: exposed bricks, collapsed structures, walls mushroomed with mould, unfurnished rooms and it felt eerie even in broad daylight.

The sign that says the balcony is haunted didn’t help.

Compared to its surrounding, Kellie’s Castle stood out like a rose among the thorns as it sat on top of a small hill overlooking the Raya River and vast plantations that stretched to the horizon. The Neo-Moorish and Neo-Mughal influences, which were common in British colonies, amplified its distinctiveness.

If you were to visit Kellie’s Castle, make sure that you ascend the narrow stairs to the roof. The view there was simply breath taking.

I could clearly see why Anna and the King’s production crew, a Hollywood movie released in 1999 starring Chow Yun-fat and Jodie Foster, had picked this mansion as one of the filming locations.

Kellie’s Castle was certainly worth the 30-minute detour from Ipoh: a destination listed by Lonely Planet and The New York Times as one of the top travel gems in Asia.

Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Kodak Ultramax 400, 2019).
Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Kodak Ultramax 400, 2019).
Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Kodak Ultramax 400, 2019).
A rose among the thorns. Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Kodak Ultramax 400, 2019).
Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Kodak Ultramax 400, 2019).
Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Kodak Ultramax 400, 2019).
Smartphone made a good backup. Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 2019).
Kellie’s Castle, Batu Gajah (Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 2019).

Kellie’s Castle
Website: https://www.facebook.com/kelliescastleofficial/
Address: Kellie’s Castle, Batu 5, Jalan Gopeng, 31000 Perak, Malaysia    
Opening hours: Daily 09:00 – 17:30 (last admission).
Admission fees: MyKad holders: RM5 for adults, RM3 for children below 12 and RM4 for seniors. Regular price: RM10 for adults, RM8 children below 12.

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