Place Category: Attractions
The Rest House is situated along Jalan Stesen (Station Road) across the street from the King Edward VII Primary School (I).
It was originally a wooden single-storey building, built as the residence of the British Governor of the Straits Settlements in 1879. At the time it was built, it would have been across the street from the railway station. In 1894, it was upgraded to a double-storey stone building with “Rest House 1894” inscribed on the pediment. It is credited as the first Rest House in the Malay States.
In antiquity, a “rest house” would serve the same function as a coaching inn, being a place for travelers on horseback, carriage, or rail to rest and replenish before continuing on their journey. The Taiping Town Rest House served primarily as a stop for British officers and government officials who were on a “tour” of their domains.
There are few written records that could be found as to the building’s function in the early 20th century, but it is presumed the building maintained its function as a pit stop for weary travelers in Taiping all throughout this period.
In the 1970s, the Rest House was run by a local Hainanese couple and served some of the best western food in Taiping. and was still the Taiping Rest House.
In the 1990s, restoration works were performed on the building, and it later reopened its doors to the public as Hotel Lagenda. The hotel ceased operations in 2008, and the building has been shuttered ever since.
The Taiping Rest House in 2005
The Taiping Rest House Today
The Taiping Town Rest House is stop number 24 on the Taiping Heritage Trail.
Although it is part of the Taiping Heritage Trail and actively promoted as a tourist attraction by the local government, today the building stands in ruin, and is on the verge of collapse. It is boarded up and barred from entry for public safety purposes. Most of the wooden parts of the building are rotting, and undergrowth is quickly consuming what is left of the stone portions of the building. It is unknown what plans the authorities have for this once-proud building, or if they even have any. To see such a beautiful building in the center of the city in such a dilapidated state speaks volumes of the authorities’ actual commitment to the preservation and conservation of historical sites.
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