Kampong Gajah or literally Elephant Village is a town as well as a sub-district or “mukim” placed under the district of Perak Tengah, state of Perak, Malaysia. It is located 182 kilometres north from Kuala Lumpur and 75 kilometres south from the state capital, Ipoh, with the closest town is Teluk Intan which is only 25 kilometers away. The majority of the residents here are Malays working as farmers, with the main produce being the durian fruit and the palm oil. The demography was much more diverse with Chinese settlers prior to JWW Birch installation as the resident officer of the state during the colonial period. Later, the clan wars and the rise of tin mining industry drove these settlers to migrate to nearby towns. There are several folktales as to why Kampong Gajah is named such, among them is that the place used to be a main place for elephants staying in the Bukit Tunggal forest nearby to feed on bananas owned by the villagers. In 1986, there was a suggestion to modernize the area by renaming it, however the residents disagreed due to the lack of a more appropriate name, and thus, the name stuck till this day.
People driving from Kuala Lumpur may drive via North-South Highway/E1 for immediate access to the township of Kampong Gajah. The journey could take up to two hours and fifteen minutes depending on the current traffic situation.
The nearest train stations are Kampar and Tapah. From Kuala Lumpur International Airport, visitors can catch the Express Rail Link (ERL) train which goes to KL Sentral/Bandar Tasik Putrajaya/Cyberjaya/Salak Tinggi/KLIA route. There, one can board the Electric Train Services (ETS) northbound coach and stop by one of the stations before opting for other modes of transport.
There are no major express bus terminal, instead there are bus stops located alongside the major streets. The nearest express bus terminal is in Teluk Intan town instead which is about 30 kilometers away. Take the direct trip from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) terminal using express bus services such as Transnasional Express and Maju Express.
Located only four kilometers away from town, this is pretty much the major tourism attraction here. The historical complex is more of a memorial that pays tribute to the Dato Sagor and Dato Maharaja Lela, the warriors that conspired in the murder of the JWW Birch. Among the main feature here is the replica of the broad sword used in the murder, as well as the monument of JWW Birch, the grave of Sipuntum, the alleged assassin involved in the murder, the fort of Datuk Maharaja Lela's, the cannons of Lela Rentaka against the British colonial army and two Perak traditional houses filled with historical and cultural exhibits for visitors to ponder upon.
It feels incomplete to talk about Kampong Gajah without mentioning this place. Located 60 kilometers from the town of Kampong Gajah, this clock tower is open in the year 1909 by the British administration with the cost of twenty-five thousand dollars to commemorate the death of JWW Birch. The square tower is made of a portrait bust and four panels illustrating the growth of civilization that happened. It also has a bigger mother bell and four smaller bells which were used back in the old days to strike the chimes.
The nearest town from Kampong Gajah, Teluk Intan is a more developed, being the district capital of Hilir Perak district and the third largest town of the state following Taiping at second and Ipoh, the state capital. It was formerly named as Anson Bay in its early days and only changed to its recent name in 1982 by the ruler of Perak back then. This town is well-known for its leaning tower as well as other colonial buildings and Chinese shop lots that are worth a visit.