Sandwiched between the Thai province of Satun in the north, Kedah in the east and south and lapped by the gentle waters of the Straits of Malacca on its western coastline, Perlis exudes a quaint unspoilt beauty and old rustic charm. Its land area of 795 square kilometers and population of 217,480 makes Perlis the smallest state in Malaysia. Expansive green paddy plains punctuated occasionally by limestone mounds and the laid-back rural lifestyle make driving a refreshing and pleasant way to experience the offerings of this destination.
The state capital of Perlis is Kangar while the royal town of Arau, only 10 kilometers away is the disembarkation point for rail visitors to Perlis. Perlis lies on both the road and rail routes linking Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the south to Bangkok in the north.
From January to April the weather is usually warm and dry with September to December being the wetter months. Temperatures range little throughout the year (21 °C to 32° C) while average rainfall is between 2000ml to 2500ml.
Perlis was originally a part of the older Kingdom of Kedah which was conquered by Thailand in 1821. After the restoration of the Sultan of Kedah to his throne in 1842, the Thais established Perlis as a vassal state.
In 1905, Perlis obtained from Thailand the services of a European advisor to help in the administrative and financial affairs of the state. The Anglo – Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred suzerainty of Perlis from Thailand to Britain and a British advisor was appointed to administer the state. A formal treaty between Britain and Perlis was only signed in 1930.
In World War II, the Japanese occupation forces handed Perlis back to Thailand. After the war Perlis again came under British protection until it gained independence with the formation of the Federation of Malaya in 1957.
Archeological evidence of ancient man has been found in Perlis. Gua Bintong has provided details of Hoabinhian culture dating back to around 5,000 years ago, while pottery and stone tools (adzes) from the late Neolithic era were found not only in Gua Bintong, but also during excavation works for the new Kota Kayang Museum.