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Pengkalan Hulu history began when it was the administrative centre for Negeri Reman (part of Negeri Patani) where it bordered with Kedah and Patani. In 1902, Siam abolished the monarchy system in Negeri Reman. Kroh was an isolated small town with a unique location where it bordered with Thailand at the north, and with Kedah at the west. Its nearest neighbours are Baling, Kedah; Betong, Thailand with a distance of 15 km, and Gerik, Perak with a distance of 30 km.

Pengkalan Hulu history began when it was the administrative centre for Negeri Reman (part of Negeri Patani) where it bordered with Kedah and Patani. However, King of Reman had trespassed into Kelian Intan and carried out tin mining there. It caused several controversies with Perak Government and several treaties between the British, Siam and Perak. In 1902, Siam abolished the monarchy system in Negeri Reman, and bestowed Hulu Perak district to Perak Government. The ceremony was held in Kroh on 16 July 1909.

Pengkalan Hulu got its name from a small river that flows through this area. The river originated from a village called Selarong, which meant ‘elephant trail' in Arabic. This river was the bathing place of King Reman's elephants, which came up to a few hundreds. King Reman ordered a dam to be built at the river to make it easier for his elephants to bathe. This created small lake with cloudy water resulted in that town being called Kroh (cloudy) at one time.

On 4 January 1984, during the reign of the 33rd Sultan Perak, Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakkil Alallahi Shah (Sultan Idris Shah II) renamed the place to Pengkalan Hulu as this was His Royal Highness' port of call when he visited Hulu Perak. Nowadays, the remaining lake was developed by the district administration as a recreational garden called Tasek Takong Garden. The relationship between elephant and the name Kroh is immortalized in the Pengkalan Hulu District Council logo.