For most of you, there may still be many who are unfamiliar with the name of this third largest city in Malaysia. The name Ipoh is indeed less famous than Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Langkawi. But among backpackers, Ipoh is one of the must-visit destinations.
Ipoh is the capital of Perak Darul Ridzuan, a country in the northern part of peninsular Malaysia. From Kuala Lumpur, it can be reached by land by train for two hours or by car for 2-3 hours.
This city is synonymous with white coffee because the Old Town White Coffee brand was born here. In addition, Ipoh is also known as a city with a harmonious blend of British colonial nuances and traditional Malay buildings, murals in several corners of the city, museums, and unspoiled rural areas.
Curious about what fun things you can do here? Let’s take a look while browsing cheap tickets and compiling a holiday itinerary later!
- Let’s say afdol has been to Ipoh, you have to taste authentic white coffee there
White coffee is not pure white, but there is a mixture of milk or creamer in it. It is said that the coffee beans used in white coffee are roasted using margarine so that it gives a different taste and is not too bitter. Of course, this is also influenced by the amount of coffee, hot water, and milk when brewing it
You can easily find a shop that sells white coffee in the Chinatown area or to be precise Jalan Bandar Timah. One shop named Nam Heong is believed to be a pioneer of white coffee. It is said that the aroma, taste, and way of serving white coffee here have not changed since 60 years ago!
- Enjoy the colonial era atmosphere among the old buildings
Just like George Town and Melaka, Ipoh also has many old buildings of British colonial heritage. If you go to Ipoh by train, then the adventure of exploring old buildings starts at Ipoh Railway Station.
The main station in Ipoh was first built in 1894 as a railway line for the Perak Railway (PR). It was then repaired in 1914 and completed in 1917. The new building has a combined Neo-Moorish, Mughal, and Victorian architecture. Inside the station, there is also a hotel that was built along with the repair of the station, namely the Majestic Station Hotel.
Not far from the station are the Town Hall and Old Post Office built during World War I. The architectural style is inspired by Neo-Renaissance, Moorish, and Victorian.
In addition to the two buildings above, you will easily find old buildings in Ipoh by following the Heritage Walk which will be accompanied by a local guide, and ordering them in advance at some of these service provider agents.
- Hunting for mural art photos in several corners of the city
Not only is George Town famous for its mural art, but Ipoh also has much mural art scattered in several locations and become the target of tourists. Of the many murals, eight of them are the work of Ernest Zacharevic from Lithuania who also wrote many of his works in George Town.
One of Ernest Zacharevic’s famous murals is An Old Uncle Drinking Coffee. This mural seems to show one of the habits of the Ipoh people who like to drink coffee, even though Ipoh is famous as the hometown of white coffee.
- Time for museum hopping while learning about the history of Ipoh
If you’re visiting an area that is full of history, it’s not complete if you haven’t done museum hopping, aka visiting the museums there one by one. Likewise, if you are in Ipoh, there are many unique museums that you must visit.
The first museum is the Darul Ridzuan Museum which is located not far from Ipoh Railway Station. The building was built in 1926 by a wealthy tin miner named Foo Choong Kit. It was then sold to the Perak Government in 1950 and officially opened as a museum in 1992. You can learn about the early history of Perak in this museum.
Next is the Ho Yan Hor Museum, which is located on Jalan Bijeh Timah, Ipoh. The museum houses various properties, antiques, and artifacts related to the history of Ipoh and Malaysia in general. There is also a tea shop that serves Ho Yan Hor tea because before it became a museum, the building was a herbal tea shop.
There is also the Han Chin Pet Soo Museum which will provide you with information about the history of the tin mining industry and the hard life of miners in Malaysia in the past. This museum is located not far from the Ho Yan Hor Museum.
In addition, there are many more museums that you can visit in Ipoh, such as the Geological Museum, Dream Big World Museum, Miniature Wonders Art Gallery, Palong Tin Museum, and so on.
- Visit Cave-Temple while enjoying the beautiful atmosphere around it
One of the uniqueness of Ipoh that is not owned by other regions in Malaysia is the existence of several Cave-Temples or caves as well as temples. Apart from being unique, the scenery and the surrounding atmosphere are very pleasing to the eye.
One of them is the Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple located in the limestone hills of Mount Meeting, about 5 km southeast of Ipoh city center. The Chinese Buddhist Temple was discovered in 1912 and in 1993 was awarded the Best Landscape Park in Malaysia. Around the temple, there is a stone pagoda with beautiful lanterns, bronze statues, a fish and turtle pond, as well as a restaurant serving a vegetarian menu.
Besides Sam Poh Tong, several famous cave temples in Ipoh are always crowded with visitors, including the Long Sen Tong Cave Temple which has many altars; The Gue Kwan Yin Tong Temple which is also on the limestone cliffs of Mount Meeting and is not far from the Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple; and the Silver Tong Cave Temple which has a 40-foot Buddha statue inside the cave.
- Do various fun activities and ride rides at Lost World of Tambun
9 Fun Activities You Can Do in Ipoh, Malaysia
In Ipoh, there is an area called Tambun which is famous for the Lost World of Tambun. Located in Persiaran Lagun Sunway, Sunway City, Ipoh, Lost World of Tambun is a hotel and theme park area that has 64 game attractions, 10 parks, and 109 animal species.
There you can swim in the water park which has various rides such as Jungle Wave Pool, Adventure River, and Sandy Bay. Or you can also feed the animals directly to their cages at certain times. At Amusement Park, you can ride various rides, such as riding a merry-go-round, riding a mini train, riding a Stormrider (like the Kora-Kora boat), and many other exciting games.
To be able to enter it, adult visitors who are not Malaysian citizens are charged a ticket of RM 100 and children and seniors for RM 93.
- Visit Kellie’s Castle full of love messages
If India has the Taj Mahal as proof of Shah Jehan’s love for Arjumand Banu Begum, his wife, then Malaysia has Kellie’s Castle which is proof of William Kellie Smith’s love for his wife. Although not located in the Ipoh area Batu Gajah (14 km from Ipoh), this castle is still a must-visit when you are in Ipoh.
Kellie’s Castle is an old castle built by a Scottish rubber businessman named William Kellie Smith. The castle was built in 1915 with Moorish, Indian, and Tamilvanan architectural styles and a little European touch. Smith brought in workers and building materials such as bricks and marble directly from India.
But before the castle was completed, Smith died of pneumonia during a trip to Portugal in 1926. His wife and children then chose to return to Scotland. Construction of the castle was stopped and has not been completed until now.
FYI, Kellie’s Castle was once one of the shooting locations for the Hollywood film Anna and The King, starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat in 1999, you know!
- Shop and hunt for souvenirs at Concubine Lane and Memory Lane
Concubine Lane is a street built in 1908 and was a “red zone” among Chinese and British colonial officials. Currently, Concubine Lane has turned into a row of shops, food stalls, and markets selling various accessories. You can buy key chains, postcards, tote bags, and cactus plants here.
Next is Memory Lane, which is located in Kampung Jawa, Ipoh. There you can find a variety of antiques and used items that are still worthy of use, such as ceramics and porcelain with typical Chinese patterns, sewing machines, and various accessories, just like in Concubine Lane. At night there is also a Memory Flea Night Market not far from this area.
- And here comes the most awaited thing: a culinary tour!
One of the foods that you must try is Dimsum. Yup, not many know that Ipoh is famous for its Dimsum. You can find a shop selling a variety of Dimsum on Jalan Leong Sin Nam which is also known as Jalan Dimsum.
Next is Gai Si Hor Fun or Mie Ayam with chewy noodles, delicious shredded chicken and shrimp, fresh gravy, and Ipoh Chicken Rice which is no less delicious than Chicken Rice in general.
There is also Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah, Wong Kee Tau Fu Fah (a type of bean curd with soup), Mie Goreng Tuck Kee, Wan Tan Mee, and the favorite Ipoh is White Curry Noodles. How have you been trying to swallow? Just go and enjoy all the delicious food there. Eits, before that you also need to ask the restaurant about the halalness of the food served there.