The capital of Perak state, Ipoh is located between Penang and Kuala Lumpur. The Ipoh city council consists of other smaller towns such as Menglembu, Silibin, Chemor, Falim and Tanjung Rambutan. The Ipoh town is divided into Old Town and New Town.
The name Ipoh originated from a local tree pokok epu (also commonly known as pokok ipoh). In 1920s and 1930s, Ipoh’s economy was driven by the tin mining industries. However, as the price for the tin collapsed drastically in 1950s, it has resulted in the closure of tin mines therefore resulting unemployment in its population.
Ipoh is one of the cleanest cities in Malaysia well known for its clear water supply. Ipoh is also famous for its mental health hospital, Hospital Bahagia which is located in Tanjung Rambutan.
One of the easiest ways to get to Ipoh is by taking a bus. The bus terminal is situated in Medan Gopeng. As the terminal provides bus services to and from any location in the country, visitors from Peninsular Malaysia can get to Ipoh without much trouble. Most of the routes are to and from Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Top Hotels in Ipoh
Visitors can choose from a variety of hotels and service apartments available all around Ipoh. Among some of the top-rated hotels due to its location are Hotel Eastern, Hotel Excelsior, Heritage Hotel and Syuen Hotel. These hotels are located in the centre of Ipoh town.
The Grand Park Hotel offers a unique experience for its lodgers as it is an old colonial mansion converted into a hotel in 1950s. There are many eating places in the surrounding street.
Ipoh Specialty Products
Your trip to Ipoh is incomplete without getting some Ipoh specialty products. Famous in Ipoh and also Malaysia, the fragrant biscuit (also known as Heong Piah) are traditional biscuits with sweet flake filling. The best biscuits are products by “Yee Hup” brand.
If you like Ipoh White Coffee, you can purchase the 3-in-1 sachet-packed type under the “Old Town” or “Chek Hup” brand.
All in all, Ipoh is a relatively safe city for you to travel around. Nevertheless, it is one of the best cities in Malaysia to get good food.
Recreational and Activities
Sam Poh Tong (Cavern of Triple Gems) is another Chinese temple located in Gunung Rapat near Simpang Pulai exit. Visitors will definitely see it on the way to Ipoh town. Built in 1890s by a Chinese monk, there are 246 steps that lead to the caves. The popular attraction available in this limestone cave is it houses over hundreds of turtles and terrapins. These are sacred symbol of longevity.
Another temple that lies in the same limestone hill is Kek Lok Tong (Cavern of Ultimate Bliss). Even though it is not as well-known as Sam Poh Tong, nevertheless visitors should drop by as well as there are beautiful stalagmites and stalactites and also a garden surrounded by hills. This scenic cave view will capture your heart and left you mesmerize by its beauty.
Other similar cave temples in the same vicinity are Nam Tian Tong, Ling Sen Tong, Chee Chei Buddhist Temple, Kwan Yin Tong, and Sri Muneswari Hindu Temple.
For outdoor enthusiasts, try jungle trekking up the Menglembu Hills and enjoy the beauty of the nature surrounding it.
A major town in Kinta district famous for pomelo, Tambun was once a small town only. Today, the popular “Lost World of Tambun” waterpark is located in that vicinity. Spend some time and enjoy the rides in this water theme park. Tambun hot springs is also one of the famous ones in Ipoh. High sulfur content in the water for health benefits is the main draw for the people.
Located in the heart of Ipoh, D. R. Seenivasagam Park (formerly known as Coronation Park) is well known for its recreational activities besides its scenic view. Spend some quality time and enjoy the beautiful Japanese garden located within the park.
Night entertainment is only available in certain area which is at Bandar Baru Medan (behind Kinta City shopping centre) and also Greentown Business Centre.
Historical Architecture and Monuments
Perhaps Padang Ipoh or rather known as Ipoh Field is the best spot for panoramic view of historic and classic colonial architecture around Ipoh. The field is surrounded by picturesque FMS Bar and also the magnificent St. Michael Institution.
Other interesting places around Ipoh are the outstanding Kellie’s Castle. The castle is located near Batu Gajah, approximately 25 minutes drive from Ipoh. This unfinished and deserted mansion was built by an odd Scottish planter called William Kellie Smith.
Many workers died during the construction on the mansion due to contagious Spanish flu. Therefore, today’s main appeal is the beliefs that the mansion is haunted and the secret passages yet to be discovered. This mansion is a popular tourist destination as it was used as a setting in the film “Anna and the King”.
Ipoh is well-known for its numerous beautiful caverns available for the visitors. Drop by Perak Tong or also known as Perak Cave. Built by a Buddhist priest from China in 1926, this limestone cave temple is situated at Gunung Tasek. The cave houses over 40 Buddha statues. Furnished with mystical mural paintings on the wall, visitors can also see the tallest and largest Buddha statue in this cave.
What’s the best in Ipoh? Of course it’s Food!
For those who intend to drive to Ipoh, the town is approximately 200 km north of Kuala Lumpur via North-South Expressway. Visitors can also get to Ipoh by taking a train.
One of the biggest draw in Ipoh is the food. Ipoh is relatively famous for its bean sprout chicken. The dish consists of bean sprouts boiled and served with soy sauce and also chicken meat. The bean sprouts in Ipoh are fat, short and tastier compared to other states. Famous restaurants serving bean sprout chicken are Onn Kee and Lou Wong located in Yau Tet Shin Street. Many other restaurants along that street also offer bean sprout chicken.
Another must-try food in Ipoh is “Sar Hor Fun”. Rice flat noodles served in chicken and prawn soup with chicken shreds, prawn and spring onion. The best “Sar Hor Fun” is the restaurants located in Old Town which are Kong Heng and Thean Chun.
Next stop for Ipoh famous food is Aun Kheng Lim Restaurant serving the best salted chicken. The dish is wrapped in oil paper and baked in salt. For those who would like to try out this salted chicken have to remember that you need to call the restaurant and order for it.
The aroma of Ipoh white coffee will definitely draws you to Nam Heong, Xin Yun Loong, Xin Yuan Hoong and Xin Yuan Foong Restaurant. The coffee beans are specially roasted and served with milk.
Other signature dishes in Ipoh including Pomelo, Dim Sum, Hakka noodles, Curry noodles and a lot more. You need to tour around Ipoh and try out each and every restaurant yourself.
Ipoh Old Town has a large number of heritage buildings for sightseeing. First stop, head down to an interesting historical museum of Perak, Muzium Darul Ridzuan. A good opportunity to learn from the museum as it offers a series of historical artifacts back from the tin mining age.
Then, make your way to Ipoh Railway Station. This station is also known as the “Taj Mahal of Ipoh”.