Places to Visit in Ipoh


Ipoh may not be on everyone's radar but this charming city in Perak is one of the up and coming destinations in Malaysia and this list of places to visit in Ipoh was compiled after a recent trip there in early 2016 to get an update of what has changed over the last few years.  

Ipoh lies about two hours north of Kuala Lumpur city and you can get here by car or ETS (Electric Train Service). However, to fully appreciate Ipoh, I would highly recommend that you stay at least a night there, and probably at one of the new hotels in Ipoh, which are all located in the central city area. 

The best part is that Ipoh is centrally located between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, therefore it is easy to make this place a stopover if you are traveling either way. All the places to visit in Ipoh are easily accessible by foot and this means, no buses or taxis, unless you want to head to the outskirts of the city area. To start, I recommend exploring Ipoh Old Town which offers a journey into what the place used to look and feel like back in the old days.

Concubine Lane in Ipoh
Where to go in Ipoh

Ipoh Old Town - This is the oldest part of Ipoh where you will find decades old coffee shops and businesses that are still functioning as if time stood still. The old town area is divided by a river and once you cross the bridge, you will enter into another era of a place once known as the tin mining capital of Malaya. you can easily walk there from the main city area, but it will take about 20 minutes or so to walk there.

Kong Heng Square
Kong Heng Square - This is probably the most interesting part of Ipoh city where a group of businessmen have come together to develop the Kong Heng heritage square into one of the most popular places in Ipoh to date. On weekends, this place springs to life with hundreds of visitors walking all over this square. There is a bazaar selling arts and craft, shops selling collectibles and a number of modern cafes and restaurants that are packed with guests. A prominent structure here is the famous Sekeping Kong Heng Hotel, which has made world headlines and also listed in many travel guide books.

Concubine Lane
Concubine Lane Ipoh - One of the most interesting lanes to explore, Concubine Lane is filled with character and is about one hundred meters long. This place is also best visited on the weekend and also in the day as many shops and street vendors are open. Souvenirs, food and drinks are popular along this lane which is wide enough for people to walk.

Street Art in Ipoh - For street art lovers, you must not miss the chance to see some of the amazing street murals along Jalan Masjid and Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street) in the main town area.
Located in an alley behind the main road, you will see over 20 murals painted on both sides on the walls. If you take the Ipoh Heritage Trail walk, you will see other world renown street artist with their massive works painted on certain buildings in the Ipoh Old Town area. 

Ipoh Art Lane for the amazing street art
Tambun Lost World - For theme park or water park lovers, this is a must visit as the Tambun Lost World is probably the best water park in the northern region which offers families non-stop fun.

There is also the Lost World Hotel located in the park which is about 20 minutes from Ipoh city. 

Movie Animation Park Studios Ipoh - A new theme park which has been postponed to open at end 2016 or early 2017, MAPS Ipoh is about 30 minutes from the city.

This animation park offers quite a bit of attractions for the whole family and there are also some hotels located around the vicinity of this new theme park in Ipoh.  

Gunung Lang Recreational Park - Nature and outdoor lovers will love this place as the Gunung Lang Recreational Park is perfect for anyone wanting to do some simple trekking and walking. The park is located about 15 to 20 minutes out of Ipoh main city. 

Kek Lok Tong Temple Cave - This unique cave temple has an award winning landscaped garden which is different from the usual cave temples and the Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple is located at Gunung Rapat, about five kilometers from Ipoh city. If you live Chinese culture and caves, this is one of the caves to visit.

Sam Poh Tong Temple Ipoh - Photo: VirtualMalaysia
Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple - A must-visit in Ipoh is one of the most beautiful cave temples in Malaysia, the Sam Poh Tong cave temple offers visitors beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture and a 246 step up to a viewpoint that overlooks part of Ipoh city. This cave is also located at the Guning Rapat Mountain area, a short drive from Ipoh. 

Han Chin Pet Soo History Museum - For historical fans, you can come to this museum to find out more about the tin mining culture that made Ipoh what it is today. Founded in 1893 as the Hakka Tin Miners Club as an exclusive place, it is now turned into a private museum that houses an interesting collection of artifacts, collectibles and also photographs from the 19th and 20th century Hakka community. 

Gerbang Malam Ipoh Night Market - In English, this translates as Gateway of the Night in Ipoh where a night market takes place daily in the main town of Ipoh. You can find most consumer goods here which include clothes, shoes, accessories, snacks, food and a number of other interesting things. 

Ipoh Street Art Map
Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village Ipoh - I will be honest as I did not have enough time to visit this Chinese Cultural Village in Ipoh and this place will be next on my list when I plan another trip to Ipoh.

Apparently, the Qing Xin Ling Cultural Village in Ipoh showcases some authentic Chinese cultures from the 60s and 70s and is popular for day trips for locals.

A nice lake surrounds the place and you can rent old style bicycles or even trishaws to move around the village.

If you are a huge Chinese Temple fan, then Ipoh is definitely the place for you to visit as there are nice prominent temples located all around Ipoh, some of them in caves while others are stand alone temples. For other places of interest in Ipoh, do visit the Ipoh City Tourism Website

What to eat in Ipoh

Ipoh is probably one of the top three places for food in Malaysia, if you did not already know, but foodies from all over head here to sample some of the unique Chinese Malaysian food found all over Ipoh. The most popular dish being the Ipoh Chicken Rice and Ipoh Hakka Noodles which can be found at a few places around the main city area. While many swear by certain restaurants, others have their own favourites therefore I am only going to share with you the popular dishes. It is up to you to decide which are the ones you like.

Sin Yoon Loong, one of the oldest coffee shops in Ipoh
Ipoh White Coffee is hands down a must try for any coffee lover and me being a coffee traveler, I have personally tried most of the local coffee there and apart from the nationwide famous coffee shop in Old Town Ipoh, my personal favourite is the Ipoh White Coffee at Wah Nam Cafe. Again, you may or may not like it, but for locals, the coffee around Ipoh is a must try. 

Where to stay in Ipoh

Honestly, there are quite a number of places to stay in Ipoh and most of the hotels are located all around the city. As for me, I did not want any hassle therefore I used Traveloka to book my hotel stay and the main reason for this is because of their hassle free system and no additional fees involved. A total of 20 hotels are available to choose from, which range from two stars to four stars, including a couple of resort style hotels.

Best Western Premier The Haven Ipoh, one of the lake facing units
Personally it took me a few minutes to find the best Ipoh hotel deal and I was pleased with the outcome as I had booked my stay at one of the new properties which is the Best Western Premier The Haven Ipoh, which is one of the unique Condotels located in a natural surrounding. As I drove there, it was easy for me to move around. 

Best time to visit Ipoh

To be honest, there is no best time to visit Ipoh as the weather is constantly the same throughout the year. Many locals claim that Ipoh is also one of the hottest cities in Malaysia therefore it is highly recommended for women travelers to bring an umbrella and sunscreen while for the men, a cap and also drink lots of water due to the humidity levels there. Below are the hottest and wettest months of Ipoh. 
  • January - Hottest Month
  • October - Wettest Month
How to go to Ipoh

Generally, you can take the ETS or Electric Train Service from Kuala Lumpur which takes only two hours. Other ways to get to Ipoh are via tour company day tours which send you in the mornings and return at night. You can also take the local express bus to Ipoh from various bus terminals in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

One of the old shop houses along the Ipoh old town
My recommendation is to rent a car from either KL or Penang and self drive to Ipoh to spend a night or two there. This way, there is no rush and you can fully enjoy all the places to visit in Ipoh.

Check in to one of the hotels by booking through Traveloka and you can easily walk around the city or drive to other tourist spots. Alternatively, you can even experience the Kuala Lumpur - Ipoh - Penang experience where you pick up your rented car from KL and drop it off in Penang. 

With popular tourism spots like Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Penang, I personally think that Ipoh is one of the up and coming destinations in Malaysia that visitors should go to, simply because it is not over rated and very much still conventional. 

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