BEST THINGS TO DO IN IPOH
One of the best things to do in Ipoh is to visit the colonial-era architecture. The Kinta River divides the city into two main townships: Ipoh Old Town and Ipoh New Town. Government buildings, retail lots, residences, and historical landmarks may all be found in the old town, which was built before World War II. As a result, many old structures still remain and function.
Ipoh city is becoming well-known for their food. People from all over the country come to Ipoh to sample historical landmarks such as white coffee, juicy pomelos, fluffy kaya puff, Ipoh’s famed salted chicken, bean sprouts and chicken, Hong Kong dim sum, Lor Mai Kai, Taro Puff, Char Siew Bao, Egg Tarts, Fried Glutinous…and so on.
25 Best Things To Do in Ipoh
Lata Ulu Chepor is a waterfall situated just 15 km North of Ipoh town center. This hidden waterfall lies within Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve and is rather unknown to most of the foreign tourists. Not many visitors during weekday, but extremely crowded during weekend as this is a very popular camping ground for most of the local families. With many amenities built in recent years, such as wooden chalets, gazebos, campsites, toilets, coffee shop & restaurant, the area has become more well-known to foreign visitors.
02 Perak Cave Temple 霹雳洞
Perak Cave Temple also known as Perak Tong (霹雳洞) is a Buddhist Temple in the cave. It was was constructed in 1926 and built into a limestone hill. A garden with a pavilion, a pond and a statue of Guan Yin (the goddess of mercy) is in front of the temple. Inside, there are more than 40 Buddha statues and many murals around the stone wall. Further in of the cave, there is a steep, high staircase rising to the peak of its hill, where one is welcomed by a stunning and panoramic view of Ipoh and its surroundings.
03 Gunung Lang Recreational Park
Gunung Lang Recreational Park is a stretch of limestone hills in the centre of Lembah Kinta and it is a recreational area in just a few km North of Ipoh City. It covers a total area of about 30.35 hectares & was first explored by tin miners way back in 1880. This recreation park is developed based on the eco-tourism concept that minimizes infrastructure development to maintain the beauty of its natural flora and fauna. Man-made waterfalls, 2 km of walk-through swamps, observation towers, mini zoo, children’s playgrounds, campsites and many other public facilities are attractions here.
04 Tambun Cave (Rock Art)
Tambun Cave or Gua Tambun in Malay is probably the largest hematite Neolithic rock paintings site in Southeast Asia. The paintings were found in 1959 on a rocky overhang by a British soldier. The origin of these rock arts can be traced back to the Neolithic Period, between 2,500 and 4,000 years ago, according to archaeological records. Ipoh City Council gazetted these cave paintings in 1986 and on January 10, 2010, the Department of National Heritage declared them a national heritage.
05 The Lost World of Tambun
The Lost World of Tambun is the only water theme park in Ipoh offers great rides and attractions for families and also organizes tours for those interested in eco-tourism in the nearby limestone caves. The award winning (World Gold Winner in the Resort Category at the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Awards 2015) theme park with total area of 40 acres consists of Water Park, Amusement Park, Petting Zoo, Tiger Valley, Tin Valley, Adventure Park and Hot Springs & Spa by Night. – Best thing to do in Ipoh with families.
06 Dong Hua Cave 东华洞
Dong Hua Cave is less well-known compare to Perak Cave above, however, it is worth for a visit for panoramic view of Tambun town. This is also home to a Chinese Temple with more than 25 Buddha statues in the temple. You need to climb a steep staircase with 159 steps in order to reach to the top of the temple. Along the way up, you will be amazed by the picturesque view of the surrounding area and the natural landscape in the cave especially the 100-year-old stalactite set in front of the staircase leading to the main altar.
07 Geology Museum
Geology Museum started its construction 1955 was finished and opened in 1957. The museum occupies an area of 343 m2 and forms part of Department of Minerals and Geoscience Malaysia. To expand the display area and collections, the museum has been thoroughly renovated and upgraded over the years. It is now divided into 7 zones, ranging from the history of the museum and department, history of earth, dinosaur, minerals, mining activities, mineral exploration, geological hazards etc.
08 Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple
Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple or Kallumalai Murugan is one of the most important temples for Hindu in Malaysia during Thaipusam festival celebration. Originally, in 1889, this temple was built inside a cave, but was closed a few years later when a rock fell from its roof and killed a priest. The current structure was built in 1930 alongside the Kinta riverbank, away from the cave. It went through a major renovation eighty years later, in 2010. This temple’s main attraction is its seven-tiered gopuram, containing over 500 colourful figurines, stabbing the sky at a height of 21 metres.
09 Birch Memorial Clock Tower
Birch Memorial Clock Tower is a black & white structure located in a big square area in Ipoh old town just a few hundred meters away from Ipoh Railway Station. It is arguably one of the most important monuments to the history of British colonialism in Ipoh. This clock tower was constructed in 1909 dedicated to the first British Resident Minister of Perak James Wheeler Woodford Birch who was killed in 1875 by a local Malay chief. Birch was an unpopular colonial official at that time where his main income was derived from seizing and selling the indigenous tribal as slaves.
10 Ipoh Railway Station
Ipoh Railway Station or just Ipoh Station was one of the three great stations constructed by the British on the former Malayan network. The first Ipoh station was constructed in 1894 and the current station was the second station that built in 1914. It was only completed in 1917 because of supply shortages and rising labour costs during World War 1. The double-storey station building, affectionately known as the “Taj Mahal of Ipoh” by its residents, also houses a station hotel called the Majestic Hotel. Over the course of the 2000s, Ipoh station was substantially upgraded as part of the main railway hub.
11 Kong Heng Square
Kong Heng Square, the artisan market is a cluster of pre-World War II buildings which previously a decrepit and abandoned space. Now, it has been restored and now house trinket shops, hawker stalls, cafes, art gallery, fashion boutiques, barbershop, craft stalls and sundry store. These buildings’ walls formed the wide single-shop block of the town during the colonial era. This place is now a major attraction for locals and foreigners who come to enjoy its unique and aromatic atmosphere. A must visit place for Instagram moment.
12 Concubine Lane 二奶巷
Concubine Lane or Yi Lai Hong (二奶巷) in Cantonese is a narrow and small lane located in Ipoh old town. Concubine Lane was built by mining tycoon Kapitan Yao Tet Shin since 1894 for his three wives, according to the locals. Wife Lane, Concubine Lane and Second Concubine Lane were fittingly named for each lane. While another version of the local story was that wealthy Chinese merchants and British officers would keep their mistresses, away from the prying eyes of angry wives. Among all these 3 lanes, Concubine Lane is the most visited lane nowadays.
13 Han Chin Pet Soo 闲真别墅
Han Chin Pet Soo is a painstakingly museum restored by Ipoh World Sdn. Bhd. It is Malaysia’s first Hakka tin mining museum & club (founded in 1893) that documents the activities of tin miners far away from home with cash to spend. Some favorite vices were opium smoking, gambling and prostitution and are illustrated in all their glory by the use of carefully selected antique pieces. On display are artifacts, collectibles, ephemeras and also photographs from the 19th and 20th century. Appointment need to be made through Ipoh World before visiting.
14 Ho Yan Hor Museum
Ho Yan Hor Museum was founded in 1941 by by Dr. Ho Kai Cheong. The museum shares the stories of Ho Yan Hor, the most trusted household brand of Chinese herbal tea since then. This herbal tea recipe made of 24 herbs and it was a popular alternative among the local to Western medicine during the after World War II. Before entering the museum, one must not miss the huge mural just at the side of the building of title “Evolution” which was inspired by the famous mural artist Ernest Zacharevic.
15 Miniature Wonders Art Gallery
Miniature Wonders Art Gallery is a small double storey art gallery that exhibits dough sculptures. This amazing gallery takes you back to the ancient Chinese tradition & civilization. It showcases all sorts of miniatures like shop houses, bridge, riverbank, hawker stalls, working coolies, ships, harbor, palace, royal banquet and even terracotta warriors. Each miniature human figure (about 5.5cm height) and landscape were made up by using flour only. Admission is free for ground floor but entrance fee is RM5.00 to first floor.
16 Mural Art’s Lane
Mural Art’s Lane lies in Ipoh New Town where all the murals were painted on the back walls of old heritage houses. In an attempt to preserve them, Eric Lai, a local art teacher, initially started the painting of numerous murals on those buildings. These demonstrate various facets of Malaysian culture, such as Chinese lion dance, kuda kepang Malay dance, traditional Indian dance, playful multi-mural displays of children playing hide & seek, beautiful waterfall scenery, etc.
17 Tow Boh Keong Temple 怡保斗母宫
Tow Boh Keong Temple, established in 1896, is one of the oldest and major temple in Ipoh worship the Nine Emperor Gods (九皇大帝), held an annual celebration in the 9th Lunar calendar with parade which are worshipped by the Taoists. Devotees will get the turtle buns (Chinese steamed buns) moulded into turtles of all sizes during this long month of festivities and decorated with a coloured paper of pink or yellow with auspicious characters written on their backs and all piled up as a small ‘mountain’ as an offering to the gods and a food donation to the temple. A must visit temple during the 9th Lunar festival.
18 Ling Sen Tong 灵仙岩
Ling Sen Tong is another beautiful and magnificent Taoist cave temple located at the foot of a limestone hill. Literally, the name is translated as the Rock of Heavenly Spirits. There are several sculptures of different styles in the main compound of the temple-there are numerous animals, deities, and other characters from Chinese folklore. The front garden is decorated with colourful statues of Chinese mythological characters, such as the Monkey King from the classic Journey to the West story. There is also a picturesque garden with a beautiful pond at the center of the temple.
19 Nam Thean Tong Temple 南天洞
Nam Thean Tong Temple is a beautiful Taoist cave temple just next to Ling Sen Tong above. This is one of the oldest cave temples in Ipoh, which was founded by a Chinese priest named Kuong San Teik in 1867. Nam Thean Tong may be less well known to international tourists from the three temples lined up in this path, but possibly more atmospheric temples compared to the neighboring two temples. It has hundreds of stairs, providing great views, that climb right through the mountain to high up on the other side.
20 Sam Poh Tong Temple 三寶洞
Sam Poh Tong is a famous cave temple built within a limestone cave which was discovered in 1890 by a monk from China who was passing through Ipoh, according to legend. The monk then decided to make the cave his home and a place to meditate and remained there for 20 years until his death. Visitors will discover the imaginative works of man and nature inside the temple-beautifully carved Buddha statues in different shapes. Other attractions at the temple include a beautiful Japanese pond full of Japanese carps and tortoises, which are symbols of longevity.
21 Kwan Yin Tong Temple 觀音洞
Kwan Yin Tong Temple also built at the foot of Gunung Rapat limestone hill. Under the cliff, the cave at Kwan Yin Tong stretches for about 20 metres. Marble tiles have paved the floor of the cave and the lower parts of the walls have been smoothed down and whitewashed. In their original natural cave condition, the upper walls and roof have been left. The temple is Buddhist and dedicated to the Bodhisattva Guanyin commonly known as the Goddess of Mercy. There are about 75 statues of Guan Yin, both large and small line the walls of the cave temple, along with colourful murals.
22 Kek Lok Tong 极乐洞
Kek Lok Tong is translated as Ultimate Bliss Cave (or Great Happiness) and actually it seems to offer a sense of well-being to the many local tourists who consider it to be their favourite among the many splendid cave temples of Ipoh. The cave temple sits on a 12-acre site and was used as a place of worship as early as 1920. The cave became part of an iron mining site in 1960, and this temple is set in a huge cave in the limestone outcrops behind Gunung Rapat. There is a great garden view (in Zen Garden style) once you get inside the caves, which is the most unique of the caves.
23 Lubuk Timah Hot Spring
Lubuk Timah Hot Spring is a recreation center with its own uniqueness where there are cold waterfalls and hot springs. On the banks of the river, the restored hot spring is located and its waterfalls flow along its side. A main pool was constructed and drained into the second pool and then into the river. Like a dam to the left and right of the wall, the waterfall also descends from the man-made wall. The pool water will flow down through this wall like the Niagara Fall when the rainy season comes.
24 Kellie’s Castle
Kellie’s Castle is located in Batu Gajah beside the Raya River about 30 km South of Ipoh town. It is a famous deserted mansion of an eccentric Scottish planter named William Kellie-Smith (1870-1926). The castle was built in 1915 with Moorish style arches and windows to mimic the great British Raj palaces in India. He designed the castle for his beloved wife, Agnes, but when he died in 1926, it was not finished. The castle was used in the 1999 film Anna and the King as a setting. Its main attraction lies in the believe that it is haunted and that there are secret passages that lead to hidden chambers.
25 Tempurung Cave (Gua Tempurung)
Tempurung Cave or Gua Tempurung in Malay is the largest and one of the longest (more than 3 km long) limestone caves in Peninsula Malaysia and estimated to be 400 million years old. Apart from limestone, the cave contains deposits of tin, marble and other minerals. Visitors to the cave can enjoy an exciting walk with beautiful lighting along the walkway and feast on the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites found in the cave. With the provision of bridges and steps in some areas of the cave, exploring the cave is now an enjoyable and comfortable experience.
21 Best Nightlife in Ipoh
Ipoh does not have a large nightlife scene if to compare with Penang or Kuala Lumpur; however, there is a large concentration of pubs and bars at Bandar Baru Medan (behind the Kinta City Shopping Center). The newer nightlife area is around New Town and Greentown, and also the revitalized Lorong Panglima in Old Town, a narrow alley famously known as Concubine Lane. Honestly, nightlife in Ipoh is limited pubs, bars, restaurants and family type karaoke. Rarely you could discover some huge clubbing or discotheque venue around the city. Nevertheless, the city still offers enough options to visitors for a short 3D2N stay in Ipoh.