Written by @joehairie
Photos by curiostraveller.com
In 2016, Lonely Planet listed Ipoh, Perak in its Best In Asia 2016, naming it as Malaysia’s lesser-known food capital. It was this listing that made us visited Ipoh recently. In a series of articles, we will be highlighting the best of Ipoh that is well-known for three things; Heritage Trail, Mural Art Trail and Food. Our short visit to Ipoh, Perak in Malaysia focused on that 3 things. This article and more to come, is how we saw things in Ipoh.
As to not mixing-up contents and to avoid confusing our esteemed readers, our experience in Ipoh can be read in several parts as shown below:
Part 1-Ipoh, Perak: As We See It (This article)
Part 2-Ipoh Heritage Trail (Click HERE)
Part 3-Ipoh Mural Art Trail (Click HERE)
Part 4-Where to eat in Ipoh? @roticanaitraveller’s recommendation (Click HERE) Coming Soon
Part 5-Where to stay in Ipoh? Our best recommendation. (Click HERE) Coming Soon
Part 6-Activities beyond Ipoh City and some useful links (Click HERE) Coming Soon
Historically, the early settlement in Ipoh existed in early 1800s and the city has spread across the Kinta River throughout the years. The river divides Ipoh into two sections, the old and the new town. The old town is synonymously known as the place of historical buildings from the British colonial eras which stand parallel to the Kinta River. Notable Ipoh’s historical landmarks such as Town Hall, The Court House, Ipoh Royal Club, Railway Station, Birch Memorial Clock Tower, Saint Michael Institution, Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank and F.M.S Bar are well preserved until today.
One can easily navigate, walking around Ipoh (at least in its old town side), enabling visits to most eateries, heritage buildings and hunting for that famous murals by Ernest Zacharevic. If you need to venture beyond the old town side, Uber and Grab services are available, as well as Taxis or simply rent a car. If you are an adventurous traveller, hop on the public buses; which can be quite complicated for first timers but worth trying since it saves money! Ask the locals for directions.
Here are some useful links in regard to Public Bus in Ipoh City:
Getting to Ipoh
Ipoh is the capital city of Perak state, Malaysia and also one of the largest cities in the country. It is approximately 200 km (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur and 130 km (81 miles) south of Penang on the North-South Expressway. There are several ways to get to Ipoh; train, bus, drive your own car or by plane, depending on your point of origin. If you are coming in from Kuala Lumpur, unless you are driving a car, we recommend that you take the train or bus.
Since there are trains that departs from KL Sentral, this is perhaps the fastest way to get to Ipoh, especially if you are planning for a day trip or plan to arrive early. If you are coming in from Johor Bahru and Singapore, you may want to consider taking the plane to Ipoh’s Sultan Azlan Shah Airport. Taking the bus will definitely save your money but it takes time to get to Ipoh. If Penang is your point of origin, bus is the most efficient way; again, unless you decide to rent a car and drive.
Here are some useful links that will guide you in choosing the best transportation to Ipoh, Perak:
Bus Online Ticket. A site that you can browse and purchase bus, train and ferry tickets to places in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. (Click HERE).
KTMB or Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad or Malayan Railways Limited is the main rail operator in Peninsular Malaysia. It serves Ipoh Railway Station from many stations in Peninsular Malaysia. If you feel like purchasing train ticket(s) to Ipoh directly from KTMB, click HERE.
Take note that if you are travelling by bus to Ipoh, the drop-off point is Terminal Amanjaya (Link), which is located a bit far from Ipoh City Center. To get to the city center you can use Uber, Grab, Taxi or Public Bus services.
Ipoh Tourist Information Center (ITIC)
First time visiting Ipoh City? Need the maps? Head to ITIC which is located in the old town of city centre, next to Ipoh padang. There are friendly staff that can offer helpful advice and information about Ipoh City. Here you can pick up a list of upcoming events, getting help in finding suitable accommodation, get local and regional maps and even utilize the free internet services available to travelers together with a selection of souvenirs and other merchandise that you can purchase here.
IPOH TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Location in Google Maps: Click HERE
Tel : 05-2083155
“Malaysia’s lesser-known food capital has new flair thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that have sprung up in its historic quarter. At the heart of Ipoh’s renaissance is otherworldly concept hotel Sekeping Kong Heng, replete with glass attic rooms and wall-free rooftop quarters. Art-cafes like Roquette, Burps & Giggles and Everyday Lifeshop have appeared nearby, among creaky kedai kopi (coffee shops) and elegant colonial buildings. But food pilgrims still clamour for Ipoh’s old favourites: Lou Wong’s chicken with crisp beansprouts, and tau fu fah (tofu pudding) at Funny Mountain. Wild escapes are close, like birdwatching by bicycle through Kinta Nature Park or whitewater rafting near Gopeng; and with clifftop temples and fragrant Gaharu Tea Valley nearby, Ipoh’s revival seems sure to tempt new crowds.” –Lonely Planet (Link)
In regard to food, @roticanaitraveller did help us to uncover the best of Ipoh; and we will highlight that in Part 4. There is no need to worry about food if you are in Ipoh as there are plenty of yum choices even for those seeking for Halal Food. Our team regard Ipoh as the 3rd best place in Malaysia for Avid Foodies; after Penang and Malacca. From Nasi Vanggey or Nasi Ganja to Mee Kicap, Mee Rebus, Yong Tau Foo, Chicken Rice, the famous White Coffee and even modern hipster cafes, Ipoh has it all!
Stay tune for our own experience in regard to Ipoh Heritage Trail!