Ipoh Heritage Trail : Ipoh @ Perak, Malaysia

Content compiled and organized by @Lan
Photos by curiostraveller.com & credited sources


It was not an easy task to actually locate all 30 Heritage Buildings as listed by Ipoh Tourist Information Center (ITIC). It took more than 2 hours to walk around the Old Side of Ipoh City and bits of off-course to the New Town. We managed to locate some, not all. However, it’s pretty fun and educational. While doing the ‘Building Hunting’ we had some interesting moments as at the same time, we were able to locate most of the Mural Art by Ernest Zacharevic. One is gone, like forever. More on that in the next part. For now, it’s about that Heritage Trail of Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.


We took the train from KL Sentral to Ipoh as we were informed that we will be arriving at Ipoh Railway Station, which is obviously one of the listed Heritage Buildings. As mentioned in the 1st part (Link), we visited the ITIC to get some maps in regard to the Heritage Trail and Mural Art Trail. During our visit, we managed to take photos of most of the buildings but some to no avail as it was raining heavily. For this reason, we will use some photos of others, with mentions/credit. Here are the scanned copies of recent Ipoh Heritage Trail by ITIC.


The 30 Heritage Buildings


The Map showing precise location of all 30 Heritage Buildings in Ipoh City

(Acknowledgement: To enable us compiling details about Ipoh Heritage Trail, we inserted excerpts from credited sources (links are attached). There are some photos (as credited) that do not belong to us. We would like to thank all the authors and site’s admins. Overall, there are 30 buildings but for now, we’re able to compile information of only 27 buildings. We will be updating this entry soon and add that 3 buildings in the list. We do hope that this article will help others in locating all 30 heritage buildings in Ipoh City)

In order to understand Ipoh’s history, we did read some articles and specifically for our esteemed readers, here’s an excerpt:

Source: Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (Link)

The Kinta River divides the historic centre of Ipoh into two parts: Old Town and New Town. The history of Ipoh begins with the Old Town during the tin rush. “During the era of the Malay Rajas, Ipoh was only a small village. When the British colonial government ruled Perak, that is around 1877, Ipoh was transformed into a town and came in droves, especially the Chinese who came to seek their fortune so many Chinese subjects came here from Penang.”

“Dato Panglima Kinta Che Muhamad Yusop bin Dato’ Panglima Kinta Lassam built shophouses, while Raja Ringgit Dato‘ Laksamana Che Hussain bin Dato’ Besar was ready to finance those he trusted to build the shops in Ipoh. The Chinese towkays who ran gambling and opium farms also built shophouses and through such agents, Ipoh grew and grew.” – A. Talib bin Haji Ahmad, Riwayat Kinta, 1959.

The tin rush picked up in 1884, causing the town to swell. In 1886, Dato‘ Panglima Kinta himself laid out the town with “broad, straight streets”, most likely beginning around Panglima Street. Between 1905 and 1914, Yau Tet Shin expanded the town across the Kinta River. By 1908, he had built 216 houses in this “New Town” of Ipoh,
including a theatre and food market. Ipoh’s geographic location in the rich tin-bearing valley of the Kinta River made it a natural centre of economic growth.

Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s the town continued to grow rapidly, largely as a result of tin mining and rubber production in the surrounding region. Ipoh was invaded by the Japanese on 15 December 1941. During the Japanese Occupation, Ipoh was made the capital of Perak, in place of Taiping. After liberation in 1945, Ipoh remained the capital of Perak. Ipoh gained Municipal status on 31 May 1962 and was granted City status on 27 May 1988.


Our Experience-As we see it


As mentioned earlier, taking the train to Ipoh is the best way as it will get you to Ipoh Railway Station dubbed as ‘Taj Mahal” of Ipoh. Trust us, it will be the first building that you wish to see and will use as landmark for your ‘Heritage Walk’. There’s no need to worry if you’re feeling hungry as there are tonnes of eateries along the ‘Heritage Trail’.

1. Ipoh Railway Station


It’s one of the buildings in Ipoh that we love most simply for its design. Ipoh Railway Station was built from 1914 to 1917 with classical elements harnessed to the British “Raj” style, surmounted by Moorish domes and turrets designed by the famous government architect, Arthur Benison Hubback. It is opened in 1935. Sadly, the Majestic Hotel Station which is located in the same building is no longer in operation and we do hope that in the future it will be restored with some modern touch. Fingers crossed.

2. War Memorial


Located in a square next to the Railway Station, this memorial was build and unveiled in 1927 on The Remembrance Day to commemorate warriors who had died in the World War I in 1914 to 1918, the World War II in 1939 to 1945, the Emergency and Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation in 1962 to 1966, and thousands of war prisoners and civilians who perished at the Thailand-Burma Death Railway between 1943 and 1945.

3. Ipoh Town Hall


Across the street from Ipoh Railway Station is the Town Hall and Old Post Office building, located next to each other that were constructed from 1914 to 1916 in the Neo-Classical style and designed by Athur Benison Hubback. It is said that The Malay Nationalist Party, the first political party formed in Malaya, held its inaugural congress here from 30th November to 3rd December, 1945.

4. The Court House


According to Ipoh Tourism site (Link), The Ipoh High Court built in 1926 and completed in 1928. It is the third courthouse building in Ipoh, which it’s, replaced two old courthouses. Arthur Benison Hubback designed the Ipoh High Court building. He is also designed Ipoh Railway Station and Town Hall. The element of Roman Classic style is persistent throughout the building complex. The British Resident in Perak, R.W Thompson on the 14 July 1928, officially opened the building.Japanese judge took over The Ipoh High Court during The Occupation. Today, there’s an annex to the old building, a new modern building as seen in the picture.

5. Royal Ipoh Club


Credit: Royal Ipoh Club (Link)

The Royal Ipoh Club was founded by a group of Europeans in 1895 and has the distinction of being the oldest club in Ipoh. During the Occupation the building was used by the Japanese Army as a laundry house for officers based at nearby St. Michael’s Institution.

6. Church of St.John The Divine (St John’s Anglican Church)


Credit: Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (Link)

According to Ipoh World site, on 30th of April 1912, the Church of St John the Divine was consecrated by Bishop Ferguson Davie. Years later, the bell tower and the organ loft were built. In 1917, there was an appeal for a Vicarage. 3 years later, Rev LS Kempthorne became the resident pastor at St Johns. To read more about this building, click HERE.

7. St Michael Institution


Credit: St.Michael Ipoh official website (Link)

According to History of Perak website, in 1912, Reverend Father J.B. Coppin from St. Michael’s Church bought a plot of land in Kampong Pisang. A bungalow on Clayton Road served as the school building and P.J. Morsingh was appointed as the first Headmaster of St. Michael’s Institution. For the convenience of students, a well was built beside the school. The foundations of both the bungalow and the well remain. Father Coppin was given the task of administering the school. He obtained the necessary grants from the Perak government, based on the statement from a Brother Visitor that the management of the school would be taken over by the Christian Brothers as soon as possible. The school opened on 4 December 1912, with 37 students. By 1913, the school enrollment had grown to 139. There were three major government examinations: Standard IV, VI, & VII. To read more about this building, click HERE.

8. India Muslim Mosque


Credit: My Perak Crew (Link)

The mosque is green and white is also known as the Mosque of The City as it is close to Padang Ipoh and School St. Michael’s at Ipoh of Perak. The history begins with the construction of this mosque in 1908. Its construction was initiated by Shaik Adam who was a leading Indian Muslim businessmen. He has led India employees fully in building this mosque. The cost of the mosque is square is $ 500,000. India Muslim Mosque architecture is very interesting because it combines the Mogul architecture, South India and the local.   Until now, this mosque is still used by the Muslim community in Ipoh, especially Indian Muslims.

9. F.M.S Bar & Restaurant


The building is located at the junction of Jalan Sultan Yusuf with Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, it opened in 1906 and became the watering hole of European miners and planters. The F.M.S stands for Federated Malay States. Ipoh Padang Town is just next to Jalan Sultan Yusuf.


It is said that Ipoh Padang was built in 1898 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee the year before. Over $43,000 was raised for this purpose by Chinese community. The padang was described as “the new recreation ground for clerks” to play games like cricket, football and tennis.

10. Hongkong And Shanghai Building


The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation started operation in 1910 in a wooden building provided by the government. In 1911, HSBC rented space in the Straits Trading Company before moving to its current location in 1931. To read more about this building, click HERE.

11. S.P.H De Silva Building


Located just next to HSBC Building is S.P.H De Silva Building. According to Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh site; Built at the turn of the last century, this Renaissance style, three-storey building is one of Ipoh’s oldest commercial buildings. S.P.H. De Silva was for decades known as a silversmith and famous for the manufacture of trophies, shields and medals.

12. Chung Thye Phin Building


Built in 1937, by Chung Thye Phin (the last Kapitan Cina of Perak), this building has long been associated with medicine. The medical hall was established by Dr R.M. Connolly, who served the colonial government in the early 20th century before going into private practice. He’s also the founder of the Perak Anti-Opium Society. To read more about this building, click HERE.

13. Straits Trading Building (OCBC)


This building is located on Jalan Dato Maharajalela and it was built in 1907. It was originally known as the Straits Trading Building which was a tin-smelting company. The company was founded by Herman Muhlinghaus in 1889.

14. The Chartered Bank


The Chartered Bank originally opened its Ipoh branch in 1902 and provided credit to the Straits Trading Company and later the Eastern Smelting Company. The current building dates from 1924.

15. Mercantile Bank


Built in 1931, this Art Deco building was built for the Mercantile Bank of India. Although the ownership has changed the words ‘Mercantile Bank’ and ‘1931’ remain on the front of the building.

16. Residence & Law Office of the Seenivasagam Brothers


Located on the southern edge of Ipoh Padang, this row of pre-war townhouses housed many legal and professional firms including the Seenivasagam Brothers at No.7. The brothers also founded the Perak Progressive Party, a prominent political party in Ipoh in 1953.

17. Perak Hydro Building


Credit: Tourism Malaysia (Link)

The Perak River Hydro-Electric Power Company was formed in London in 1926 to supply power to the mines and dredges in Kinta Valley. The company was located at these premises from the 1930’s.

18. Birch Memorial


This Clock Tower was built in 1909 as a memorial to J.W.W Birch, the first British Resident of Perak. In 1875, Birch was assassinated in Pasar Salak.  The panels portray famous figures from world history. Next to this Clock Tower is Medan Selera Dataran Dato’ Sagor where visitors can savour the best dishes of Ipoh, Perak.



19. Jan Sahib’s Office


Originally a block of commercial buildings built in the early 1930’s, No.128 Belfield Street was the office of Jan Sahib, son of Shaik Adam, founder of the Town Padang Mosque. Jan Sahib came to Ipoh to join his father’s business, notably the Kinta Ice Aerated Water and Bakery Company.

20. Mikasa Photo Shop


By 1911, Mikasa Photo Studio occupied these premises at No.93-95 Belfield Street. A Japanese spy, Masaji Fukabori alias Masaji Hosaka, once worked at Mikasa sending information about Malaya back to the Japanese Army.

21. Dramatist’s Hostel


Built in the 1920’s, this building was constructed as a hostel for the actors who performed next door at the Chinese Opera Theater. The original theater dated back to 1891 and was rebuilt in 1906. The theater has since been demolished.

22. Perak Ku Chong Chow Association


Credit: Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (Link)

This Chinese association building was built in 1928 for the Cantonese community living in the Kinta Valley. At one time, it was home to the largest Cantonese community in Malaya. The façade is in the form of an imperial arch.

23. Han Chin Pet Soo Building


Han Chin Pet Soo was founded as a miner’s club by Yau Tet Shin and Leong Fee. The current building dates from 1929. It was the only club exempted from registration under the “Exemptions Under The Registration of Societies Order” dating back to 1895.

24. Panglima Lane (Concubine Lane)


Known as ‘Second Wives Lane’ this street dates back to the turn of the last century. At that time, the town houses were renowned for opium, gambling and brothels. The lane later developed into a residential area where the concubine of rich Chinese tycoons were reputedly kept.

25. Darul Ridzuan Museum


Source: Link 

The Perak Museum was built in 1926 by a rich and successful tin miner called Foo Choong Kit. Back then, he built it for his own private domain, and it was told that once forty people were counted to be living in this house. The house did not stay long with the family. In 1950 it was sold to the Perak Government which utilised these premises to house the administrative centre of its Department of Works. It was not until 1992 that this building finally graduated to become a museum.

26. Anglo-Chinese School


Credit: PrehistoricPerak (Link)

According to PrehistoricPerak site, Ten years after the founding of the Methodist Mission in Singapore, there in Ipoh on 31 July 1895, a young Englishman, the Rev. E. Horley, who was destined to play a vital role in the enhancement of the education and spiritual life of youth in this country. A few days after his arrival, on 5 August, Mr. Horley opened the Anglo-Chinese School in a small attap-roofed Malay house adjoining the Police barracks behind the old Land Office which was later demolished to make way for a new million-dollar mosque. Ipoh at that time was no more than a small mining village.The school was a resuscitation of the first English school in Kinta opened by the Rev. T. W. Stagg in January that year and closed soon after because of his departure from Ipoh in June 1895 on account of his wife’s health. (Read more, HERE).

27. Dato’ Panglima Kinta’s Mosque


Credit: Link

According to BeautifulMosque.com (Link), Masjid Panglima Kinta is an old mosque located on the east bank of the Kinta river right after Hugh Low Bridge. It was built by Dato’ Panglima Kinta Muhammad Yusuff in memory of his wife who passed away that year. Work on the mosque began in 1898. It was one of the most beautiful and largest mosques in Ipoh when it was completed. The mosque has two minarets and a central dome. 

Soon to be updated:
Old Federal Building
The ‘Bulan Bintang’ Building
The Army Reserved Force


This article is part 2 of 6 that documented our thoughts and experiences during our travel to Ipoh, Perak @ Malaysia.

Part 1-Ipoh, Perak: As We See It (Click HERE)
Part 2-Ipoh Heritage Trail (This article)
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


Useful links/ Further Reading

Here are some interesting articles in regard to Ipoh City. 

100 years old and going strong despite apathy by T.Avineshwaran, The Star Online (Link)

A hundred years in Ipoh by Hana Azha; Tourism Malaysia Blog (Link)

Ipoh: A cultural and culinary guide to Malaysia’s rising tourism star by Emily Ding; CNN (Link)

Ipoh Old and New: Come explore Malaysia’s renaissance city by Anita Isalska; Lonely Planet (Link)

Ipoh, the town that tin built by Zalina Mohd Som; NST (Link)

Maintenance of Heritage Building: A Case Study from Ipoh, Malaysia by Seong Yeow Tan, Abdul lateef Olanrewaju and Lim Tat Lee (Link)

Old Town restored to rightful place in history of Ipoh by Jerry Francis; EdgeProp (Link)

Perak Heritage Society (PHS) Official Website (Link)