Once considered a city in slumber, Lonely Planet has placed this heritage city in 6th place on their list of must-visit places in 2016! This capital city of Perak is strategically located only a 2-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, attracting locals for day trips with its many exciting sights, attractions and delicacies! Also gaining traction from the international tourist, Ipoh’s many natural wonders, cave temples, quirky boutique hotels and delicious heritage recipes are starting to gain the recognition that’s long overdue! What’s makes this once tin-mining town so interesting to visit? Here are the top 10 best things to do in Ipoh!
1. Taste some local culinary cuisine
Like every other state in Malaysia, Ipoh has its own food trail every foodie needs to follow! Promising you a day of decadence, you’ll just have to get a taste of the silkiest Tau Fu Fah in town (Soy Bean Pudding with Dark Sugar Gravy), and of course, being the birthplace of Malaysia’s white coffee scene, sample some authentic Ipoh Old Town White Coffee! With so much more to offer, read our article on the 14 Best Street Foods In Ipoh!
2. Visit some cave temples
With its many mountains and caves, Ipoh has more than one cave temples worth a visit! Sam Poh Tong is one of the most famous cave temples located in Gunung Rapat. You’ll definitely be in awe visiting here, as the cave has some impressive works of art and various statues of the Buddha scattered among natural stalactites and stalagmites. Climb their famous 246 steps to the open cave above (it’ll take you about 30 minutes if you’re fit) and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing panoramic view of Ipoh! The beautiful Japanese pond garden at the cave, that symbolize longevity, will also leave you in awe! Along with the sights, your spirit will be rejuvenated with a deeper understanding of the peaceful spiritual practices carried out at these temples.
Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple
Address: Sam Poh Tong Temple, Gunung Rapat, 31350, Ipoh, Perak.
Opening Hours: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
Contact: +60 5 255 2772 / 9962
KeK Lok Tong Cave Temple
Address: Gunung Rapat, 31350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7.00 am – 6.00 pm
Contact: +60 5 312 8112
3. Have a family day at D.R. Seenivasagam Park
The best park to go in Ipoh for a family day out in the sun - there are many things to do with your family at D.R. Seenivasagam Park! The oldest recreational park in Ipoh, the area is complete with playgrounds, football fields, picnic grounds, skate parks, bike parks and even a Japanese Zen garden with a lake! Get your camera out, your day out at this park will surely create many memories you’ll want to remember!
D.R. Seenivasagam Park
Address: Jalan Keliling Dalam, 30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
4. Learn some history at the Han Chin Pet Soo Museum
To learn more about the history of Ipoh and the lives of miners in this tin mining district, Han Chin Pet Soo’s Heritage House Museum will provide you with in-depth insight into the shadowy happenings at the tin miners’ club through its exhibits. You’ll learn about the prostitution, gambling and opium smoking that was once behind the scenes of the elegant facade of the club. This is a great exhibition to go and learn about the history of the Chinese people in Ipoh!
Han Chin Pet Soo Museum
Address: 3, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30100 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Price: Booking Required Click Here For More Information
Opening Hours: 9.30 am – 5.00 pm
Contact: +60 5 241 4541
5. Visit heritage buildings
A walk around old town Ipoh will take you to many interesting heritage buildings. If you’re interested in older architecture, take a look at this comprehensive map of a heritage walk around Ipoh here.
Ipoh Railway Station
Address: Ipoh Railway Station, Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Contact: +60 5 254 0481
Birch Memorial Clock Tower
Address: 31650 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
6. Explore the street art around town
Along with the heritage walk aound Ipoh, you should also be on the lookout for the fantastical wall murals by Ernest Zacharevic, that aim to highlight Ipoh’s quirky culture and it’s past.
7. Go caving at Gua Tempurung
For the more adventurous traveller (definitely not the faint-hearted), have a thrilling time caving at Gua Tempurung, one of the longest caves in peninsular Malaysia, at 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) long! Part of it has been modernized with electric lighting and walkways and there are a range of tours of different lengths and difficulties, one being a river cave tour, where you’ll be required to delve into a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) river passage through the hills, passing through three large chambers of stalactites and stalagmites! A spectacular time is guaranteed! But be sure to bring a change of clothes and shoes for the occasion!
Address: APT Consortium Sdn. Bhd., 8A Laluan Rokam , Pekan Razaki, 31350 Ipoh, Perak.
Price: Depending on Tour Package
Contact: +60 5 359 1561
Website: Gua Tempurung
8. Check out the "haunted" Kellie’s Castle
A castle built out of love, Kellie’s Castle is a widely popular attraction Ipoh for its architectural beauty, romantic history and reported ghost sightings! The history of the castle is long, too long for this article. However, a condensed version would be: man (William Kellie) falls in love with woman (Helen), starts building a castle as a testament to his love (sound familiar? cough cough Taj Mahal cough cough), woman dies, castle building halted, man dies in Portugal. Sound intriguing? You can read all about the history of it here. And if you’re a movie buff, the castle was also used as a setting for Anna and the King!
Address: 31000 Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia
** Price **: From 1 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am – 6 pm
Contact: +60 5 255 2772 / 9962
Access: 30-minute drive and 14 km (8.7 miles) south of Ipoh City.
9. Test your bargaining skills at Pasar Karat Memory Lane
If you loved antiquing on Jonker Street, you’ll definitely want to give this market a visit! While you’ll find many questionable things being sold here, there are many more priceless vintage treasures to be discovered as you walk through the market!
Pasar Karat Memory Lane
Address: Jalan Horley, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Sundays 6am – 12pm
Contact: +60 5 208 3333
Duration: Approximately 1 ½ Hours
As far as Ipoh has progressed as a tourist destination, it’s still fairly underrated by many. But, come on! From its great heritage past and delicious cuisine, to its junk markets and haunted castles, what more can you ask for in a destination, really? So get to planning, Ipoh awaits!
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