Ipoh is a city of contrast and excitement. Some of Perak’s finest examples of colonial architecture sit right next to little coffee shops and bars here. It’s known for being the gateway to the Cameron Highlands, but it’s much more than that.
Ipoh was once a popular and wealthy place thanks to the 1920s tin mining boom. However, when the mines shut down, many people decided to leave. Despite this, it’s still the capital of the state of Perak, and you’ll find some remnants of its heyday; but these days it’s just a small and charming city that revels in the simple life. Street art and street food are big here, so try to experience as much of these as you can during your stay.
The Kinta River dramatically separates the old and new towns in Ipoh. You can see ancient temples and colonial architecture in one, and modern shopping complexes in another. However, luxury boutiques, cafes and restaurants are also starting to pop up in the old town, taking advantage of its extravagant setting against the tall white cliffs and its gorgeous colonial architecture.
Head up into the limestone mountains to discover the cave temples that are hidden in the caverns. These stunning sites have been here for centuries, and really show the importance of religion in Malaysian culture. Perak Tong is one of the most famous, but there are a few sites further into the cliffs that are worth a look, too.
Ipoh has its culture and its history, but one of the main reasons people flock here is its food. The ‘tauge ayam’ dish is well-known around Malaysia and most of Asia, so make sure you try it during your stay. The flavours are so rich and powerful, you might have to take on the traditional Malay eating habit of having lots of small meals and snacks throughout the day, so you can try them all. Don’t forget to sample the ‘kopi putih’. This white coffee is the town’s signature drink, and almost every family has its own recipe.
A trip to Ipoh is a great day out. Even if it’s not enjoying the glory days it once had, its history and quaint little shops and cafes make it a worthwhile, attractive place to visit.
Plan your trip to Ipoh today.
£M Boutique Ipoh, Ipoh
M Boutique Ipoh, Ipoh
££££Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Ipoh