Ipoh

Ipoh is the capital city of the state of Perak and is the third largest city in Malaysia. Ipoh used to be the center of tin mining and In the 1950s many people made their fortunes from the tin mining industries here. Ipoh is about 200 km north of Kuala Lumpur and is the gateway to Cameron Highlands and Pangkor Island. This thriving capital is surrounded by beautiful limestone hills and is well-known for its’ old world charm. Many local and international tourists patronise the famous traditional coffee-shops and sample the delicious hawker fare There are many olden shop houses and impressive historical buildings from the British Colonial Era, many of which are still in use today. Ipoh is best known for its famous White Coffee, salted chicken, beansprouts chicken, Hong Kong dim sum and the succulent Tambun pomelos.

The Ipoh Railway Station is one of the famous landmarks in Ipoh and was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback. The exterior of the station has elements of the late Edwardian Baroque architecture with engaged columns. The station was opened in 1935 and it also houses a hotel called the Majestic  Hotel. It is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture and this station was used as a shooting location for the film, ‘ Anna and the King ‘

Concubine Lane  or Jalan Panglima was previously an infamous opium den. It was believed to be the place where rich Chinese merchants and British officers kept their mistresses away from the prying eyes of their angry wives. This small alley with shops on both sides has become a major tourist attraction. Many of the old houses have been renovated and there are many shops here with thriving businesses. Many visitors come here during the week-ends when this lane is really vibrant with many pop-up stalls selling cactus, multi-colored ice balls, flower-shaped cotton candy, souvenirs and other unique items on sale. There are many eateries and cafes around this area.

Nearby is the First Concubine Lane with a wall mural of people eating curry noodles, with red and white umbrellas hanging above the lane. The nearby Wife Lane is easily recognized by a wall mural of a fruit seller on its yellow walls.

image credit: littlecloudsofthoughts

A unique attraction in Ipoh is the ‘ Art of Oldtown ‘ which is a collection of Ipoh Wall Art Murals by Ernest Zacharevic, an artist born in Lithuania. There are 7 such murals, the most well -known being ‘Old Uncle with Coffee Cup’ showing a portrait of an old uncle drinking coffee. It is  located near the famous Oldtown White Coffee, facing the Ipoh Field. Nearby this mural is another mural called ‘Paper Plane’ showing two children sitting on a paper plane reminiscing their childhood.

The Birch Memorial Clock Tower is located in front of the Ipoh State Mosque and was unveiled in 1909. This heritage clock was built to honour  JWW Birch, the first British Resident of Perak who was assassinated in 1875. The clock tower has 4 panels depicting the growth of civilization.1This square tower has a main bell which is 6ft 6ins in diameter with another four smaller bells.  There are sculptured figures on the 4 corners of the belfry representing the “ Virtues of British Administration”. They are ‘Loyalty’ with sword and shield, ‘Justice’ blind and carrying a sword and a pair of scales, ‘Patience’ unarmed and ‘Fortitude’ bearing a spear. Lower down the tower are panels illustrating 44 famous figures of the world.

image credit: imagesofipoh

Due to its central location, there are other tourist attractions on the outskirts of Ipoh which can be visited. Kellies’ Castle is located about half an hour’s, drive from Ipoh, 14 km south of Ipoh City. The visit to the castle can be done as a day trip. This castle was built by a Scottish planter named William Kellie Smith as a reminder of his home in Scotland. Construction of this building began in 1915 and

Another activity for those who are adventurous, is to go whitewater rafting in the Kampar River at Gopeng, near Ipoh. For cave lovers, Gua Tempurung,  located 24km south of Ipoh in Gopeng, Perak is one of the longest caves in Peninsula Malaysia. This river cave is 3km long and has a river passage which runs about 1.6km through the hill. Gua Tempurung is a limestone cave with 3 large chambers and has many stunning rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites.  Part of Gua Tempurung has been developed as a show cave with walkways and electrical lighting. Tours of different length and difficulty by trained cave guides are available.

Other places of interest which can be accessed through Ipoh are Pangkor Island, Taiping and Penang.