Exploring Old Town, on foot, is much easier with the advent of the Heritage Trail introduced in November 2009 by Myheritage Technovation Sdn Bhd in collaboration with Kinta Heritage and Perak Academy. The availability of maps and diagrams – which can be found in Ipoh Tourist Information Centres – is a major plus point for visitors who want to have a closer look at iconic buildings and structures left behind by our British colonial masters.
The 4-mile long trail takes the visitor through Old Town providing him with a view that is second to none.
However, there are some drawbacks which may impinge on one’s expectation. Topping the list is inadequate information boards. Visitors want to know the history behind the buildings and landmarks and what better way than to have them on boards. The information should be brief and precise. Accuracy and legibility are essential.
The beauty of the trail is being marred by uncollected rubbish. Empty cans and cigarette butts litter the route. This is not only unsightly but it reflects poorly on Ipohites. Property owners along the route should play their part in keeping the trail clean. Putting up rubbish bins in front of their shops is a solution. The responsibility, however, lies with stakeholder Ipoh City Council. It should play a leading role.
The drains are never clean. Grass and undergrowth grow unchecked and are hazardous in the long run as they are convenient breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Concubine Lane is, without doubt, the most popular spot along the trail. The lane is crowded especially on weekends. However, the beauty and heritage value of the lane and its buildings are being totally marred by the stalls selling cheap trinkets and touristy knick knacks.
Plans should be afoot to prepare for future developments when Ipoh expands and the viability of the attraction becomes untenable.
This is something for the authorities to consider. A good example is Hoi An, a former port on Vietnam’s central coast. The city’s preservation encapsulates legacies left behind by Chinese, French and Japanese who once ruled the country.
Notwithstanding the flaws, Ipoh Heritage Trail is indeed one of a kind. It helps to highlight and visualises the many wonders of the town that tin built.
Shireen and Jack Foo