By Ili Aqilah, Nantini Krishnan and Tan Mei Kuan
For three consecutive years, Perak has received the biggest number of domestic tourists compared to any other state in Malaysia. Why wouldn’t it be? Perak has a lot of interesting places that will cater to every wanderlust-filled soul out there. Having that in mind, exclusively for all our travel-junkie readers and future lovers of Ipoh, we sought out the must-visit-hidden gems in Ipoh that will guarantee to blow your mind with its charms and unique cache. In the process, the Ipoh Echo team discovered some under-the-radar destinations which will be wonderful additions to your itinerary along with other customary attractions. Places even Ipohites may not know or ventured to.
Places to See, Things to Do and Hidden Treasures to Explore
We have suggested the times for visiting some of these places as ideal, although most of them can be visited at any time of day.
Must Visit Places
Morning: The highest peak of the undulating terrain at the Perpetual Memorial Park offers one of the best bird’s-eye view of Ipoh. Located along Lot 24139, 14547 Mukim Hulu Kinta, the off-the-beaten-track viewing point is open to visitors daily from 9am to 5pm.
(GPS: N 4° 41.102' E 101° 09.783' on Google Maps it is at: 4.685030, 101.163070)
Other options: Ipoh Mural Art Trail, Funtasy House Trick Art, Kledang Hill which has easy and tough trails for the super athletic.
Afternoon:Another hidden gem is the Tasik Cermin (Mirror Lake), a natural wonder that owes its charisma to geologic luck of the draw. Befitting its name, the emerald-hued water produces glass-like reflections of the verdant limestone hills along its perimeter. Located off Jalan Dr Nazrin Shah, sightseers will have to drive past some quarries then walk through a short tunnel and emerge on the other end to this postcard-perfect view. Just sit there, lake-gaze and be inspired!
(GPS: N 4° 33.55’ E 101° 7.175’ on Google Maps it is at: 4.559169, 101.119575)
Other options: Han Chin Pet Soo (The Hakka Miners’ Club), Ho Yan Hor Museum, Concubine Lane @ Old Town.
Evening: The next little-known spot is the Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village, built by upcycling discarded wood, against the backdrop of lush hills. With its authentically-decked memory lane of the 1960s complete with snippets of historical information, 3D murals, suiseki display hall, wishing tree, three lakes, cycling and jungle trekking activities, it is a family-friendly cum educational destination brimming with photographic opportunities.
Catch a glimpse of their resident goats, wandering ducks, geese and rabbits too! The exclusive one-on-one with Cheng Swee Kiat, the secretary of the committee behind the leisure and cultural village, will be published in the upcoming issue of Ipoh Echo.
Located at 22A, Persiaran Pinggir Rapat 5A, Taman Saikat (GPS: N 4° 33.688’ E 101° 07.418’), it opens from 9am to 6pm daily except on public holidays. Visitors could call 05 311 9888 or 012 516 1556 for more details.
Other options: Ipoh Cave Temples, Heritage Trail, Gunung Lang Recreational Park.
Night: Back in March, Lost World Hot Springs and Spa, unveiled 15 additional attractions consisting of 13 pools, three private huts and a Crystal Spa. Among them are the infinity pool which can accommodate up to 300 people at one time and the Lost World Crystal Spa which features aromatherapy massage with healing properties.
Meanwhile, the Jungle Wave Beach offers zorb ball rides for the adventurous. The holistic fun destination opens nightly from 6pm to 11pm. For more information, visit www.sunwaylostworldoftambun.com or call the theme park at 05 542 8888.
Other options: Healy Mac's (Irish Bar & Restaurant), Gerbang Malam night market, Sensation Of Sound (S.O.S. Club), River Walk @ Kinta Riverfront.
What will a trip to Ipoh be without indulging in some good, classic and authentic food?
For breakfast, we suggest you feast yourself on a selection of Chinese, Malay and also Indian food at one of Ipoh’s signature coffee shops – New Hollywood Restaurant that is located at Jalan Lee Kwee Foh, Taman Canning. From Chee Cheong Fun to Flat Noodles Curry to the classic toast bread and Nasi Lemak, New Hollywood is definitely one of the local’s favourite to enjoy their breakfast over cups of Ipoh’s coffee. The shop opens everyday (except Monday) from 7am till late afternoon.
Other options: Stadium Indera Mulia food court, Nasi Lemak Kukus Warung Sg.Tapah (featured in Ipoh Echo’s Nosh News issue 219), Kedai Kopi Kong Heng and next door Thean Chun Restaurant, Wong Koh Kee Restaurant in Concubine Lane itself and two coffee shops along Jalan Bandar Timah (Old Town) Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong (GPS: N 4° 35.595’ E 101° 4.620’) and Kedai Makanan Nam Heong (GPS: N 4° 35.595’ E 101° 4.629’) where old town white coffee began with the famous kaya toast.
As for lunch, get ready to spoil yourself with Ipoh’s signature mixed rice, Nasi ‘Ganja’ from Yong Suan’s coffee house located at Jalan Yang Kalsom. Although there are other shops that sell almost the same rice, it seems that tourists still prefer the classic rice served with spiced fried chicken and vegetables.
No.2, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh.
Monday-Friday (10am-5pm). Saturday & Sunday (10am-3pm)
Other options: Restoran Ikan Bakar Tasik Raban, Old Andersonian’s Club, Susi Restoran (featured on page 5 this issue).
Tourists will have plenty options to choose for dinner. From Rawang Famous Steam Fish (featured in Ipoh Echo issue 231), Fay Loo restaurant (featured in Ipoh Echo 228), Simpang Tiga Restaurant or perhaps they can try the long list of local cafes such as Gomok, Konda Kondi, Chokodok Reggae House or even the food trucks like Meltshack, Ali Yeh Yeh, Lebai and The Hut that are slowly making a name among Foodies. Better yet, tourists can buy the book A Foodies Guide to the Best Eats in Ipoh which lists all the best local stalls and restaurants. The book is available at Popular Bookstores, MPH Bookstores, SS Mubarak & Sons, Royal Ipoh Club, Ipoh Echo’s office, to name a few. Another resource on where to eat is available on the Ipoh Echo website www.ipohecho.com.my under the topic of Food/Musings/Hawker/Nosh News.
No holiday would be complete without some souvenir shopping. Souvenirs now come in various forms. We have come up with cool and unique souvenirs that will remind you of the many sides of Ipoh. Here is our top recommended list of Ipoh souvenirs and gifts:
Pomelo is Ipoh’s most famous fruit. The small town of Tambun in Ipoh is famous for its juicy pomelos, where there are endless stretches of pomelo farms. Stretches of stalls selling pomelos along Jalan Raja Nazrin Shah (Jalan Gopeng) adjacent to Sam Po Tong temple is the best place to buy the pomelos in Ipoh.
Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken Salted Chicken is one of the most famous Chinese delicacies in Ipoh. The chicken is filled with traditional Chinese herbs, wrapped in grease proof paper and freshly baked, smothered in dry salt.
Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken
No. 24, Jalan Theatre, 30300 Ipoh.
Tel: 05 254 2998
“Kacang Putih” (Indian spiced snacks and nuts)
The term “kacang putih” is used to refer to a variety of Indian spiced snacks and nuts. It is no surprise then that most of Ipoh’s and the country’s most delicious types of kacang putih come from Buntong, Kacang Putih Village located at Jalan Sungai Pari, Kampung Kacang Putih, Buntong, Ipoh.
Kraf Anyaman is a handicraft shop, operated for more than 10 years by Persatuan Pemulihan Orang Cacat (PPOC) (Society of Rehabilitation of Disabled People).
They weave rattan baskets of different sizes, handbags, sepak takraw to name a few. Located at 190 Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Ipoh. Tel: 05 311 5509/311 1509.
Do drop by Yee Thye located at No. 1-3, Jalan Theatre, Ipoh to grab some local food to bring home as souvenirs. Ipoh is famous for chicken biscuits, heong peah (fragrant biscuits) and shat kek ma (sugar-coated egg biscuits).
Where to Stay
From luxurious stays in The Haven and WEIL Hotel to name a few, to unique retreats like Sarang Paloh, Sekeping Kong Heng and Happy 8 Retreats, there are plenty of hotels to choose from. Check out our ‘Unique Stays in Ipoh’ story (issue 230) for more information and selections.
The Warm and Relaxing City
Despite the booming development scene in Ipoh, it is still possible to enjoy Ipoh’s charms over a cup of our signature white coffee. We hope these options will help you as you are planning to visit the city. Do grab a copy of Ipoh Echo to catch the real glimpse of the city that is full of warm-hearted people and good food. Have a great time in Ipoh!