Ipoh is located in the Malaysian state of Perak but is surprisingly still under the radar as most people tend to overlook the city for Penang or Melaka. Famous for its old town covered with street arts, traditional shophouses, cave temples at literally every corner and the iconic white coffee, Ipoh should definitely rank high on your list! If you’re wondering what to do in Ipoh, then you’re in the right place!
Ipoh is the perfect off-beat destination to add to your Malaysia itinerary. Whether you want to break up your journey between Kuala Lumpur and Penang or just looking for an escape from the tourist hordes, this Ipoh travel guide will show you the most fun things to do in Ipoh Malaysia to help you plan your itinerary!
HOW TO GET TO IPOH MALAYSIA?
Trains are available from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh, usually taking about 3 hours. You can get tickets on Easybook which cost about RM 40 (US$ 10). The train station is located less than 5 minutes from Ipoh Old Town.
You can book bus tickets from either Singapore or other parts of Malaysia on Easybook or Busonlineticket. The bus will drop you off at Ipoh Amanjaya which is found 20 minutes from the center. From there, you can take a Grab for about RM 15 (US$ 4). Buses are comfortable and have sufficient legroom.
Ipoh travel tip: You can easily find discount codes by just typing ‘easybook discount code’ on Google. I found that the price is slightly cheaper on
Scoot Airlines and Air Asia have flights from Singapore to Ipoh. Tickets for both airlines cost about US$ 60 one way without checked luggage. You can also get flights from Johor Bahru to Ipoh through Air Asia.
BEST TIME TO VISIT IPOH MALAYSIA
Ipoh is usually hot and humid year-round with the occasional rainfall and temperatures going up to 32 degree Celsius. The wet season is from April to October, while November to February is usually the driest.
Although you might want to travel during Chinese New Year, traffic will be a nightmare (the bus ride took more than 6 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh instead of 3-4 hours, even one week before the festivities). In addition, most shops will be closed and hotel prices tend to be higher.
WHERE TO STAY IN IPOH?
IPOH OLD TOWN
27 Concubine Lane – A beautiful Chinese shophouse that has been converted into a homestay. Because it’s found right in the heart of Concubine Lane, it can be busy during the day but it’s mostly quiet at night. Prices start from RM 100 (US$ 25) for a double room with shared bathroom.
Dé Cafe & Rest House – This hostel offers separate in-bed dormitories for male and female and costs only RM 40 (US$ 10). It’s found just a few meters from Market and Concubine Lanes. Check out prices and availability for Dé Cafe & Rest House here.
IPOH NEW TOWN
Hotel Pi – The hotel is located in the center of New Town, right opposite Memory Lane and less than a 15 minutes’ walk from the Old Town. Each room has a private bathroom and wifi. The price for a queen room costs about RM 110 (US$ 27). Check out prices and availability for Hotel Pi here.
Grayhaus Soho Ipoh – Just a few meters from Hotel Pi, Grayhaus Soho has a homey feel. Single and queen rooms with private bathroom cost RM 50 (US$ 12) and RM 65 (US$ 16) respectively. Coffee and toast are available anytime during the day and night and laundry will set you back RM 15 (US$ 4) per load. Check out prices and availability for Grayhaus Soho Ipoh here.
Abby by the River – The hotel is located along Kinta River and costs about RM 90 (US$ 22) for a superior double room with private bathroom. Breakfast is also included in the price. Check out prices and availability for Abby by the River here.
HOW TO GET AROUND IPOH?
Ipoh is a fairly walkable city, but keep in mind that it’s very hot during the day. If you want to visit farther out to the cave temples you can take a Grab for less than RM 10 (US$ 2.40). Buses are also available, though not quite frequent.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN IPOH MALAYSIA!
SCOUT OUT THE FAMOUS IPOH STREET ARTS
One of the main reasons people visit Ipoh is for the street arts. The Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic who is famous for his murals in Penang and other parts of Malaysia, was appointed to paint the streets of Ipoh Old Town.
His paintings are reminiscing of the old days and provide an insight into the history and cultural heritage of the town.
More street arts can be found along Mural Art’s Lane, just behind Jalan Sultan Iskandar. Here, you’ll come across a whole lane covered with murals of kids playing, traditional lion and Indian dance, which show the different cultures of Malaysia.
Unlike in Penang, the streets will be completely deserted, even during midday, so no waiting in line to get a picture!
Ipoh Travel Tip: You can find some colorful buildings just opposite Mural Art’s Lane.
CONCUBINE LANE AND MARKET LANE
Concubine Lane is where the action happens! On weekends, shop owners set out their stalls on the street and sell everything from souvenirs to jewelry and delicious food. You can also find a few street arts around here.
Market Lane is another little back road where the rainbow umbrellas are located as well as a few interactive street arts. This is where the painting of Ernest Zacharevic, “Old Town Relieves Nostalgia with Trishaw”, is found.
KONG HENG SQUARE
Kong Heng Square is another shopping spot in Ipoh. Just a few meters from Concubine Lane, the buildings have an industrial and almost run-down feel which gives a certain charm to the area.
GET A TASTE OF IPOH WHITE COFFEE
Have you been to Ipoh if you didn’t drink the original Ipoh white coffee? The drink is made from coffee beans roasted with palm oil and served with sweetened condensed milk. It’s available either hot or cold and is bound to give you a major sugar rush! Although, I much prefer the cold one which tastes less sweet.
Nam Heong White Coffee and Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong are said to serve the original Ipoh white coffee. Both are located opposite each other along Jalan Bandar Timah. Make sure to get there early as they are always very crowded and don’t forget to taste the egg tarts, dim sums, and other traditional Hainanese dishes.
EXPLORE THE CAVE TEMPLES
PERAK TONG (PERAK TEMPLE)
Perak Tong is by far the most visited cave temple in Ipoh. The walls are decorated with paintings of Chinese deities and mythical creatures and house several golden Buddha statues. If these are not enough to keep you entertained, you can climb up the 450 stairs to one of the best views in Ipoh!
KEK LOK TONG
Kek Lok Tong is another beautiful and peaceful cave temple found in one of the most picturesque settings. The temple ground comprises of Buddha statues on the inside, while the outside features a beautiful lake garden which is perfect for a nature stroll.
You’ll also find a reflexology footpath and might even encounter swans wandering around the area.
SAM POH TONG
Just a few minutes’ drive away is Sam Poh Tong which was founded by a Chinese monk in the 1800s. Though smaller than the other two, the entrance features a garden and fish pond.
There are stairs leading to the upper floor but they seemed to be closed off at the time of my visit. There is also a passageway leading to quite an impressive pagoda and a tortoise pond but unfortunately, they didn’t seem well maintained. So, if you’re on a tight schedule, you can skip this one.
RELAX AT GUNUNG LANG RECREATIONAL PARK
Gunung Lang Lake was actually tin mining site back in the days but has now been transformed into a recreational park that attracts hundreds of local tourists, especially during weekends. At the entrance, you’ll see an artificial waterfall made by hydraulic pumps with the beautiful limestone as backdrop.
You can take a boat to the other side of the lake for RM 3 (US$ 0.70) for adults and RM 1.50 (US$ 0.40) for children.
EXPLORE THE MARKETS
MEMORY LANE FLEA MARKET
Every Sunday, Memory Lane comes alive during the early hours where locals sell everything from antiques to the usual knick-knacks found at flea markets.
GERBANG MALAM NIGHT MARKET
Gerbang Malam is open every night from 9 pm. You won’t find much food here but rather a mix of clothes, accessories and other random items for sale. If you’re hungry, head to Hangout @ Ipoh for delicious street food.
If you’re not eating out and thinking of cooking your own food, UTC market is where you’ll find fresh produce from 7 am to 10 pm. It can be quite overwhelming when you first enter the market since everything seems to be all stacked together. The vegetable stalls are located near the entrance while the fruit stalls are found upstairs, all the way back.
OTHER IPOH ATTRACTIONS
- Ipoh Parade: Shopping mall found in Ipoh New Town.
- Kellie’s Castle: An abandoned castle that is supposedly haunted!
Funtasyhouse: Trick-eye museum near concubine lane (entrance is RM 19 (US$ 5) for adults and RM 10 (US$ 2.5) for children).
- Restoran New Hollywood: Local food spot, just a 10-minute ride from the center.
- Birch Memorial Clock Tower: Historical landmark in Ipoh (Apparently where most locals have their wedding photoshoot)!
- Lost World of Tambun: Family-theme park
There are so many reasons why you should visit Ipoh. I hope that this Ipoh travel guide has given you some inspiration for your next trip to Malaysia. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them!
READ MORE ABOUT MALAYSIA
- Top things to do in Kuala Lumpur
- Best things to do in Melaka
- Penang itinerary for 3 days
- Malaysia itinerary for two weeks on a budget
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