In a nutshell
Ipoh is most well known for the exceptional local food, and rightly so, it's sensational. But, Ipoh is also home to cultural gems, natural wonders, beautiful architecture and an abounding list of adventurous activities. Calling all explorers!
Why go to Ipoh
A foremost reason to visit Ipoh is for a taste of the historical culture. The tin industry that thrived in the British Colonial Era shaped the architecture and culture of the time. The examples Colonial architecture that remain are sure to inspire and amaze as you roam around the town. The old Post Office, the railway station, the Town Hall. All of these places arrest you take you back in time. The heritage walk around town is a great start for someone seeking to immerse themselves in the culture. Really, it is not something to be missed by anyone visiting Ipoh.
But, Ipoh is so much of so much. A visit to Ipoh opens up an entire world of natural, cultural, and man-made phenomenon ready to engage and impress you. Ipoh Street Art is similar and as good as any that you have seen in Penang. The famous Ernest Zacharevic has seven pieces in the city that you can explore on the Ipoh Mural Tour around Old Town.
Ipoh is located smack bang in the middle of many surrounding attractions. Many people stay over in Ipoh on their trip along the coast to or from Penang. But the city is also only 25 minutes drive to Gopeng, where you can go caving and white water rafting. It is but a few minutes to the cave temples. It is two hours from the Genting Highlands. It’s great centrality has helped its economy develop into a busy and unique city.
When to go to Ipoh
Conveniently, the weather in Ipoh very rarely changes, as a result, you can visit Ipoh any time of year and have a sunny, pleasant experience. The temperature is always between 20 and 30 degree Celsius. There are also no special festivals that you need to try and
Where to stay in Ipoh
Options abound in Ipoh for accommodations suiting all budgets and interests. The budding tourist appeal of the town has garnered good investment in the area. A variety of options thus prevail. Affordable and interesting backpackers are in good supply. Bed and Bike Backpackers provide a well located, interesting loft-designed hostel. In Old Town, full of charm, for only MYR 12 - 15.
Slightly, more costly, but well reputed is Eloft Hostel, a buzzing hub of iconic backpacker style. It costs MYR 30 for a bed and shared bathroom.
At the high end, the options available are astounding. The five star Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is what we are talking about! Located amidst imposing limestone hills, one of the oldest jungles in the world, packed with natural wonders like waterfalls, springs, and caves, this accommodation is up there with the best. The sound of "holistic spa and wellness therapy centre" and other kind of soothing thought you can think, can explain the idyllic nature of this resort. Unfortunately, this luxury comes at a price tag of around MYR 22 000.
Where to eat in Ipoh
An absolute must on the list of things you need to taste while in Ipoh is the renowned white coffee. But, drinking the coffee is but a fraction of the experience that is to be had on a trip here. Ipoh is charmingly dubbed the Seatlle of Asia, with many houses serving white coffee. However, iconic spots like Old Town White Coffee offer an experience to cherish - a chance to kickback and experience the chaos of cluttering of cups of whirlwind of customers. Other great places to hang out with some friends or family include Sin Yoong Loong, or, the less frantic Nam Heong.
Kaya Puffs will satisfy the desert demands of the sweet seeking traveller. Flaky and delectable treats whose recipe has been honed over the last fifty years.
High on the revered cultural dishes available in Ipoh is Gai Si Hor Fun. It is a chicken and prawn soup and comes with the smoothest noodles we've ever had on the side. Ipoh Hor Fun and Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun are other deep seated cultural delicacies worth your attention while you're around.
How to get around Ipoh
Stretching beyond the simple MYR 30 exchange for a scooter for 24 hours in the more tropical regimes of the country, the options for transport are limited to taxis and busses.
To be sure, taxis are the best way to explore the city. The freedom, opportunity, safety, seclusion, and minimal waiting or time-boundedness of the service makes it what it is. Should your budget allow for it, indulge in the luxury. It is important to note that taxi drivers rarely use the meter and prefer to negotiate a price for your journey before its onset. In general, this is in your best interests too, as it will save any unwanted surprises or difficulties at the end of your trip. The rates are fare, costing MYR 5 - 10 to go between local and tourist spots around the city, and MYR 30 - 40 for an hours use to yourself.
For the more daring, capable and budget conscious traveller, there are public busses available to get around the city. The busses are operated by Ipoh Omnibus Company. They are very affordable, priced around a mere one to two ringgit for a trip to where you're going. Entirely up for viewing in a positive and cross-culturally exciting light, your experience of the busses is likely to be one of late and irregular busses, skew and old furnishings, drivers who are equally old, and drivers who drive equally skew. Tickets for your ride can be bought on the bus, which adds a good level of convenience. So, if you're ready to hit the streets with your backpack full of nuts and bottled water, screenshot the name Medan Kidd Bus Terminal, or just this whole bit of text. It is widely known as Ipoh's Internal Bus Terminal. It is smack bang in the centre of Old Town, nearby, and south of the Railway Station. All service routes within town are available from here as well as the out of town trip to or from the Cameron Highlands.
With that being said, Old Town can most definitely be explored on foot. A great option to immerse yourself in the moment in a place so unique and interesting.
How to get to and from Ipoh
Ipoh – what a place to visit after your stay in George Town! Fantastic cosines, street art tours and cultural gems ripe for exploration are as commonplace in Ipoh as they are in George Town.
It takes under two hours from Butterworth to Ipoh by railroad and trains leave five times a day. There are three very early morning trips - the last of which leaves at 8.30am, a trip at 1.30pm and the last at 4pm. Tickets cost between 15 and 25 MYR.
Getting from Kuala Lumpur is best done very easily by either bus or train. The options differ very slightly, and only really in that the train trip has a stop at the Old KL Railway Station and a fantastic colonial relic.
The bus from KL leaves from Puduraya and takes a mere two-and-half to three hours until you in arrive in Ipoh, at Aman Jaya Bus Station. There are several bus operators that frequently run routes through to Ipoh, of these operators, Star is a reliable choice. The ticket will cost around MYR 40-45.
The scenic adoring and old-fashioned inclined will enjoy the train trip to Ipoh. The train passes through the states of Selangor and Perak. These areas are beautiful and contain some of the tourist activities people come to Ipoh for. There is a stop at Old KL Railway Station, which we would suggest hopping off for, take in the cultural significance and beauty, and hop on the next train to Ipoh. The trains leaves KL Sentral every two hours from 8.30am until 10.45pm. An ETS Platinum ticket for a direct, two hour trip will set you back MYR 45. This is the fastest way to get to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur. ETS Gold and Silver tickets get you a three hour trip for MYR 30.
Catching the bus from the Cameron Highlands is a fairly simple feat. The bus stations in Tanah Rata or Brinchang are where you will depart from. The bus leaves four times a day, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. The tickets costs from MYR 20 – book in advance especially if travelling during weekends. It will be but a very windy and interesting two hours until you arrive at Aman Jaya Bus Terminal in Ipoh. A very twisty, but a very beautiful two hours. From here you can easily catch local busses into town, which is ten minutes away.
Is Ipoh a safe place to visit?
Ipoh is a clean and well maintained town. While it is not exempt from economic disparity and the groups of people who are less well off than the majority, the town is safe. People are kind and accommodating and incidents are afew. That being said, giving money to beggars, commonly found at bus terminals is not suggested, while keeping an eye on your belongings and potential pickpockets is.