Ipoh: Wikis


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Ipoh Town Hall

Nickname(s): 'City of Millionaires' or 'Bougainvillea City'
Ipoh is located in Malaysia
Coordinates: 4°36′00″N 101°4′00″E / 4.6°N 101.0666667°E / 4.6; 101.0666667
Country Malaysia
State Perak
Establishment Around 1880
 - Mayor Datuk Haji Roshidi Hashim
 - Total 643 km2 (248.268 sq mi)
Elevation 21.95 m (72 ft)
Population (2007)
 - Total 710,798 (6th)
 Density 1,002.80/km2 (2,597.20/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 - Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Website http://www.mbi.gov.my

Coordinates: 4°36′N 101°04′E / 04.60°N 101.07°E / 04.60; 101.07 Ipoh (pronounced /ˈiːpoʊ/) is a city in Malaysia and is the capital of the state of Perak. It is approximately 200 km (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway.

Ipoh developed into one of Malaysia's main cities due to the booming tin mining industry around the turn of the 19th century. During the British colonial era, Ipoh was Malaysia's second city for administration purposes. There are several notable buildings from the British Colonial era such as the railway station and the town hall. 70% of Ipoh's population is of Chinese origin.

These days Ipoh is perhaps best known for its excellent restaurants, wonderful caves, beautiful temples and famous local dishes.




The name Ipoh is derived from a local tree, pohon epu or now more commonly known as pokok ipoh. The sap of this plant is poisonous and was used by Orang Asli (indigenous people) to coat the tips of the darts of their blowpipes.

The Cantonese name for Ipoh derives the word Yee Poh meaning found treasure. This is because the Hoi San which are Cantonese were the first to move to the area for mining. They then build a small town for trading of food and hardware for the miner. They were happy with the new found tin mining town and name it "yee poh" (found treasure).

Ipoh is sometimes called "Paloh" (Chinese: 壩羅) among local Chinese, referring to the gigantic mining pump used for early tin ore extraction. This is because the extension of the old town to the new town which was first refer as Paloh Chuin or Poloh Village. It was also called "the Town built on Tin" (Chinese: 锡城) and "City of Millionaires", referring to the vast fortunes made during the boom of the tin mining industries.

Other nicknames include "The Bougainvillea City" and "Shan Cheng" (Chinese: 山城) which means "The Hill City" in the Cantonese dialect.


HSBC's Ipoh branch, the oldest operating bank in Ipoh.

Ipoh city came into existence in the 1820s as a village on the banks of the Kinta River. It was less prominent at that time compared to the early mining town of Gopeng, 20 km south of Ipoh. In 1890 Frank Swettenham put forth the founding of Ipoh Sanitary Board which led to systematic planning of Ipoh, which can still be seen today.

However, from the turn of the 20th century when more British tin-mining companies were set up in the city, Ipoh gained greater prominence. Influential institutions such as The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China Limited opened a significant office in Ipoh in 1902. It provided credit to the Straits Trading Company and later the Eastern Smelting Company. More Colonial-era firms started to set up offices in the booming town such as the stockbroker Botly and Co., A.H Whittaker & Co., Chartered Accounts, Evatt & Co., and Estate Visiting Agents Milne & Stevens.

Its geographic location in the rich tin-bearing valley of the Kinta River made it a natural centre of growth. It grew rapidly as a mining town, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. A local Hakka miner, millionaire Yau Tet-Shin started developing a large tract of the city in the early 1930s, today known as the New Town section of the city—the area which roughly delineated from the eastern bank of the Kinta River to Greentown.

Ipoh was invaded by the Japanese on 15 December 1941. During the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, Ipoh was made the capital of Perak, in place of Taiping. In March 1942, the Japanese civil administration or Perak Shu Seicho was set up at the St. Michael's Institution. After the liberation of Malaya by British forces, Ipoh remained the capital of Perak, to this day.[1]

In the 1950s, Ipoh was characterised by the proliferation of large numbers of cinema halls, amusement parks, cabarets and night life which was unrivalled on the peninsula[citation needed]. Two of the largest entertainment groups then, the Cathay Organisation and Shaw Brothers Company had set up chains of cinemas here. Ipoh was also one of the four original towns served by Malayan Airways (now Malaysia Airlines), the other three being Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

With the collapse of tin prices and the closure of the tin mines in the late 1970s, Ipoh's growth stagnated and resulted in migration to other parts of Malaysia (particularly metropolitan areas such as Kuala Lumpur) and Singapore.

Ipoh has since been known colloquially as a "dead" city and earned a reputation as a good location for retirement. Various efforts have been made to redevelop Ipoh into a modern town (refer below for more information). The city is expanding all the time as there are new developments in the suburbs.

Ipoh has one of the cleanest and clearest water supplies in Malaysia,[citation needed] as the source is from the waterfalls in nearby Tanjung Rambutan.

On 27th May 1988, Ipoh was conferred city status by the Sultan of Perak, His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah.


Politically, Ipoh has traditionally been a stronghold of the opposition party. From the early days when Ipoh was the bastion of PPP (an opposition party then), the predominantly Chinese voters voted for the famous D. R. Seenivasagam and S. P. Seenivasagam brothers. Today the city is the stronghold of DAP (Democratic Action Party, Malay: Parti Tindakan Demokratik). The parliamentary seat for Ipoh Timur is held by DAP Representative, Lim Kit Siang while the seat for Ipoh Barat is held by fellow DAP leader, M. Kulasegaran.


Ipoh Railway Station St Michael's Institute HSBC's Ipoh branch, the oldest operating bank in Ipoh.

Ipoh Old Town is characterised by its colonial architecture. Features of note include:

  • Padang Ipoh or Ipoh Field is located on Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam. The field is a well kept and surrounded by many historic buildings that feature classic colonial architecture, including the mock-tudor style Ipoh Club, FMS Bar, HSBC Building and the magnificant St Michael's Institution secondary school.
    File:20080126 073.JPG
    HSBC Building, Ipoh
  • The Ipoh Railway Station. It bears similar architecture to that of the Old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and is nicknamed the "Taj Mahal of Ipoh"
  • Ipoh Town Hall located across the road from the Railway Station also features some interesting gothic architecture.
  • Muzium Darul Ridzuan is an interesting historical museum of Perak, located in a pretty former tin-mining tycoon's mansion on Jalan Kuala Kangsar

City layout

Ipoh City skyline at dusk Ipoh Old Town, partially overlooking Ipoh Padang

Today, "Ipoh" usually refers to the territory under administration of Ipoh City Council or Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh, which includes the smaller towns adjacent to the city such as Silibin, Chemor, Jelapang, Falim, Menglembu and Tanjung Rambutan. Historically, "Ipoh" referred to the Old Town and New Town areas divided by the Kinta River at its heart, from which the city grew. From the late 1980s Greentown, located beside the New Town, was transformed from old government quarters to an administrative and commercial centre of Ipoh, often overshadowing both the Old Town and New Town. See list_of_ipoh_areas



Ipoh still remains one of Malaysia's largest cities. Today, Ipoh is the fourth largest city in Malaysia.

  • Population: 702,464 (2009)
  • Urban area population: 1,143,778 (2009)[2]
  • Ranking: sixth most populous urban centre in Malaysia. (2007)[3]

Census statistics

The following is based on Ipoh City Hall statistics, 2004. [4][5]

Ethnic groups in Ipoh, 2004 census
Ethnicity Population Percentage
Chinese 451,361 70.0%
Malay 109,616 17.0%
Indian 80,600 12.5%
Others 3,225 0.5%

Places of interest

The Old Town and New Town of Ipoh are two different parts of Ipoh separated by the Kinta River. Most olden-day pre-World War II shophouses, heritage buildings, and some Government buildings are located in the Old Town while the New Town comprises the area originally developed by Yau Tet Shin[citation needed], stretching all the way from Kinta River to Greentown. It has newer shops, buildings, shopping malls and housing estates. There are also some theme water parks like The Lost World Of Tambun. There are also a lot of great and beautiful temples in Ipoh.

‎ One of the many beautiful temples located in Ipoh

The Old Town

St. Michael's Institution which is located along Clayton Road (now Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam) is a building of architectural merit, standing beautifully near the Ipoh City Field, Ipoh City Library and the Ipoh CIty Hall. The all boys school is one of the the most prestigious English schools in Malaysia. A La Sallian school opened in 1912 by Father J.B. Coppin. During the Japanese occupation in World War II, the school building had become the Japanese administration headquarters in Ipoh.

The Anglo-Chinese School, Ipoh, officially named SMK Methodist (ACS), located along Lahat Road is the oldest and one of the most famous schools in the state of Perak, Malaysia.

Many 'shop-houses' along Leech Street (Chinese: 烈治街; now Jalan Bandar Timah) in the Old Town still maintain their architectural significance, besides being a popular spot for food and drinks (refer Cuisine).

The New Town

D.R. Seenivasagam Park, formerly Coronation Park

D. R. Seenivasagam Park (Coronation Park), located in the heart of Ipoh (New Town), is known for its scenic beauty and recreational facilities. It comprises several recreational fields, an artificial lake filled with various types of fishes, a nursery for potted plants and a children's traffic playground. The latest addition is the newly landscaped Japanese garden featuring a typical Japanese carp pond.

The New Town houses the Perak Medical University and Ipoh City Hall building, among others.

Limestone caves

The Gua Tempurung Limestone Caves

Ipoh has many limestone caves due to the surrounding karst formations. The Sam Po Tong (Chinese 三宝洞; Cavern of Three Precious) temple, is a Chinese temple built within a limestone cave. A pond outside houses many tortoises. Its sister temple, Perak Tong (Chinese 霹雳洞; Perak Cave), has a steep, tall staircase in the interior of the cave rising up to the top of its hill where one is greeted by a panoramic view of Ipoh and its surroundings. The statue of Buddha in Perak Tong was the tallest and largest of its kind in Malaysia when first commissioned. Both these cavern temples have decent vegetarian food.

Another sight worth seeing is the Kek Lok Tong (Chinese 极乐洞; Cavern of Utmost Happiness), which is a cave temple that lies on the other side of the same range of limestone hills as Sam Poh Tong. It is accessible through the Gunung Rapat housing area. It has a cleaner, quieter and more cooling environment and has the best scenic cave view.

Limestone hills extend 20 km north of Ipoh and also 20 km to the south. There are many caves in these hills; cave temples are built in some of these caves [6]. Gua Tempurung, near Gopeng south of Ipoh, is a show cave open to the public.

Unfortunately many of the limestone hills are being quarried in the ever increasing demand for crushed stone and cement. Some of the hills under threat contain endemic fauna and flora. One cave, Gua Puncak[7], contains Peninsular Malaysia's second largest cave chamber and is in danger of being quarried. In reaction to this, the Malaysian Karst Society has been set up in an attempt to save these hills.[8]


Ipoh is famous for dishes such as "Sar Hor Fun" (Chinese: 沙河粉). It is a flat white rice noodle served in soup with shredded chicken and prawns.

Other famous dishes from Ipoh include:

  • "Hor Hee" - flat white rice noodles served with fish cakes and/or fish balls,
  • "Nga Choi Kai" (Chinese: 芽菜鸡) - chicken fillet with soy sauce, and beansprouts with pepper spread on top
  • "Hakka Mee" (Chinese: 客家面) - yellow rice noodles served with mince meat (pork) sauce
  • "Heong Peng" ((Chinese: 香饼) - a type of biscuit.

Ipoh is well known in Malaysia for its "Ipoh white coffee".

Note: food items in Chinese are pronounced in the Cantonese language, a common dialect in Ipoh.
A type of Ipoh curry noodles

Prominent people from Ipoh


The government-owned and operated Ipoh Hospital is located near the Fair Park and Greentown area. It is just a stone throw's away from SMK Anderson, a school which is famous for its achievement in sport and education.


There are a few sporting venues in Ipoh. A portion of land located in the Kampong Simee area has been selected by the City Council for the Sport Center. The main sports stadium for football (soccer) and other track and field events is the Perak Stadium. There is an indoor sports stadium beside it, the Indera Mulia Stadium, playing host to events such as badminton. Ipoh is also home for the Perak Football Association.

Ipoh is also home to Malaysia's first velodrome, Velodrom Rakyat (The People's Velodrome), costing RM 3.25 million; funds were raised in a country-wide donation drive (led by Tan Sri Darshan Singh Gill). In addition, Ipoh also boasts as one of the first cities in the country that has an Astroturf stadium for hockey, the Azlan Shah Stadium.

For golf, the available courses in Ipoh are the Royal Perak Golf Club off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (Tiger Lane), the Meru Golf Club in Jelapang, and Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Club en route to Batu Gajah.

Other sports venues include the Kilat Club in Pasir Pinji, Ipoh Field (Padang Ipoh) in the Old Town, the Polo Grounds, and the Iskandar Polo Club, in Ampang Baru.


  • Trunk roads: The old interstate Route 1 connects Ipoh with neighboring towns and other states (such as the town of Gopeng, and city of Kuala Lumpur down south).
  • Highway: The new North-South Expressway is a faster and more efficient alternative to Route 1. However, certain towns like Kampar can only be accessible via Route 1. Drivers using the North-South highway can exit into Ipoh from any of these four exits – Simpang Pulai, South Ipoh (Ipoh(S)) or North Ipoh (Ipoh(U)) & Jelapang.
  • Train: Ipoh's railway station is operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) and is situated in the Old Town (however, it does not have intra-city travel like in Kuala Lumpur). The railway only connects Ipoh with neighbouring towns and cities. The railway station is quite beautiful, and referred to by locals as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. KTM Intercity began the Shuttle Train Service between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh from December 1 2008. There are 10 dedicated shuttle train services between these two cities daily which begins at 5am from both the stations. Travel time between the cities expected to be reduced from three hours to two hours and fifteen minutes when the new set of EMU trains arrive in mid 2009. [9].
  • Bus: The inter-city bus terminal is located at Silveritage Galleria along Gopeng Road nearby Gunung Rapat, south of Ipoh (formerly situated in Medan Kidd, Old Town) to Ipoh Temrnal Bus Station.
  • Air: the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport is the only airport in Ipoh. It is situated near Gunung Rapat. However, only domestic flights (and limited international ones) are available at this airport.
  • Firefly provides daily flights out of Ipoh to Singapore Changi Airport while Silverfly provides flights to Medan, Indonesia. [10].

Film and television

Ipoh was regarded by some filmmakers as a good location for shooting due to its beautiful scenery. Movies filmed in Ipoh include:


Around Ipoh and its environs

The Lost World of Tambun theme park

Famous attractions around Ipoh include Kellie's Castle.

A 15-minute drive from Ipoh towards Tanjung Rambutan brings you to the foot of a limestone hill where visitors can rejuvenate at hot baths from the Tambun hot spring, a natural spring.

Ulu Chepor is a famous recreational place to relax for picnics and camping in a remote yet nature-friendly place. Ulu Chepor is another waterfall camping area located 10 km from Ipoh city; other such waterfalls include Lubuk Timah in Simpang Pulai and one in Falim.

Another attraction is the Gunung Lang Recreational Park which is 5 km from the Ipoh city center. It has been operated by the City Hall (DBI) with the collaboration of Ministry of Tourism Malaysia since 1999. This park, costing RM 8.4 million, has 3 man-made lakes which was reclaimed from old tin mines and filled in with tropical fish.

The recently opened "Lost World of Tambun" is expected to gain a certain following as Ipoh's own "Sunway City" (mirroring the actual Sunway City located about 15 km west of Kuala Lumpur). Within the "Lost World of Tambun" is an upgraded and revived natural hot spring, which was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s.[citation needed]

Sister cities

Sister cities of Ipoh include:

See also


  1. ^ Khoo Salma Nasution & Abdur-Razzaq Lubis, Kinta Valley: Pioneering Malaysia's Modern Development, Ipoh: Perak Academy, 2005. pp. 273–292
  2. ^ World Gazetteer statistics. [1]
  3. ^ Helders, Stefan. "Malaysia: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=gamelan&dat=32&geo=-152&srt=pnan&col=ohdq&pt=c&va=x. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  4. ^ Ipoh City Hall portal. http://portal.mbi.gov.my/gis_baru/penduduk.html
  5. ^ Ipoh City Hall FAQ. http://www.mbi.gov.my/portal2/government/faq/faq.htm
  6. ^ Caves and Limestone Hills of Malaysia. http://www.cavesofmalaysia.com
  7. ^ Caves and Limestone Hills of Malaysia – Threats: " Important Caves In Danger: Gua Puncak... contains Peninsular Malaysia's second largest chamber". http://www.cavesofmalaysia.com/photopage8.htm
  8. ^ Malaysian Karst Society: "...non-profit, non-government organisation formed to conserve the karst outcrops in Malaysia". http://www.mykarst.org
  9. ^ http://www.cockatoo.com/malaysia/e-06pera/em-per27.htm
  10. ^ http://themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/35112-firefly-suspends-singapore-malacca-route-
  11. ^ Sister City Exchange
  12. ^ Sister Cities

Kampung Sungai Rokam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sungai_rokam

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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Ipoh is the state capital of Perak, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia.


Ipoh developed into one of Malaysia's main cities due to the booming tin mining industry around the turn of the 19th century. During the British colonial era, Ipoh was Malaysia's second city for administration purposes. There are several notable buildings from the British Colonial era such as the railway station and the town hall. The population of Ipoh is about 70% of Chinese origin

These days Ipoh is perhaps best known for its excellent restaurants, hawkers, and famous local dishes.

Get in

The most practical means of reaching Ipoh is bus, although train services have sped up and increased considerably since the line from Kuala Lumpur was double-tracked.

By plane

Ipoh is served by the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (IATA: IPH). Firefly [1] operates daily flights to and from the budget terminal of Singapore Changi Airport.

By train

There are ten daily services in each direction between the Ipoh Train Station and KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur. The journey takes between three to four hours one way and costs between RM12 and RM40 depending on seating class. The first train departs KL Sentral at 5:30am and the last train at 10:30pm.

Ipoh is on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Penang-Bangkok route so there are also trains to and from Penang and all the way to Bangkok.

By bus

The main Ipoh bus terminal is located at Medan Gopeng. The station provides services to and from just about any location in the country. Most frequent routes are to and from Kuala Lumpur (Puduraya Station) and Penang. Larger bus companies like Transnational, Plusliner, Konsortium provide the most frequent, reliable and safe services.

Bus companies also operate out of other locations including Jalan Bendahara for services to and from Singapore and Jalan Bercham for the YoYo [2] bus service to and from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

By car

Ipoh is well connected to the North-South Expressway. You can get into Ipoh via Exit 137: Simpang Pulai or Exit 139: Ipoh Selatan

Get around

By car

Driving in Ipoh for the unfamiliar can be like going through a maze. The city centre has many one-way streets and road signs are somewhat lacking. On the bright side, city road maps are easily available at bookstore, tourist centres and even online. It is advisable to have a map handy. Ipoh's traffic is not as congested as other cities such as Kuala Lumpur. However, like any major cities, traffic slowdown is inevitable especially during heavy traffic such as the morning drive to work (around 8AM-9AM), (noon-1.30PM) during weekdays due to lunch-hour & school children being in/out of school and late evening return from work (around 5PM-6PM). Parking spaces are adequate although finding one may require some patience.

By bus

Public buses do ply certain routes but information about the routes are not published and buses are rarely on time. Consulting locals would be the best way to find out information about getting around on public buses.

On foot

Ipoh is a rather pedestrian-unfriendly city, but certainly better than KL. Walking within Ipoh city centre and Ipoh Old Town is feasible but walking long distance generally is not. New town and the outlying suburbs are not good at all for pedestrians.

By bicycle

There are no hard and fast rules for cyclists, but you are expected to observe road rules at all times. Cyclists are forbidden from riding on the sidewalk but often do. Helmets are optional but not common.

Car rental

Some of the recognised car rental agencies have branches in Ipoh.

Kek Lok Tong
Kek Lok Tong

Within Ipoh

Ipoh Old Town has much character and contains many marks of its colonial past including:

  • Padang Ipoh or Ipoh Field is located on Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam. The field is a well kept and surrounded by many historic buildings that feature classic colonial architecture, including the mock-tudor style Ipoh Club, FMS Bar, HSBC Building and the magnificant St Michael's Institution secondary school.
    HSBC Building, Ipoh
    HSBC Building, Ipoh
  • The Ipoh Railway Station. It bears similar architecture to that of the Old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and is nicknamed the "Taj Mahal of Ipoh"
  • Ipoh Town Hall located across the road from the Railway Station also features some interesting gothic architecture.
  • Muzium Darul Ridzuan is an interesting historical museum of Perak, located in a pretty former tin-mining tycoon's mansion on Jalan Kuala Kangsar
  • Kellie's Castle, the deserted mansion of an eccentric Scottish planter, is in Batu Gajah, half an hour's drive from Ipoh city center. Its main appeal lies in the belief that it is haunted and that secret passages leading to hidden chambers exist. A taxi will cost you around RM 50 - 60 and they will usually wait for an hour (which is long enough to look around). There is an entrance fee to the castle.
  • Perak Tong (Perak Cave) is located at Gunung Tasek and houses over 40 Buddha statues and many murals. There is a steep, tall staircase in the interior of the cave rising up to the top of its hill, where one is greeted by a beautiful and panoramic view of Ipoh and its surroundings. The statue of Buddha in Perak Tong is the tallest and largest of its kind in Malaysia. Perak Tong was built in 1926 by a Buddhist priest from China.
  • Sam Poh Tong (Cavern of Triple Gems) is a Chinese temple located at Gunung Rapat near the Simpang Pulai Toll exit(less than 10 minutes drive from the toll). The temple is built within a limestone cave. It has a popular attraction: a tortoise pond which houses hundreds of tortoises and terrapins (a symbol of longevity) of various sizes. There are several other cave temples immediately next to Sam Poh Tong, for example Nan Tian Tong. They have been renovated recently and now stands colourful buddha statues and chinese zodiac animals for children and adults to ride on and take pictures. Right outside Sam Poh Tong is the infamous Pamelo stalls next to the main road.
  • Kek Lok Tong (Cavern of Ultimate Bliss), a cave temple that lies on the other side of the same limestone hill as Sam Poh Tong, is accessible only through Gunung Rapat housing area. Hence, Kek Lok Tong has a cleaner, quieter and more cooling environment and has the best scenic view from the cave.



Ipoh provides numerous different shopping experiences, from malls to local markets:

  • Pasar Malam or night markets are where many stalls set up their business selling a variety of food, groceries, toys, clothes and household items. The stalls move to various locations throughout the week:
    • Monday: Taman Menglembu, Taman Ipoh Jaya (near Gunung Rapat)
    • Tuesday: Ipoh Garden East
    • Wednesday: Ipoh Garden (near Perak stadium), Bercham (Taman Pakatan
    • Thursday: Taman SPPK
    • Friday: Taman Pertama; Pekan Razaki (near Taman Ipoh Jaya)
    • Saturday: Taman Rasi
    • Sunday: Taman Cempaka (6pm-10pm only)
  • Memory Lane is a flea market along Jalan Lim Bo Seng that takes places every Sunday morning. It is a good place to find imitation goods, antiques and other interesting local souvenirs. Be ready to bargain for the best price and be conscious of the fact that some stuff sold are probably stolen goods.
  • Shopping Malls. The Kinta City Shopping Centre and Ipoh Parade are the two best malls within the city. Both have a fair range of branded stores, with good bargains during sale periods that could be of interest to keen shoppers.
  • For a stretch of quaint boutiques, visit Ipoh Garden South.
  • Caving. Gua Tempurung is the largest limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia and is believed to have been in existence since 8000BC. Located close to the North South Highway's Gopeng Exit, it provides the opportunity to explore in detail the insides of a limestone cave. You can choose to experience a short tour of the cave or adventure into the deep ends of the cave that includes trekking in a cave river and other uneven terrain.
  • Explore Tambun, once a small town north of the city, with city growth it is now a close suburb to the city centre. Tambun has been traditionally known for its juicy pomelo fruit and the Tambun Hot Springs.,Soaking in these hot springs is said to bring health benefits to the body because of the high sulfur content in the water. Also in Tambun, is Ipoh's only water theme park, The Lost World of Tambun. It provides great rides and entertainment for families and also organizes tours into the nearby limestone caves for those interested in eco-tourism
  • Jungle Trekking - Trek up the one of the many trails up the Menglembu Hills in the Menglembu/Kledang area to enjoy the awe-inspiring view of the limestone outcrops that surround Ipoh. If unsure of how to get to these trails, just ask the many locals who trek up daily in the early mornings and late evenings.
  • Ulu Geroh and Rafflesia flower, Be an ecotourist and experience the rainforest here. This is an Orang Asli kampung about one hour's drive into the hills east of Gopeng. The last half of the ride is along a rough road (4x4 preferred) through rubber, durian and oil palm plantations to the village on the edge of the rainforest. Guides from the Orang Asli community take visitors to see the parasitic Rafflesia flower (the largest flower in the world) and the Raja Brooke's Birdwing butterfly as well as other forest bugs, plants, etc. There's also a small but beautiful waterfall. Apart from Rafflesia watching, jungle hiking, caving and white water rafting can be organized. To visit Ulu Geoh it's best to arrange guides at least day or two in advance either by phoning Ahha at +60173245200.Online booking via the Ulu Geroh website [3] might also be possible.You will need your IC or passport number for the visitor log book. Basic accommodation is available at Ulu Geroh itself or in a rural setting at three nearby eco-resorts:
  • My Gopeng Resort [4]
  • Rumah Rehat Adeline [5]
  • Gopeng Rainforest Resort [6].
  • Golf at the many golf courses around the city. The Perak Royal Golf Club is the oldest of the golf courses located close to the city centre but there are also great golf courses at Clearwater Sanctuary in Batu Gajah and Meru Valley in Jelapang. Both Clearwater Sanctuary and Meru Valley provide accommodation that make a golfing holiday all the more convenient.


Restaurants often do not display prices. Tourists are advised to ask the price before having meals. Tipping is uncommon in Ipoh and even taxis will usually return your change to the last cent.


Ipoh is inexpensive by Malaysian standards, and even more so for visitors from most industrialized countries: RM50 is a perfectly serviceable daily backpacker budget. Food in particular is a steal, with excellent local hawker fare available for less than RM4 per generous serving. Accommodation is also inexpensive by international standards, with a bed in most hotels below RM100. Top hotels offer rooms at around RM100 to RM300.

  • Ipoh Fragrant Biscuit (Heong Peng)“香饼”. Famous in Ipoh and Malaysia, these traditional biscuits feature a sweet paste within its flaky skin. Hand made ones are rare and you'll probably find mass produced ones to be widespread. Most popular brand is 'Yee Hup'
  • Pottery. Often missed by most visitors is the fact that Ipoh produces pottery for export. A good place to shop is along Jalan Kuala Kangsar, where stores offer an ample selection.
  • Ipoh White Coffee. If you have to get the sachet-packed type, try the brand 'Old Town' or 'Chek Hup'. If you want to try a cup of original Ipoh White Coffee, you can visit the old town kopitiam located at Ipoh Old Town itself. There, you can also can get the 3in1 sachet Old Town White Coffee. This coffee shop is a corner shop with one side facing a 15-storey flat.


Ipoh is known, the country over for good food. Signature Ipoh dishes are:

  • Ipoh bean sprouts chicken"芽菜雞" , which consists of chicken meat, assorted chicken innards and bean sprouts boiled in hard water and served with soy sauce and sesame oil. Ipoh's bean sprouts are very fat, short and tastier than those produced outside Ipoh; thus, Ipoh's beansprouts also receive orders from other states. Famous bean sprout chicken noodles include Onn Kee (安記芽菜雞沙河粉)and Lou Wong (老黃芽菜雞沙河粉) Restaurants, both of which are located at the junctions of Yau Tet Shin Street 姚德勝街 and Osbourne Street.
    Lou Wong
    Lou Wong
  • Ipoh Sar Hor Fun"怡保沙河粉", which are rice flat noodles prepared in hard water and served in clear chicken and prawn soup with chicken shreds, prawns and spring onions. Famous sar hor fun purveyors include Thean Chun and Kong Heng Restaurants, located along Leech Street 列治街 in the Old Town. Other popular food choices include chicken and pork intestines satay, curry pork skin chee cheong fun, popiah and their custard! Custards are usually sold out around 3pm weekdays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Salted chicken or Yim Kok Kai 盐锔鸡. This is a must try when you are in Ipoh. The chicken is baked in salt in such a way that the skin and meat is so delicious that you will finish it all. Whole chickens are wrapped in "oil paper" and then baked in large woks filled with heated salt. The restaurant that sells salted chicken is Aun Kheng Lim Restaurant, located at Theatre Street, opposite Martell house or near Bak Gong restaurant in the city centre. It is so popular that you must call to order before you drop in. Tel: 05-254 2998.
  • Ipoh White Coffee, which are coffee beans specially roasted (with palm-oil margarine; visit this Wikipedia article for more info). Its colour is similar to that of cappuccino when served with milk. The best can be found in the few coffee shops located opposite the Kinta Heights flats in Ipoh's old town such as:
    • Nam Heong Restaurant (Distributor of "3 in 1 Ipoh Old Town White Coffee")
    • Xin Yun Loong restaurant (Open mornings and afternoons only)
    • Xin Yuan Hoong and Xin Yuan Foong (All open mornings and afternoons only).
The aroma, taste & texture of the original thing is definitely superior compared to the commercially-packed sachets or the Ipoh White Coffee sold elsewhere. These coffee shops are likely to be crowded during teatime, especially on weekends. Food-wise, you can get fried noodles/vermicelli, satay, congee, kuih, etc. at these coffee shops. Also order tasty toasted bread with kaya (coconut jam) and butter to complement a good cup of white coffee (known as a "Yin-Yang" toast). Nowadays you can get a good cup of white coffee in coffee shops around Ipoh city.
  • Pomelo“柚”. Perak's most famous fruit, a large juicy citrus fruit. The best pomelos are reputed to be from Tambun, about 10 minutes drive east of Ipoh. There are stalls selling pomelos in front of the Sam Po Tong temple.


Besides these signature dishes, Ipoh is also known to have some of the best of Malaysian cuisine like:

Chinese Food

  • Hor Hee noodles 河熹粉. This is a very delicious kuey teow noodles with fish balls, fish pastes and hand made fish wan tan. The most famous stalls selling Hor Hee include those located in Li Heng Fatt restaurant at Jalan Panglima, Ipoh Old Town (open from 3pm to 10pm). Food sell in this stall are all home made and couldn't find it elsewhere. This stall just moved from Heng Fong restaurant (just a few doors away), and also the "Gao Peng" restaurant at Chamberlain Road in Ipoh New Town (again, night only).
  • Dim sum“点心”(fish balls, fried items, dumplings, buns, served in small quantities). Foh San(富山) restaurant, located nearby the tauge ayam outlets, is a famous dim sum restaurant. Yuk Fook Moon Lau(玉福满楼) (open in the morning and also at night), located behind Excelsior Hotel, sells excellent dim sum too. Ming Kok (明阁), which is just opposite, is the best dim sum restaurant in Ipoh. Also try out or take away the Cha Siew Bao", Chinese pork pao (bun) sold in Yuk Fook Moon Lau. Be warned: Go there early in the morning, around 6am-7am, because it is quite difficult to get a table at a later time.
  • Chinese restaurants which serve excellent seafood and meat. The famous ones among Ipoh natives are Overseas(海外天) restaurant opposite Excelsior hotel, Mun Zhong (民众) restaurant in Jalan Pasir Puteh, Pusing Public Seafood Restaurant (布先民众海鮮酒家)on Jalan Verasamy, “Tung Hoi (东海) restaurant in Menglembu & Ipoh Garden South, and "Rainbow (天虹) restaurant in Menglembu. Two restaurants that serve very good Nyonya (Straits Chinese) cuisine are Yum Yum restaurant at Persiaran Greenhill near Excelsior hotel and Assam House restaurant near Jalan Yang Kalsom.
  • Chow hor fun炒河粉 or Kueh teow basah are rice noodles fried in such a way that it is a little wet with dark gravy (as opposed to the Penang char kueh teow which has no gravy but is fried with egg, prawns or cockles and the Cantonese-style wat tan hor 滑蛋河, which is completely immersed in clear, egg gravy). You can get chow hor fun in all Chinese restaurants in Ipoh. The best chow hor fun can be found at a street stall in the Mengelembu town area and one restaurant near Xin Hup Zi (originating from Buntong; only open at night).
  • Hakka noodles客家麵. A few restaurants around the city sell delicious Hakka noodles with yong tau foo. The most popular Hakka noodles are offered by Yin Yau Kui at Hugh Low Street (Jalan Iskandar). This shop specialises in noodles rather than yong tau foo. Another lesser known favourite, known to local old-timers is located at Majestic Food Centre at Osbourne Street (Jalan Tahwil Azar). This stall offers much better yong tau foo compared to Yin Yau Kui but Yin Yau Kui's noodles are superior. There is one near the Mun Zhong restaurant in Jalan Pasir Puteh and one in a food court behind the Olympia College or Jalan Yang Kalsom (both open mornings only).
  • Curry noodle 咖喱麵. In old town Ipoh, Sin Seng Fatt (新成发), which is located near Kong Heng restaurant in Market Street, sells very delicious curry noodles. The curry paste of the curry noodle is so good that it's packed and sent to franchises in Hong Kong. They have a franchise at SS2, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. (open mornings and afternoons only). Another famous shop known to the locals is Sin Chuan Fatt (新泉發) on Jalan Pasir Puteh, which is known for its very spicy and thick curry paste, fried chicken and pork to go with the noodles. Another famous restaurant facing the roundabout beside MGS secondary school (open mornings and afternoons only) and a coffee shop called Sin Chuan Fong (新泉芳) on Hugh Low Street.
  • Claypot Chicken Rice 瓦褒鸡饭. This is a hot and delicious. Ipoh's famous exponent of this dish is located in the Bercham village area, at Lorong Bercham 4, opposite the Old Bercham wet market (open only at night).
  • Chinese-style Satay 沙爹. This is skewered meat seasoned and flavored with spices and served with cucumbers, onions and a chunky peanut sauce. Please note that the Chinese-style of satay (compared to other satay) contains pork and is thus unsuitable for Muslim tourists. The preferred stall is in Thean Chun Restaurant, Ipoh old town (open mornings and afternoons).
  • Chu Cheong Fun noodles 猪肠粉. This is a white noodles dish with sauce only. The most famous stall selling Chu Cheong Fun is the one located in Weng Kat Fong (永吉坊) restaurant in Menglembu Town (open only afternoon). Its' famous sauce is mushroom sauce that you can find only in Ipoh (The most delicious in Ipoh), and thick curry sauce. Chu Cheong Fun noodles dish in Ipoh don't have sweet prawn sauce like in Penang and KL. You can order a plain Chu Cheong Fun noodle with sesame and soya sauce also. The "Ham Jim Beng" 咸煎饼, prawn cracker 虾饼, and pandan fried chicken are the best in town and must try. The nasi lemak dishes is also a favourite. Go there early as there is limited table in restaurant or take away.
  • Tau Fu Fah (豆腐花), or soybean curd. It is claimed that Ipoh or Kinta Valley water makes this drink tasty. This drink is good for the body after travelling on a very hot day. The soya bean is fresh, sweet and smooth. Once you are drinking this soya bean curd, you can feel the smoothness and freshness of the soya bean smoothing down through your throat. It is served steaming hot with pandan syrup. The stall named Kei Foong, or Funny Mountain in English, is located at Osbourne Street (Jalan Tahwil Azar), near Restaurant Foh San. It has a drive-in delivery service. Also try the following delicious varieties:
    • soymilk only
    • soymilk mixed with cincau
    • soybean curd with soymilk.
The Funny Mountain shop is open from 10.00am to 7.30pm. Tau Fu Fah and its variants can also be found in stalls by the roadside in various places.
  • Tong Sui (糖水), sweet dessert drink that will definitely refresh your body on a hot day. The most famous, located at what locals call "Tong Sui Kai" (糖水街) or Desert Drinks Street, is opposite Sam Tet Primary School (noon till late night). The most popular tong sui at this place would be black sesame (芝麻糊), mo mo cha cha and red bean (红豆沙). Also recommended is one located at Restaurant Cha Yong, behind Pizza Hut in Ipoh Garden South. Another few stalls are located in the Ipoh Stadium's food court and in a food court near the former Ocean (now The Store) supermarket.

Malay/Indian Food

  • Laksa Perak 叻沙. This is a noodle dish which is similar to Penang's famous Asam Laksa but with a different taste. Laksa in Ipoh tastes a bit sour and spicy but not as sweet as Penang's Laksa. The ingredients of the noodle soup include prawn paste. There is one very good Laksa stall in Farlim, Ipoh (opposite the Setapak driving institute, on the way to Mengelembu from Ipoh; open Sunday afternoons only). The other one would be the Laksa stall in Kong Heng Restaurant.
  • Banana Leaf Rice. A common Southern Indian meal that includes a variety of meat curries, vegetables and poppadoms, it is great to have at Samy Restaurant in Chemor and Chuan Fong (泉芳) restaurant. Another great location to have it is at the Perak Stadium in Canning Garden.


Ipoh does not have a large night scene, however there are a large concentration of pubs and bars at Bandar Baru Medan (behind the Kinta City Shopping Center) and at the Greentown Business Centre.. Rum Jungle at Sunway Ipoh is another new night spot with live band performances that could be checked out.

  • Hotel Eastern, Jalan Raja Musa Aziz. The hotel is located close to Ipoh Old Town in one of the most pedestrian friendly areas of the city
  • Majestic Station Hotel Ipoh, located above the Ipoh Railway Station. One night stay from RM88 inclusive of a buffet breakfast. Located in the heart of Ipoh, it is a close walk to the many historic colonial buildings including the Ipoh Town Hall, St. Michael's Institution and Padang Ipoh.
  • Seri Malaysia Hotel Ipoh, Jalan Sturrock, off Jalan Tambun.
  • YMCA Ipoh, Jalan Raja Musa Aziz, beside D.R. Park.
  • Grand Park Hotel, 19 Jalan Bendahara, tel:60-(0)5-2411333 An old colonial mansion in the middle of town. The building was converted into a hotel during the 1950s. Located opposite the Sri Maju bus station. It is centrally located and convenientally nearby to many eating places. Also nearby can be found several delightful 50s deco cinemas. Rooms available from RM40 upwards.
  • Hotel Ipoh City, Jalan Dass, off Jalan Horley, rooms frm RM90 upwards. Conveniently located close to the colonial buildings of Ipoh Old Towm.
  • Hotel Fair Park Ipoh, Jalan Kamaruddin Isa. Conveniently located close to the Ipoh Stadium and Sporting Complex.
  • Hotel Grand View Ipoh, 36,Jalan Horley. Loacted right outside Memory Lane's weekly flea market. Rooms available from RM79nett
  • Sun Inns Hotel Ipoh, Sunway City Ipoh. Located at Sunway City Ipoh in Tambun area. It is a close walk to the Lost World of Tambun Theme Park and Extreme Park.
  • Regalodge Hotel Ipoh, 131, Jalan Raja Ekram (Located behind General Hospital and beside UOB Bank). Tel: +605 242 5555, Fax: +605 241 1555. E-Mail: [7] Website: [8]. A three star hotel located at the center of Ipoh. The hotel provides free wireless internet access in the hotel room and public area. Standard/Superior room with local breakfast for 02 with the rack rate of RM116 nett only.
    Regalodge Hotel
    Regalodge Hotel
  • Hotel Excelsior, 43 Jln Sultan Abdul Jalil. Tel : 605-253 6666 Fax : 605-253 6912. [9] Four star hotel. They have the current walk in rates at about RM 136 nett with Continental/Local breakfast. Located at opposite Overseas restaurant.
    Hotel Excelsior
    Hotel Excelsior
  • Ritz Garden, 86 & 88, Jalan Yang Kalsom (easily recognized as the building with the pyramid-shape roof). Tel: +605-242 7777, fax: +605-242 1166. [10]. A three-star hotel located in the heart of Ipoh city. The hotel provides free wireless internet access in its public areas as well as guestrooms. Deluxe rooms with breakfast for 2 pax go for RM110 nett but they do have walk-in (standard room) rates of RM95 nett.
  • Heritage Hotel Ipoh, [11]on Jalan Raja DiHilir is a three star hotel that provides decent accommodation.
  • Hillcity Hotel & Condo, on Jalan Gopeng is located just opposite the Sam Poh Tong Caves and the famous pomelo fruit stalls.
  • The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat [12] opens in December 2009 in Sunway City, Tambun. This five star wellness and spa resort is located on a 56-acre valley fringing a cluster of towering limestone hills, the indigeous landcape is surrounded by one of the oldest jungles in the world, natural caves, waterfalls and geothermal hotsprings, all unblemished by time. The self-contained retreat enriches discerning travellers with authentic and timeless experiences with 25 luxury villas, holistic spa and wellness therapies, unequalled Malaysian hospitality and distinctive Asian grace.
  • Impiana Casuarina Ipoh [[13]], on Jalan Gopeng is a four star hotel that is probably one of the most reliable quality hotels in the city.
  • Syuen Hotel Ipoh, 88, Jln Sultan Abdul Jalil (Located at opposite Parkson shopping centre). +605 253 8889, fax: +605 253 3335. [14]. A four star hotel, thus probably not for the budget traveller, the Syuen offers a full range of services for both business and holiday travellers.
  • Indulgence Living [[15]]on Jalan Raja Dihilir is a boutique hotel with 2 designer suites and 4 themed rooms. Indulgence provides one of the highest classes of hospitality in the city. The hotel is located above the fine dining Indulgence Restaurant.
  • Tower Regency Hotel Ipoh, [16]27, Jln Dato Seri Ahmad Said (Located opposite the MBI building). New hotel launched in January 2009 with rooms and service apartments. Located close to the Greentown Business Centre and Ipoh Parade Shopping Mall

Stay safe

Ipoh is in general a very safe city, certainly by international standards. There are however some irritants like beggars, especially at bus terminals. It is better not to attract any unwanted attention by giving money to the beggars as most of them are professional beggars operated by syndicates.

Perhaps not so much a safety thing per se, but at the Central Market in New Town, particularly if you are an orang putih (white person), don't let the traders rip you off (which they are likely to do, if you let them). If the prices are signed clearly, hold them to it! Furthermore, Ipoh is probably not as tourist friendly as publications, such as Lonely Planet, make it out to be.

The city centre is relatively safe, but again, pickpockets do work in the stations. If you are carrying a bag make sure that it's secured (all zipped up). If you have a wallet in your pocket keep a hand near it while exiting the buses. It is however not advisable to leave your handbag dangling on your shoulder while walking next to main roads, as motorcycle snatch thefts do happen.

  • Pangkor is a 2 hour drive and ferry ride away. It is a quiet fishing village island with many beautiful beaches. This less well known island is significantly quieter than other more popular islands in Malaysia but still provides a wide selection of accommodation for backpackers and budget travelers as well five star hotels and world class resorts for those with money.
  • Cameron Highlands, is Peninsular Malaysia's most famous highland destination, known for its vegetable, strawberry and tea farms as well as its cool weather and beautiful scenery. There is a toll-free road to Cameron Highland close to the Simpang Pulai Exit off the North South Expressway. The journey up is just about an hour long.
  • Taiping, is about 1 hour North on the North South Expressway. Some of the most scenic views of mountain ranges and rain forests can be captured on the stretch of highway between Ipoh and Taiping. Taiping town is one of the oldest and most historic in the country.
  • Bukit Merah, a family eco-tourist destination by a lake. Home to the largest water theme park in Northern Peninsular Malaysia and the only Orang Utan Island in the country.
  • Penang is a 2 hour bus ride or drive away. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage site with some good beaches and great Malaysian food.
  • Kuala Lumpur, the nation's capital is just a two hour drive by car or a three hour journey by bus or train.
  • Singapore, the island city state is just an hour away by plane.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun




  1. The state capital of Perak (Malaysia).



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