The city of Georgetown in the state of Penang is known for its street art. If you’re looking for this on Instagram, you’ll find lots of pictures of these works of art. What I didn’t know is that Ipoh also has a lot of art. The murals are decades old and many of them are faded. For this reason, a lot of new paintings have been added this year and this gives the city more color. The Mural Arts Lane is one of the streets filled with street art.
Ipoh Heritage Trail
This route can be downloaded from the internet and takes you past 24 historic buildings in Oldtown Ipoh. Everything is fairly close together, making it the perfect walk through the city. Remarkable is that most of the buildings are well maintained and impressive. These colonial buildings were built by the English and still look good today, especially the train station. This route gives a nice insight into the history of Ipoh and Malaysia.
This cute narrow street is full of food and lots of (Chinese) tourists. It looks a little bit like Takeshita Street in Tokyo. The cheese in all colors of the rainbow is crumpled in the toasted sandwich and enormous cotton candy in all kinds of shapes. When you walk through this street, you pass a courtyard where everyone is taking pictures. Here you’ll find the coffee shop Platform 9 ½. In this Harry Potter café, you can enjoy an espresso for RM2. We’ve never seen the coffee this cheap (€0.43)!
Half an hour outside Ipoh you will find the Gua Tempurung. This three-kilometer long cave is one of the longest in Malaysia. There are several tours offered that vary from a 40-minute walk to twelve hours overnight stay in the cave. A ticket for the Golden Flowstone (40 minutes) costs RM6 per person, this is less than €1,50. Please note that it is better to go here in the morning. In the afternoon it rains a lot and you run the risk of not being allowed in the cave anymore.
Gunung Lang Recreational Park
Five minutes from Ipoh lies the Gunung Lang Park. Here you can spend an afternoon relaxing by the lake. The main attraction is the waterfall on top of a limestone hill. For this, you have to walk a bit, but you have a beautiful view of the watchtowers.
When I told my physiotherapist that we had booked a weekend in Ipoh, I asked him what there is to do. He had been there a few times as a real Malaysian and all he could say about it was that he had eaten pretty good. Many Malaysians but also Singaporeans travel to Ipoh, especially for the food. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? We loved the food, but we wouldn’t be sitting on the bus for nine hours just to eat here.
Besides the good food, Ipoh is also known for its white coffee. At first, I thought this was coffee with a little milk, but it is much more special than I thought. The beans are roasted in butter (you can’t drink this coffee every day) and the coffee is served with condensed milk. A sweet intention that is available everywhere in Malaysia, but officially comes from Ipoh.
Ipoh is the perfect city if you’re passing through to Penang and want to learn more about the history and if you love good food of course. From Kuala Lumpur, you can take the bus (don’t do this on weekends), but there is also a train that takes a little more than two hours. Book it in time! In Ipoh, you can easily book a hotel for about €15 per night and eat for less than €5 per person. The perfect weekend away.