Ipoh. Pretty Ipoh. Foodie Ipoh. One of the top 10 Places to Visit in Asia, according to Lonely Planet. Just 2, 3 hours from KL. It would be a shame to skip this city. Plus, 2017 is Visit Perak year 🙂
As a Klang Valley girl, I’m surprised by how much I like Ipoh. I lived here for a year, and here are 13 places, activities and food places that I can genuinely recommend for you to try out. These places are cheap to experience, if you don’t go overboard with the shopping and eating.
I assume you guys have Google Map in your phones. Under each recommendation, I added Google Map Search keywords that you can type in to find these places.
1. Go to Dataran Kong Heng, walk along Concubine Lane, then visit Yasmin Ahmad Museum (2-4 hours)
They are all located in Ipoh city center and nearby each other, within walking distance.
Dataran Kong Heng is very ‘industrialist chic’ with an abandoned building vibe. It’s a great place to take instagram pictures. On weekends, they have mini flea market. I particularly like this one booth selling cheap Japanese ceramics – bought 2 rice bowls for RM5 each. It’s also fun to buy and try the ice kepal / ice ball then complain about dripping ice water. If you have the munchies, buy an egg tart or two from the next-door shop.
After that go for a walk along Concubine lane for the murals and the small shops selling knick-knacks.
Then go in the Yasmin Ahmad Museum. The entry fee is just RM3 donation, ridiculously cheap. It’s an inspiring place, for a beautiful soul that is Yasmin Ahmad. They play her advertisements on a loop. Please bring tissues, because those will make you cry.
Google map search: ‘Dataran Kong Heng’ ; ‘Concubine Lane’
2. Thrift Shop at Mr Musashi (2 hours)
Mr Musashi is the best thrift shop chain I have ever been to. I dedicated not one, but two posts about this chain because I love it so much. They specialise in US and Japanese vintage stuff, and I snagged quite a few branded (GAP, Uniqlo etc) stuff from here. There are quite a few branches in Perak, so find one near you – see the list of addresses in this post.
3. Eat at a halal Chinese food court (1 hour)
I dedicated a whole post for this halal Chinese food court in Ipoh. It’s very packed on weekend mornings. Try the famous Roti Goyang. Find the writeup (and address) in this post. They also have chee cheong fun, curry mee, lobak, and many other delicious items. Bring your Muslim friends here.
Google map search: ‘Restaurant New Hollywood’
4. Drive around Tambun area, then go buy pomelo/ limau bali (2+ hour)
Tambun area and its surrounding is SO beautiful. On a good day, you can see details of the mountain range. At certain places, you can walk up and view the high, gorgeous, prehistoric walls up close. There are tiny crevices housing families of birds, and many varieties of insects (ProTip: wear mosquito repellent), and just… amazing plants that somehow grow on what is essentially a big rock.
Drive around, enjoy the view then go buy what Ipoh is famous for: pomelo. A good-size pomelo is about RM10. Pick a shop that offers free samples. Some of them can even help you to remove the skin, so you can enjoy it on the go.
Google map search: I have no particular routes to suggest, but you can try Ipoh-Tambun-Tanjung Rambutan-Tambun-Pomelo shops-Ipoh. Plenty of pomelo farms and shops along ‘Jalan Tambun Baru’
5. Attend Garden Market at Food Truck Garden (3+ hours)
Garden Market happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday after 6pm. They have food trucks, preloved market, open cinema, and local performances.
Super hipster. Very cool side of urban Ipoh.
Find out more here.
Google map search: ‘P.O.R.T. (People of Remarkable Talents)’
6. Go to Sunday flea market (3+ hours)
Also known as Memory Lane Ipoh. Also known as Pasar Karat Memory Lane. Starts early on Sunday morning, ends early. 7am-12pm.
This is probably the best flea market I’ve attended in Malaysia, so far. None of those flea-market-but-actually-tudung-market. People actually sell good
Google map search: ‘Memory Lane Morning Market’
7. Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple (2+ hours)
It’s a temple. It’s a cave. It’s a park. It’s Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple!
If you’re the slightest bit interested in:
- Rock formations
- Stalactites and stalagmites
- Buddhist temples
- Miniature figurines of tiny people doing stuff
- Miniature stuff in general like bonsai and stuff
- Tame (?) geese (Disclaimer: results may vary)
Go here. Entrance is free, but donations encouraged.
Google map search: ‘Kek Lok Tong’
8. Gunung Lang Recreational Park
Aka the cheapskate’s version of the Banjaran experience. Entrance is free, and you can purchase boat tickets to the attractions area, where apparently there’s a mini zoo.
Alternative: Sneak into The Haven. It’s a luxury condominium with hotel, and security is tight, but gosh if you can bullshit your way in, the view will take your breath away. Just say you want to go to the restaurant there or something.
Alternative if you’re ballin’: Have a couple thousand ringgit in loose change? Just go to The Banjaran. Even I haven’t been here, but I know people who do, and every time they talk about it they have this dreamy face on.
Google map search: ‘Gunung Lang Recreational Park’; ‘The Haven Resort Hotel & Resort Ipoh’ ; ‘The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat’
9. Bike along River Walk @ Kinta Riverfront Hotel (2+ hours)
Rent a bicycle (test it first, some are wonky) then just cycle around this area. It’s very cooling during late afternoons. Watch lovebirds whisper sweet nothings to each other. See a couple of displays about Ipoh’s mining past. If you’re lucky, you might find a couple doing their engagement/wedding shoot.
At night, this place sort of reminds me of i-City Shah Alam.
Google map search: ‘Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites’
10. Eat chicken wings at Wing Zone (1-2 hours)
I lol-ed before adding this in. Wing Zone is an American-style joint serving Americans-style buffalo wings, with celery and blue cheese dressing on the side. It’s ridiculous and slightly pricey, but it’s also delicious. The joint have non-stop MTV (or similar) music video channel and fast WiFi.
It’s worth a visit because it’s fun to choose between like a million flavours of chicken wings.
Google map search: ‘Wing Zone Wings Burger Flavor’ (??? but that’s what it says!)
11. Drive to Tanjung Rambutan and see the famous hospital (1-2 hours)
It’s really just another building, but you can’t help to be excited to be in Tanjung Rambutan because of its reputation as mental illness recovery area.
For you non-Malaysians, let me elaborate. It’s pretty common for parents to threaten to send misbehaving kids to the Tanjung Rambutan Hospital. I don’t know how this came about, but its just a place you hear about since you were little. If you tell Malaysians you visited here, they’ll get a good appreciative laugh out of it.
Google map search: ‘Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta’
12. Walk and eat at a local Ipoh pasar malam
I’m not familiar with ALL pasar malam in Ipoh and surrounding areas, but I know they have it nightly or almost nightly. These are the ones I visit regularly. They sell local food, local produce among other items that locals (not tourists) buy. Pasar malams start at about 7pm until late.
- Every night @ Gerbang Malam (Ipoh city centre) – the most boring out of this list. Only visit this if you have no where else to go
- Tuesday @ Medan Ipoh (nearby AEON Kinta City Mall) – mostly Chinese
- Wednesday @ Stadium Perak – mostly Malay
- Thursday @ Taman Perindustrian Tambun – mostly Malay
Google map search: ‘Gerbang Malam’ ; ‘AEON Kinta City’ ; ‘Stadium Perak’ ; ‘Pasar Malam Taman Perpaduan’
Note: I’m not a local, so if the info/location here is wrong let me know. Have a good pasar malam in Ipoh to share? Please add in comments 🙂
13. Get a taste of Harold’s Bread and/or Family Bakery (1 hour)
Last but not least, I want to recommend both these bakeries because I have not seen them in any other states in Malaysia. They’re everywhere here, so if you see one when you drive around, stop and get some buns. Harold’s Bread is nicer than Family Bakery, but both are good. I suggest the Cream Cheese Bun because that thing is sex.
Google map search: freaking everywhere. Harold’s Bread tends to be in malls while Family Bakery tends to be in residential areas.
What other things to do in Ipoh?
Hope you like these recommendations! Just because we don’t have money to spend, doesn’t mean you can enjoy Ipoh on a budget. If you don’t have a car to get around, you can rent one from DiscoverCarHire (note: affiliate links). Checked the rates, it’s fairly affordable.
Do you have a favourite spot in Ipoh not included here? Other things to do in Ipoh to suggest? Please add in comments or tweet me at @surayaror 🙂
Please share if helpful, thanks guys!