Here we go again! Let’s go to Ipoh! Now you may have heard some of the locals say “Ipoh mali” which translates into “I’m from Ipoh”. The last time I was there, I did not want to come back. ‘Nuff said! Ipoh is known as the playground for the adventurous. I’m so adventurous lah! I will show you lah! Trust Fat Mike lah!
Before we begin, follow the following steps:
- Find your friends and tell them you have a plan.
- Tell them they will need to be away for 2 days and 1 night.
- Tell them to not be so “manja” when they find out they are going to stay in a guest house. That’s Bahasa for tell them not be so spoilt or pampered! If you really want Hilton like amenities, this isn’t the post for you….
- Tell them there is an awesome guide you read (below…hint, hint) before you all go, so everything will be great (thank me later!)
- Now get in the car, bus, scooter, skates and ……. Let’s go!
I will be brief. This is not a history lesson. Ipoh is one of Malaysia’s main cities. It started off as a mining village: folks mined tin and stuff. The Brits came in during the colonial period, built grand buildings that people love to visit today.
Ipoh is also known for panoramic views of hills and mountains (read my addictive hiking posts later when I feel like writing about regretting the day I told myself, “sure… let’s climb a mountain!”). Ask Google for more if you aren’t happy with what I just told you. The end.
One thing you should know is that English is not as widespread as in Kuala Lumpur, Penang or Malacca. You can get by with some basic English but Cantonese or Mandarin is the most common language. This is because Ipoh has a predominantly ethnic Chinese population. You will also find some Indians who speak Tamil and then lastly Malays who speak Malay (this is lingua franca though). Do not worry, you will be fine.
You have two options: Road or rail. Both are great ways to travel by the way. Ipoh is not far off. It’s just two to three hours by car/bus or train.
If you want to drive or if you have a friend who is licensed, you can take the car. Ipoh is linked to the North-South Expressway. You can drive via Exit 137: Simpang Pulai or Exit 139: Ipoh Selatan. Always remember, drive to stay alive! Don’t speed, don’t drink and drive and do make sure you buckle up!
If you want to use the bus, you can get buses from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan), a state of the art bus terminal. You may think you’re at fancy airport. Catch reliable buses from there. To get to TBS, you can use any of the LRT, KTM or ERL trains (depending where you are coming from) and get off at Bandar Tasik Selatan station (which connects to TBS).
A better option would be for you and your friends to opt for the Electric Train System (ETS), an inter-city train that you can get from KL Sentral. It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Ipoh and the train is pretty comfy. You will have a great view of the Ipoh Railway Station once you exit the building.
Where to go
There are countless places in Ipoh you could go to. There is what they call Ipoh Old Town and Ipoh New Town. Ever been to Old Town White Coffee restaurants in Kuala Lumpur? Guess where it originated from? That’s right, Ipoh’s very own Old Town. The Old Town and New Town of Ipoh are two different parts of Ipoh separated by the Kinta River. Basically, Old Town has the heritage buildings from long back and the New Town has newer shops, buildings and shopping malls.
Just a ten minute walk away from Ipoh railway station, you will find the original Old Town restaurant. Originally named Nam Heong, this is the most famous coffee shop in Ipoh. Go ahead and order! Try the famous kaya toast and coffee and we are good to go!
In Ipoh, you will find some very quaint cafes like Missing Marbles, Bits and Bobs, Burps & Giggles and Buku Tiga Lima. These cafes are owned by one person (Dexter Song). If you are just passing through, do drop by one of these cafes and enjoy a coffee in an artsy laid back environment.
Ambience at Missing Marbles
We will be giving you another feature on some fun activities to do in Ipoh if you are visiting for more than a day.