Top 19 Things To Do In Ipoh For An Unforgettable Trip

Top 19 Things To Do In Ipoh For An Unforgettable Trip

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Your Ultimate Guide To The Top Things To Do In Ipoh City For Truly Complete And Unforgettable Trip

Ask most locals and they will probably tell you that Ipoh is famous for its array of delicious local dishes and their majestic limestone hills. 

But what they may not tell you is how this little city away from Malaysia’s main capital of Kuala Lumpur, is also home to countless historical sites, cultural marvels, natural hidden gems, hot springs, and adventure.

Attempting to cover every exciting activity offered in Ipoh is definitely a feat that can be comfortably done in a week, while travellers with boundless energy could perhaps zip through it all in half a week. Which is why you’ll want to take a few days off your travel itinerary, pack your luggage, and take time to simply bask in all that Ipoh offers.

So before you dash on over to one of Perak’s small towns or the next jungle retreat in Gopeng offered by the very convincing tour company you’re in touch with, read on to discover the top things to do in Ipoh if you’re looking for an unforgettable trip.

Top 19 Things To Do In Ipoh City For An Unforgettable And Complete Travel Experience

Rainbow of shoplots in Ipoh city center. Photo by Luke Ow.
Photo by Luke Ow.

1. Explore the historic streets and check out the colonial architecture of Ipoh Old Town

Did you know that Ipoh is the third largest city in Malaysia? Yet traversing Ipoh Old Town on foot or by car may make the city feel anything but gargantuan. That’s because Ipoh Old Town is known as the historic heart of Ipoh, where you’ll find well-preserved colonial-era buildings, charming mural-filled streets, and bustling streets.

Exploring Ipoh Old Town’s historic streets include walking through the renowned Concubine Lane (more like Concubine Lanes, you’ll know what I mean when you get there), discovering the “Golden Triangle” of Ipoh, and visiting various traditional shophouses that have been converted into aesthetically stunning cafes and boutiques that offer beautiful hand-crafted accessories or artisanal snacks.

This is an all-day affair that gets you a unique glimpse into the city’s rich history and vibrant present to really take in the essence of Ipoh.

Ipoh City Hall. Photo by Syazani Nizam.
Photo by Syazani Nizam.

2. Walk the Ipoh Heritage Trail for a journey back in time

Looking for a walking experience with a bit more structure? Then you’ll want to check out this walking tour. The Ipoh Heritage Trail is a self-guided walking tour that takes you through the historical landmarks of Ipoh from its pre-war tin mining boom to the colonial days.

It covers up to 27 points of interest, some of these include the must-visit Ipoh Town Hall and Old Post Office, Birch Memorial Clock Tower, and the Ipoh Railway Station. That said, if you’re travelling to Ipoh by train, you’ll definitely begin your journey through Ipoh from the Ipoh Railway Station itself - that’s one place already covered!

You’ll find informational plaques along the way that narrate the history of each significant site while signs are also found throughout the route to guide you. It’s one of the best low-cost (no-cost if you don’t shop, but we both know that’s not going to happen!) ways to explore at your own pace that history and architecture enthusiasts especially should not miss out on.

3. Visit the Ipoh Railway Station, known as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh

If for whatever reason you’re not too keen on walking the Ipoh Heritage Trail, the Ipoh Railway Station is one spot you shouldn’t miss out on. It’s one of Ipoh’s most iconic landmarks that is often referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Ipoh” because of its grandiose design that features a blend of Moorish and Victorian architecture.

Take the chance to admire the building’s intricate details, capture stunning photographs, and appreciate the station’s historical significance as the city’s key transport hub that contributed greatly to the development of Ipoh. It’s also home to a dedicated garden that features its namesake, the Ipoh tree, also known as antiaris toxicaria, a highly poisonous tree.

And did we mention that many travellers make it a point to visit this particular spot for photography as it is said to be the most beautiful station along Malaysia’s railway system? ;)

Bonus Tip: Visit during nightfall for a truly spectacular sight where the Ipoh Railway Station’s surrounding area is beautifully illuminated.

Opening Hours: 7am - 9pm, daily

Address: Stesen KTM, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Mural at Mural Art's Lane. Photo by Mega Caesaria.
Photo by Mega Caesaria.

4. Marvel at the murals, including those of Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, in Mural Art’s Lane

Mural Art’s Lane features a stunning collection of vibrant and creative murals done by various local and international artists, with some of them being the brainchild of renowned Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic. These murals depict scenes of local life in Ipoh, historical events, and whimsical characters created by the artists for a visually marvellous experience.

Aside from it being a treat for art lovers, exploring the area’s murals is also a fun way to discover hidden corners and lanes of Ipoh that you may otherwise miss.

Opening Hours: 24 hours, daily

Address: Jalan Masjid, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Ipoh White Coffee. Photo by Alpha.
Photo by Alpha.

5. Sip a hot local specialty, the famous Ipoh White Coffee

The famous Ipoh White Coffee is a smooth, creamy, nutty, and sweet coffee beverage that originated from this historical city. The beans of this specialty coffee undergo a unique preparation method, where the beans are roasted with margarine, giving it its signature smooth and mouth-watering aroma.

Before you think “but isn’t it just essentially a caffe latte?”, hold up. It’s not just a drink nor is it just coffee. It’s a cultural icon of this city. Stopping in one of Ipoh’s many traditional kopitiams (local Chinese coffee shops) to get a cup of Ipoh White Coffee gives you a taste of Ipoh’s culinary heritage while getting you a relaxing break during your exploration of Ipoh.

Some of the best kopitiams to enjoy this famous coffee include the Kedai Kopi Nam Heong, the GreatWall Cafe, and Kedai Kopi Ah Chow (they even have a signature coffee with liquor!).

Concubine Lane in Ipoh. Photo by Timothy Tan.
Photo by Timothy Tan.

6. Explore Concubine Lane in Ipoh Old Town

Think strolling through a bustling narrow street lined with colourful restored pre-war shops, quaint cafes, and various street food stalls. It’s one vibrant street where you can shop for souvenirs, enjoy local delicacies, and experience Ipoh’s specialty cafe scene. 

That said, Concubine Lane isn’t only a singular lane, but rather three distinctive lanes, each bearing a different owner in history.

As for how the story goes, Concubine Lane was a lane gifted to the second wife by her husband, a tin mining tycoon known as Yau Tet Shin in the 19th century. The lane then became a symbol of urban vice during those days, with both details contributing to its name today; Concubine Lane.

Fun Fact: Remember how we mentioned Concubine Lane being not just one, but three lanes? The other lanes are the Wife Lane that was given to Yau Tet Shin’s first wife, which is known as Lorong Hale today, and the Second Concubine Lane that was given to Yau Tet Shin’s third wife, which is now today’s Market Lane!

Opening Hours: Varies based on establishment

Address: 1-29, Panglima Lane, 30000 Ipoh Malaysia

Ho Yan Hor Museum and Han Chin Pet Soo.

7. Learn the history of Malaysia’s beloved herbal tea at the Ho Yan Hor Museum

There are a few things that your typical Malaysian Chinese family swears by when flu season hits. One of them is the beloved Ho Yan Hor chinese herbal tea. The Ho Yan Hor Museum is dedicated to Dr. Ho Kai Cheong, the founder of this particular herbal tea and it is the spot to check out and discover the origins, creation process, and evolution of this traditional tea.

Browse through various herbal tea processing artefacts, photographs, and interactive displays that guarantee you an engaging and informative experience. All in all, the Ho Yan Hor Museum takes under an hour to complete, but it leaves you with a unique insight into a significant aspect of Malaysia’s cultural and medicinal heritage that you will remember for the years to come.

Bonus Tip: If you have extra time after visiting the Ho Yan Hor Museum, I highly recommend checking out the Han Chin Pet Soo (Hakka Tin Miners Club) just next door for an interactive experience of Ipoh’s tin mining days.

Opening Hours: 10am - 4pm on Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays

Address: 1, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Kong Heng Square. Photo by Dae.
Photo by Dae.

8. Discover the artisanal shopping paradise of Kong Heng Square

Those looking for Ipoh’s local art and cultural hub need not look further than the Kong Heng Square. This square is Ipoh’s cultural and commercial hub where you can enjoy delicious food, shop for unique handicrafts, and experience the local arts scene.

It’s known for its artistic ambiance, abundant cute items, performances, and exhibitions that take place regularly. The place itself screams tradition meets modern with its resident cafes, the popular artisan Kong Heng Square Market, and boutiques, so spending a leisurely afternoon at Kong Heng Square is sure to be a treat!

Opening Hours: Varies based on establishment

Address: 75a, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Gunung Lang Recreational Park. Photo by sam riz.
Photo by Sam Riz.

9. Enjoy an hour or two of outdoor serenity at Gunung Lang Recreational Park

It’s not the Mirror Lake, but this hidden gem is a stunning lake park that was created out of an old mining pond amidst natural limestone hills. A period of relaxation here involves taking a leisurely boat ride across the park’s scenic lake, walking along its natural trails, and perhaps a picnic to just kick back and enjoy its serene environment and stunning view of the Gunung Bilike and Gunung Lang limestone hill.

The Gunung Lang Recreational Park offers a peaceful escape from the typical hustle and bustle of city life. Yes, that includes Ipoh, even though it's a relatively sleepy city.

Opening Hours: 8:30am - 6pm on Saturdays to Thursdays, 8:30am - 11am and 3pm - 6pm on Fridays

Address: Gunung Lang Recreational Park, Jalan Damai, 30100 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

One of Ipoh's Cave Temples. Photo by John T.

10. Visit the majestic Cave Temples of Ipoh

You don’t need a ticket to Bali to explore majestic temples when you can do so right here. The cave temples of Ipoh offer visitors a unique experience of natural beauty with a blend of spiritual serenity that makes it one of the more essential things to do in Ipoh. 

It’s a truly tranquil yet eye-opening experience thanks to the peaceful environment, religious artistic elements, cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and the natural wonders of limestone caves.

Some of the must-visit cave temples in Ipoh include the Sam Poh Tong Temple, also known as the oldest and most famous of Ipoh’s cave temples that houses a beautiful garden with a koi and tortoise pond, the Perak Cave Temple with its impressive murals, fortune telling service, and large golden Buddha statue, and the Ling Sen Tong Temple found just a stone’s throw away from the Sam Poh Tong Temple, where many colourful statues of deities and mythological figures make their home against a dramatic limestone backdrop.

If you’d like to explore more of Ipoh’s other majestic cave temples like the Kek Lok Tong Temple, do check out our article on the most exciting places to visit in Ipoh.

Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village. Photo by Jeff Lim Koon Eng.
Photo by Jeff Lim Koon Eng.

11. Explore the picturesque Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village

If you’ve ever watched an Asian historical drama on your streaming subscription and envisioned yourself walking through the ancient villages of days past, then you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village.

Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village serves as not only a tranquil escape, but an immersive experience of a traditional Malaysian village setting just like what you may envision centuries ago.

This picturesque village retreat features traditional houses, vintage trishaws, and a serene lake surrounded by lush greenery and limestone hills. Visitors can enjoy cycling around the village on rented bikes, hiking, a session of leisure photography, and they can even try their hand at making a wish upon the village’s ribboned wishing tree.

Address: 22A, Persiaran Pinggir Rapat 5a, Taman Saikat, 31350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Lost World of Tambun Hot Springs. Photo by Lost World Of Tambun

12. Immerse yourself in a full day of excitement and relaxation at the Lost World of Tambun

Few places in the world do it like the Lost World of Tambun at Sunway City Ipoh. Where else would you find natural hot springs, land and water theme parks, a night park, a petting zoo, and an adventure park, all set in a single resort?

Which is why the Lost World of Tambun is a fantastic place for travellers of all ages and types, whether you’re a thrill-seeking solo adventurer seeking relaxation as well, or the travelling family looking for the perfect holiday spot. 

The Lost World of Tambun’s diverse attractions ensure that there is something for everyone, which is why you’ll want to make it a point to spend a day or two here!

Opening Hours: 11am - 11pm on Mondays to Fridays, 10am - 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Closed on Tuesdays

Address: 1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 1, Sunway City Ipoh, 31150 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Kellie's Castle. Photo by Reena Yadav.
Photo by Reena Yadav.

13. Venture through Kellie’s Castle and uncover the series of tragedies that befell this haunting castle

This one's for the history buffs and ghost hunters among us. Kellie’s Castle is the unfinished ruins of an ancient mansion built by Scottish planter, William Kellie-Smith, during the early 20th century that was intended to be a grand home for his family. 

But what remains of the castle today is said-to-be haunted building that features stunning Moorish, Roman, and Indian architectural design on its exterior, and eerie, empty halls within its walls.

Visitors can talk through the said halls and discover the tragic history of the castle and its then-inhabitants. Not only does its sad history offer one a fascinating glimpse into Ipoh’s colonial days along with the ambitious dreams of its builder, but it also grants one a unique and captivating experience with its ghastly yet mysterious atmosphere.

While it isn’t exactly within the city itself, visiting Kellie’s Castle is one of the top things to do in Ipoh that is tied closely to the city’s early history. It’s located south of Ipoh city in the Batu Gajah district of Perak and it’s about a 30-minutes drive away from the city.

Opening Hours: 9am - 5:30pm on Wednesdays to Mondays, 9am - 4:30pm on Tuesdays

Address: Lot 48436, Kompleks Pelancongan Kellie's Castle, KM 5.5, Jalan Gopeng, 31000 Batu Gajah, Perak, Malaysia

14. Travel back in time via the Time Tunnel, Ipoh’s pre-war museum

Ipoh being the city with one of the most well preserved pre-war relics naturally has its own iconic museum, the Time Tunnel Ipoh. A trip to this museum is a must for history and culture enthusiasts as it takes you through a series of nostalgic collections and memorabilia dating back from the 1980’s to the pre-war days of Malaysia.

The museum features various historical artifacts, photographs, and everyday objects used by locals to give visitors a clear glimpse into the past. These include old toys, household items that are deemed primitive in today’s age, and cultural artifacts that reflect the lifestyle and history of previous eras.

Opening Hours: 9:30am - 4pm on Fridays to Sundays only

Address: 23, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Ready to eat skewers at First Garden Night Bazaar. Photo by Chan Driga.
Photo by Chan Driga.

15. Shop til-you-drop at the Gerbang Malam Night Market at Taman Jubilee

What’s a visit to Malaysia’s cities and towns without a trip to the night market? Shopping at the Gerbang Malam Night Market in Ipoh is a vibrant affair that involves stuffing your face with an assortment of street foods, shopping through clothes and accessories, discovering interesting household finds, and basking in the night market’s vibrant (albeit humid) atmosphere.

So if you’re looking to take a deep dive into the local’s day-to-day lifestyle, a trip to the night market is a must-do in Ipoh. That said, Ipoh is also home to other famous night markets once you’ve covered the Gerbang Malam Night Market, such as the First Garden Night Bazaar at Taman Pertama which is also known as Ipoh’s largest night market that only happens once a week.

Opening Hours: 6pm - 12am, daily

Address: Jalan Dato Tahwil Azar, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Memory Lane Flea Market. Photo by Nikola Đuza.
Photo by Nikola Đuza.

16. Go antique shopping at the Memory Lane Flea Market

Those with a great interest for antiques and those who pride themselves on vintage finds during their shopping escapades simply cannot miss out on a visit to Ipoh’s Memory Lane Flea Market, also known as Pasar Karat or Pasar Loken.

The flea market operates only on Sunday mornings, where collectors and merchants from all over Ipoh and Malaysia’s other states gather to showcase their offerings of antiques, vintage finds, collectibles, old toys, records, and other memorabilia. 

It’s a real treasure trove for collectors and those seeking nostalgic finds as it’s not only a shopping event, but an interesting experience that transports shoppers and visitors back in time.

Opening Hours: 7am - 12pm on Sundays only

Address: Jalan Horley, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

17. Indulge in Ipoh’s local food and desserts

Malaysia is a food lover’s paradise, which is why it makes perfect sense that Ipoh serves as one of Malaysia’s essential foodie destinations. Some of this state’s traditional delights include the comforting kai si hor fun, a soupy noodle dish served featuring flat rice noodles and shredded poached chicken, salted chicken, Ipoh chicken rice, Ipoh white coffee, ABC ice kacang, and nasi ganja.

Which is why I highly recommend that you pay a visit to Tong Sui Kai, Ipoh’s famous hawker street at the city center that is known for its wide variety of local dishes and refreshing desserts, and Kedai Kopi Yong Suan which is famous for their nasi ganja, a flavourful rice meal that consists of a special meat-based gravy, mixed fresh herbs, and spices. (No, it has absolutely nothing to do with marijuana.)

Bukit Kledang mini stream in bamboo thicket. Photo by n spgahetti.

18. Embark on a sunset hike to Bukit Kledang’s summit

Some of us are bound to get a case of itchy feet when we’re in the city for too long. So how about summiting Ipoh’s tallest peak, also known as Bukit Kledang?

Bukit Kledang is the local residents’ hiking paradise as it involves tackling a challenging trail that leads to the highest point of Ipoh. But this challenge has its significant reward, especially since it boasts one of the best panoramic views of the city and the most spectacular sunset to boot.

The hike boasts a trekking distance of up to 9.3km that takes up to 3 hours to complete with steep inclines amidst dense forest trails. It’s the perfect escape for travellers who are also enthusiasts of nature and hikers looking for an adventurous activity away from the concrete jungle.

Opening Hours: 24 hours, daily

Address: Jalan Kledang, 31450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Mirror Lake in Ipoh. Photo by Iqx Azmi.
Photo by Iqx Azmi.

19. Visit the famed Mirror Lake

No trip to Ipoh is complete without a visit to the famous Mirror Lake, otherwise known as Tasik Cermin. It’s a stunning lake located within a secluded area surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and lush greenery.

Visitors to the Mirror Lake begin their adventure by renting a small boat to enjoy a relaxing boat ride to the hidden Mirror Lake while enjoying the lake’s tranquil reflecting waters. It’s one of Ipoh’s top hidden gems that promise a serene setting for one to unwind, enjoy nature, and capture beautiful photographs.

Fun Fact: Did you know that there are actually two Mirror Lakes within the vicinity?

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm, daily