Ipoh Travel Information

Understand

The name Ipoh originated from a local tree known as the pokok ipoh. This particular plant is known for its tree sap, which is poisonous and was traditionally used by the Orang Asli (aboriginal people) in their blowdarts. Ipoh is also known as san seng which means "city surrounded by mountains" in Cantonese. Ipoh is located in the rich tin bearing valley of the Kinta River. It grew up as a mining town. During the British Colonial Era, Ipoh was the second city of Malaysia. Its railway station is an excellent example of the architecture of this period. It is situated in the "Old Town" of Ipoh.

Ipoh's growth has stagnated ever since the development of the country and the closure of the tin mines. This stagnation has prompted many residents to move to other parts of Malaysia, particularly Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh has since been called a dead city and a good retirement city. In spite of this, Ipoh still remains one of Malaysia's largest cities, with a population of 637,200 (2004) and urban area population of 798,800 (2004), placing it in the top five cities in Malaysia by population. Ipoh's food is famous, and comparable to that from Penang. Many people, some from as far as Singapore, actually travel to this city just to taste its variety of great food. There are numerous dishes worthy of gluttons but visitors to Ipoh should make it a point to taste the local fare. Chances are the cuisine here is more varied and likely to be tastier than many other places in Malaysia.

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Get In

By bus

The bus fare from Puduraya bus station in Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh is RM 13.40. The bus fare from Penang bus station in Penang to Ipoh is RM 13.50. The Ipoh bus station is located at Medan Gopeng near Gunung Rapat. Note that the taxi drivers outside the bus station will try and overcharge to take you anywhere.
There are also two express bus services run by two different companies called YoYo and Triton direct from KLIA to Ipoh and back, six times daily. In Ipoh the terminal for YoYo is on Jalan Bercham, while the Triton bus station is located at the new bus station in Medan Gopeng.
If you will be arriving very early in Ipoh (say 5am), it might be better to get the bus to drop you off at Hotel Excelsior or Jalan Abdul Jalil in the middle of town. It is then a short walk to the famous Foh San Restaurant that sells Dim Sum, which opens early in the morning.

By plane

Ipoh's Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (IPH) is rather quiet. Merpati flies three times weekly from Medan (Indonesia), but all domestic services have ceased.

By car

Ipoh is located on the North-South Highway, to the north of Kuala Lumpur. If you drive by car, you can exit from the Jelapang Exit if you come from Penang or exit from the Ipoh South (Selatan) Exit or Simpang Pulai Exit if you come from Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh is about 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.

By train

There is a daily train from KL (8.45pm) to Ipoh (1.05am), then via Butterworth (6.05am) to Hat Yai (10.15am Thai time). To Hat Yai, berths are 43RM and seats 30RM. For the return from Hat Yai, the train leaves at 2.50pm via Butterworth (9.30pm)to Ipoh (2.15am) and on to KL (6.35am); berths cost 31RM, seats 18RM.

Inter-city services to Ipoh will be upgraded considerably when double-tracking to KL is complete. Latest estimates for completion are in 2007, but take even this with a grain of salt, as it was originally supposed to be finished in 2000!

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Get around

Kek Lok TongBy 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 roadmap is 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 8-9am), (noon-1.30pm) during weekdays due to lunch-hour & school children being in/out of school and late evening return from work (around 5-6pm). Parking spaces are adequate although finding one may require some patience.

On foot

Ipoh is a rather pedestrian-unfriendly city. Walking within Ipoh city centre and Ipoh Old Town is feasible but walking long distance generally is not.

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

Also available under your own risk. You must have an authorised driving licence. Please contact this number for more information: 05-5453260 or 013-5304869.

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See

In Ipoh proper

Kek Lok Tong

 





Kek Lok Tong

  • Muzium Darul Ridzuan is an interesting historical museum of Perak, located in a pretty former tin-mining tycoon's mansion near the Anglo-Indian railway station of Ipoh.
  • The Railway Station has recently been renovated. In front of the railway station is an Ipoh tree.
  • St. Michael's Institution is an architectural wonder. Established in 1912, it is one of the premier schools in Ipoh.
  • Mari Amman Temple, an old temple located on the banks of river near bridge on Sungai Pari Road, is kept very clean. It has sannidhis of pilliyar, muruga and navagrahas.
  • Walk around the (relatively) old city and look at the classy late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings Ipoh is justly proud of.

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Buy

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.

Cost

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 RM200.

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