Concubine Lane Ipoh

Concubine Lane Ipoh has evolved a lot ever since Ipoh was featured by Lonely Planet in July 2016 in their list of best Asian destinations to visit.

Charming souvenir shops, fashion outlets, cafes and dessert houses line this nostalgic street of Ipoh. The street literally comes to life during the weekends!

The atmosphere is akin to the Armenian Street in Georgetown, Penang or Jonker Street in Melaka. Touristy? Yes, but tourism helps preserve this part of Ipoh!

Table of contents:

Concubine Lane Ipoh

Although Concubine Lane is the most famous street in all of Ipoh:

There are 2 other historic lanes that were once concubine lanes too! Hale Lane and Market Lane.

Signage For Concubine Lane In Ipoh
Signage For Concubine Lane In Ipoh – Photo by Travelswithsun

All 3 of these lanes are in Ipoh Old Town and are walking distance from each other.

Which make them an easy item to check off the must-see list for any first-time visitors. And to include these places into their Ipoh itinerary too!

However, neither lane is sheltered so make sure you take an umbrella and slap on some sunscreen before you go out to explore them!

Note: Give yourself at least an hour to fully explore all the lanes.

Concubine Lane Ipoh History

Despite the superficial touristy appearance that might be your first impression here:

Concubine Lane (Yee Lai Hong in Cantonese) off Jalan Bandar Timah (Leech Street) in Ipoh has more than a century’s worth of history to it:

Back before Malaysia’s independence as a British colony, there was a fire in 1892.

Lanes of shops were introduced into the new layout when the town was rebuilt.

Panglima Lane, Lane Of The Second Concubines At Ipoh
Panglima Lane, Lane Of The Second Concubines At Ipoh 1948s – photo credits to www.ipohworld.org

And the well-known mining tycoon (Yao Tet Shin) gifted 3 of these lanes to his 3 wives.

  1. Wife Lane — Lorong Hale (大奶巷)
  2. Concubine Lane — Lorong Panglima (二奶巷)
  3. Second Concubine Lane — Market Lane (三奶巷)

If the Chinese translation confuses you:

The “first” concubine implies the wife while the “second” wife refers to concubine. And of course, the “third” wife is the second concubine.

Concubine Lane was one of those lanes together with Hale Lane and Market Lane as they are known today.

It is said that this is where the rich Chinese tin mining tycoons and British officers kept their mistresses.

But looking at them today, you’d never guess that the lanes previously housed opium and gambling dens too!

1. Past: Wife Lane — Now: Lorong Hale (大奶巷)

Seeing that this is the lane that belongs to the wife, you might expect it to be the longest lane, or the most vibrant.

Hale Lane Ipoh
Hale Lane – photo credits to putputinlove (Instagram)

However, this lane is quieter than the other two lanes.

The lane is not long and has a single mural of a fruit seller with his cart.

2. Past: Concubine Lane — Now: Lorong Panglima (二奶巷)

Of the 3 lanes, Concubine Lane is the most lively with its myriad of colorful little shops and stalls. The oldest shop here is Restoran Wong Koh Kee.

Street Art Mural On Concubine Lane
Street Art Mural On Concubine Lane – Photo by Travelswithsun

Don’t forget to look up when you’re exploring the lane!

Some of the shop lots still retain a hint of their former appearance (e.g. the second level of a Chinese brothel).

Concubine Lane On A Non Peak Day
Concubine Lane On A Non Peak Day – Photo by Travelswithsun
Tip: Go on a weekday if you want to avoid the weekend crowd!

If you happen to come to Concubine Lane at night, the glow of the red lanterns will make it seem like you are in a red-light district!

Tourists Along Concubine Lane
Tourists Along Concubine Lane – Photo by Travelswithsun

3. Past: Second Concubine Lane — Now: Market Lane (三奶巷)

You know you’re in Market Lane when you see the colorful umbrellas strung up above the lane!

Signage For Market Lane In Ipoh
Signage For Market Lane In Ipoh – Photo by Travelswithsun

While there are no shops here, there is Nam Chau Coffee Shop. Stop by here for a cup of Ipoh white coffee.

Don’t forget to try their traditional pearl milk tea and dry curry noodles!

There are 3 Ipoh street art pieces in this lane so make sure you check them out:

  1. Coffee shop scene
  2. Kids jumping
  3. Tricycle by Ernest Zacharevic
Trishaw mural at Concubine Lane Ipoh 怡保二奶巷
Trishaw mural at Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to itakeomelas (Instagram)
Street Art Of A Hummingbird Walking Distance From Concubine Lane
Street Art Of A Hummingbird Walking Distance From Concubine Lane – Photo by Travelswithsun

Concubine Lane Ipoh Opening Hours

Concubine Lane is open every day and it isn’t hard to find.

You may be able to walk there if your chosen hotel is in Ipoh Old Town. Else, the cheapest and most comfortable way to get there by booking a Grab.

Note: If you plan to drive, be aware that finding parking in this part of town is a real struggle!

Address: Lorong Panglima, Concubine Ln, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm

Concubine Lane Ipoh Food

Did you know you can find some Ipoh famous food right at Concubine Lane?

That’s right!

1. Concubine Lane Ipoh Tau Fu Fa

On a weekend, you can expect a queue for this Ipoh famous tau fu fa (and seats)!

Tau fu fah at Concubine Lane Ipoh 怡保二奶巷
Tau fu fah at Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to justeatsleep (Instagram)

They have several flavors available if you want to try something other than the original:

  • Bird’s nest
  • Teochew style with brown sugar, ginger and black sesame seeds
  • Ginger

Address: 8, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 8am to 4:30pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

2. Restoran Wong Koh Khee

An old-school restaurant that’s been around for many, many years.

Restoran Wong Koh Kee close to Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷
Restoran Wong Koh Kee close to Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to myeatingdiary_th (Instagram)

Popular dishes include:

  • Stew with Chinese herbs and dates
  • Western style fried pork
  • Ginger steamed fish
Tip: Go before lunch time (i.e. 12:30pm) to avoid the crowds!

Address: 3, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 10:30am to 3pm

Contact: +605-241 9474

Remark: Not halal

3. Nam Chau White Coffee

This one’s at Market Lane (Just a minutes’ walk from Concubine Lane) as we mentioned earlier in this post:

They are popular for their appetizing dry curry noodles and coffee! More on what to expect at Nam Chau White Coffee Shop.

Kedai Kopi Nam Chau
Kedai Kopi Nam Chau – photo credits to jimmmyyy (Instagram)

Address: 54, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 7:30am to 3.30pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Contact: +6014-900 9163

4. Restoran Li Heng Fatt 利興發茶室

Horhee sells out fast at Restoran Li Heng Fatt. Their chili sauce perfectly pairs with their bouncy homemade fishballs and yong tau fu too.

Dishes You Can Get At Restoran Li Heng Fatt
Dishes You Can Get At Restoran Li Heng Fatt – Photo credits to pohkemon (Instagram)

Another commendable dish that they sell here is kuay teow.

What’s unusual about this kopitiam is that it stays open for dinner too!

Address: 14, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 12pm to 8pm

Contact: +6019 – 7280833

By the way, there are some treats you can only find at Concubine Lane!

5. Concubine Lane Rainbow Cheese Toast

Kuma Rainbow Cheese Toast takes cheese toast to another level! Pull the toast slices apart to reveal the rainbow!

It may be a novelty snack but it is yummy too! As you would expect since it’s cheese toast!

Kuma Rainbow Cheese Toast on Concubine Lane
Kuma Rainbow Cheese Toast on Concubine Lane – photo credits to juneythefoodie (Instagram)

Address: 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 9am to 7pm

Further reading:

Cafes Near Concubine Lane Ipoh

There’s an entire row of Ipoh cafes just a stone’s throw from Concubine Lane.

Row of hidden Ipoh Cafes close to Concubine Lane
Row of hidden Ipoh Cafes close to Concubine Lane – Photo by Travelswithsun

Pop in for some western food, desserts, and coffee!

1. CHAKORI 二奶冰室

If the chic exterior and air-conditioned environment isn’t already tempting you to go in, CHAKORI offers cool desserts that will be just what you need on a really hot day.

Chakori Cafe In Ipoh Old Town
Chakori Cafe In Ipoh Old Town – Photo by Travelswithsun

For drinks, the matcha latte (more bitter than sweet), houjicha and genmaicha are all highly recommended if you don’t like sweet drinks. 

And while the menu does feature mains but these are only available after 11am. Prices are reasonable but portions are somewhat small:

Black Truffle Gelato Ice Cream At Ipoh CHAKORI Dessert Shop
Black Truffle Gelato Ice Cream At Ipoh CHAKORI Dessert Shop – Photo credits to chakori_2 (Instagram)

Which does leave you plenty of room to try their gelato and waffles. Their ice cream selection has some interesting flavors like sour plum wine or black sesame. Fresh cakes are also for sale.

Lastly, you can’t fault their friendly and polite staff.

Address: 35, Jalan Market Ipoh, 30000 Perak

Opening hours: 10am–10:30pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Contact: +6011 – 13324118

2. Platf9rm Coffee & Brew Café

Fans of the Harry Potter series or those who love taking pics for their Instagram may want to give this place a look-see. You can even rent robes (RM10 for 30 minutes) to fit in with the theme.

Platf9rm Coffee & Brew Cafe Ipoh
Platf9rm Coffee & Brew Cafe Ipoh – Photo credits to steinygirl_mom (Instagram)

Both the interior and exterior of this themed cafe is well done. Although it is an open-air environment, rather than an enclosed air-conditioned space.

They have drinks (including a very sweet butterbeer), coffee, cheesecake, brownies, etc.

It does get quite crowded on weekends!

Note: Each person must purchase either a food item or beverage; The drink Phoenix Tears is not recommended

Address: 22, Lorong Panglima, Concubine Ln, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 11:30am–6:30pm

Other cafes that you can visit:

  1. Patisserie BoutiQue
  2. Nelly’s Cafe
  3. Aud’s Cafe
  4. The Happy 8 Café
  5. Girlie’s Café

See more Ipoh cafe options.

Hotels Near Concubine Lane Ipoh

Staying close to Concubine Lane is easy with these accommodation options:

1. Brick Box Hotel

Booking.com

Brick Box Hotel has a total of 27 rooms and is situated at a  very convenient location. It is walking distance to many attractions in Ipoh Old Town!

Brick Box Hotel Ipoh
Brick Box Hotel Ipoh

What you’ll like:

  • Desirable location
  • WiFi
  • 24-hour security
  • TV
  • Beautiful, spacious, and clean rooms

Good to know:

  • Bring earplugs if you’re a light sleeper! The clocktower is nearby and chimes every hour!

Address: 31, Jalan Dato Maharajalela, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Distance from Concubine Lane: 2 minutes’ walk

2. Cititel Express Ipoh

Booking.com

A great value-for-money stay that is close to attractions in Ipoh Old Town too!

Cititel Express Ipoh
Cititel Express Ipoh

What you’ll like:

  • Walking distance
  • Comfortable rooms
  • TV with HD movies
  • Very clean
  • WiFi
  • Friendly reception
  • Breakfast included

Good to know:

  • Parking is in the basement and limited. Try to check in early if you can!
  • If you have a lot of devices to charge, bring a multiple adapter

Address: 2, Jalan S.P Seenivasagam, 30000 Ipoh,Perak

Distance from Concubine Lane: 5-6 minutes’ walk

3. De Cafe & Rest House

Booking.com

As the name implies, this 3-storey building hosts a cafe and hotel in one! Aside from little parking opportunities here and the creakiness of the building at night, there’s a lot to like about this place:

De Cafe & Rest House At Ipoh

For starters, the lovely staff and ambiance of the cafe, but also the hidden Instagram spot behind it!

The cafe serves good coffee and tea. As well as western-style breakfast croissants and cakes – try the mille crepes!

Solo female travelers will appreciate that there are separate (and clean) dormitories for both genders. The hostel is designed for backpackers so most facilities (like bathrooms) are shared.

Note: You have to bring your own toiletries

Address: 35, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Distance from Concubine Lane: 2 minutes’ walk

4. Belakang Kong Heng By Dreamscape

Booking.com

Belakang Kong Heng directly translates to Behind Kong Heng.

And it is indeed its prime location for food (it’s literally beside Plan B) and convenience for those without their own transport that makes hotel is highly sought after.

Stylish Interior Of Belakang KongHeng By DreamScape
Stylish Interior Of Belakang KongHeng By DreamScape – Photo belongs to the hotel

The interior is clean, spacious, and incredibly stylish with balconies too. Plus, there is a functional kitchenette.

However, you might not want to stay here during peak season or the weekends, as it can be noisy at night.

Moreover, getting up to the rooms may prove a challenge for the elderly and little ones (I.e. steep stairs).

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

Distance from Concubine Lane: 1 minutes’ walk


Read More Reviews:


5. 27 Concubine Lane – Guesthouse

27@Concubine Lane Ipoh 怡保二奶巷
[email protected] Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to nattamanis (Instagram)

Note: Closed as of June 2019

Set in a heritage house, this makes for a unique accommodation. It is also not far from the Ipoh Railway Station!

What you’ll like:

  • WiFi
  • Vintage decor
  • Fantastic location
  • Great for couples
  • Pets allowed
  • Airport shuttle
  • Warm welcome

Good to know:

  • No private parking
  • Bring earplugs if you are sensitive to noise!

Address: 27 Lorong Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Malaysia

Distance from Concubine Lane: 1 minute walk


Read also:


Souvenirs From Ipoh

Souvenirs can be pricey but this is to be expected in such a tourist hot spot!

Still, it’s possible to find some really nice handmade items if you look carefully.

Don’t forget to bring some snacks back home from Ipoh!

Some Of The Wares Sold On Concubine Lane
Some Of The Wares Sold On Concubine Lane – Photo by Travelswithsun

1. Dreamland at Concubine Lane

A cute shop with retro decor. Not a bad place for a photo too!

Dreamland at Concubine Lane Ipoh
Dreamland at Concubine Lane – photo credits to hsorfina (Instagram)

Address: 15, Jalan Panglima, Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm

Contact: +605-255 4399

2. Ipoh Old Town Tart King

They sell good BBQ chicken pastry buns here as well as egg tarts – original and pandan flavor.

Address: 2, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 7:30am to 2:30pm

Contact: +6012-522 6026

3. Kristy Collection Boutique

Close to Kong Heng Square, this small boutique sells jewelry pieces from Korea.

4. Kong Heng Square Artisan Market

Old meets new at Kong Heng Square.

Kong Heng Flea Market
Kong Heng Flea Market – Photo by Travelswithsun

There’re a lot of cute knick-knacks you can pick up here!

Keychains, lanyards, wallets, porcelain saucers, etc.

Address: 11, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 11am to 5pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Contact: +6012-511 8411

Things To Do At Concubine Lane Ipoh

1. Ho Yan Hor Museum

At the corner of Jalan Bijeh Timah, just a block away from Kong Heng Square is Ho Yan Hor Museum.

The blue building was once home to Dr. Ho Kai Cheong who happens to be the founder of Ho Yan Hor (now Hovid Berhad) herbal tea.

Ho Yah Hor And Han Chin Pet Soo Museum Close To Concubine Lane
Ho Yah Hor And Han Chin Pet Soo Museum Close To Concubine Lane – Photo by Travelswithsun

It’s free to take the tour and learn about how Dr. Ho’s journey to becoming a famous entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Free tea tasting too!

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

Opening hours: 10am to 4pm (Closed on Mondays)

Contact: +605-241 2048

Entrance fee: Free

2. Han Chin Pet Soo

The building itself is a heritage treasure. Tours by the non-profit organization, Ipoh World allow you to see the inside of the building.

Display of a gambling den at Han Chin Pet Soo Museum
Display of a gambling den at Han Chin Pet Soo Museum – Photo by Travelswithsun

Inside, different levels have been turned into various exhibits related to the period when the former Hakka tin miners’ club was its peak glory.

Including a recreation of what the inside of an opium and gambling den would look like!

Address: 3, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30100 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 9:30am to 3:30pm (Closed on Mondays)

Contact: +605-241 4541

Remark: You have to book online through the Ipoh World Website.

Entrance fee: Recommended donation of at least RM10 per person.

3. Book Xcess Kong Heng (Yasmin Museum)

Book Xcess Kong Heng
Book Xcess Kong Heng – Photo by Travelswithsun

Ipoh’s first branch of this bookstore chain houses a small museum dedicated to the Malaysian film and commercial director, Yasmin Ahmad, and her works.

Yasmin Ahmad Museum at Book Xcess Kong Heng
Yasmin Ahmad Museum at Book Xcess Kong Heng – Photo by Travelswithsun

You’ll notice the bookstore is actually an old bank vault! They use the vault to creatively display the books in the basement of the bookstore!

Address: 91, Jalan Sultan Yusof, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 8am to 10pm

Contact: +605-246 0019

Entrance fee: Free

4. Funtasy House Trick Art

Another curious museum/ gallery you can check out is Funtasy House Trick Art.

Funtasy Art Trick House
Funtasy Art Trick House – Photo by Travelswithsun

Taking photos at this 3D art gallery is good fun for any age! If you don’t know how to pose, the staff will be happy to guide you!

Funtasy Art Trick House
Funtasy Art Trick House – photo credits to larry273 (Instagram)
Tip: Don’t forget to bring your MyKad if you have one!

Address: 16, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 9am to 6pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Contact: +605-255 0007

Entrance fee: RM15 (Malaysians), RM19 (Foreigners), RM10 (Kids/ students/ seniors)


Further reading:


Tips For Visiting Concubine Lane

  • If you go during Chinese New Year (January to February generally), the lanes may be decorated with red lanterns)
  • Escape the crowds by going on a Monday or Thursday rather than the weekend!
  • Bring a water bottle – you’re likely going to sweat during your walk

Ipoh Private Tour Service

Don’t want to suffer the heat to explore both Ipoh Old Town and Ipoh New Town?

Consider taking a private tour service instead:

It’s a quicker way to get around (especially for families) and you don’t have to worry about parking or driving!

Other benefits?

  • Local guides who can speak English, Chinese or Malay
  • Flexible hours between 8:30am and 8pm
  • Comfortable transport (MPVs or vans)
  • Tours include pick up and drop off anywhere in Ipoh
  • You can combine your Ipoh tour with a trip to Penang, Cameron Highlands or Taiping!

Inquire about our Ipoh tours on our Facebook or WhatsApp.

Conclusion

Do not be deterred by the touristy facade of the three concubine lanes in Ipoh:

You can still find old-world charm here among all the trendy stalls, and souvenir shops!

It doesn’t hurt to explore them too since they’re only a few steps away from Ipoh’s other heritage attractions and street murals!

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