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.

Ipoh Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷
Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to akaiwarp (Instagram)

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!

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 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.

Mural of a couple at Concubine Lane
Mural of a couple at Concubine Lane

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).

Shop lot view at Concubine Lane
Shop lot view at Concubine Lane – photo credits to hafizmupie (Instagram)
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!

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!

Market Lane at night
Market Lane at night – photo credits to blondie.around.the.world (Instagram)

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 is 3 Ipoh street art in this lane so make sure you check them out:

  1. Coffee shop scene outside Nam Chau Coffee Shop
  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)

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!

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 Sin Lean Lee

If you like fishballs and beef noodles, you should definitely try a bowl here!

Restoran Sin Lean Lee At Ipoh
Restoran Sin Lean Lee – photo credits to consultclarendon (Instagram)

Address: 15, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 6am to 2pm

Contact: +605-243 4402

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: http://bit.ly/RainbowCheeseToast

Opening hours: 9am to 7pm

6. Ais Kepal Concubine Lane

At Kong Heng Square (1 minute from Concubine Lane) is a store called Bits & Bobs.

Colorful iceball (ais kepal) at Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷
Colorful iceball (ais kepal) at Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to adelaidedessertqueen (Instagram)

They sell an unusual cold dessert here – a giant ice ball (ais kepal) that you can get in a few flavors:

  • Mango
  • Grape
  • Pandan
  • Sarsi (Malaysian soft drink similar to Pepsi or Coke)

Address: 99, Jalan Sultan Yusof, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours:

Weekdays (except Tuesdays): 11am to 4pm
Weekends: 10am to 5:30pm

Contact: +6016-521 1283


The first edition of this Ipoh Food Guide details multiple recommendations (from a local’s perspective) of where to find 15 of the best Ipoh food!

Grab this ebook written by locals for FREE!

Click here to check out more!


Further reading:


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. French Hotel Ipoh

Booking.com

This affordable hotel is close to many local eateries so you’ll never run out of dining options!

French Hotel Ipoh
French Hotel Ipoh

What you’ll like:

  • Quiet location
  • Clean and spacious rooms
  • Friendly receptionist
  • Secure and free parking is available – a few meters from the hotel

Good to know:

  • Toothbrush and cotton buds are not available
  • The rooms and car park are quite dark
  • There is a 7-Eleven convenience store next to the hotel

Address: 62, Jalan Datuk Onn Jaafar, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Perak

Distance from Concubine Lane: 11-15 minutes’ walk

4. Bedrock Hotel Ipoh

Booking.com

Located in New Town and strategically a short distance from Old Town with many eateries nearby!

Bedrock Hotel Ipoh
Bedrock Hotel Ipoh

What you’ll like:

  • Water dispensers in the rooms!
  • Breakfast included
  • Airport transportation
  • Family rooms available
  • WiFi
  • Free parking
  • Tasteful and spacious rooms
  • Efficient check-in

Good to know:

  • The hotel owners are very friendly and helpful when it comes to local recommendations!

Address: 13-15, Jalan Che Tak, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak

Distance from Concubine Lane: 15-20 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!

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

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. Concubine Lane Museum – Dream Big World (Model Car Museum)

There is an amazing collection of miniature cars (and other miniatures) at this unusual gallery!

Address: Level 1, 21, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: Weekends and public holidays: 10:30am to 4:30pm

Contact: +6012-516 3924

2. 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 怡保二奶巷
Ho Yah Hor and Han Chin Pet Soo museum close to Concubine Lane 怡保二奶巷 – photo credits to hafizmupie (Instagram)

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

3. 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

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.

4. Book Xcess Kong Heng (Yasmin Museum)

Book Xcess Kong Heng
Book Xcess Kong Heng

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

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

5. Miniature Wonders Art Gallery

It’s free to visit the ground floor and admire the minuscule details put into the displays of ancient Chinese dynasty scenes!

Miniature Wonders Art Gallery
Miniature Wonders Art Gallery – photo credits to theamiraaa (Instagram)

If you want to see more, it only costs RM5 to check out the upper floors!

Address: 49, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours: 8:30am to 6pm

Contact: +6018-579 0492

Entrance fee: Free or RM5

6. 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

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:

Weekdays: 9am to 6pm
Weekends: 9am to 8pm

Contact: +605-255 0007

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

7. Ipoh Cafe

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

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

  1. Patisserie BoutiQue
  2. Nelly’s Cafe
  3. Aud’s Cafe
  4. Artisan Handmade Bread
  5. Burps & Giggles

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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