Former Hakka miner’s club, Han Chin Pet Soo Museum is in Ipoh Old Town. It is next to Ho Yan Hor Museum. Both museums are worth visiting but this post is just about Han Chin Pet Soo Museum.
It’s free to visit Han Chin Pet Soo Museum but early bookings are usually necessary. Especially on weekends. Visitors can learn more about the tin mining period in Ipoh. As well as the lifestyle of people in that time.
What else can you see here? Find out in this post.
Overview Of Han Chin Pet Soo
What you’ll like:
- Friendly professional guides
- Well-presented exhibits with interesting facts too
- No entrance fees (but donations expected)
- Building is fully air-conditioned
- Beautiful heritage building
- Close to Concubine Lane
- Rain-proof indoor activity
Things to know:
- Not wheelchair friendly
- Bookings required
- Toilets are on the top floor
- Tours are only in English
- Stairs are very steep, floors are uneven in places
- Self-guided tours are not available
- Might not be interesting for kids
About Han Chin Pet Soo
Built by a rich tin mining tycoon, Han Chin Pet Soo translates to “relaxing villa”. The exclusive club included successful tin mining bosses (towkays) of Hakka origin.
Today, the museum is run by Ipoh World Sdn Bhd. And along with the local community, restoration was complete in 1.5 years.
After which, Han Chin Pet Soo opened its doors as a museum in 2013. So, this museum has been in operation for 10 years. And all this time, they only rely on donations.
There are three floors to the building. Its original architecture consisted of 2 floors. But after the death of the founder, another floor was built.
Han Chin Pet Soo Museum is not open all the time. The schedule is random and thus, we suggest heading on to the official ipohworld.org website to check the schedule before your visit.
While you’re on the site, make a booking for your intended time and date of your visit. They allow a maximum of 25 people per tour. The slots fill quickly on public holidays and weekends.
Note: You cannot walk into the building as it is usually locked. Only visitors with bookings can enter the building.
Tours At Han Chin Pet Soo
Tours at Han Chin Pet Soo begin on time and last for roughly an hour. The tours take you around most of the building.
Starting with the ground floor, before heading higher up to the other two floors. There is no lift in this museum. Only two steep staircases.
Tours start at the waiting room, which is set up to look like the dining hall it was. Many of the furniture (including the infinity mirrors) are original.
The first part of the tour explains a bit of the founder as well as notable events.
A couple of disasters hit Han Chin Pet Soo and during the onsite tours, you can learn why the flooring of Han Chin Pet Soo is much higher than its neighbours.
After this briefing, you’ll go further into the building and see some tin samples, early tin products, tin ingots, and other tools of the trade. The guide will explain what prospectors do and why they get paid so much.
Further along, there is a large mural of an open cast mine which the guide will explain.
At the back of the building is a traditional kitchen and pantry. This leads out to more murals and the guide will describe what life was like for the workers of a tin mine.
Follow the guide up the old wooden stairs to a set up of an opium den. The guide will show you different opium paraphernalia. And tell you about the lives of opium users and Japanese concubines.
At the front of this floor is a gambling den with various games typical of that time. Here, the guide. explains how to play one of the games. Plus, other fun facts about the architecture of the building.
The staircase to the highest floor of the museum is at the back of the second floor. In this last gallery, the guide will talk about different clans migrating from China to Malaysia.
There is a 1920-ish room set up to see. The adjacent room has old photographs of the first vehicles in Ipoh. This room has a collection of branding from different petrol companies back in the day – one of them still exists under a new name.
If you don’t already have a booking for Han Chin Pet Soo Museum, it’s time to make one. The tours are well managed, and you’ll be able to appreciate Ipoh’s past a lot more.
Taking a tour here is comfortable too since the building is fully-air conditioned. Other than this, there are no entrance fees.
And if you have time, we really recommend checking out Ho Yan Hor Museum too. This museum puts focus on one man’s life during Ipoh’s tin mining days. Rather, than a general perspective.