Ipoh Old Town

You can’t visit Ipoh without exploring the heart of Ipoh, Ipoh Old Town! As more than one Ipoh attraction can be found here!

And usually within walking distance to somewhere serving delicious Ipoh food!

It’s not a bad idea to book a hotel in this area too! That way, you can take the time to explore all corners of Ipoh Old Town! Shown in this post!

Table of contents:

Where Is Ipoh Old Town

Ipoh Old Town sits on the west side of the Kinta River which flows through Ipoh. With its British-colonial shop lots, it looks similar to the Penang’s Georgetown.

Ipoh the capital of Perak
Ipoh the capital of Perak – photo credits to ryotahachino (Instagram)

The area on the opposite bank at the east side of the river, is Ipoh New Town.

It’s possible to walk to both areas via two bridges:

One at Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and another at Jalan Sultan Iskandar.

Getting Around Ipoh Old Town

Unless you are prepared to take on the heat and use your own feet to get around:

You can rely on the following modes of transport:

1. Private Tour Service

With RayTheTour private tour service, you can customize your itinerary and go where you want without having to wait for anyone!

And you’ll have an Ipoh-born guide to show you the sights!

Book Ipoh tour on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger!

2. Grab Or A Taxi

Call a Grab car using the App. Or get a taxi from the Ipoh airport, train station or from your hotel.

3. Self-drive/ Car Rental

Not recommended for anyone who’s never been to Ipoh before:

Because it can be highly congested in Ipoh Old Town! Especially during lunch time or any weekend (or public holiday)!

Finding parking is a real pain.

Tip: There are makeshift public parking lots but you will have to pay to use them.

You can find car rental services available at the airport. Or you can check online.

4. Sightseeing Bus

Only operating on weekends, the bus can take you around 12 tourist spots.

Ipoh Hop On Hop Off Bus

Go on the official site to see the bus schedule and ticket price.

Ipoh Old Town History

At the start of the 19th century, Malaysia was under British Colonial rule with Ipoh as the second administrative city.

Today, landmarks like the Ipoh Railway Station symbolize that part in Ipoh’s history.

Birch Memorial Clocktower in Ipoh
Birch Memorial Clocktower in Ipoh – photo credits to fazrul_aizat27 (Instagram)

In 1892, a huge fire led to the city being rebuilt. And the grid-like structure of Ipoh Old Town is what remains today.

Ipoh’s rapid development during the early 1900s was a result of the tin rush that brought in many people.

And Ipoh Old Town was the center of all this growth!

Ipoh Old Town Attractions

Tourism has taken a strong root in Ipoh:

Hence, there are always new places to explore in Ipoh Old Town! Many old shop lots are being turned into trendy cafes, hotels, galleries, and most recently, bubble tea shops.

But despite this, you’ll realize that Ipoh still holds its small town charm!

1. Concubine Lane Ipoh

There’s a lot more to Ipoh’s most famous street!

Concubine Lane is akin to Malacca’s Jonker Street. But in a much smaller scale which makes it tremendously easy to wander through and worth a look!

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

Sample local delights like silky-smooth tau fu fah or have some cold treats while you browse through the various trinket stalls.

Look past the colorful shop decorations and try to imagine what Concubine Lane looked like back when these shop lots housed opium and gambling dens!

2. Ipoh Old Town Street Art

You’ll surely pass by some of the numerous wall murals in Ipoh Old Town.

Tip: Pick up a map of the mural arts by Ernest Zacharevic from the Ipoh Tourist Information Center (ITIC) and incorporate them into your Ipoh Heritage Walk.

These are some of the iconic ones:

Ipoh Street Art Mural - An Old Uncle Drinking Coffee
Ipoh Street Art Mural – An Old Uncle Drinking Coffee

Exposure to sunlight has faded the colors of many but there are new paintings coming up all the time!

If you really want to see a whole row of them, drop by Mural Arts Lane in Ipoh New Town!

Mural Art Lane Ipoh
Mural Art Lane Ipoh – photo credits to nnazirah (Instagram)

3. Ipoh Heritage Walk

The classic Ipoh heritage walk takes you to multiple landmarks that have great historic significance!

You start at Ipoh Railway Station and other grand buildings like Ipoh Town Hall. Followed by the leading banks and other top companies in Ipoh back in the 19th century.

Ipoh Railway Station
Ipoh Railway Station – photo credits to olla.aizu (Instagram)

Don’t miss St Michael’s Institution! The impressive school building was formerly a base for the Japanese during the Japanese occupation.

Classes are still in session today in this exclusive all-boys school!

End your walk at Malaysia’s oldest restaurant, F.M.S (Now known as Durbar).

Durbar (FMS) - one of the most popular cafes in Ipoh
Durbar (FMS) – one of the most popular cafes in Ipoh

Or continue your journey to see Ipoh’s Little India and Dato’ Panglima Kinta’s Mosque – an enchanting blue mosque!

Download a map of the full Ipoh Heritage Walk.

Read more: 13 Things To Do In Ipoh At Night

4. Ipoh Booth Cart

If you have extra time or you just want to spend some time indoors (in air conditioning):

One Of The Entrances To Ipoh Booth Cart
One Of The Entrances To Ipoh Booth Cart – photo from their Facebook

Visit this hidden mural gallery!

There are stalls upstairs selling artisan crafts, Ipoh coffee and other goodies in a hall. With attractive displays that have a retro feel to them!

Ipoh Booth Cart
Ipoh Booth Cart – photo from their Facebook

Location: 11A, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: Weekdays (10am to 6pm), Weekends (8am to 6pm)

Facebook

5. Dream Big World (Model Car Museum)

If you can catch him on an open day, the friendly owner will be happy to show you around his wonderful collection of miniature cars!

Note: Fun rainy day activity!

Location: Level 1, No.21 Jalan Panglima @ off Concubine Lane Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours:

Saturday afternoon from 2:30pm onwards or Sunday from 11:30am and 4:30pm

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Read more: Ipoh Itinerary: Food Trip, Ipoh Day Trip, 2D1N & 3D2N

6. Time Tunnel Ipoh

Just around the corner from Dream Big World, is another fascinating gallery! If you were born in the 90s or earlier, this will be a nostalgic throwback for you!

Inside The Time Tunnel In Ipoh
Inside The Time Tunnel In Ipoh

The small museum houses miscellaneous antique items like toys, kitchen ware, cassette tapes and photographs.

Vintage Kitchen Set Up In Time Tunnel Ipoh
Vintage Kitchen Set Up In Time Tunnel Ipoh

Location: 23, Jalan Panglima, Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 9am to 4:30pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Entrance Fee:

Ground floor: Free

First floor: RM 6 (Adult), RM 4 (Child)

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7. Ho Yan Hor Museum

It’s free to visit this museum dedicated to the history of the Ipoh-owned Hor Yan Hor herbal tea producer by Mr Ho Kai Cheong!

This museum is just next to Han Chin Pet Soo.

Ho Yan Hor Museum in Ipoh
Ho Yan Hor Museum in Ipoh – photo by sooliping (Instagram)

Tip: If you’re going on a weekend, you can make a booking on their website first or at the door before you take your scheduled tour at Han Chin Pet Soo.

The friendly guides will walk you through the museum (tours available in English too) and you’ll get to sample 3 different types of herbal tea (free of charge).

Note: Be careful when going up their old staircase. No toilets here.

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

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

Entrance Fee: Free

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8. Han Chin Pet Soo

Definitely a must-visit when you come to Ipoh! This is a former VIP Hakka miners’ club that is now a museum run by a non-profit organization (Ipoh World).

Display of a gambling den at Han Chin Pet Soo Museum
Display of a gambling den at Han Chin Pet Soo Museum

Tours (in Chinese or English) start at the exquisite lobby and work their way through the back of the building, ending with the top floors.

The tours usually take an hour.

Antiques, murals, a brief history video and detailed room set ups compliment the tours.

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

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

Entrance Fee: Free but a donation of RM10 per person is suggested.

Remark: You need to call or go on their website to make a booking (+605-241 4541).

9. Yasmin at Kong Heng Newseum

In the basement of a chic bookstore (BookXcess), is a small gallery dedicated to Yasmin Ahmad. She brought out the best of Malaysian diversity through her heartwarming and relatable directed works.

Yasmin Ahmad Museum at Book Xcess Kong Heng
Yasmin Ahmad Museum at Book Xcess Kong Heng

There is a screen here where they play her most famous works:

Most notable are the Petronas commercials that were produced specifically for local celebrations like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Merdeka.

There are photos of her, and her memorable quotes as well!

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

Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm

Entrance Fee: Free

10. 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery

Downstairs has a café (now closed), a rather exquisite toilet, and a souvenir shop (with handcrafted goods from vulnerable communities). And upstairs houses the gallery.

22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery in Ipoh
22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery

The gallery has beautiful arrangements of antiques and photographs showcasing Ipoh’s past. Including a setup for a Peranakan wedding!

There is staff to show you around the collection!

Location: 22, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 10am to 12:30pm, and again from 1:30pm to 6pm (Closed on Mondays)

Entrance Fee:RM5

Website (Gallery booking): https://22halestreet.business.site/

11. Funtasy House Trick Art

At Funtasy House Trick Art gallery, you can take quirky photos at their 20 rooms of optical illusion and 3D art.

Funtasy Art Trick House
Funtasy Art Trick House – photo credits to larry273 (Instagram)

Don’t worry about how to pose as the helpful staff will be around to give you tips! Or you can examine the how-to guides in front of the murals!

Note: Good fun if you’ve never tried this sort of thing before!

Location: 16, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours:

Weekdays: 9am to 6pm

Weekends: 9am to 8pm

Entrance Fee:

Malaysians: RM15 (Adult), RM10 (Child)

Non-Malaysians: RM19 (Adult), RM10 (Child)

Read more: Kek Lok Tong Temple & Zen Gardens: Stunning Limestone Ipoh Cave Temple

Ipoh Old Town White Coffee Shop

Taste a real cup of Ipoh white coffee in between your sightseeing! You can find this unique drink at any local coffee shop (kopitiam as locals call them).

It can be served cold with ice or hot in the quintessential little cup that is synonymous with old school kopitiams!

The options listed here are frequently packed during lunch time and you’d best come early. If you want to avoid long waiting times and a lack of parking slots!

1. Nam Heong White Coffee

Along with Sin Yoon Loong (next on the list), Nam Heong White Coffee is one of the first brewers of Ipoh white coffee!

Their freshly baked egg tarts are the perfect accompaniments to their fragrant and creamy hot coffees!

Nam Heong Ipoh Old Town White Coffee
Nam Heong Ipoh Old Town White Coffee, Ipoh – photo credits to jennychee.ly (Instagram)

Location: 2, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 6:30am to 5pm

2. Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong

This humble coffee shop is the birthplace of Ipoh white coffee:

Sin Yoon Loong White Coffee Shop
Sin Yoon Loong White Coffee Shop – photo credits to chrischeong08 (Instagram)

Even after many years of being in business:

Local patrons still claim that the taste of the coffee (strong and slightly bitter) has not changed and it remains their favorite breakfast spot in Ipoh!

Location: 15A, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 6am to 2:30pm

3. Yinzo Kopi 银州之香

Yinzo Kopi At Ipoh
Yinzo Kopi At Ipoh

A trendy new cafe close to Little India, Yinzo Kopi is quickly gaining traction for its cozy environment, excellent iced coffee and tasty food (nasi lemak with curry chicken)!

Polo bun is a must-try item on their menu!

Polo Bun At Yinzo Kopi
Polo Bun At Yinzo Kopi

Location: No. 1 & 3, Persiaran Bijih Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm (Closed on Mondays)

4. Kedai Kopi Ah Chow

For an alcoholic twist to the Ipoh white coffee, you can head over to Kedai Kopi Ah Chow.

It might be the best coffee you’ve ever tasted! Affordably priced too!

Ah Chow alcoholic Ipoh White Coffee
Ah Chow alcoholic coffee – photo credits to fongameng(Instagram)

Tip: Good curry noodles here!

Location: 31, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 6:30am to 2pm

5. Lim Ko Pi

Just beside Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Sultan Iskandar road), Lim Ko Pi serves a robust coffee and a variety of savory and spicy Malaysian dishes!

Lim Ko Pi
Lim Ko Pi – photo credits to xblondaholik (Instagram)

At the back of the shop, are some beautiful open seating areas! They have parking for their customers across the road!

Location: 10, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 8:30am to 5pm (Closed on Mondays)

Read more: 9 Best Chicken Rice In Ipoh

Ipoh Old Town Café

Ipoh clearly doesn’t have any shortage of cafes, especially within Ipoh Old Town!

They are just the thing if you want some respite from the overbearing heat!

1. Café de Eight (Permanently Closed)

Inside Cafe de Eight, you can have yummy burgers, tantalizing desserts and beverages. With music playing in the background in a comfortable shabby-chic setting.

八号咖啡洞 Café de Eight
八号咖啡洞 Café de Eight – photo credits to vivianawid (Instagram)

Note: It’s quieter over here before the opposite school dismisses its students!

Location: Jalan Koo Chong Kong, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 12:30pm to 10pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Contact: +605-241 2758

2. Vintage Cafe & Guesthouse

The almost-black glass front of Vintage Cafe & Guesthouse belies a simple but charming interior.

Food-wise, they serve a fusion of Western and local flavors! Opening hours are later than their neighbors’, and long from 11am to 10pm (Closed on Mondays).

Waffles with ice cream at Vintage Cafe Ipoh
Waffles with ice cream at Vintage Cafe Ipoh – photo credits to z4lllll(Instagram)

Note: They sell beer and other alcoholic drinks here!

Location: 21, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Contact: +605-241 4955

3. Bareeseta Coffee House

With a name like Bareeseta Coffee House, you can look forward to their unique espresso blends!

Bareeseta Coffee House
Bareeseta Coffee House – photo credits to jasemine_tang (Instagram)

Have a western meal or a slice of their heavenly Chocolate Fondant Hot Cake to go with your coffee!

Quiet morning with a cup of Ipoh Milk White Tea at Bareesta Coffee House in Ipoh
Quiet morning with a cup of Ipoh Milk White Tea at Bareesta Coffee House in Ipoh – photo credits to helen_ang08 (Instagram)

Note: No plant-based milk available

Location: 29, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm, and again from 6 to 9:30pm (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Contact: +6016-433 2626

4. Burps & Giggles (Permanently Closed)

Famous for their Instagram-worthy interior, Burps & Giggles is the epitome of a hipster cafe!

Their cappuccino isn’t too bad either. You can also have western meals here!

Cozy interior of Burps & Giggles
Cozy interior of Burps & Giggles – photo credits to isuannl (Instagram)

Note: Desserts are on the sweet side.

Location: 93-95, Jalan Sultan Yusof, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Contact: +605-246 1308

5. Aud’s by JJ Cafe

Another gorgeous hipster cafe but with limited seating, Aud’s by JJ Cafe has sensational coffee and avocado smoothies!

Unique menu items at Aud's cafe - a popular Ipoh cafe at Ipoh Old Town - see the full Ipoh cafe list on www.travelswithsun.com
Unique menu items at Aud’s cafe – a popular Ipoh cafe

Tip: Plant-based milk is available

They have a small but interesting menu with items like their pesto pork burger!

Location: 97, Jalan Sultan Yusof, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm (Closed on Mondays)

Contact: +605-246 1310

6. Patisserie BoutiQue

You might walk past this dainty cafe if you’re not looking for it specifically:

Cakes (e.g. Tiramisu or burnt cheesecake) and coffee are what they are known for, although they do have western mains too.

Some of the cakes served at Patisserie BoutiQue
Some of the cakes served at Patisserie BoutiQue

Note: Book a table if you have a group of 4 for the weekend or during a public holiday!

Location: 103, Jalan Sultan Yusof, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 11am to 6pm

Contact: +6014-901 9268

7. Plan B (Ipoh)

In contrast, it’s hard to miss this one. Particularly if you’re checking out Concubine Lane and Kong Heng Square!

Plan B cafe in Ipoh
Plan B cafe in Ipoh

The floor-to-ceiling windows all around the spacious cafe entice passersby to come in and enjoy the air conditioning and cold drinks, desserts and western/fusion food.

Note: They do have a bar here  

Location: No. 75, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm

Contact: +605-249 8286

8. The Marketplace Waffle Bar & Cafe

You can try their coffee and trademark waffle sets that are either sweet or savory in a very pleasant environment.

The Market Place - a popular Ipoh cafe in Ipoh old town - see the full list of Ipoh Cafes on www.travelswithsun.com
The Market Place – a popular Ipoh cafe

They have some fascinating flavors of waffles – smoke duck, salmon, oreo, green tea, etc.

Location: 13, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening hours:

Monday to Thursday: 12pm to 10pm

Friday to Sunday: 11am to 10pm

9. V-Nest Cafe 金星燕窝咖啡馆

This good-looking cafe has indoor and outdoor seating available. Their Western/fusion food is appetizing! Try their laksa!

Note: There is a lunch set too.

V-Nest Cafe 金星燕窝咖啡馆
V-Nest Cafe 金星燕窝咖啡馆

And if you’re into birdnest, they do have some special menu items that use birdnest. Like sweet soup desserts!

Location: 27, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 6pm (Closed on Wednesdays), and 9am to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays

Contact: +605-243 9118

10. Girlie’s Café

Pop over here to this industrial-style cafe:

Girlie's Cafe
Girlie’s Cafe – photo credits to maykwan (Instagram)

For a western-style brunch with their delectable coffee,exquisite croissants and cakes with unusual flavors (e.g. watermelon or musang king burnt cheesecake).

Cakes by Girlie Cafe
Cakes by Girlie Cafe – photo credits to loveunisss (Instagram)

Location: No 26, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm (Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays) or 10am to 6pm for Fridays to Sundays

Contact: +6016-550 4451

Read more: 17 Best Cozy Cafes In Ipoh – By Location! (Includes New Cafes)

Hotels Near Ipoh Old Town

Take your pick of hotels in Ipoh Old Town – the majority are affordable and walking distance to Ipoh food eateries!

Note: If you have a car, the hotels listed here (with the exception of Cititel Express) may not be suitable for you since parking is often not provided.

1. Brick Box Hotel

Booking.com

Its central location in Ipoh Old Town makes Brick Box Hotel a popular choice among solo and couple travelers.

Brick Box Hotel Ipoh
Brick Box Hotel Ipoh

Plus, they offer free WiFi and  bicycle rentals to their guests.

Note: The rooms are too small for families.

Location: No 31, Jalan Dato’ Maharajalela, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Price range: RM80-100 for 2 pax/ night

Remark: 24-hour front desk

2. The Happy 8 Cafe & Retreat

Booking.com

Another centralized guest house that couples love to stay at is The Happy 8 Cafe & Retreat. They do have family rooms too.

Lobby At The Happy 8 Cafe & Retreat
Lobby At The Happy 8 Cafe & Retreat

The air-conditioned rooms with ensuite bathrooms are furnished with artistic wooden pieces that bring a rustic appeal.

Room At The Happy 8 Cafe & Retreat
Room At The Happy 8 Cafe & Retreat

Note: Mosquito nets are provided for the beds.

Location: 46, Jalan Market, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Price range: ~RM170 for 2 pax/ night

Remark: Book at least a month ahead

Read more: 19 Affordable & Best Boutique Hotels In Ipoh

3. Sarang Paloh Heritage Stay & Event Hall

Booking.com

Just next to Lim Ko Pi, this hotel is housed in a refurbished historical Chinese bank. They have elegant and spacious rooms in many configurations.

Sarang Paloh Heritage Stay & Event Hall Ipoh

The hotel is close to many Ipoh attractions too!

Note: They have free private parking for their guests

Location: 12, 14 and 16, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Price range: RM200-300 for 2 pax/ night

4. Dé Cafe & Rest House

Booking.com

Have a capsule hotel experience without sacrificing comfort! Solo and couple travellers feel right at home here.

De Cafe & Rest House At Ipoh

They have good modern facilities like their new showers, on-site cafe and bar, as well as a lockers!

Note: Most attractions are walking distance away so they do not offer a car park for their guests.

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

Price range: RM80-130 for 2 pax/ night

Read more: Hotel Excelsior Ipoh Review: Why This Classic Ipoh Hotel Is Still Thriving

5. Ban Loong Hotel

Booking.com
Ban Loong Hotel At Ipoh
Ban Loong Hotel At Ipoh

Spacious minimalist rooms with industrial-themed furnishings, air-conditioning, TVs and desks come in many different arrangements at Ban Loong Hotel.

Rooms At Ban Loong Hotel
Rooms At Ban Loong Hotel

You can walk to Ipoh Old Town and Ipoh New Town from here. Or drive since they have free parking for their guests too!

Location: 53, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak

Price range: RM75 to 100 for 2 pax/ night

Read more: 11 Exceptional Homestay In Ipoh

6. Cititel Express Ipoh

Booking.com

Contemporary rooms at Cititel Express Ipoh have everything you need for a short business or leisure stay. Including fast and reliable WiFI connection!

Cititel Express Ipoh
Cititel Express Ipoh

Depending on the room you get, you can drink in the views of Kinta River and limestone hills in the distance!

Note: Walking distance to many eateries and they have their own cafe

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

Price range: RM130-200 for 2 pax/ night

Remark: 24-hour reception

Read more: Weil Hotel Ipoh Review: Check This 4-star Hotel When You’re In Ipoh

Conclusion

The birthplace of Ipoh White Coffee, Ipoh Old Town has similar traits to Penang’s Georgetown but with fewer tourists!

And it is here that you can truly appreciate Ipoh’s humble beginnings as a tin mining town and its evolution!

Your Ipoh itinerary would simply be incomplete without Ipoh Old Town!

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