Ipoh (the capital city of Perak) is full of visitors during the public holidays.
Mainly for cheap and delicious food but there are also plenty of things to do in Ipoh at night and in the daytime!
Read on and find out which Ipoh attraction you need to include into your itinerary:
Table of Contents:
- Go back in time (Ipoh tin mining history)
- Try Ipoh famous food
- Enjoy some greenery (Ipoh parks)
- Visit a limestone cave temple
- Admire British Colonial Architecture
- Explore Tambun area
- Join the crowds at Ipoh tourist hotspots
- Spend a day at Sunway Lost World Of Tambun
- Take the Ipoh Heritage Walk
- Have a cup of Ipoh White Coffee
- Cycle around Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village
- Learn more about Malaysia at the Geological Museum
- Shop for a souvenir at Pasar Karat Memory Lane (Sunday Market)
- Be Impressed at Tambun Tibetan Temple
- Go for an evening stroll at Kinta Riverfront Walk
- Check out Little India
- Browse through Book Xcess
- Take a break at an Ipoh Cafe
- Stay at one of many chic Ipoh Boutique Hotels
- Pamper yourself at a real 5-star resort
- Check out one of Ipoh’s shopping malls
- Hike up Bukit Kledang
- Make time to see other religious structures
- Wander through Perak Herbal Garden
- Explore every corner of Kellie’s Castle
- Take a ferry to Pangkor Island
- Escape the city and check out Gopeng
27 Best Things To Do In Ipoh 2020
Learn more about Ipoh’s rich (pun intended) tin mining history at these places:
1.1. Han Chin Pet Soo Museum
This museum is an eye opener to be sure!
Multilingual guides for the daily tours are volunteers from local NGO called “Ipoh World”.
You MUST make a booking online via Ipoh World’s website prior to visiting Han Chin Pet Soo!
1.2. TT5 Tin Dredge
Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No. 5 was re-opened after major repair works as the dredge is slowly sinking.
Please pay a visit to this precious Ipoh heritage as proceeds go to maintenance and salvation of the dredge!
Durbar is a bar and restaurant housed in a building once known as FMS (Federated Malay States) with 100+ years’ worth of history tied to it.
It was the main watering hole during the tin mining days of Ipoh.
And thanks to Lee Yee Tsong (who did the restoration):
Now, it is a must-go for locals and foreigners alike! By the way, the food is excellent!
1.4. Ho Yan Hor Museum
A small but lovely museum (with air-con!) paying tribute to a famous tea brand in Ipoh.
Learn about the history of the building and the founder Dr. Ho. And how he found success!
1.5. Kinta Tin Mining (Gravel Pump) Museum
Did you know that Malaysia was once the world’s leading producer of tin back in the 1800s right till the 1980s?
And this little-known museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits of the extraction methods and equipment used in the local area.
The owner himself was a former tin miner. In fact, Kinta Valley’s tin mines contributed to >20% of the world’s tin production back in the day!
2. Try Ipoh Famous food
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!
3. Enjoy some greenery (Ipoh parks)
Ipoh is blessed with some gorgeous limestone hills! And we have a fair share of public gardens too!
3.1. Kinta Nature Park
You will enjoy this place if you love nature. More so if you’re an avid bird-watcher.
3.2. Gunung Lang Recreational Park
With all the surrounding limestone hills and a small waterfall (most likely man-made), it’s very beautiful here!
Great for joggers and families as well as there is a lake with a boat ride to the other side with a mini zoo!
Or you can skip the 5-minute boat ride and just feed the huge fish. Or have a picnic by the lake!
- Hard to get a taxi here. Make arrangements before you go.
- Beware of the monkeys.
- Bring an umbrella, water, sunscreen and mosquito repellent!
3.3. DR Seenivasagam Recreational Park
This beautiful Japanese-style park is <10 minutes’ drive from Ipoh Old Town and next to Kinta river.
A couple of gazebos extend into the lake – you can walk across the bridges and raised walkways to get to them!
Or have a picnic in the shade of the huge trees there!
3.4. Polo Ground (Sultan Abdul Aziz Recreation Park)
Locals refer to it as the polo ground because it’s pretty close to the Perak Turf Club.
It is a spacious park with lots of trees, jungle gyms and workout stations!
Observe or partake in what the locals love doing in their free time:
Jog, join a Tai Chi group or let your kids play at the playground. Or fly kites here!
There are food stalls on one side of the park too!
4. Visit a limestone cave temple
Unlike other temples around Malaysia, the ones in Ipoh are often built into the side of a limestone hill to form part of the temples!
Don’t forget to include a cave temple into your Ipoh trip, they are certainly a must-see Ipoh attraction!
4.1. Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple & Zen Gardens
To start off this list, Kek Lok Tong is a Buddhist and Taoist temple built into a large cave.
Visitors will find the temperature much cooler once they walk in!
The temple has its own gardens at the back. Locals love to come here for an early morning or evening jog.
4.2. Perak Cave Temple (Perak Tong Cave)
You can climb up to the top of this impressive temple for a good view of Ipoh! Careful, it’s steep and slippery.
Perak cave temple is cool inside compared to the scorching temperatures outside.
4.3. Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple
Sam Poh Tong is the oldest cave temple in Ipoh!
There is a charming decorative pond and garden in front of the temple!
The temple entrance features a large archway with exquisite white marble carvings of dragons and other mythical beasts.
Inside the temple is a cool tunnel that leads out to the back where the tortoise sanctuary is. You can buy some vegetables at the temple entrance to feed them!
Best of all, you will see another side of the temple that is absolutely breathtaking with the limestone hills surrounding it!
4.4. Kwan Yin Tong Temple
This cave temple isn’t as stately as the others in this list but:
On “Chap Goh Meh” (Chinese Valentines Day and the 15th day of Chinese New Year), this is the spot to be!
As plenty of hopeful single boys and girls looking to find a partner will come to participate in a very unique event:
Girls will throw oranges into the river with their phone numbers written on it. And boys will fish the oranges out!
4.5. Ling Sen Tong Temple
It’s worth looking at this one if you’re on the way to Sam Poh Tong as this is the first temple you will see when you turn in anyways.
The colorful Taoist temple has many wall murals and statues of various deities, including a large one of the Goddess of Mercy.
5. Admire British Colonial Architecture
Ipoh may not have as many British colonial buildings as Penang or Melaka but the ones we do have are still in fairly good shape.
You cannot miss these large white buildings if you stop by in Ipoh!
5.1. Ipoh Railway Station
Also known as the “Taj Mahal of Ipoh“, this grand building is close to 100 years old and the most famous landmark in Ipoh!
There’s a lot of activity here on the weekends as Kuala Lumpur is only 3 hours away by the ETS train which makes a stop at this station!
5.2. Ipoh Town Hall
Look across the road from the Ipoh Railway Station and you’ll find Ipoh Town Hall almost directly opposite!
If you think both buildings look pretty similar, it’s because they have the same architect, Arthur Benison Hubback!
Try to come here at night to see it all lit up!
5.3. St Michael’s Institution
Another century-old building, this is an all-boys school that is still in operation.
So while you can’t enter this particular Ipoh attraction:
You can still appreciate the lovely neo-gothic architecture from outside!
5.4. Ipoh High Court (Architecture)
Close to the Town Hall and the Railway Station, the Ipoh High Court (Or Mahkamah Tinggi Ipoh in Malay) actually comprises of two separate buildings.
From the entrance looking in, you will see the original high court that dates back to before World War II on the right.
While the other building on the left side is newer.
6. Explore Tambun Area
Home to both 5 star hotels in Ipoh as well as a theme park, this area of Ipoh is worth the detour from Ipoh Old Town!
6.1. Tambun Cave
Prehistoric cave art can be found right in Ipoh! And these are only fading more as the years pass!
Unfortunately, the site has been left neglected with just a few dilapidated signboards to start you off. And it is frequented more by horses from the neighboring polo club, rather than tourists.
It’s a short trek across a large field and up into the hillside via a staircase. The few thousand year old paintings are on the side of the cliff! The most you will ever see in Asia (according to Wikipedia).
6.2. Eat Tambun Pomelo (Limau Bali)
Depending on the season, you can try one of these juicy citrus fruits that Tambun is known for! There are bitter and sweet varieties.
You can also visit a plantation and learn more about how they are grown!
7. Join The Crowds At Ipoh Tourist Hotspots
There’s a lot to see here and they’re all conveniently near each other too!
7.1. Ipoh Street Art
For starters, look for the street murals scattered throughout Old Town.
Below are some locations you might want to check out!
Mural Art’s Lane: Jalan Masjid, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak
Old Town Relieves Nostalgia with Trishaw: http://bit.ly/2Zs1GpS
A Yellow Hummingbird: 37, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak
Kids Riding a Paper Plane: http://bit.ly/2IPK1CW
An Old Uncle Drinking Coffee: http://bit.ly/2x3MAKm
7.2. Concubine Lane Ipoh
It may be the most over-hyped spot in Ipoh but it does have its charm! You don’t need much time to explore it too!
The historical street is full of colorful shops and stalls selling an assortment of cheap trinkets and street food.
PS: The tau fu fa stall is pretty good!
7.3. Kong Heng Square
Another shopping opportunity and a popular Ipoh attraction:
Kong Heng Square is a short walk from Concubine Lane and within Plan B’s vicinity!
There are actually some delightful handicraft treasures to be found here. At the very least, it’s a good stop to catch your breath away from the heat of the sun!
You can get a cold treat or drink here too!
7.4. Funtasy House Trick Art
An unusual art gallery in the middle of Ipoh Old Town with more than 20 rooms of clever 3D trick artwork for wonderful photo opportunities!
Best to go with your family or friends!
Even if you are alone, the staff are very helpful and will help you get some awesome photos to bring back home!
8. Spend A day At Sunway Lost World Of Tambun
It’s relaxing to soak at the hot springs (6pm onwards) during the evening and night.
But there’re also plenty of other attractions at this theme park in Ipoh during the day! These include a wave pool with a man-made beach in front, water slides, carnival rides and a mini zoo.
Most people opt to enjoy the water park in the day, and go for the hotsprings at night.
If you want to do this, start at 8am or in the evening as any other time is going to be really hot!
There’s a trail map available on ipohworld.
Highlights in the walk include the colonial buildings mentioned in item 5 on this list and as well as the Birch Memorial Clock Tower!
10. Have A Cup Of Ipoh White Coffee
Usual favorites are Sin Yoon Loong, Nam Heong White Coffee and Chang Jiang White Coffee if you want to sit down and slowly sip on your coffee.
Or Yee Hoi Coffee Bean if you want to buy some coffee to take back as a souvenir!
11. Cycle Around Qing Xin Ling Leisure And Cultural Village
Come here for some lovely scenery – limestone hills and the lake!
The old artifacts that are used to decorate the “village” incite a nostalgic atmosphere!
Inside the park, you can use their bamboo hats, bicycles and rickshaws for free and take as many photos as you want!
Or take a quick hike up the limestone hill!
True, it’s mostly just rocks:
But the museum is well-maintained with clear exhibits that are fun and interactive for kids!
Measuring tools and instruments are on display as well as rock samples from all over Perak.
Learn about the latest geology projects that the government is working on!
A morning market to hunt for some old memorabilia or practice your bargaining skills!
You will find a wide range of second-hand and new goods like clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.
There are also some food & drink stalls.
Jiagan Jing She translates to the Enlightened Heart Tibetan Temple. In typical Taoist temple style, the temple is all bright and colorful and there are hundreds of statues scattered around!
Come here to see the largest Buddhist statue in Ipoh! The statue is almost the same height as the multi-level pagoda that is on the temple grounds.
Opposite Kinta Riverfront Hotel is a short stretch river that has been transformed into a small recreational area.
Colored LED trees on either side of the river and two bridges make it a good venue for a night stroll.
There are food stalls and a variety of bikes for hire! Including tandem bikes for 3 people!
Everything from clothing, trinkets, halal meat, fresh vegetables, herbs and spices is sold here.
You can get your eyebrows threaded at the Indian beauty parlors here. Other services might be waxing or a massage.
Of course, you can find great Indian food here. A good vegetarian option is Krishna Bhawan Restaurant.
Now the home of the Yasmin Ahmad Museum, this chic bookstore (Book Xcess Kong Heng) recently opened its doors to the public.
Books are displayed in cinder block shelves and you can head downstairs to the basement to access the book vault!
The neon lights and industrial interior inside make for an exceptional Instagram background!
There are so many to choose from! But we’ve done the work for you in this list of best Ipoh cafes!
No shortage of places to stay in Ipoh – luxury resorts, Ipoh homestays and boutique hotels!
Here is a list of affordable Ipoh boutique hotels!
Ever been to a 5-star resort before? There is only nature and tranquility here at this world-famous 5 star resort!
20.1. The Haven Resort
Rates for the modern rooms and suites at this resort are not too exorbitant!
Bask in the beautiful landscape that surrounds the hotel! Go for a jog around the lake, take a swim at the pool surrounded by the lake or dip into the Jacuzzi!
20.2. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
Embark on a romantic getaway at The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat!
With your own private villa (and a private pool), scenic garden or lake views, butler services, hot pools and spa massages at your disposal!
The on-site restaurant is something extra special too! Jeff’s Cellar offers fine dining experience right in a limestone cave!
There is another great restaurant (The Pomelo) on the property too. Serving tantalizing dishes with organic produce!
We actually have a list of Ipoh’s most popular shopping haunts here!
These are good if you need something in pinch or just want to escape the heat for a while!
Ipoh’s most popular hiking trail at Menglembu:
Many start the 3.5 hour hike up to the summit (800m) before dawn in order to admire the sunrise!
Total of 4 trails of varying difficulty and duration:
- RTM (~4 hours) – to the summit via a tar road
- 4-2 (1 hour) – jungle trail
- 4-3 (1.5 hours) – jungle trail
- 4-9 (2 hours) – jungle trail
- The shorter ones are jungle trails that connect back to the main road at different points!
- If you reach the top when it’s still dark, you’ll have a fantastic view of Ipoh city at night too!
- For safety, don’t go alone!
Helps if you have your own car because most of these are not in the city center (except the first one)!
23.1. Ipoh State Mosque (Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque)
It is easy walk to this mosque from the city center.
The exterior of the mosque features a number of gold domes and a square minaret.
And lovely Islamic lattices!
23.2. Panglima Kinta Mosque
There’s nothing quite like blue mosques like Masjid Panglima Kinta which was built in the early 1900s.
There are guided tours that will explain more about the construction of the mosque.
You can include this gem into your Ipoh heritage walk!
23.3. Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple
Next, we have to mention this beautiful Hindu temple set against some limestone hills!
The best time to go is during the evening when it’s not too hot!
The temple is bustling with activity during the Thaipusam festival! Inside, you can observe the wall drawings that depict many the stories of Lord Murugan.
23.4. Seen Hock Yeen Confucius Temple, Chemor
Somewhere hidden in the town of Chemor (30 minutes’ drive from Ipoh), is a magnificent red and gold temple!
The Jade Emperor is the main deity worshiped in this temple.
23.5. Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sitiawan
Tua Pek Kong is a seaside temple which needs a long drive out from the city to reach. 1 hour and 40 minutes approximately!
On a clear day, the sunset is worth seeing!
If you’re on the way to Kellie’s Castle, you can stop by here first or on the way back!
Perak Herbal Garden (or Taman Herba Negeri Perak) is garden of 22 hectares with various herbs with uses in medicine, aroma-therapy and cosmetics.
The gardens are in Kampung Kepayang. And you’re welcome to purchase some plants and other related products to bring home!
An abandoned manor in ruins, visitors can roam the building and grounds to admire the Moroccan-inspired architecture!
You can stop here before heading up to Cameron Highlands where the mossy forest is!
Read also: 29 Best Places To Visit In Cameron Highlands (New Guide)
Technically not in Ipoh but it you start missing the ocean, Pangkor Island is a great place to be!
You have to drive to Lumut (1 hour 45 minutes) and take a ferry (another 45 minutes) to Pangkor Island so plan to stay at least a night if you go!
Hornbills frequent the island and you will likely catch a glimpse of at least one while you are there!
Check out the schedule and ferry frequency on this page here.
27. Escape The City And Check Out Gopeng
Around 40 minutes out from Ipoh city center, Gopeng has a lot to offer, especially for adventure seekers!
27.1. Gua Tempurung
Admire a limestone cave up close and inside out!
Fun caving experience to be had here if you’re up for it!
There are different trails – depends on how much time you have and whether you don’t mind getting all soaked!
You will not regret going to this Ipoh attraction!
27.2. White Water Rafting (River Explorer)
If you’ve never been white water rafting before, this is a great start to getting your feet wet (pun intended)!
The rafting takes place at Kampar river.
27.3. Ulu Geroh Rafflesia Trail
Tour companies that do white water rafting in Gopeng typically offer packages to take visitors on a rafflesia (Bunga Pakma) trek as well.
The start of the trail is in a little village (Ulu Geroh) that is 12km from Gopeng so the tour package will provide the transport there (1.5 hours).
Then a native (orang asli) guide will lead the way. The trail takes another 1.5 hours.
27.4. Gaharu Tea Valley
For a slower pace in Gopeng:
Unique and rare gaharu trees (also known as Agarwood) are planted at HOGA Gaharu Tea Valley.
The tree is highly valued for its many beneficial and healing properties.
You can see them up close here in this large plantation.
Tours and tea tasting are available here at the plantation too.
How To Get To Ipoh From Singapore, Kuala Lumpur Or Penang:
1. Singapore To Ipoh
- The drive takes 7-10 hours
- Bus or train has roughly the same duration as driving
- Fly instead. It takes 1 hour.
- Many drive up to Ipoh ( ~2.5 hours with no heavy traffic)
- For public holidays, take the ETS train to Ipoh Railway Station (6 trips daily, 2 hours 45 minutes one-way). Book early!
- Buses to Ipoh stop at Ipoh AmanJaya (20 minutes’ drive from Ipoh Old Town)
- ~2 hours’ drive to Ipoh
- ETS train from Butterworth makes 6 trips daily to Ipoh Railway Station (~1 hours, 40 minutes one-way)
- Or you can take a bus to Ipoh (stops at Ipoh AmanJaya).
Read more: 27 Best Things To Do In Penang
4. How To Get Around Ipoh Without Your Own Car:
- Hop on the city public bus – affordable but not reliable
- Taxi or Grab (not as many as in KL)
- Car rental – standard 5-seater car will cost you RM150+ per day. Finding parking and driving is a stressful
- Book a Ipoh private tour instead – includes transport and a personal guide!
The itinerary is flexible and you can choose 1 day or multiple.
This list of 27 things to do in Ipoh should keep you busy for more than just a weekend! See the historical sights, some greenery and eat lots of Ipoh food!
Here’s how you can squeeze at least another attraction in – see our guide on road trips from Ipoh!