Ipoh is the capital of the state of Perak in Malaysia as well as one of the largest cities in the country. At one time this city was one of the most important cities in the world since it was the center of the world’s tin industry. Today it has become an important tourism destination. There are many lovely and wonderful sights in and around Ipoh. 70% of the city’s population is of Chinese origin.
Built in 1909, the Birch Memorial Clock Tower has a 6ft. 6in. bell. It honors the memory of James W.W. Birch, who was Perak’s first British resident. He was murdered in 1875 at Pasir Salak by local Malay chiefs. The friezes on the clock tower illustrate the growth of civilization and feature figures like Moses, Buddha, Shakespeare and Charles Darwin. The road upon which the clock tower stands was renamed for one of Birch’s killers, who today are considered to be nationalists while Birch is remembered for his disregard of local custom.
Perak Tong is Ipoh’s most-visited cave temple and was founded in 1926 by a Buddhist priest. It is located 6km north of the city and extends into a warren-like complex of grottoes with a 40ft. seated Buddha as the highlight. There are murals of Buddhas and saints along the cave walls. Outside steep walk-up stairs and pathways lead upwards where visitors can see amazing views over Ipoh.
Sam Poh Tong Temple was first discovered by a monk in 1890. This cave is located 5km south of Ipoh. Today it is used by nuns and monks for solitary meditation. The temple has a reclining Buddah surrounded by smaller statues. However the main highlight here is “Turtle Pond” where locals release tortoises in the hope of balancing their karma. A garden is adorned with granite pillars and small bridges.
At Gua Kek Look Tong you can see Buddha statues between shadowy stalactites. This is an out-of-the-way serene temple. Three Sages dominate the central cavern and toward the back you can see a cheerful Chinese Buddha of Future Happiness sitting in the company of three Bodhisattvas. Outside behind the cave is an ornamental garden with ponds and pagodas.
Ipoh’s white Town Hall dates back to 1916. It has become a popular spot to take wedding pictures. Visitors can walk around inside and the upper floor offers good views of the colonial train station.
Ipoh’s Train Station dates back to 1914 and is known locally as the “Taj Mahal”. This is an impressive domed train station mixing Moorish and Victorian architecture, designed in the “Raj” style.
For a great day of family fun head for the Lost World of Tambun. This is Malaysia’s top action and adventure family holiday destination. It is so much more than just a theme park.
Among the highlights here is Tiger Valley, home to Siberian tigers. These tigers are reddish-rusty or rusty-yellow in color, have narrow black transverse stripes and rank among the biggest living cats in the world. Their coats offer camouflage as no two tigers have exactly the same stripes. A hungry tiger can eat as much as 60 lbs. or 27 kilos in one night. These cats are great climbers and swimmers. Visitors can catch the Tiger Feeding Show.
In the amusement area you’ll find fun and exciting rides.
A favorite among visitors big and small is the Petting Zoo which offers Rabbit Wonderland. Here you can get up close with rabbits and this place is surrounded by a man-made river. Children can fish in the river and catch Longkang fish.
The star of the petting zoo is Ruby the raccoon. This is a nocturnal mammal that is very gentle and fun to watch. She and her friends can be found in the enclosure – Ruby and Friends.
At the Tortoise Kingdom you’ll find the Chinese Box Turtle and the Turtle Senterrapin. There is a 30 ft. waterfall that cascades into a natural river which flows into a pond that is home to many species of tortoises.
Bird Paradise offers 500 birds from 18 species and the aviary is surrounded by limestone hills and lush green forests.
Among the trees you can spot the white and black-eared marmoset. These small, squirrel-like monkeys live in the Marmoset Tree House.
So much more fun and delight awaits you at the Lost World.
Kellie’s Castle was built to be a home away from home for Scottish planter, William Kellie Smith in the 20th century. The castle sits atop of a hill in what was at one time a rubber estate. Smith was an interesting man and popular with his South Indian workers. He erected a Hindu shrine for the workers and in turn his workers erected a statue of Kellie in a white suit and hat. The castle appears to be haunted and supposed to have hidden rooms and secret underground tunnels.
If you just want to relax then the place to go is Taiman D.R. Seenivasagam or simply D.R. Park as it is locally known. You can see families with children here in the late afternoons and weekend mornings. Children can enjoy the playground. There are football fields with teams that train and a skate park for teens. You can even see elderly people practicing tai chi. Enjoy the day and bring along a picnic.
A popular destination is Bukit Kledang or Kledang Hill. People enjoy hiking up to the peak that rises 800m in height for impressive and amazing views all around. You can find some well-marked jungle trails as well as a paved road that will lead you up to the summit. If you prefer you can drive up in a four-wheel drive vehicle to take some scenic photos.
Ling Sen Tong is a beautiful Taoist cave temple located at the foot of a limestone hill in Ipoh. The name literally translates as the Rock of Heavenly Spirits. The temple’s main compound is adorned with lots of statues in different designs such as various animal figures, deities and other characters from Chinese folklore. In the garden in front you can see colorful statues of characters from Chinese mythology like the Monkey King from the classic tale “Journey to the West”.
Gunung Lang Recreational Park opened in October 2000. It is divided into two sections and has a lake. It was designed around a scenic backdrop of limestone hills. It’s main highlights are the man-made cascading waterfalls atop of a limestone hill, a 2km boardwalk over the swamp and look-out towers. There is a children’s playground, a campsite, a mini zoo, a prayer room and washrooms. To reach the park you take a boat ride from the jetty.
The Rafflesia Species was named after M. Cantley the curator of the Singapore Botanic Gardens (1880-1886). To get to see this amazing species you have to take a lorry. Trekking takes about one hour and thirty minutes to the Rafflesia. It is found near a little village on Ulu Geroh around 12km from Gopeng, near Ipoh. Perak Ulu Geroh is surrounded by durian orchards, rubber and oil palm estates, kampungs and forest reserves. You’ll need a Semai Orang Asli guide to trek through the jungle to where the Rafflesia thrives.
Rafflesia is parasitic and gets nutrients from the lianas they parasitically grow upon. This is a most fascinating species and is considered to be the largest flower in the world. It is stemless, leafless, barkless and rootless. There are those who think it has the most awful stench but often this is mostly exaggerated. The blooming period is within 4 to 5 days. You can see hundreds of Rajah Brooke butterflies flying about in a muddy area in the jungle.
Ernest Zacharevic, a Lithuanian artist has left his mark in other cities such as Kuala Lumpur and even in Singapore. This time you can find his artwork in Ipoh. He teamed up with OLDTOWN White Coffee (the leading white coffee manufacturer in Malaysia) and created “Art of OLDTOWN” as a celebration of the heritage and history shared between Ipoh, Old Town and OLDTOWN White Coffee. You can find eight fascinating mural in Ipoh. Among these impressive artworks are – “An Old Uncle Drinking Coffee”, “A Paper Plane” and “A Yellow Hummingbird” and five more.
In the Old Town west of the Kinta River you can see impressive architecture. The Old Town began as a village in the 1820s at the highest navigable point of the Kinta River. Among the notable buildings here are the Town Hall and the Train Station.
Some 20 years ago the Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng or GTVG came into existence. It covers 300 acres of elevated grounds and at one time had about 200,000 Gaharu Trees. Travel logs report that the species grown here was adapted from Japan and brought to Malaysia by Gaharu Technologies Sdn Bhd. This allowed the company to harvest a large amount of resin from the trees within six to ten years of their growth. Here tourists can enjoy the expansive view of the Agarwood trees being grown in this area. Visitors also get to see the 20-year old mother tree, which seeds were used to populate the plantation and is found at the valley’s highest point offering panoramic views. You can also see a 20-year old giant Gaharu tree and tourists hug it for luck. The Gaharu Tree is also known as Wood of the Gods and has medicinal value.
Take the amazing Kinta Riverfront Walk. The trees here are lit up with lovely LED lights and there are some wonderful restaurants offering views of the Ipoh River. The Kinta Riverfront Walk was completed in 2010 and is a most romantic spot by the river bank. The trees are all magically lit up and you can hear oldies being played by a live band at The Sands Bistro & Cafe. It is a wonderful place for an evening walk.