This Ipoh itinerary covers the northwestern Malaysian city’s best attractions. From epic landscapes, to quirky street art, to iconic architecture, to mysterious temple caves, to fantastic accommodations. It even includes directions on how to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh!
Ipoh is famed for being the place where white coffee originated, but there are certainly a few more factors that make it charming to the wandering tourist. Check out my 2-day Ipoh Itinerary to get the most out of your visit…
HOW TO TRAVEL from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh
Most of the locals drive a car going to Ipoh that takes about 2 hours to get there. For us travelers, we rode the train from KL Central that took roughly 2.5 hours to reach Ipoh’s railway station.
Train Fare: Fares priced at RM35 and RM22. (Tip: The shorter the travel time the more expensive the ticket.)
Ipoh Heritage Walk + Concubine Lane
The Ipoh heritage walk is the perfect iconic place to make memories. It’s where old colonial charm meets modern contemporary lifestyles.
The British had a strong influence during Perak’s tin mining boom.That’s why you’ll find beautiful old colonial structures reminiscent of the city’s prosperous past.
Places to Visit: Railway Station, Ipoh Town Hall, Birch Clock Tower, Old Post Office and Concubine Lane.
Ipoh Mural Art Lane
If you’ve been to Penang that’s renowned for its street art, you’ll certainly feel the same vibe here in Ipoh. One of my favorites is from Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic who is credited with many works of street art in Penang.
Sadly, the GPS in the maps to get to the mural was not working. I think they did that on purpose so you’ll get to go around and discover the spots on your own.
Still, we had fun getting lost and discovering street art by talking to the locals. 🙂
One of the most fascinating places I’ve been to is the Ipoh cave temples. Chinese Buddhists found Ipoh’s limestone cliffs to be the ideal environment for a temple. Its interiors aren’t like any Buddhist temples you’ve seen, exuding a mysterious and wondrous vibe with religious bronze decorations surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites.
Good thing, the cave temples are just near each other, and you can go to all of them in half a day. Make sure to visit Sam Poh Tong, Kek Long Tong and Perak Tong.
The temples are about 15 minutes away, accessible by taxi or Grab car.
Entrance: Free (But, you can donate :))
Adventure: White Water Rafting + Spelunking
If you’re into adrenaline-pumping activities, I heard you can go spelunking at Tempurung Cave, the region’s largest limestone cave network, or go white water rafting at the Kampar River.
I would have loved to do both, but, sadly, we were pressed for time, and these activities require at least half a day.
WHAT TO EAT
One of the reasons to visit Ipoh is, of course, the food! Dubbed by Lonely Planet as the “lesser Food Capital” of Malaysia, here you’ll find local restaurants and hawker stalls serving the same recipes over the years.
Travel Tip: You might notice that most of the food served here is Chinese, mainly because most of the locals here migrated from China a long time ago.
Ipoh White Coffee
Drink white coffee from the same kopitiam where they claim the brew originated! This iconic drink is a brand on its own; the amazing beverage will please any coffeeholic with its rich aromatic and slightly charred acidic sweet aftertaste.
They also serve egg tarts and dry curry noodles. The egg tarts were just okay, and we didn’t get to try the curry noodles because we were already full.
Nam Heong White Coffee
Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Negeri Perak.
Many visitors may not realize that Ipoh is famous for its dim sum. The dim sum served here is slightly smaller than how it’s regularly served, because locals here love to try a bit of everything and have more options.
What To Order: Siew Mai, Fish Balls, Hakaw, Taro Puff and steam buns and chee cheong fan.
There’s a famous street, Jalan Leong Sin Nam that’s known as ‘Dim Sum Street’ among locals. I recommend you visit these places during breakfast hours—Foh San Restaurant, Ming Court Restaurant and Restoran Yoke Fook Moon.
We had a crazy Dim Sum buffet at Yuk Sou Hin at Weil’s Hotel where we were staying. I could honestly say, my dim sum cravings were satisfied, and I won’t be having any more for quite some time. You must order their Signature Smoked Duck with Lychee Wood, one of the best ducks I’ve eaten! I just loved the crispy golden skin and succulent fragrant meat.
Ipoh’s best-kept secret is Sin Eng Heong’s kaya puff. Baking since 1961, Sin Eng Heong’s is a legend. I witnessed customers line up, often buying 30 or more pieces of these baked goods. For only RM1, you’ll get to enjoy a crispy fluffy treat with not so sweet kaya jam filling!
Sin Eng Heong
64, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakry, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak.
Tau Foo Fah
For a guilt-free dessert, try Ipoh’s soya bean pudding. It’s, honest to goodness, the best tau Foo fah I’ve eaten in my life. It was so velvety smooth and silky. A bite just naturally melts in your mouth! If you’re wondering what makes Ipoh’s tau foo fah special, it’s the fact that it is grown in limestone soil that gives it that extra silky quality.
Funny Mountain Soya Bean
50, Jalan Mustapa Al-bakri, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak.
Despite the name ganja, you will not find any illegal substance in it. 😉
It’s called nasi ganja by the locals because it’s so good that you’ll get highly addicted. Yong Suan Kopitiam serves its key ingredient with ayam masak merah (flavored chicken braised in a spicy tomato sauce); and its secret sauce, the “kuah campur” (mixed gravy) for that extra kick, in fluffy white rice. It’s their gravy that sets them apart. A must try!
Yong Suan Kopitiam
Jalan Yang Kalsom, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak.
Dishes I’ve Missed…
Ipoh’s most famous dish is the bean sproat chicken that consists of crunchy bean sprouts and tender chicken, usually steamed and drizzled with light soy sauce and garnish. It is served with either rice or hor fun.
Sadly, the Cowan Street restaurant we wanted to visit was closed.
Another thing I wanted to try was Yee Fatt’s Curry Mee—dry noodles soaked in thick curry sauce filled with spices, but we were pressed for time. I guess I’ll have another reason to visit Ipoh again.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Weil Hotel, which is very convenient and strategically located in town simply because it is easily accessible to most of the attractions including the heritage building and the gastronomical delights that are within walking distance, making exploring the city’s old town effortless.
Its location is not the only thing you’ll fall in love with. Its modern rooms, comfy sheets and humongous bathtub are some of the things you’ll appreciate.
Cool off by the pool after a hot day exploring the city. WEIL Hotel’s Infinity rooftop swimming pool offers an unobstructed view of Ipoh town surrounded by limestone hills.
292 Jalan Sultan Idris Shah
Hope you guys can watch my video featuring my Ipoh adventure!
Gears used: Zhiyun Smooth 4 (Camera House) + Iphone X, Sony A6000, and GoProHero 5.
Live an Awesome Life,
ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: We were media guests of Malaysia Tourism. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.