Dec 16, 2007

Ipoh Old Town Wonders

Old town wonders
Sunday December 2, 2007

Ipoh is mostly known for its limestone hills and famous eats but spend a day in this city that tin built and you’ll come to appreciate its colonial inheritance and leisurely lifestyle.


Memory Lane Bazaar

Sunday mornings are a good time to hunt down cheap bargains at this flea market that extends from Jalan Horley to Jalan Lim Bo Seng. Fondly nicknamed as the thieves’ market by locals, the weekly bazaar first came about in the 1960s and has since been relocated twice. It’s a good place to scour for antiques including rare stamp collections and old vinyl records.

Mixing Ipoh White Coffee

White Coffee

Ipoh Old Town has been made famous from a single local drink - the white coffee. As early as 6am, coffeeshops along Jalan Bandar Timah are crowded with regulars and old friends chatting over a cuppa before the start of their day. Among the most addictive ones are at Nam Heong and Sin Yoon Loong.

White coffee goes well with roti bakar

Birch Memorial Clock Tower

E.W. Birch built this tower in memory of his father, the first British Resident of Perak J.W.W. Birch, on the 20th anniversary of the latter’s assassination in 1875. Costing $25,000 with a bronze bust of the elder Birch in one of the niches, the tower stands next to the Medan Selera Datuk Sagor where you’ll get to savour one of Ipoh’s many specialities - soft boiled eggs on toast.

Railway Station

An Anglo-Indian architectural railway station that was recently renovated, it is one of the old buildings that one can admire when visiting Ipoh. Don’t forget to also identify the Ipoh tree in front of the station, from which the city got its name.

Ipoh famous taugeh chicken

Taugeh Chicken

Thanks to the mineral-rich water of the limestone hills here, its bean sprouts are more succulent, the kuey teow smoother, and the girls looking fairer. Due to this, try as they may, Ipoh’s taugeh chicken just doesn’t quite taste the same anywhere else.

St Michael’s Institution

This is one of the premier schools in Ipoh and was the favoured academic institution for families to send their sons to, even from as far as Cameron Highlands. It was established in 1912.

Little India

A popular shopping area along Jalan Lahat and Jalan Sultan Yussuf, Little India sells all things beautiful from gold and costume jewellery to brightly coloured sarees and Punjabi suits. Both roads are dotted with Indian food outlets like the popular Sri Ananda Bahwan and Chettinad restaurants. In 2000, a square replaced the Birch Fountain, a memorial to E.W. Birch who was also a British Resident of Perak like his father, in the middle of Little India.

Lady showing of juicy Tambun Poemloes

Tambun Pomeloes

The pride of Ipoh whose reputation has reached far and wide, Tambun pomeloes can be found in most parts of the city. Choices are, however, aplenty along the old trunk road to Kuala Lumpur. Sweet or sour, whichever is your liking, they are always juicy and tasty and make great gifts for friends back home.

Perak Cave Temple

A panoramic view of the city and its surrounding areas waits at the peak of this stunning limestone hill. Inside the cooling temple cave itself are magnificent statues of Buddha and other deities while its walls mirror over 200 paintings and calligraphic masterpieces by famous artists from around the world. The foreground of the temple, with swaying willows, a lotus pond and pavilion, is reminiscent of a beautiful oriental garden.

Taman D.R. Seenivasagam

Taman D.R. Seenivasagam

An ideal place to relax and for family outings, this park named after People’s Progressive Party founder member and former Ipoh MP D.R. Seenivasagam, is surrounded by lush greenery. It has a Japanese themed garden and ponds where you take boat rides or just feed the fishes.

Getting there

By bus

Buses to Ipoh are available from Kuala Lumpur and Penang and they all make their final stop at Medan Gopeng near Gunung Rapat. Express buses from KLIA to Ipoh are also available.

By car

Use the Simpang Pulai or Ipoh South exits if you are heading to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur and enjoy the two-hour scenic ride. Use the Jelapang exit if you are coming from the North.

By train

Trains are available from KL Sentral and it takes about four hours to get there.

source: The Sunday Star.