I recently visited Ipoh combine with Cameron Highland and Taiping. Ipoh itself has many similarities with Penang. Both of them are famous for their heritage buildings, mural paintings, and for sure, for their culinary. Ipoh is also hub for people to visit Cameron Highland, Taiping and other Perak tourist destinations like Pulau Pangkor.
How to Get There ?
I take firefly flying from Johor Bahru to Ipoh. There is also firefly flight flying from Singapore to Ipoh but for sure flight from Johor Bahru will be cheaper. Another option is taking bus from Singapore, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur but will take longer times. You can take bus from JB Sentral to Senai airport. It cost 8 MYR for one way journey. If you take Airasia flight, you can enjoy the bus for free. All you need to do is registering on causewaylink website here. The journey takes approximately 40 minutes. The bus start as early as 05.40 AM, 06.10 AM until 10.10 PM with 1 hour interval from JB Sentral whereas the bus from Senai airport start from 06.10 AM, 07.00 AM until 11.59 PM with 1 hour interval as well. Full schedule of the bus can be found here.
The Johor Bahru Senai International airport itself is quite nice with some F&B stores, shops as well Premium Plaza lounge. For the lounge, please do not expect the same standard as the one in KLIA, Langkawi. Here the F&B choice in the lounge is a bit limited considering number of passengers using the airport on daily basis.
Firefly flight is using smaller plane, hence it takes a bit longer, one and half hour for journey between Johor Bahru and Ipoh. Ipoh Sultan Azlan Shah airport is serving both domestic and international even though not much frequencies. You can fly to Singapore, and Medan for international journey from Ipoh airport. From the airport, you will need taxi to go to the city as no public bus or airport shuttle. The annoying thing is the taxi is not using meter, based on negotiation between you and the driver in which normally the driver charge much more compared the taxi from city to here. For me, the fare going to the Station 18, I was charged 30 MYR.
I stayed at Station Eightinn in station 18 area, just opposite the AEON at station 18. I arrived in the wrong hotel at first, as there is another hotel nearby with almost similar name, station 18 hotel. I just realize when I am about to check in after the taxi driver has left. Hence I have to walk several blocks from station 18 hotel to the hotel i booked, Station Eightinn hotel. It’s a budget hotel, but comfortable and new however the size is a bit small. Overall it looks like Airasia Tune hotel type of hotel.
Later I realized that I was choosing the wrong choice of hotel, as it’s a bit far from city center, about 20 minutes by cab, which adding to my transportation cost. Hence overall cost might not be economical from initial planning.
Of course there is a plus side with location just across the AEON, it’s convenient for shopping and catch latest movie in the mall where you can take last movie of the day and later just walk across the mal to go to the hotel.
Station Eightinn Hotel
Address : No 20-22, Medan Stesen 18/3
Station 18, Pasir Putih
Ipoh, Malaysia, 31650
Phone : +60-53218249
After resting a while, it’s time to visit the city center. Ipoh is famous for its heritage with its heritage building is preserved, have some similarities like George Town area in Penang. I start my journey from Ipoh train station, the landmark of Ipoh city which is also called as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. The building is georgeous. There was a hotel before here in the past, Majestic station hotel which now is closed.
There are 2 excellent Ipoh heritage trails you can use for your travelling around the old city of Ipoh. For the first trail, you can download here, and for the second trail, you can download it here. For the first trail, it’s also available in brochure given in Ipoh Tourist Information centre located at Jalan Bandar, nearby the Ipoh train station, just across Old Town Coffee shop in the old town area. The tourist information center is very helpful and have good brochures for Ipoh and Malaysia tourism as well. You can also get the Ipoh city map from here.
Unfortunately the weather during that time was not good, there was raining hence I have to stay for sometime in the cafe inside the train station to wait the rain stop. Afterward I roam around the old town area using the heritage trail map I even though not fully follow the map.
You can find other heritage building include Standard Chartered, S.P.H. De Silva building, the oldest commercial building and also Perak Hydro building nearby Tourist information center, Straits trading building (OCBC) and others.
Other famous area is concubine lane (Panglima lane) which was famous for opium, gambling and brothels in the past. Some of the buildings here are under ruined condition which some are under renovation.
In that afternoon, I pass one lane and see interesting decor in front of one shop, TSG, the wheel noodle shop. I decide to try it on. The price is cheap but the portion is small, hence you will need to order more than one portion. The interior itself is interesting. There will also be hostel in the same building but under renovation. I think I will consider staying here if I visited Ipoh in the future considering its location.
Ipoh is proud for its culinary and the price overall is not expensive even by Malaysian standard. Some of its famous culinary here is Ipoh Sar Hor Fun, Chicken and Bean Sprout as well its Dim sum which I will share with you on the next article.