ipoh, old town, trishaw, hidden gems in ipoh

Discover the 7 Hidden Gems in Ipoh Worth Discovering!

Nestled amidst the lush hills of Perak, Malaysia, Ipoh is a city brimming with charm and surprises, often overshadowed by its bustling neighbors. Beyond its renowned culinary scene and colonial architecture lies a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

From the oldest tin dredge to the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan, Perak captivates us with its understated beauty and rich cultural tapestry. Join us as we uncover the lesser-known delights that make Ipoh a destination worth exploring beyond the beaten path.

Whether you are looking for the hidden gems in Perak or the hidden gems in Ipoh, this post is for you. Let’s dive in!

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Where is Ipoh?

Ipoh is the capital city of Perak in Malaysia. There are several hidden gems in Ipoh and for this post, we will only focus on 7 places. Ipoh is about 111 miles north of Kuala Lumpur and 76 miles East of Georgetown in Penang. Based on the 2010 census, Ipoh is the fifth largest city in Malaysia.


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What are the Hidden Gems in Ipoh?

TT5 Tin Dredge in Tanjung Tualang

TT5 Tanjung Tualang, Hidden Gems in Ipoh, Tin Dredge
TT5 Tin Dredge in Tanjuang Tualang

The first hidden gems in Ipoh which we explored was TT5 Tin Dredge in Tanjung Tualang. This gem takes the first spot as it is the last tin dredge in Malaysia. This gem is located about 21 miles from Ipoh city center. This tin dredge was built in England in 1938. And was upgraded in 1963. It was in operation for 44 years until 1982 before retiring. There is a museum within its vicinity if you want to know more about tin mining.

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan

Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan, Clock Tower
Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan

The next in our hidden gems in Ipoh was the Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan. Because it has a leftward slant, this tower is often compared to the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. This is the similarity between these two towers. This tower is located about 68 miles from Ipoh city center. It would be wise to bring a compact travel umbrella with you when visiting the leaning tower as it is exposed to the elements.

Leong Choon Chong built this tower as a water reservoir. Although the building looks like an 8-level building, it is in fact three levels. The water reservoir is on the third level. The tower was converted to a watch tower during the Japanese Occupancy and is still in use to date.

Tua Pek Kong Temple in Sitiawan

Tua Pek Kong Temple, Setiawan,
The large statues at Tua Pek Kong Temple

The third of our hidden gems in Ipoh is the Tua Pek Kong temple in Pasir Panjang, Sitiawan. This temple is located about 52 miles from Ipoh city center. This 100-year-old temple is famous for its huge statues of Chinese gods. Tua Pek Kong temple is unique in that it has 98 statues of Chinese deities and a walkway that displays the Chinese lunar zodiac signs.

Victoria Bridge in Kuala Kangsar

Victoria Bridge, Kuala Kangsar, Abandoned Bridge
Victoria Bridge

The next on our list of hidden gems in Ipoh is Victoria Bridge. This bridge is located about 35 miles from Ipoh. This single-track bridge is in the town of Karai near Kuala Kangsar. Perak State Railway constructed this bridge between December 1897 and March 1900. Interestingly, this bridge was in use until 2002. A new railway bridge was built to support the double-tracking and electrification of the Ipoh-Padang Besar route.

Do you know that this bridge has often been compared to the Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah

Kellie's Castle, Batu Gajah, Abandoned Castle
Kellie’s Castle is a remnant of Ipoh’s past

This castle is one man’s labor of love. This castle is located about 12 miles from Ipoh. William Kellie Smith left Scotland in 1890 and ventured into Malaya. He became the owner of Kinta Kellas Estate and Kinta Kellas Tin Dredging Company. He returned to Scotland and married his childhood sweetheart, Agnes who bore him a daughter. They named her Helen.

William wanted a son and 11 years later, they were blessed with a son named Anthony. To celebrate the birth of his son, William built Kellie’s Castle. William later contracted pneumonia and died in 1926. His wife left Ipoh and never returned. The site was used as a film location for The castle is believed to be haunted by the spirits of William Kellie and his daughter Helen. Local legends state that the castle has many hidden passageways and secret underground tunnels. Do you know that Malaysia’s first elevator is located inside Kellie’s Castle?

Tasik Cermin in Ipoh

Mirror Lake, Tasik Cermin, Ipoh
Mirror Lake or Tasik Cermin

Tasik Cermin or Mirror Lake is located about 4 miles from Ipoh city center. There are two lakes within these karsts. And one only is accessible. This lake was not an official tourist landmark. With social media, this lake has gained nationwide recognition and is now the least hidden gem in Malaysia.

Kampar Street Art

hidden gems in Ipoh, Kampar street art
A beautiful mural on the Mural Art Street in Kampar

Kampar is the largest town in Kampar District in Perak and is associated with tin mining. Kampar is about 20 miles from Ipoh and is known as an educational hub as the main campus of the Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR) is not far from the main town center.

With the highway, Kampar is often overlooked. However, these 27 mural paintings are worth the stop. These paintings are on the back of four buildings. Unlike other street art in Malaysia, these alleys are a breeze. The themes across these murals are history, culture, arts, and tourism of the Kampar District.

What we loved about these murals is that they were made by local artist, Keri Ibrahim. There is no fee to visit these murals. Hence, if you have the time, why not stop and take some photos to brighten up your Instagram?

Where can I go at night in Ipoh?

Ipoh doesn’t have the best nightlife when compared to Kuala Lumpur and Penang. However, there are places where one can go to have a relaxing night after a day of sightseeing. The places are:-

  1. Enjoy the view at Ipoh’s 2 Rooftop Bars. These bars are located at MU Hotel and Weil Hotel. The rooftop bar at MU Hotel is MU @ The Top. This bar offers a panoramic view of the limestone hills in the background. The Deck is the rooftop bar at Weil Hotel. This bar offers a view of Ipoh city.
  2. Spend some time at Jeff’s Cellar. The best bar in Ipoh inside a limestone cave. This restaurant is on the Malaysian Tatler.
  3. For late-night dessert, check out Ipoh’s dessert street, Tong Sui Kai. The famous stalls numbers 27 and 28 offer various concoctions of mixed fruit ABC (Air Batu Campur) or Mixed Ice Water.

What are the free things to do in Ipoh?

Ipoh has plenty of free things to do which are:-

  1. You can visit the Ipoh World Museum at Han Chin Pet Soo. Ipoh World is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote awareness, appreciation, and the rich heritage of Ipoh. This museum is their first step in achieving their objective.
  2. The second free thing is to visit the Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple and Zen Gardens. This temple is about 15 minutes drive from Ipoh city center. Why not bring out your inner Zen by spending some time amongst nature.
  3. Explore the #TheArtofOLDTOWN. These are art murals by Ernest Zacharevic. The famed artist who painted murals in Georgetown. Take a stroll along Ipoh Old Town and admire his artwork, it is worth it! TimeOut gives us a peek into his work.
  4. Concubine Lane. No trip to Ipoh is complete without a visit to this street. This street is Ipoh’s answer to Jonker Street in Melaka and Armenian Street in Penang.

Is Ipoh worth visiting?

Yes! Culture Trip gives 11 reasons why Ipoh should be on your list. Ipoh gives a relaxing vibe to those who visit. There is, after all, no rush. Ipoh is famous for its food and over the years, Ipoh has become a Hipster City. There are endless cafes to delight your taste buds. Why not check out the 7 Trendy Cafe Spots on your next trip?

What can I buy in Ipoh?

Ipoh is famous for its food and the things to buy are:-

  1. Ipoh White Coffee. You can’t leave Ipoh without buying the Egg Tarts. The egg tarts here are Chinese style which comprises two parts. The flaky base and custard-like pudding make the tarts light and airy. The best place to get egg tarts are Choy Kee and Hong Kee Confectionary. You can try making these lovely egg tarts with these Ipoh Kaya Puffs. The best place to get the Kaya Puffs is Sin Eng Heong who have been in business for over 50 years.
  2. Tambun Pomelo. Pomelo’s and Ipoh are synonymous. Tambun is famous for these fruits, hence the name Tambun Pomelo. Locals believe that the water from limestone hills make the Pomelo’s sweet and irresistible.

While larger Malaysian cities often overshadow Ipoh, it reveals itself as a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be explored. From its charming heritage buildings adorned with intricate colonial architecture to the aromatic alleys of its bustling street food scene, Ipoh offers a unique blend of history, culture, and culinary delights.

Beyond its renowned attractions, the city’s quieter corners surprise with serene temples, picturesque landscapes, and the warm hospitality of its people. Whether wandering through its vibrant markets or savoring its renowned white coffee, Ipoh invites travelers to uncover its many layers, promising a memorable journey off the beaten path in Malaysia.