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Destinations Ipoh Malaysia

[2022] A Complete Ipoh guide: transportation, what to do in Ipoh, famous food, cost

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Looking for a complete Ipoh travel guide?

You are at the right place.

This post will provide everything you need to know before travelling to Ipoh. In detail, I will share about how to travel to Ipoh from KL, what to do in Ipoh with 3D2N travel itinerary, where to stay in Ipoh, how long to stay and how much does it cost.

Let’s get started!

Read more: Top 11 Instagrammable Cafe in Penang

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I visited Kellie Castle in my second visit to Ipoh

1. About Ipoh

Location

Ipoh is the capital city of the state of Perak, Malaysia. Located approximately 200km from Kuala Lumpur and 160km from George Town, it takes up to only 3 hours to drive to Ipoh from both locations.

Weather in Ipoh – The best time to visit Ipoh

The daytime temperature in Ipoh is about 32 Celcius degree on average. The weather is hot most of the time. At night, the temperature can drop to about 20 Celcius degree.

The hottest months in Ipoh fall in January and February. If you cannot bear the heat, avoid it.

In November and December, there is a high chance of rain, thus, check Ipoh weather forecast before planning your trip to Ipoh

Other than those months, you can travel to Ipoh any time as the weather is almost the same all year round.

Brief history

Ipoh was the 2nd administrative centre of Malaya after KL during the British colonial rule. In the 1920s, when the tin mining industry became lucrative, Ipoh’s economy grew exponentially thanks to its rich tin-bearing valley of the Kinta River.

In 1937, Ipoh replaced Taiping to be the capital of the state of Perak.

From 1941 to 1945,  Ipoh was captured by the Japanese.

In the 20th century, there was a slump in the Ipoh economy due to a decrease in tin demand. As a result, most of the tin mines in Ipoh were closed.

Nowadays, Ipoh become a popular tourist destination in Malaysia which offers a lot of interesting places in Ipoh to visit as long as a plethora of delicacies.

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walking around Ipoh

2. How to get to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur

There are 3 most common ways to transport from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh which are by train, by bus and by car.

By train

Train is the fastest means of transport to go from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh because it does not have to deal with the traffic, especially during weekends or holidays.

Electric Train Service (ETS) (or KTM) departs from some stations in KL and ends at Ipoh Railway Station.

Price ticket from KL to Ipoh by train

There are 3 different options for you:

  • Silver Service: it takes a longer time to transport (around 2,5 hours) because it stops at all stations on the way from KL Sentral to Ipoh. Price is around RM25/adult and RM17/child.
  • Gold Service: this train stops at lesser stations and takes only 2 hours and 20mins. Price is approximately RM35/adult and RM22/child.
  • Platinum Service: this is the most expensive option which costs RM49/adult and RM27/child. It stops at only 4 stations which are KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Batu Gajah and Ipoh Railway Station. The whole journey takes about 2 hours and 15mins. In addition, Wifi is available onboard.

Travel note:

  • If you travel to Ipoh during holiday/ peak season/ weekend, you should book a ticket ASAP because it will sell out quickly.
  • The trains depart very on time, so be punctual.
  • KL Sentral Station and Kuala Lumpur Station are 2 different stations in KL. Do not mistake them!

How to book ETS ticket from KL to Ipoh

You can either book online or go to the train station to book the ticket.

Online booking is recommended as you don’t have to worry whether the ticket is still available or not. The earlier you book, the more option you can choose.

There are 2 ways to book online:

  • You go directly to KTM website by this link to book the ticket. CLICK HERE

  • Or you can book via Rome2rio. This online booking channel will offer the same train options but at a cheaper price than the KTM website.

By bus

This is the most affordable way to travel to Ipoh from KL. Bus tickets cost from RM20 to RM40/adult.

There are buses departing from KL to Ipoh every 30 minutes by over 20 bus service providers. Bus operators such as Transnasional, Konsortium Bas Express, Sri Maju, etc are recommended.

If you depart from KL, you should come to Terminal Bersapandu Selatan (TBS) – the main bus station in KL. After at least 2 hours (depending on the traffic), you will reach Ipoh Aman Jaya Bus Terminal. From there, you can take a grab to Ipoh Old Town (about 20mins drive).

By car

Driving car is the best option because you can explore all the interesting places in Ipoh by yourself, anytime and anywhere. Driving from KL to Ipoh might take about 3 hours if the traffic is light. You can rent a car via an app called SOCAR, this app allows you to rent a car at a low price. For toll fees and petrol, it would cost around RM200 for 2 ways.

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3. How do you travel around Ipoh?

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Second Concubine Lane – Ipoh

Walking

Some of the places of interest in Ipoh are pretty close to each other such as Ipoh Mural Lane, Concubine Lane, Han Chin Pet Soo museum, Ipoh railway station, etc. Thus, walking is totally possible, especially under pleasant weather.

Grab/ Taxi

If you travel with a group of 3-4, then carpooling is recommended as it’s affordable and convenient. Download “Grab” app to book a car at a reasonable price.

Hop on Hop off bus

Hop on Hop off bus will take you to most of the famous tourist attractions in Ipoh, even Kellie’s Castle. However, this bus only operates during the weekend.

There are 2 circuits:

In-Circuit route: Meru Terminal (Amanjaya) – Ipoh High Court – Little India – Ipoh Old Town – Telekom Malaysia – Brewster Road – Weil Hotel / Ipoh Parade – Gerbang Malam (night market) – Octagon – The Majestic – Panglima Kinta Mosque

Out-circuit route: Meru Terminal – Ipoh Town Hall – Ipoh Old Town – Ipoh Parade – Lost World Of Tambun – Pomelo Orchard Farm – Sam Poh Tong – Gopeng Town – Kellie’s Castle – Silveritage Medan Gopeng – Panglima Kinta Mosque.

Ticket price:

Malaysian: RM12/adult for a 1-day pass, RM20/adult for a 2-day pass

Foreigners: RM12/adult for a 1-day pass, RM60/adult for a 2-day pass

Bicycle

You can also get around Ipoh by bicycle. There is a company in Ipoh called CycleDios which offers a bicycle rental service. The fee is from RM5 – RM30 for 30 mins depending on which type of bicycle do you want,  a deposit of RM20 is mandatory.

To rent a bicycle, you need to download their app called “CycleDios” and register on the app. Then you can take the bicycle to any station around Ipoh. See the list of all the stations in this link.

4. Where to stay in Ipoh?

There are some areas that you can stay in Ipoh which are Ipoh Old Town, Gunung Rapat and Tambun.

  • Ipoh Old Town: it is the most common area to stay in Ipoh since interesting places in Ipoh are here. In addition, there are a variety of accommodation options around this area from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels.
  • Gunung Rapat: this area is located about 8km away from Ipoh Old Town. There are several interesting places in Ipoh that you can visit here such as Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple, Ling Sen Tong Cave Temple, Sam Poh Tong, etc. In addition, if you want to save your budget, then Gunung Rapat is a good choice for you. 
  • Tambun: Tambun is situated 12km away from Ipoh Old Town. It is famous for the Lost World of Tambun theme park which consists of 10 parks including Water Parks, Amusement Park, Petting Zoo, Adventure Park, Hot Spring Park, Luminious Forest, etc. Thus, if you travel with your family or friends, Tambun is a great place to have fun with many exciting activities. In addition, the area is quite close to the forest where you can enjoy nature as well.

From my experience: During my trip, I stayed at Mboutique hotel. This is one of the best 3-star hotels located in Ipoh Old Town with authentic design. To me, it’s quite ok, the room is clean, the staffs are friendly. Regarding location, it’s possible to walk from Mboutique hotel to most of the Ipoh attractions in Ipoh Old Town, however, if you go out in the evening, using a taxi is safer. Highly recommended!

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M-boutique hotel in Ipoh

5. Famous foods in Ipoh

Food hunting is the must-do thing when travelling in Ipoh as this town is another food heaven for foodies. Let’s discover what are the famous foods in Ipoh!

Chicken Bean Sprouts

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chicken bean sprouts in Ipoh – Ong Kee restaurant

It looks simple, but trust me, it’s worth your try. The tender and juicy chicken is served together with steamed bean sprouts in sesame oil. Such a perfect combination.

Here are some best restaurants to try Chicken Bean Spouts in Ipoh:

Ong Kee Restoran

Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong

I have tried in both Ong Kee and Lou Wong restaurants. Personally, I prefer Ong Kee because the taste is just good enough, not so oily. Meanwhile, Lou Wong’s bean sprouts were too oily to me as they add a lot of sesame oil.

Price: RM18/portion

Tau Fu Fa

Feeling dizzy of Ipoh hot weather? A cup of Tau Fu Fa might help you cool your body.

Tau Fu Fa is a light dessert which is made of bean curd. It is normally served with sugar syrup and maybe some topping such as jelly, red beans, etc. Good food for a scorching day!

Here are some best restaurants to try Tau Fu Fa in Ipoh:

Woong Kee Bean Curd Bercham Ipoh

Funny Mountain Soya Bean Curd

Concubine Lane Tou Fu Fa

Price: RM2-3/cup

Salted Chicken

Don’t worry! It’s not that salty as its name.

The cooking technique for salted chicken is really special. The chefs will marinate the whole chicken with rice wine and Chinese herbs. After that, the chicken is wrapped in paper before being baked in a huge pot full of salt.

As a result, the chicken is tender, juicy and full of Chinese herbal flavour.

Here are some best restaurants to buy Salted Chicken in Ipoh:

Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken

Ayam Garam See Hoeng

Feng Weng Salted Chicken

Price: 26RM/chicken

Note: Most of the Salted Chicken restaurants sell it as a takeaway.

White Coffee

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Ipoh White Coffee – Kedai Makanan Nam Heong

To be honest, I literally thought that White Coffee mean the coffee beans in white…speechless.

So what makes white coffee famous? It’s because of the roasted technique. In Ipoh, the coffee bean is roasted with palm oil margarine, which makes its flavour special. After that, the coffee is served with condensed milk (maybe that’s why it’s called White Coffee).

Here are some best restaurants to try White Coffee in Ipoh:

Kedai Makanan Nam Heong

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong

Xin Xiang Er Nong

Price: ~RM3/cup

Dim sum

Ipoh is the best place to try this traditional Chinese delish in Malaysia. There are different flavours, but the most common one is the dumplings stuffed with pork, veggie, etc.

You can have it during brunch or tea time.

Here are some best restaurants to try Dim Sum in Ipoh:

Green Town Dim Sum Cafe

Restoran Hong Kong Dim Sum BFB

Hong Xin Dim Sum Restaurant

Price: ~RM6/ small portion

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6. What to do in Ipoh? 3D2N Ipoh travel itinerary

What to do in Ipoh? In this part, I will share the best 3D2N Ipoh travel itinerary based on my travel experience. With this itinerary, you will be able to visit most of the interesting places in Ipoh within 3 days with no rush. It’s just well enough for a relaxing holiday.

Day 1:

Transportation: on foot

What to do in Ipoh – day 1?

For the first day, you can walk around the Ipoh Old Town. Here is the list of interesting places in Ipoh Old Town that you can visit in a day:

  • Han Chin Pet Soo Museum
  • The Birch Memorial Clock Tower
  • Funtasy House Trick Art
  • Ipoh Mural Art Lane
  • Ho Yan Hor Museum
  • Miniature Wonders Art Gallery
  • Concubine Lanes
  • Ipoh night market
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Concubine lane

What to eat in Ipoh – day 1?

Lunch: Dim sum at Green Town Dim Sum Cafe

Dinner: Chicken Bean Sprouts at Ong Kee Restaurant (the restaurant is located in a night market, after dinner, you can have a walk to the night market as well).

Day 2:

Transportation: car

What to do in Ipoh – day 2?

For day 2, you can visit some Ipoh attractions in Gunung Rapat area and Kellie’s Castle.

Gunung Rapat is located 8km away from Ipoh Old Town (about a 15-minute drive). This area has several cave temples which are just next to each other. Here are the most beautiful cave temples in Gunung Rapat that you can visit in the morning:

  • Ling Sen Tong Cave Temple
  • Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple
  • Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple

After visiting those temples, let’s head to Kellie Castle. From Gunung Rapat, it takes approximately 20 minutes to drive to Kellie Castle.

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Kellie’s Castle in Ipoh

What to eat in Ipoh – day 2?

Lunch: it’s better to bring our own food because there are not many food stalls around those cave temples and Kellie Castle.

Dinner: Enjoy the dining experience in the 1900s at Durbar at FMS. This is the oldest bar in Malaysia opened in 1906. This restaurant offers both western and local delish.

Day 3:

Transportation: on foot

On the last day, just take it easy by walking around the Ipoh Old Town, visiting other attractions there and trying some Ipoh famous food.

What to do in Ipoh – day 3?

  • Visit Ipoh Railway Station
  • Drop by Ipoh Town Hall
  • Try Tau Fu Fah at Wong Kee Bean Curd Bercham

If you stay in Ipoh for a longer time, you can read my other post to know other interesting places in Ipoh with more detailed information (brief history, entrance fee, opening hours, address, etc).

7. How many days is enough for Ipoh?

Well, I would say 3 days is just enough if you don’t have much time. As you can see in the 3D2N Ipoh travel itinerary above, you can visit most of the famous places in Ipoh in 3 days. In fact, there are many tourist attractions in Ipoh located in Ipoh Old Town which is a quite small area, thus, you can visit all of them within a day

However, if you want to dive deeply into the culture, you need to stay for at least a week. In the other post, I listed out 28 interesting places in Ipoh, check it out to have more ideas for your bucket list.

Read more: 28 Interesting places in Ipoh, Malaysia

8. How much to spend when travelling in Ipoh?

How much to spend in Ipoh depends on how long do you travel in Ipoh and your travel budget as well. For 3 days 2 nights, the average expense should be around RM400-500.

Here is the cost breakdown during my Ipoh trip:

3-star hotel: ~ RM150/ double room/ night

A portion of local food: ~ RM20

Transportation (grab): ~RM50/3 days/person

Entrance ticket: ~ RM40 (most of the places I visited in Ipoh are free admission).

Read more: Batu Caves – Murugan Statue: interesting facts, history, how to get there

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9. Essentials to pack when travelling in Ipoh

Besides the essentials (such as clothes, passport, cosmetics, etc.), it’s necessary to bring CASH with you. In Ipoh, most of the local restaurants do not accept card payments. At least, bring about 200RM for the first day. If you need more cash, ATMs are available (but not many). That’s a big lesson I have learnt from my Ipoh trip L.

10. Is it safe to travel to Ipoh?

YES and NO

YES is because people in Ipoh are really really friendly. I came to Ipoh without cash, so I went to a random restaurant and seek for people who could give me cash (I transferred money back to their e-wallet). I was really surprised because they not only helped me but also gave me some local food to try. From that moment, I fell in love with Ipoh

NO is because Ipoh seems not so safe in the evening. I visited Ipoh alone for the first time, to be honest, I felt quite scared when walking alone in the evening (just my feeling) because the street light was not bright enough and not many people went out in the evening. But no worries, nothing happened to me at the end of my Ipoh trip.

That’s all my complete Ipoh travel guide including transportation from KL to Ipoh, interesting places in Ipoh, where to stay, how much does it cost for the trip, etc. Hope you find it helpful and have an idea of what to do in Ipoh after reading this post. Comment below if you have any questions about Ipoh travel.

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Xin chào! Mình là Mai. Mình yêu thích khám phá các điểm đến mới và tìm hiểu về văn hóa - ngôn ngữ địa phương. Hy vọng bạn thấy bài viết này hữu ích! Hãy đăng ký email để nhận thông báo về bài viết mới nhé!

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