Hotels in Ipoh, Malaysia
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Witness Ipoh’s wonderful architecture and diverse natural surroundings
Visitors have long been passing through the Malaysian city of Ipoh; located between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, as well as being at the foothills of the Cameron Highlands it’s a logical stopover. However, in recent times it has emerged as a standalone destination with domestic and international tourists alike enjoying extended stays in the city. Formed of many small contrasting neighbourhoods that reflect the nation’s diverse population, Ipoh offers a variation of architecture, cuisine and local arts which delight an ever-growing crowd of visitors.
Easily accessible and offering more than a stopover
Accessing the city of Ipoh is extremely convenient; positioned on the main highway that leads down the western side of peninsula Malaysia, the city is halfway between the two major destinations of Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown. Ipoh therefore makes for a convenient stop between the two, whilst also being the last major city for travellers heading up into the hills of central Malaysia and the Cameron Highlands. Usually reached by road or rail, the city does also have a small airport with domestic connections and to Singapore. Thanks to its relatively small size, the city is easily navigable, with many areas within comfortable walking distance. Ipoh city centre is pleasant to discover on foot, consisting of a variety of old streets separated by the Kinta River which flows north to south. There are an assortment of smaller and older hotels in Ipoh tucked into the old city centre, many of which are housed in quaint, aged architecture, offering an individual feel.
A diverse blend of local cultures
The city centre of Ipoh is also where many of the architectural highlights are found, split between various neighbourhoods reflecting their own cultural heritage. Many of the independent and family-run styles of hotel in Ipoh are also split between Indian, Malay and Chinese ownership, each offering their own unique tradition and charm. Regarding the key central monuments of the city, two British colonial buildings are of particular focus. The Birch Memorial Clock Tower stands at the centre of the inner old town, adjacent to the impressive looking Ipoh Central Railway Station. In contrast to the surrounding Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu temples and Islamic mosques, the area perfectly shows the intense diversity of the city. Indeed, these religious structures are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Ipoh, both for their religious importance but also for their remarkable and contrasting architectural styles. Significant structures include the Paloh Koo Miu Buddhist temple, the oldest Chinese temple in Ipoh which is located in what has become the Little India part of the city. Plus, the substantially-sized and aesthetically impressive Masjid Negeri Mosque, which offers visitors a chance to feel the importance of Islam in modern day Malaysia.
Culinary delights from family-run establishments
A city with such an ethnic diversity of course hosts a fascinating assortment of local cuisine, thus one sure highlight of Ipoh is its culinary scene. The old city is largely Chinese influenced and there are countless independent restaurants offering traditional Chinese cuisine plus a variety of regional Malaysian-Chinese delicacies. Just to the south of this area lies Little India which is largely dominated by Tamil speaking Malaysian-Indians with the cultural influence of South India. Again, small family-run restaurants and food canteens can offer some of the finest and most affordable food around. With any of the smaller establishments the key is to ascertain which are busy with locals as these are usually the best spots in town. Away from the city centre there are also many little restaurants and an array of street food, including many Malay dishes and local Ipoh variations. Thus, staying in an Ipoh hotel away from the old city does not prevent quick access to excellent and affordable food options. In terms of shopping, once again the old city has a concentration of stalls and marketplaces, however there are also modern shopping centres in the city outskirts which house western brands and larger shops. A prime example of this is the Ipoh Parade Mall located east of the city centre.
Natural wonders beyond the city limits
Many of Ipoh’s most visited sights lie away from the city centre, in the suburbs or the surrounding countryside. The famous cave temples of Sam Poh Tong and Kek Lok Tong are two fine examples of this, each situated around five kilometres south of the city. Public transport and local taxis ensure that accessing the sites from any hotel in Ipoh is easy and convenient. Further afield, there are a variety of attractions and an abundance of nature to be explored. Popular family activities include the Lost World of Tambun Waterpark and the Gunung Lung Recreational Park. The latter of these is a thirty-hectare site home to limestone hills and waterfalls; a real outdoor delight. The central regions of Malaysia are known for their tea growing and whilst the nearby Cameron Highlands are the prime spot, there are also tea plantations closer to Ipoh. Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng is the largest of these and offers tours to visitors looking to understand the production process and to also enjoy the impressive views of the vast estate.