Ipoh is a modern city, with a huge historic significance behind every corner of the town. A city of many firsts, Ipoh retains its pre-war colonial times with a large influence in Anglo-Chinese Architecture. Several buildings, including the State Hall and the Railway Station continue to retain colonial architecture.
Despite being a small city, Ipoh continues to live up the culture since the old days. For example, the majority of buildings in Ipoh continue to retain its original architecture. It's rich history bridges cultures to create a mix of a foodies paradise and a Cultural's Hot-spot. Here are some of the highlights of my journey in Ipoh!
1. Ipoh Railway Station
Ipoh Railway Station is dressed in colonial architecture from that era and had served both passenger and freight trains since its inception in 1917. Its distinctive columns and straight cuts brings its rich history into the modern year. The station features a hall that held both arrival and departure halls, together with various food & beverage shops. Based on a queue ticket system, it is a 10-15 minute wait for the purchase of your tickets. Outside, Taxi drivers tout their services for tourists and passengers whom just arrived.
2. Bukit Kledang
At 800 meters in high, Bukit Kledang stands at one of the tallest hills in the town of Ipoh. Gradual to steep slopes line the tarmac road that leads to the top - a tel-communications station. Personally, this had to be the toughest uphill climb ever! With sharp gradients of at least 60 degrees, it was tiresome to hike to the top.
3. Birch Clock Tower
Officially unveiled in 1909, the Birch Tower had been running ever since for the last 108 years! (That's what I heard). A cultural and architecture landmark, the Birch tower was a great sight in the quiet part of town.
4. Town Centre
I chanced upon concubine lane and market street by chance while exploring the town centre after lunch. In fact, I was fortunate to come by when it wasn't too crowded with tourists! Concubine Lane features a variety of tourist shops, cafes and boutique hotels, while Market Street was largely empty despite having a huge history in the days before. Well, I stopped by a local dessert shop that sold Tau Fu Fa (Tau Hui) with a different take on sweetness. The dessert was served with brown sugar and sesame seeds despite the usual take of sweet syrup served in Singapore. Light, succulent bean-curd paired well with the crunchy brown sugar and sesame seeds. It was certainly a great dessert after lunch!
5. Gunung Lang
Gunung Lang is a recreational park up north in Ipoh. Famous for its man-made waterfall and tranquil man-made lake, Gunung Lang operates daily with RM3 Boat rides to and fro its park. Onsite, ample parking is available while food and beverages are readily available. Honestly, the lake was awesome. However, as I got close to the recreational park, I realize the stark emptiness of the place, where birds and animals are locked up in unsightly conditions.
Backpacking over several towns and cities, the route passes through the Penang, Ipoh, Cameron Highlands and Kuala Lumpur.