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The best places to visit in Ipoh, Malaysia – Attraction inspiration

We spent four full days in Ipoh and were amazed at the range of attractions, the unique nature setting of the city and the food scene. It stands out to us as one of our favourite places we visited in Malaysia. With a big Chinese cultural influence and far less crowds than the likes of Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur, it’s a must-see when visiting Malaysia.

In our guide, we’ll share the best places to visit in Ipoh, from the sites of its compact old town to the temples and nature activities around the city. We even went to The Lost World of Tambun theme park! We visited all of Ipoh’s top attractions during our visit and are here to share our thoughts on each one of them. Plan your trip with us and make the most out of your Ipoh adventure!

Kek Lok Tong

Ipoh has many cave temples built into its towering limestone cliffs. Kek Lok Tong is one of the best! Known as the ‘Cave of Great Happiness’, it has been a place of worship for the locals since the 1920’s. The cave complex has naturally formed over millions of years, creating a huge cavern through one side of the mountain, exiting on the other side. Small tunnels, and stalagmite and stalactite rock formations are everywhere to be seen.

In addition to the natural beauty of the cave, you’ll find many Buddhist and Taoist statues and shrines. Kek Lok Tong cave is free to visit, and you can explore the cave complex at your leisure. Once you’ve wandered through the cave, you’ll exit on the other side into a beautiful park area. A lake, river stream and a series of nature trails make this area the perfect place to go for a walk. Hire a bicycle, glide down the stream in a paddle boat or get a free foot massage on the pebble-stone walking path.

It’s worth allocating at least 2 hours to see the entire Kek Lok Tong area.

shows the inside cave temple complex at Kek Lok Tong in Ipoh

Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village

Qing Xin Ling Cultural Village is one of the best places to visit in Ipoh to experience the local culture. This purpose-built attraction is a walkthrough, open air museum with many photo opportunities, leisure attractions, interactive exhibits, and nature scenery. It has been designed to look like Ipoh of past times.

The top thing to do at Qing Xin Ling Cultural Village is to simply wander around on foot (or on a bike) and enjoy your surroundings. Traditional houses, a large lake area, decorated alleyways, and fun, dress-up activities make it a fun morning or afternoon out. We didn’t have high expectations for this place, based on the mixed reviews, but we had a great time! Qing Xin Ling Cultural Village perfectly combines the nature of the area with some man-made cultural attractions.

shows the man made lake at Qing Xin Ling leisure and cultural village in Ipoh Malaysia

Ipoh Old Town

Ipoh’s Old Town is the beating heart of the city. Rows of old, colourful buildings, countless cafes and restaurants, and local market stalls can all be explored on foot. Go on a self-guided walking tour to see Ipoh’s historic buildings, check out the street art or get lost on a foodie adventure. The joy of visiting Ipoh centre is simply admiring the old façade of the city and getting lost in its backstreets.

To discover the best buildings and history Ipoh has to offer, we recommend walking the ‘Ipoh Heritage Trail’ route. This short walking trail gives you a sample of some of Ipoh’s best streets, and you can read about the history of each building you encounter. Find out more about the trail on the Malaysia Life website.

Ipoh Town Centre - Colourful buildings

Ipoh Street Art – Mural’s Art Lane

It’s not just Penang that’s known for its unique street art murals. Look around as you walk through Ipoh, and you’ll find colourful murals everywhere! The top spot to see the city’s street is Mural Art’s Lane (view on Google maps). The lane has dozens of pieces of artwork that span the full width of budlings. The art was produced by the Ipoh Tourist Information Centre and is of professional quality. Read about the murals and their stories here. You’ll encounter the other famous street art works when you walk the Ipoh Heritage Trail, as outlined above.

shows street art in Ipoh town

Tasik Cermin – Mirror Lake

Tasik Cermin, known in English as ‘Mirror Lake’, is one of the area’s finest geoparks. It’s one of the best places to visit in Ipoh to experience the beauty of nature, or to go on a mini adventure. The lake is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs on all sides, displaying a ‘mirror-like’ effect at certain times of the day when light reflects off the lake surface. As the lake is surrounded by cliffs, you’ll need to pass through a mined tunnel to enter. For a small fee, you can enter the lake area and see the lake from the shore.

Alternatively, and the best way to see Mirror Lake, is to pay for a small group boat tour. You’ll proceed to drift across the lake at a slow pace with a tour guide. They’ll tell you about the history of the lake, and you’ll get up close to all four corners of the park. When we visited, we saw monkeys swinging from the trees and monitor lizards swimming under the boat.

The quiet atmosphere in nature and impressive scenery makes Mirror Lake one of our favourite Ipoh attractions.

Shows Tasik Cermin lake in Ipoh - the best places to visit in Ipoh

Perak Cave Temple

Located to the north of Ipoh, a 10-minute drive from town, Perak Cave Temple is one of most famous cave temples in the Ipoh area. Out of the 30+ cave temples, Perak stands out as being one of the best. It’s a Buddhist temple at the base of a giant limestone hill, known for its grand entrance and 40+ feet giant Buddha statue inside the cave.

Take time to wander around the beautiful garden and lake area of Perak Cave Temple before venturing inside. Walk deep within the cave and you’ll find echoing caverns covered in colourful Chinese murals, shrines, and statues. At the back of the cave, you can walk up a series of 358 steps to reach the top of the hill. Here you’ll find more shrines, wild monkeys, and nice view of the area. Perak Cave is a must-see Ipoh attraction!

shows Susie standing in front of Perak Cave Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

Gunung Lang Recreational Park

Perfectly paired with a visit to Perak Cave Temple we mentioned above due to close proximity, Gunung Lang Recreational Park is a relaxing nature park that’s only reachable by boat. It’s a natural lake and series of limestone cliffs that has been transformed into a nature park for visitors to explore. Stop by the lake entrance, board one of the river boats and you’ll be ferried to the main island.

The Gunung Lang Recreational Park Island has a towering man-made waterfall, lots of relaxation and picnic areas and some excellent walking trails. When we visited, there were wild monkeys everywhere, so be sure to take care of your belongings. Gunung Lang Recreational Park is one of the best places to visit in Ipoh for a slow-paced morning walk.

shows the gunung lake surrounded by trees in Ipoh, Malaysia

Lost World of Tambun Theme Park

The next Ipoh attraction on our list is the legendary Lost World of Tambun Theme Park! Amongst the amazing cultural and natural attractions of Ipoh, we were hesitant to go to a theme park during our visit, but we’re very glad we did. The Lost World is a huge outdoor activity park with amusements, a zoo, water park and lots of adventure activities. This place is huge!

The way they’ve integrated the natural limestone rock and lakes of the area with a manmade theme park is a cool site to see. If you’re travelling with small children, we recommend visiting The Lost World of Tambun during the day. The kids will be spoilt for choice with fun amusement rides, water slides and animal shows. Adults are more suited to the Lost World Night Park. Thermal spas, food stalls, the petting zoo, and a series of lively evening shows can all be enjoyed on an evening.

shows the outside of the Lost World of Tambun theme park in Ipoh, Malaysia
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Concubine Lane

Concubine is one of the most famous places to visit in Ipoh. Located in the city centre, this long lane has a past dating back to 1892, where a mining tycoon gave each of his three wives a lane of shops to manage. All three streets are nearby each other and are worth visiting. However, Concubine is the most popular of the three.

These days, it has become one of the most popular places to visit in Ipoh, and consequently, it’s full of tourists from morning until sunset. Shops, street food stalls, cafes and unusual attractions can be found down the full length of this old lane. Stop by at least a couple of times during your visit to experience the lively atmosphere, browse the shops and sample a few sweet treats.

shows people walking down Concubine Lane in Ipoh - best places to visit in Ipoh

Market Lane

Concubine Lane is the main street from the story of the three lanes. However, Market Lane, which is a couple of streets along from Concubine, is also something special. Market Lane lacks the shops and food stalls of its neighbour, but it makes up for it with its photo-perfect façade. Rows of umbrellas hang along the street and there are lots of colourful buildings and murals. Add the street to your Google Maps app and stop by for a photo after visiting Concubine Lane.

shows Susie walking down a street with colourful decorations

Banjaran Hot Springs

We featured the Banjaran Hot Spring Resort in our ‘where to stay in Ipoh’ guide. Many people don’t realise this, but you can visit the hot spring the resort is built on, without paying the expensive nightly price tag. Banjaran Hot Springs is the place to visit in Ipoh for a few hours of relaxation. Nestled beside giant limestone cliffs, caves and lakes, the hot springs is a place where you can get lost in the bliss of nature.

Buy a day pass for Banjaran Hot Springs on Klook and you can use the many facilities of the resort, including the geothermal pools, thermal steam cave, swimming pool, fitness centres, spa, and other wellbeing amenities. It’s a great Ipoh attraction for couples!

Banjaran Hot Springs lake view - The best places to visit in Ipoh Malaysia

Sam Poh Tong Temple

Yet another temple, but one that’s completely different to the others on our list, is Sam Poh Tong. When we visited, we were blown away by the location and jungle setting of Sam Poh Tong. It’s like a scene from Indiana Jones, or Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider! The outside of the front temple area is serene, with neatly manicured gardens, statues, and a large archway. Many people would visit this area and think they’ve seen the whole temple…

Walk inside the entrance to the left and through a hidden tunnel, and you’ll emerge into a jungle opening surrounded by limestone hills. A towering gold, orange and white temple sits in the centre of the opening, surrounded by statues, a turtle pond, and lush, green terrain. Stumbling upon this temple was a highlight of our trip to Ipoh! Make it a must-see on your sightseeing itinerary.

shows Sam Poh Tong temple next to a limestone cliff - The best places to visit in Ipoh

Ling Sen Tong Temple

A short walk down the road from Sam Poh Tong Temple is a colourful Chinese temple called Ling Sen Tong. A golden dragon guards the entrance, and brightly coloured Chinese figures adorn the temple grounds. The temple has a classic Chinese style and a somewhat unusual design. It’s eccentric yet traditional.

Admittedly, Ling Sen Tong Temple isn’t as impressive as other temples on our list, but it’s still worth visiting when you stop by Sam Poh Tong.

Ipoh Kinta River Walk and D R Seenivasagam Recreational Park

Ipoh Riverside is one of the most peaceful areas to visit in Ipoh. The riverside walk stretches from the city centre, all the way to the lakes in the north of the province. Day or night, it’s a nice place to go for a stroll, or to enjoy a picnic on a park bench. One area of the Kinta Riverwalk has a series of trails and bridges. The other side of the river has a row of trendy cafes and restaurants. It’s a great place to enjoy a coffee with a view, or to grab a bite to eat.

Walk further up the river and you’ll enter D R Seenivasagam Recreational Park. This vast park area has a lake, children’s play area, woodland trails, and recreational areas. Walking through the park and hiring a boat on the lake makes for a fun afternoon out.

shows the Ipoh Kinta River - best places to visit n Ipoh

Birch Memorial Clock Tower

Birch Memorial Clock Tower is one of the most famous places to visit in Ipoh. It appears in postcards and museums of the city and has long been a symbol of Ipoh’s colonial architecture. The tall white tower stands in the centre of Ipoh, alongside a series of old, colonial-style government buildings. The clock tower commemorates James Birch, who played a controversial part in Malaysia’s colonial history, at a time when it was ruled by the British. Stop by the tower to marvel at its grand, colonial design and learn about The Perak War.

shows the birch memorial clock tower in Ipoh - Top Ipoh attractions

Kellie’s Castle

Kellie’s Castle is the former estate of a Scottish civil engineer that worked in Ipoh in the early 1900’s. After making a lot of profit on a work project, he bought 1000 acres of land south of Ipoh and embarked on a journey to build his own castle. The build of the estate took many years and was eventually abandoned. At a later date, it was then purchased by a British company and transformed into a tourist attraction.

The castle is a unique Ipoh attraction. The building’s design is much like the castles of the British Isles, so it’s quite unusual to see it in Malaysia’s countryside. Kellie’s Castle and its grounds are an interesting place to explore for a couple of hours. It’s located around a 22-minute drive from Ipoh city centre.

shows Kellie's castle - the best places to visit in Ipoh, Malaysia

Visit a museum

Ipoh is a destination that’s full of history and culture. What better way to learn about the city you’re visiting than going to a museum? Top museums to visit include:

Ipoh World at Han Chin Pet Soo – Ipoh World is the city’s top-rated museum. It’s a place where you can gain an insight into Ipoh’s history, Chinese heritage, and tin mining trade.

Yor Yan Hor Museum – A museum that showcases the journal of visionary herbal tea producer, Dr. Ho Kai Cheong. It’s an interesting museum choice for those that want to learn the story behind the world-famous tea brand.

Ipoh Upside Down World – A fun, interactive museum for those that want to create unique ‘upside down’ photos. The photo sets at the museum are cleverly positioned to give the appearance you’re standing on the ceiling. Give it a try!

FAQS

Thanks for reading our guide on the best places to visit in Ipoh. We hope we inspired you with attraction ideas and you can now explore this charming city for yourself. Many people visit Ipoh for a very short time and only stay inside the town. The surrounding area has so much more to offer! We highly recommend staying at least 3 nights to experience the many attractions of the region. You could also combine your visit to Ipoh with the Cameron Highlands. It’s only a 1-hour drive away.

If you have any questions about any of the Ipoh attractions we’ve featured, be sure to post a comment below.

Ricky

BY RICKY MARSHALL

Author bio:

An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.

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