How to Spend 1 Day in Ipoh, Malaysia

by Jackie
A street art in Ipoh of people enjoying a bowl of iced cendol dessert

Malaysia’s Ipoh is an underrated destination and not overly touristy yet. Justin and I love the small town feel and little crowds, which is why we’ve visited twice in five months! 

The first time we visited Ipoh was for 3 days while this recent visit was for only one full day. We took my mother-in-law for her first visit to Ipoh and came directly from Kuala Lumpur International Airport by bus

We were initially hesitant with the one-day schedule as that would require us to go at a faster pace through the attractions. 

Is it possible? Overall, it was very doable as my mother-in-law kept up with the travel pace.

So if you’re concerned about having only one day in Ipoh, then you’ll want to read this itinerary on what we did and follow it for your next trip.  

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Travel Tips Before Starting this Itinerary

  • The itinerary starts at 8:00am and assumes that you’ve already traveled to Ipoh the day before and have stayed overnight either in Ipoh Old Town or New Town
  • You can find accommodation options on or Agoda. Depending on your schedule, you can depart Ipoh in the evening or stay another night. 
  • Many attractions are free to visit or have a low-cost admission fee. We’ll note the places with an admission fee, otherwise, they’re free! So, there are many budget-friendly activities to do here. 
  • If you decide to travel to Ipoh from Penang or Kuala Lumpur as a day trip, then you’ll need to cut back at least 1-2 attractions. Unfortunately, there won’t be enough time to visit all the attractions due to the long travel time from public transportation (ie: bus or train).  
  • To travel around Ipoh city, use a ride-hailing app such as Grab. It’s a popular app to use in Southeast Asia. Grab has the same interface as other ride-hailing apps such as Uber. The cost is very affordable from $1-$3 USD per ride within the main Ipoh area and payable with a credit card or exact cash. 
  • Meals are not slotted into the itinerary as everyone has a different eating schedule. We either skip breakfast and eat lunch or eat a small breakfast and then have lunch at an off-hour time. Check out our Ipoh restaurant guide on places to eat. We highly recommend trying the squatty bean sprouts and tau fu fa (soft tofu dessert).  


A map of places to visit in Ipoh in one day

Click on the map to see a larger view of the places to visit in Ipoh in a day. Credit: Map data: Google

What to Do in Ipoh in One Day

Start the Day at Perak Cave.

We’re starting the day visiting Perak Cave, one of Ipoh’s oldest cave temples. The temple opens at 8:00am so you’ll experience fewer crowds. We suggest that you stay at least 1 hour here

Built in 1926, this Buddhist temple cave is located 120 meters (394 feet) on a limestone hill. This natural cave has large murals of Buddhas and deities. The center of the cave has a 13-meter (42.6 feet) golden Buddha Statue which you can pray to. 

A large golden Buddha statue sitting on a pink lotus with dragon wall murals on the limestone caves of Perak Cave in Ipoh, Malaysia

Perak Cave is a beautiful place to visit during your 1 day in Ipoh

If you have the energy, Perak Cave has a mini hike to the top of the cave. Most of the path is made up of stairs. But the stairs have uneven sizes or are super narrow so you may need to lunge to climb up or turn your foot sideways to step down or up. It’s not recommended for those who have knee issues. 

Just follow the arrow to the top of the cave and you’ll be there in 15 to 20 minutes!  Feel free to take breaks along the way as Ipoh’s weather is super humid. Check out our tips on hiking in hot weather here

The top of the cave has an unobstructed 360-degree view of the area. You’ll see the rooftops of houses, tall mountains, and factories. You can also take another rest break here as there are benches.

Aerial views of the buildings and mountains in the far distance at the top of Perak Cave Temple observation area

You’re at the top of the Perak Cave Temple!

Address: Jln. Kuala Kangsar, Kawasan Perindustrian Tasek, 31400 Ipoh

See a Traditional Malay Village at Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village.

Our next stop is visiting Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village to see what life was like in a traditional Malaysian village. 

This place has replicas of traditional houses on stilts overlooking the manmade lake and gorgeous views of the tall limestone caves. These houses have relics of antiques such as old vinyl records, furniture, posters, and more. It’s fun to browse through. 

We suggest staying for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on what you plan to do afterward (such as going on the Han Chin Pet Soo tour.) 

With limited time, you can walk around the lake and take tons of photos with murals. The photos of the lake and the limestone mountains are absolutely gorgeous. 

Justin Huynh and Jackie Szeto, Life Of Doing, pose with the lake and limestone mountains at Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village in Ipoh

Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village is worth a quick visit.

You may or may not have time to go through the entrance with the colorful umbrellas to see mini replicas of Ipoh’s famous landmarks and traditional storefronts at “Memory Lane.”

Address: 22A, Persiaran Pinggir Rapat 5a, Taman Saikat, 31350 Ipoh

Admission: 12 RMB ($1.70 USD) for Malaysian citizens, 20 RMB ($2.80) for tourists, Free for kids 6 years and under. Cash only. 

Take a Tour at Ipoh World Han Chin Pet Soo (Hakka Museum).

We’re headed back to Ipoh Old Town to go on a tour at Han Chin Pet Soo, a former gentlemen’s club for wealthy tin mining owners. 

This 1-hour guided tour goes through the history of Ipoh and how the city boomed with the tin mining industry. The tour also discusses the migration of the Hakka Chinese people from China to Malaysia and their hard, laborious work in the tin mining business. 

There are 3 time slots for the tour – 11:00am, 2:00pm,  and 3:30pm. You must reserve a spot online. We suggest the 11:00am time slot as you can still visit other attractions afterward. 

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the start of the tour. Once the tour starts, the front door will be locked and late arrivals cannot enter. 

Note: Stair climbing is required as it’s an old historic building and there isn’t an elevator. 

This place is free to visit, but donations are requested to continue the building’s operations. The suggested amount is 10 MYR ($2) for adults and 5 MYR ($1) for children. 

TIP: Once the tour is over, visit the neighboring Ho Yan Hor Museum to make a walk-in reservation.

Address: 3, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh

Take a Coffee Break at Old Town White Coffee. 

Ipoh is synonymous with white coffee. This city is the creator of white coffee which is coffee made with beans roasted in margarine and then served with condensed milk. You can have it iced or hot. 

Old Town White Coffee is a popular and highly recommended coffee shop to order white coffee. You can sit down in the air-conditioned restaurant and order food and drinks. 

The iced white coffee is worth the hype and it’s affordable at $2. Plus, you can upsize to a large so you can get more coffee. It’s a win-win situation! 

An iced coffee and iced pandan oolong tea on a table at Old Town White Coffee in Ipoh, Malaysia

The iced coffee at Old Town White Coffee is a must try

We suggest staying for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so you can enjoy the air conditioning and cool off from the humidity and heat. 

For those interested in street art, there is one of the “Old Uncle Drinking Coffee” on the side of the building. When exiting the cafe, turn left and then another left around the building to see the large mural. 

TIP: If you’re looking for instant coffee as a souvenir, you can stop by a grocery store anywhere in Malaysia to pick up a bag of Old Town White Coffee. My mother-in-law bought a Penang White Coffee brand and one of the locals we met in Penang said to get the Old Town White Coffee brand instead. The locals know the good stuff!

Address: 3, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 30000 Ipoh

Visit the Ho Yan Hor Museum. 

This is an optional place to visit as getting a walk-in reservation may challenging, especially on a weekend. 

As noted earlier, we requested a reservation slot after visiting the Han Chin Pet Soo Museum and received one of the last spots of the day at 3:30pm. You’ll need between 30 minutes to 1 hour here

This museum focuses on Dr. Ho Kai Cheong, a herbalist and creator of Ho Yan Hor herbal tea brand. This two-story museum has photos and history about his life and how he marketed herbal tea. It’s a self-guided tour.

A cardboard photo of Dr. Ho Kai Cheong next to a bicycle to make herbal tea deliveries at Ho Yan Hor Museum

Hor Yan Hor brand still operates in Ipoh today! 

At the end of the tour, there is a free tasting of the herbal teas. We tried the tea bag brewed original herbal tea, night tea, and gold herbal tea, and canned herbal tea and tea with sour plum. The tea bags and canned teas do not have added sugar. They’re delicious, and you can buy them as souvenirs. There is no pressure to buy anything. 

Address: 1, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh

Wander through Concubine Lane and Go Shopping.

Since it’s late afternoon, spend some time browsing through the narrow side streets. You’ll need at least 15 to 30 minutes in the area. 

Concubine Lane (Panglima Lane) is very busy with souvenir shops and places selling snacks. Grab a cotton candy or sugar syrup covered fruit on a stick. 

Near Concubine Lane is Kong Heng Artisan Market where you can go shopping at boutique shops or grab something to eat. The market area is made of bricks so it has some picturesque spots to take photos. 

Awe at the Street Art on Mural’s Art Lane. 

If you have the time and energy, head to Mural’s Art Lane in New Town to see beautiful street art. Many of the artwork is created by Eric Lai, a local artist. Check out our Ipoh street art guide for details. 

We recommend spending at least 15 minutes to appreciate the murals and taking photos.     

You can easily walk there from the Concubine Lane area in 15 minutes.

A dragon mural in Ipoh's Mural Art Lane to highlight 2024 as the Chinese Year of the Dragon

Here is a dragon street art to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon in 2024.

At the end of the day, either return to your accommodation or return to your original destination (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or another destination). 

How to Get to Ipoh

If visiting Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur or Penang, you can take either the bus or train. 

From Kuala Lumpur

There are buses from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA and KLIA Terminal 2), KL Sentral, or TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan). The ending location is at Ipoh Bus Station (Meru Raya or Ipoh Amanjaya). Expect to take 3 to 3.5 hours one-way. Check out Red Bus Website to see the bus schedule and pricing. 

Trains depart from KL Sentral to Ipoh as well. It’ll take at least 2 hours and 40 minutes. We wrote a post about our train experience from KL Sentral to Ipoh here. 

From Penang

The buses from Penang depart from a few bus stations – Penang Komtar/Prangin Mall, Sungai Nibong, and Penang Sentral (Butterworth on Penang mainland). Expect to take 2.5 hours one-way to arrive in Ipoh. You can use the same Red Bus Website as mentioned above for the schedule. 

As with the train, take it from Penang Sentral at Butterworth (Penang mainland) to Ipoh Station. If you’re at Penang’s GeorgeTown, then take the ferry from GeorgeTown to Penang Sentral and then walk to the connected train station platform. 

We took the ferry and train combo in reverse route from Ipoh to Penang Georgetown, but you can read our experience. 

Final Thoughts

This 1 day Ipoh itinerary covers the best attractions to visit during your limited time and where to go.

We know it’s a short getaway trip, so this itinerary gives you a taste of the city. 

We hope you consider returning for a longer trip such as 3 days and enjoy a more peaceful and quieter side of Malaysia. 

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