An Exciting 3 Day Itinerary for Ipoh, Malaysia For Your First Visit

by Jackie
Published: Last Updated on
A tall gate to enter the Sam Poh Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

Malaysia is one of our favorite countries in Southeast Asia to explore. 

After visiting Penang a few times, we heard that Ipoh is a “mini Penang” as a foodie destination and has many caves to explore. That piqued our interest to visit here.  

Ipoh is located in the Perak region between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, so you can easily get there from either of these cities. 

So, how many days are recommended to visit Ipoh? 

We recommend at least 3 days in Ipoh to explore the attractions. It’s what we did and it’s a good amount of time for sightseeing. If you’re short on time, you can visit Ipoh in 2 days. 

In this post, we’re sharing the best 3 days itinerary in Ipoh. Ipoh is a small, underrated city, so it’s a nice change from the larger cities in Malaysia. From the nonstop eating, street art, and temple hopping, we had an incredible time here and wouldn’t hesitate to visit again. 

Feel free to customize this suggested itinerary based on your interests and time constraints. 

Before diving into this post, we suggest that you read this post on practical travel tips to know for Ipoh.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you. Appreciate the support.


Map

Pinned locations of places to visit on your 3 days in Ipoh itinerary

Click on the map to see a larger view of the places to visit during your 3 days in Ipoh. Credit: Map data: Google


Ipoh Itinerary: Day 1 – Old Town Attractions

It’s your first day in Ipoh! On this day, we’re exploring Ipoh’s Old Town Area. It’s a central area where many attractions and historical buildings are located.

If you’ve just arrived in Ipoh by train or by car, stop by your accommodations to drop off your luggage and start exploring. Depending on your arrival time, you must adjust the number of attractions to visit on this first day. 


Walk on the Ipoh Heritage Trail. 

If you’re interested in seeing historical buildings and learning some history about Ipoh, then consider going on a walk along the Ipoh Heritage Trail. 

Download a PDF copy to your phone or print a copy of the Ipoh Heritage Walk brochure. Then follow the brochure and the yellow footprints on the sidewalks. 

Major historical buildings have a stone sign of “Ipoh Heritage Trail” and information about the place.  

The starting landmark is at the Ipoh Railway Station and the last stop is Panglima Lane (Concubine Lane). You’re welcome to pick and choose certain places that you want to visit. 

The walk is approximately 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) and will take 2 hours to complete. 


Wander to see Ipoh’s street art.

Ipoh has fun street art and wall murals in the Old Town and New Town areas. It’s fun to walk around and see the street art. 

We have a detailed guide on Ipoh’s street art here. Some places to check out include: 

  • Mural Art Lane: Located in the New Town, This is a must-visit to see artwork by Eric Lai. Many of the walls in this residential street display his artwork. Learn more about this street art here.  
A street art with the slogan, Tourism Perak Yours to Discover and a bird and a stinking corpse lily plant in Ipoh

What are you going to discover on your Ipoh street art tour?

  • Market Lane (Second Concubine Lane): For those who love walking along streets with hanging umbrellas, this is the spot to visit! There is also fun wall art and artwork on the ground, such as Pacman and Nintendo.  
  • Panglima Lane (Concubine Lane): This is a narrow alleyway that is super crowded and mostly has souvenirs and street food. You will come across some street art here such as the old man and concubine drinking coffee. 
A mural art on Ipoh Concubine Lane of a man and concubine drinking coffee

You’ll see this street art at the start of Concubine Lane

  • Old Uncle Drinking Coffee (Ipoh Mural Number 1): This is a popular street art to check out. Stop by Old Town White Coffee for cold drinks (the iced white coffee is amazing!) and then walk around the building to see the street art of an older gentleman drinking coffee. 
  • Evolution (Ipoh Mural Number 5) (Not recommended): We found this artwork pinned on Google Maps, but when we visited, the artwork was in shambles. It’s a shame since the artwork is black and it looks like the building, Ho Yan Hor Museum, caught on fire. So, it’s not recommended to visit here. 

Shop and try snacks along Concubine Lane. 

Panglima Lane, also known as Concubine Lane, is formally a place for opium, gambling, and brothels. It eventually became a residential area for the concubines of wealthy miners’ owners. 

Currently, Concubine Lane is a crowded and narrow alley that sells souvenir items in boutique shops and tons of sweets such as rolled ice cream and glazed fruits on a stick.

If you are claustrophobic, we recommend that you skip this place unless you visit early in the morning. 


Try white coffee at Old Town White Coffee.  

The heat and humidity in Ipoh can be intense for visitors, so take a coffee and drink break during your Ipoh itinerary. 

We recommend visiting the famous Old Town White Coffee shop in Old Town and try the famous white coffee. There are many locations in Ipoh and throughout Malaysia. 

The coffee is blended with three types of beans – Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. The classic white coffee is coffee with condensed milk and has the perfect amount of sweetness. Iced or hot is available. 

The menu has teas and non-coffee beverages for those who do not drink coffee. You can also order food, but we didn’t get a chance to try any. 

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

Address: 3, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 30000 Ipoh


Take photos and go shopping at Kong Heng Square. 

Kong Heng Square is conveniently located in the heart of Old Town. 

It’s a restored brick building that is perfect for Instagram photos. The whispy banyan tree roots and plant vines give this area a weathered and apocalyptic ambience. Find a corner and snap away!

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing, stands under a banyan tree at Kong Heng Square in Ipoh, Malaysia

Kong Heng Square is a fun spot to check out during your Ipoh 3 day itinerary

There are boutique shopping opportunities to find souvenirs, jewelry, and other fun things to buy. 

If you’re hungry and need some food, then try Plan B Restaurant. It’s a delicious restaurant offering Western and Malaysian food. We stopped by here for lunch and loved the food. As a warning, the portions are on the larger size so it’s worth the higher prices.

Address: 75a, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh


Take a tour of Ipoh World Han Chin Pet Soo. 

Did you know that Ipoh was a famous tin mining town in the 1800s? 

The tin mining industry boomed in this city so many migrants came here to work and earn a living. The city is also known as the “City of Millionaires” as many tin mining owners became wealthy. 

Two mannequins recreating the tin mining process at Han Chin Pet Soo tour

Here is one of the processes during the tin mining harvesting

To learn the history of Ipoh’s mining history and the mining process, take a 1-hour tour at Ipoh World Han Chin Pet Soo. This historic building was originally a miner’s club for men in the tin mining industry. 

During the tour, you’ll also learn about the Hakka Chinese people and how they were an important part of the mining industry. 

Mannequins of gentlemen playing a game of mah jong at the Han Chin Pet Soo Tour

We enjoyed the tour as the host was interactive and provided some interesting facts. Also, my mother-in-law is Hakka so it was informative to learn more about the Hakka people and influences in Malaysia. 

Note: The tour covers two stories of the building, so stair climbing is required. 

There are three tours per day – 11:00am, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm. Reservations must be made in advance online. Reserve your spot here. 

Address: 3, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh

Admission Cost: This place is free to visit, yet donations are encouraged to keep the tours running. The suggested amount is 10 MYR ($2 USD) for adults and 5 MYR ($1) for children. 


Explore Ho Yan Hor Museum. 

Located next to the Han Chin Pet Soo building is the Ho Yan Hor Museum

The museum goes through the journey of Dr. Ho Kai Cheong, a herbalist who created a popular herbal tea business, Hor Yan Hor, in Ipoh. 

Hor Yan Hor has been in business in Ipoh since 1941 and is still going strong today. 

You’ll get the chance to see photos and read quotes from Dr. Ho Kai Cheong about his experiences with creating tea, his delivery van with his company’s marketing, his interest in calligraphy, and more. 

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

Note: This building is two stories high so stairclimbing is required. 

One of the best parts about the museum is the tea tasting at the end of the visit. We had the chance the try samples of the Hor Yan Hor original herbal tea, night tea, gold herbal tea, original herbal tea in a can, and tea with sour plum. 

Each of the tea samples had a distinct flavor and they were yummy. It was also amazing to hear that the canned tea does not have any added sugar and is naturally sweetened by licorice. 

If you like any of the flavors, you can buy the teas there. Credit cards are accepted for payment.

Since this building is small, a reservation is required. A representative stands in front of the building and holds a clipboard. You can ask the person for the next available opening and then walk in when it’s your appointment time. 

Address: 1, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30000 Ipoh

Admission Cost: Free


Ipoh Itinerary: Day 2 – Caves & Temples

On the second day in Ipoh, we’re headed to the south of the Old Town and exploring various temples, temples in limestone caves, and other attractions. 

TIP: We suggest that you visit at least 1-2 temples and at least 1 temple in a cave so you can see the differences in the temple design. Otherwise, you may be temple fatigued.


Kek Lok Tong Temple

Kek Lok Tong (also written as Kek Look Tong) is an impressive limestone cave with a Buddhist temple inside. Once you step inside the cave, you’ll notice the drastic drop in temperature from the humidity. 

Take some time to walk around and admire the Buddhist statues. There is a white Buddha statue at the entrance. As you walk up the stairs, there are golden Buddha statues including the Laughing Buddha with the happy smile. 

If you’re Buddhist, you can buy incense and pray to the various statues.  

TIP: Watch out for wet floors due to the natural drippings from the stalactite. They are impressive looking in themselves!

A smiling Buddha statue at Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia A view of outside the Kek Lok Tong Temple from inside the cave

The back of the cave area has a large park with manicured grass, plants, and a lake. Walk down the stairs and walk around the area. You’ll see a long row of Buddha statues in different positions. 

For a unique experience, you can rent a pedal bike and travel around the park.  

But, watch out for the wild monkeys as they may take your snacks or any shiny objects from you.  

Address: Persiaran Sepakat 3, Tmn Endah Jaya, 31350 Ipoh

Admission Cost: Free


Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village

Nearby Kek Lok Tong is Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village, a fun cultural attraction. You’ll go back in time to what a former Malay village looks like with the traditional houses on stilts, jobs, and general decor. 

It’s a fun place to explore by walking around or using free pedal bikes for 2 or 4 people. 

TIP: While the pedal bikes are fun to use, they’re hard to maneuver and turn. You’ll need to park them on the side of the road before exploring. They may be gone by the time you return to your bike! So, we suggest walking.  

One of the main highlights of this place is the large lake with large koi and soft-shell turtles. During our visit, the lake was green but there were some amazing reflections from the water between the limestone cliffs. 

Water reflection of the sky at Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village

The water reflection is gorgeous at Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village

As you know, we love to go hiking and there is a short and easy mini-hike around the limestone mountains.

On the way, you can see mini versions of famous buildings in Ipoh such as the Ipoh clock tower and retro storefronts.  

The ending destination had statues of zodiac characters and dinosaurs. The sculptures were random, especially since there wasn’t any viewpoint from here. 

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

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


Note: The following three temples are on the same street so you can walk to them. 

Ling Sen Tong Temple

As the first temple that you’ll see on Kampung Gunung Rapat road, Ling Sen Tong Temple is the most colorful temple that we’ve seen in Ipoh. 

The newly restored colorful statues depict classic stories such as “Journey to the West.” There are also zodiac animal statues, a reclining golden Buddha on the roof, and more. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any signs about the statues so we weren’t sure about many of the ones on display.

Be aware of the wild monkeys walking on the roof of the temple.  

Two statues at the entrance of the Ling Sen Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

Ling Sen Tong Temple is vibrant with whimsical statues and bright colors

Address: Located next to Nam Thean Tong Temple, Kampung Gunung Rapat, 31350 Ipoh

Admission Cost: Free  


Nam Thean Tong Temple

Located next to Sam Poh Tong, Nam Thean Tong Temple is a Taoist temple in a cave. 

One of the highlights of this place is the dragon embedded in the stalactites. 

The temple is dark and damp inside. But you can walk up 138 steps to the top of the temple to get some fresh air and see a view of the surrounding area. 

The entrance to the Nam Thean Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

Address: Located next to Sam Poh Tong Temple, Kampung Gunung Rapat, 31350 Ipoh

Admission Cost: Free  


Sam Poh Tong Temple

Discovered in 1912, Sam Poh Tong Temple is the oldest cave temple in Ipoh. The entrance has a pretty gate and a small lake with Buddha statues and deities embedded in rock towers. Koi swim in the lake. 

Inside the temple, there are many Buddha statues to pray to. Again, watch out for the drippy waters from the stalactites. 

Yet, the best part about this temple is visiting the Tortoise Pond. Located in the back of the temple and surrounded by luscious green foliage from the limestone caves, there are dozens of tortoises of various sizes sunbathing and swimming in the lake. 

The tortoises are super adorable. We saw a few sunbathing and eating.

We saw one tortoise spending a few minutes trying to eat a leaf that he picked up by his nose and he couldn’t reach it. After the leaf fell to the floor, it was just ignored. We rooted for the tortoise to get the leaf but it wasn’t his day.  

A tortoise with his mouth open and trying to get a leaf stuck on it's face at Sam Poh Tong Temple, Ipoh, Malaysia

This tortoise at Tortoise Lake persevered to get his leaf

If you want to feed them, you can buy tomatoes at the temple and cut them up. 

Behind the Tortoise Pond and between the limestone caves is a gorgeous orange multi-story building. Unfortunately, it’s fenced off and looks abandoned, but it has a picturesque view.  

A red multi-story building next to Tortoise Pond at Sam Poh Tong Temple, Ipoh, Malaysia

This building in the Sam Poh Tong Temple area is gorgeous!

Address: Located next to Ling Sen Tong Temple, Kampung Gunung Rapat, 31350 Ipoh

Admission Cost: Free  


Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake (Tasik Cermin) is a popular tourist attraction where you can take beautiful photos of the area especially to see the reflection of the landscape on the water. There is a wooden platform that is perfect for this type of photo. 

You can also ride a boat on the calm lake for an additional fee. 

We originally had Mirror Lakes on our list of places to visit, but didn’t have a chance to visit. After visiting Kek Lok Tong Temple and Qing Xing Ling Leisure & Cultural Village, we thought the views would be similar at Mirror Lake. 

Address: Tasik Cermin, 31350 Ipoh

Admission Cost: 4 MYR ($.85 USD) for Malaysian citizens, 8 MYR ($1.70) for tourists. Boat ride is 25 MYR ($5.30) for each adult, and 18 MYR ($3.80) for each child (12 years and under)


Ipoh Itinerary: Day 3 – Day Trips

It’s your third and final day in Ipoh, so you can visit any attractions that you missed from the first two days. Or, you can go on some day trips from Ipoh. 


Perak Cave Temple

After yesterday’s temple visits, you may be tired of seeing temples in caves. Yet, Perak Cave Temple is a recommended place to visit in Ipoh. 

Located north of Ipoh city center and built in 1926, it’s one of the oldest temples in Ipoh and sits on a 120-meter (394 foot) high limestone hill. 

When entering the cave temple, you’ll see murals on the walls and ceilings of Buddhas, mythical creatures, and deities. 

You’ll also see many golden Buddha statues on display for prayers. The tallest golden Buddha statue is 13 meters (42.6 feet) high and sits on a pink lotus. 

A tall golden Buddha statue on a lotus at Perak Cave Temple in Ipoh

This impressive Buddha statue is a highlight at Perak Cave Temple

One of the best parts about Perak Cave Temple is to do a mini hike/stairclimbing up the cave

It’s not a technical hike as you follow the signs or arrows and take the stairs up to the top of the mountain. The staircase is narrow so you will need to stand to the side to let others pass. 

Justin Huynh, Life Of Doing, walks down the stairs from the Perak Cave Temple observatory area in Ipoh

The short hike to the Perak Cave Temple observation area is worth the effort

You will need to take your time with the mini hike as it will be hot and humid! We had to take some breaks due to the heat. Please bring water with you too. 

Once you reach the observation deck, you can see a 360-degree view of the area. One side has green luscious mountains and factories, while the other side has buildings. 

The observation deck is a nice place to catch your breath for a few minutes and take a break. You can go back the same way. 

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

Admission Cost: Free 


Note: During my travel planning, I researched the following attractions below and added them to the bucket list. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to visit but wanted to share them with you. 

Memory Lane Sunday Flea Market

If bargaining for the best price is your jam, then consider heading to Memory Lane for some flea market shopping. 

On Sundays, this area sells various knickknacks, antiques, clothes, and much more. You may find unique things for sale here. 

Address: 56, Jalan Horley, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh


Bukit Kledang Hike

Want to go on a hike through the Ipoh mountains? 

Bukit Klendang trail is the closest hiking to the Ipoh city center and provides a good leg workout. You can opt to use the stairs or the dirt path and see views of the city. 

The mountain peaks at 800 meters (2,625 feet) high. Most hikers take at least 2 to 4 hours to complete the hike depending on the distance. 

Read this Bukit Kledang hiking post on what to expect for the hike. 

The photos of this hike look incredible so we’ll visit on a return trip!

Address: Jalan Kledang, 31450 Ipoh


Gerbang Malam Night Market (Optional)

In the daytime, Gerbang Malam has many stores selling biscuits, snacks, and breads. A few places also sell tau fu fa (tofu pudding dessert) such as Funny Mountain Soya Beancurd. 

Yet at night (after 9:00pm), the street closes and turns into a night market. Vendors sell various items such as clothes, shoes, sunglasses, watches, and toys. The night market is catered to local Malaysian shoppers. 

There isn’t any street food nor has the exciting nighttime vibe like in Taipei, Taiwan or Bangkok, Thailand. We did one pass through and then went back to our Airbnb.

So, making a side trip here at night is not recommended even though it may be listed as a top thing to do in Ipoh. But if you want to visit, you’re more than welcome to!

Address: Jalan Dato Tahwil Azar, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh


Kellie’s Castle  

Kellie’s Castle (also called Kellie’s Folly), located in Batu Gajah, is a destination to consider as a day trip from Ipoh. 

It’s an unfinished mansion built by William-Kellie Smith, a Scottish planter. Construction started in 1910 but it stopped after his death in 1926. Therefore, the castle was abandoned. 

For those who want to experience this tourist destination, you’ll need to arrange alternative transportation to get here. 

Address: Lot 48436, Kompleks Pelancongan Kellie’s Castle, KM 5.5, Jalan Gopeng, 31000 Batu Gajah

Admission Cost: 10 MYR ($2 USD) for adult tourists, 9 MYR ($1.90) for children


Where to Eat in Ipoh

Ipoh is an incredible place if you’re a foodie! There are many things to try here such as tau fu fa (soft tofu pudding), bean sprouts, salted chicken, and much more. 

Since we didn’t want to make this post too long, we have a separate post on the restaurants that we visited. 

Read our post on places to eat in Ipoh here


Where to Stay in Ipoh

There are two main locations for accommodations in Ipoh – Old Town and New Town. 

Old Town is where the historical attractions and buildings are located such as Ho Yan Hor Museum, street art, and more. New Town is nearby as it’s just crossing a bridge and has many restaurants. 

Both areas have guesthouses and small boutique-type accommodations to choose from. 

Click here to find the perfect accommodations for you on Booking.com.

Find a place to stay in Ipoh on Agoda here. 


Where Did We Stay?

We stayed at an Airbnb apartment at the Octagon in the New Town area. You can’t miss Octagon as it’s the tallest apartment building in the area. 

We had a 1-bedroom apartment with an ensuite bathroom, living room, a washing machine, and air-conditioning. The cost was $40 USD per night which was very reasonable. 

The location is great as it’s across from the Gerbang Malam Night Market where all of the baked goods and biscuits are for sale. There are also plenty of restaurants in the area. 

It’s also a 15-minute walk to the Old Town’s local attractions. 


How to Get to Ipoh

By Flight

Ipoh has a small airport, Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (airport code: IPH), for domestic and international flights. It’s located 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) (a 15-20 minute) drive from Ipoh Old Town. 

Flights via AirAsia and Scoot Airlines (from Singapore) are limited, so many visitors arrive to Ipoh in other ways. 

Afterward, you can take a taxi or hire a Grab ride-hailing car (read more in the “Ride-Hailing” section below).


By Train

The popular option is to arrive in Kuala Lumpur (airport code: KUL) or Penang (airport code: PEN) by international flight, and then take a train to Ipoh. 

We suggest taking the train from KL to Ipoh as it’s very convenient and budget-friendly. The train departs from KL Sentral Station. It costs us 38 MYR ($8.15 USD) per person for a comfortable 2 hour 40 minute ride.  

From Penang to Ipoh, it’ll take 1 hour and 45 minutes by train. 

You can book directly on the official train website here or buy at the train station. 

Seating arrangements inside the KL to Ipoh train

Here is the seating arrangements inside the KL to Ipoh train


By Bus

Taking the bus is another option. Unfortunately, we don’t have any experience with booking or taking the bus in Malaysia. 

From KL to Ipoh, it’ll take 3 hours by bus. 

We see on the bus schedule aggregator sites that the Aerobus company goes from TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan) or KL Sentral Bus Terminal in KL to Terminal Meru Raya (Ipoh Amanjaya). So this could be a transportation option to consider. 

From Penang to Ipoh, it’ll take 2 hours by bus.


How to Travel Around Ipoh

By Walking

Ipoh is a walkable city if you’re staying in the Old Town and New Town area. Some parts have sidewalks, otherwise, you’ll need to walk on the side of the street. 

If you leave the main area, then you’ll need to consider other transportation options. 


By Ride-Hailing 

The cheapest and most convenient way is to hire a ride-hailing car. 

The most popular ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia is Grab. We’ve used this app in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It works well in Malaysia. 

You can book a car on the app, input your pick-up and drop-off destination, and see the final cost. Credit card transactions are done through the app. But you can pay via cash with exact change. 

TIP: We suggest that you buy a SIM card at the KL Airport here. Or, you can get a Malaysian e-SIM in advance here.  

What about taking taxis? We didn’t see any taxis when we were in Ipoh so we cannot comment 


By Private Driver or Tour

If you’ve hired a private driver or going on a tour, then you don’t need to worry about transportation. The driver and tour guide have everything covered for you.


Final Thoughts

Three days in Ipoh is an ideal amount of time to explore the local attractions, visit temples in the limestone cliffs, and eat delicious foods. 

While this is a small and underrated city, you’ll have fond memories of this place. 

We hope you consider adding a visit to Ipoh on your next visit to Malaysia!

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Top photo are two major landmarks of Ho Yan Hor Museum and Han Chin Pet Soo Building in Ipoh and bottom photo of street art

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