Places of interest
The Old Town and New Town of Ipoh are two different parts of Ipoh separated by the Kinta River. Most olden-day pre-World War II shophouses, heritage buildings, and some Government buildings are located in the Old Town while the New Town comprises the area originally developed by Yau Tet Shin, stretching all the way from Kinta River to Greentown. It has newer shops, buildings, shopping malls and housing estates.
Famous attractions around Ipoh include Kellie's castle (or Callie's Castle), which is the unfinished, abandoned mansion of an eccentric British planter, near Batu Gajah, half an hour's drive from Ipoh city centre. Its main appeal lies in the belief that it is haunted and that secret passages leading to hidden chambers exist.
A 15-minute drive from Ipoh towards Tanjung Rambutan brings you to the foot of a limestone hill where visitors can rejuvenate at hot baths from the Tambun hot spring, a natural spring.
Ulu Chepor is a famous recreational place to relax for picnics and camping in a remote yet nature-friendly place. Ulu Chepor is another waterfall camping area located 10 km from Ipoh city; other such waterfalls include Lubuk Timah in Simpang Pulai and one in Falim.
Another attraction is the Gunung Lang Recreational Park which is 5 km from the Ipoh city center. It has been operated by the City Hall (DBI) with the collaboration of Ministry of Tourism Malaysia since 1999. This park, costing RM8.4 million, has 3 man-made lakes which was reclaimed from old tin mines and filled in with tropical fish.
The Old Town
D. R. Seenivasagam Park (Coronation Park), located in the heart of Ipoh (New Town), is known for its scenic beauty and recreational facilities. It boasts several recreational fields, an artificial lake filled with various types of fishes, a nursery for potted plants and a children's traffic playground. There are also beautiful arches, modular framework, shelters, pedestrian paths and the Ipoh tree which gave the city its name. The latest addition is the newly landscaped Japanese Garden featuring a typical Japanese carp pond. The fresh atmosphere and variety of flora are also part of the main attractions of this park.
St. Michael's Institution along Clayton Road (now Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam) is a building of architectural merit; a La Sallian school opened in 1912 by Father J.B. Coppin. During the Japanese occupation in World War II, the school building had become the Japanese administration headquarters in Ipoh. The Ipoh Train station which has elements of Moorish and Gothic arcitecture is another famous landmark of this former tin-mining city.
Many olden-day shophouses along Leech Street (Chinese: 烈治街; now Jalan Bandar Timah) in the Old Town still maintain their architectural significance, besides being a popular spot for food and drinks (refer cuisine).
The New Town houses the Perak Medical University and Ipoh City Hall building, among others.
Ipoh has many limestone caves due to the karstic formation around it. The Sam Po Tong (Chinese 三宝洞; Cavern of Three Precious) temple, is a Chinese temple built within a limestone cave. A pond outside houses many tortoises. Its sister temple, Perak Tong (Chinese 霹雳洞; Perak Cave), has a steep, tall staircase in the interior of the cave rising up to the top of its hill where one is greeted by a panoramic view of Ipoh and its surroundings. The statue of Buddha in Perak Tong was the tallest and largest of its kind in Malaysia when it was first commissioned. Both these cavern temples have decent vegetarian food.
Another sight worth seeing is the Kek Lok Tong (Chinese 极乐洞; Cavern of Utmost Happiness), which is a cave temple that lies on the other side of the same range of limestone hills as Sam Poh Tong. It is accessible through the Gunung Rapat housing area. It has a cleaner, quieter and more cooling environment and has the best scenic cave view.
Limestone hills extend 20 km north of Ipoh and also 20 km to the south. There are many caves in these hills; cave temples are built in some of these caves. Gua Tempurung, near Gopeng south of Ipoh, is a show cave open to the public.
Unfortunately many of the limestone hills are being quarried in the ever increasing demand for crushed stone and cement. Some of the hills under threat contain endemic fauna and flora. One cave, Gua Puncak, contains Peninsular Malaysia's second largest cave chamber and is in danger of being quarried. In reaction to this, the Malaysian Karst Society has been set up in an attempt to save these hills.