Kopitiams: Are you a Traditionalist, or is Modernisation More Your Cup of Tea?
A kopitiam is an ‘old-fashioned’ coffee shop (more on the modernisation later) that can be found throughout Malaysia. The word kopi is a Malay term for coffee while tiam is the Hokkien/Hakka term for shop. A typical kopitiam serves a wide selection of beverages, as well as some simple food such as bread, toast with kaya and butter as well as half-boiled eggs.
Indian Muslim Mosque: Founded in 1908 by a Wealthy Trader
Ipoh’s Indian Muslim Mosque (or Masjid India Muslim Ipoh) is directly facing Ipoh’s Town Padang (Field) on Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam (formerly Clayton Road). It is next door to the St. Michaelʼs Institution. Some locals refer to this mosque as ‘Town Padang Mosque’ by virtue of the fact that it is opposite to the Town Padang.
Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque: Discover Perak’s Official State Mosque
The construction of the mosque began in May 1966 and taken two and half years to complete. In late 1968 it opened as Perak’s ‘State Mosque’, but it was not ‘officially’ opened until a decade later by the eponymous Sultan Idris Shah II of Perak as part of his 54th birthday celebration.
Birch Memorial Clock Tower: 4 Faces and a Murder
Built to commemorate and honour James W. W. Birch, the first British resident of the state of Perak, the Birch Memorial Clock Tower was unveiled in 1909. At the time it cost $25,000 to construct. It is located in Ipoh’s Kinta District across the road from the Ipoh State Mosque, Sultan Idris Shah II Mosque, and just a few hundred metres from Ipoh Railway Station.
Kwan Yin Tong Temple: Ipoh’s 2nd Oldest Cave Temple
Perak Kwan (or Guan) Yin Tong Cave Temple Ipoh’s second oldest cave temples and it is certainly worth paying a visit. It lies at the foot of Gunung Rapat on Jalan Gopeng, Ipoh. The temple is also known as Tokong Kwan Yin Tong or Guan Yin Tong Temple.
Guan Yin Dan Ba Xian Tong Cave Temple
This is a small cave temple that does not really feature on anyone’s Ipoh tourist itinerary. It is interesting that they have called this temple ‘Guan Yin Dan’ rather than ‘Guan Yin Tan’, which suggests that it is a Hokkien Chinese temple in origin. Like the Kwan Yin Tong Temple, this one too is dedicated to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
Mural Arts Trail
The Mural Arts Trail in Ipoh’s old town is based around the vicinity of Panglima Lane. Ernest Zacharevic’s mural work in Georgetown on Penang Island (around 150km north east of Ipoh) inspired the project. In 2014 Ipoh City Council and the famous Ipoh based company, Old Town White Coffee, commissioned the same Lithuanian artist to paint seven murals.
Exploring Ipoh’s Hawker Centres and Food Courts
Hawker Centres are ubiquitous throughout Ipoh. Whilst there are variations, essentially, they are open-air developments that house a collection of hawker stalls selling low-cost food.
Perak Tong Cave Temple: Probably the Most Famous of Ipoh’s 30+ Cave Temples.
Perak Tong cave temple or Perak Tong (霹雳洞) is one of approximately 30 temples in around Ipoh. It is probably the most well-known temple in Ipoh, especially for the views of the city from its summit. While there is no entrance fee, there is an expectation that visitors donate 3 ringgits to access the staircase if you plan to climb the cave’s hillside.
Masjid Panglima Kinta Mosque
Downtown Ipoh has three mosques and there is a consensus, from the outside at least, this is the most aesthetically pleasing with its crisp blue and white design. At night, it becomes even prettier with tasteful lighting showing the mosques intricate architectural features.