Ipoh has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years as a travel destination. The capital of Perak is famous for limestone hills, hot springs and delicious street food such as bean sprouts chicken, dim sum, white coffee and char kway teow. It takes just 1 hour 15 mins to fly from Singapore to Ipoh, thus making it an ideal destination for a short and affordable vacation. 😀
Ten years ago, there wasn’t any direct flight from Singapore to Ipoh. Fireflyz started the Ipoh-Singapore route in 2009 with 4x weekly flight. Not long after that, they expanded to 7x weekly and now, they have 2 daily departures from Singapore to Ipoh. Tiger Airways (now Scoot) is the second airline that offers direct flight on this route since 2015. They have once to twice daily departures.
When Air Asia announced their much-awaited Ipoh-Johor Bahru flight recently, I was secretly hoping that they will launch the Ipoh-Singapore flight too. Alas, my dream came true when they finally commence 4x weekly Ipoh-Singapore service starting from 2 Dec 2018. Woohoo! Now, there are 3 airlines that offer direct flight from Singapore to Ipoh.
Some of you may have known that Ipoh is my hometown. I still go back to Ipoh once a year to visit my parents, and every time I go, I discover new things to do in the city. Thanks to tourism, there are new attractions being built every year. Now, who dare to say that Ipoh is a dead town (come, let me smack your backside 🤣 LOL).
Here are some of my suggestions on accommodation, activities for families, and must-eat good food in Ipoh.
Where to Stay in Ipoh
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat ranked #1 on TripAdvisor Hotel in Ipoh. I’ve always wanted to check out this 5-star luxury resort, but I can’t because they don’t accept children below 12 years old (how can I leave my Edison behind! 😜). Reason is simple – they want to maintain a restful and relaxing atmosphere for all guests.
The resort is famed for its hot spring facilities on a natural setting. With only 45 luxury villas, you can certainly expect privacy, exclusivity and personalized service during your stay. The best thing is – all the villas feature an outdoor terrace with a plunge pool, a luxurious king bed master suite, private outdoor rain shower and Jacuzzi that comes with natural geothermal hot spring water. Unbelievable, isn’t it? 🤩
Rates start from RM1500 per night. If you don’t mind the hefty price tag and are not travelling with kids below 12 years old, I’d recommend this resort.
Alternatively, there is a beautiful resort within the vicinity that accept children below 12 years old. In fact, it’s very family-friendly too! Check-out The Haven Resort Hotel, Ipoh. We stayed here during our home trip in 2017, you can read our reviews here.
This is the most luxurious development in Ipoh that comprises 3 towers, each 26-storey high, with 512 units of high-end luxury suites. The suites consist of designer finishes with various sizes from 1-bedroom to 3+1 bedroom. I highly recommend this resort – especially if you’re travelling in a group. Rates for a 2-bedroom unit for 2A+2C start from just RM340. It’s cheaper than booking two connecting hotel rooms.
You can also purchase discounted admission tickets to The Lost World of Tambun (very near to the resort) with their Family Suite Holiday Package. What’s best is you can book their Shuttle Service and Ipoh Tour Packages during your stay. 👍
If you prefer a city hotel, consider WEIL Hotel. Centrally located in Ipoh’s old town and adjoining the Ipoh Parade Shopping Centre, this boutique hotel has top notch facilities and gorgeous rooms. Room rates start from RM300.
Places to Visit in Ipoh
Sunway Lost World of Tambun is a self-contained family adventure theme park that is cocooned by lush tropical jungle, natural hot springs, and breathtaking limestones. It has seven amazing attractions: Water Park, Amusement Park, Tin Valley, Tiger Valley, Petting Zoo and Adventure Park. Additionally, it also has a Night Park that features Hot Spring & Spa (I 💯 LOVE it!).
The theme park is HUGE, you can literally spend the entire day here, starting from Water Park in the morning, followed by Adventure and Amusement Parks in the afternoon, then to the zoo section before you leave. At night, the park transforms into a colourful hot spring spa facility. You can dip in the hot spring with your family (it’s mixed gender 😀). I’d say this is the best part of the theme park and the best way to relax after a long tiring day!
Unlike any other theme park, Lost World of Tambun is surrounded by a massive 400-million-year-old limestone. It’s truly unique and has more than everything you could expect from a theme park. What’s more? The all-in admission ticket is below SG$25 for Theme Park + Night Park from Klook. So affordable you must not miss!
We visited the theme park two years ago, and we enjoyed it SO much despite the sweltering heat. We stayed at The Lost World Hotel (just opposite the park). If you’re up for something adventurous, try The Lost World Glamping where you can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars. Personally, I find that it’s very convenient to stay at the hotel as you can go back to shower and rest whenever you need (just 3 mins walk away). You can maximize your time at the theme park too!
Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) is Asia’s first animation park with over 40 attractions including The Smurf Theatre, Boboiboy and more. Opened in 2017, this is the latest theme park in Ipoh. I haven’t been here before, so I can’t share much with you. Next time when I’m back in Ipoh, I’ll definitely check it out. Day Pass from Klook costs just SG$16.45 which is significantly cheaper than walk-in rates.
As you may be aware, Ipoh is famous for temples built against the limestone hills. There are a few of them – Ling Sen Tong Temple and Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple, just to name a few. As these temples are built inside a cave, it feels naturally cool here and the sound of water dripping from the stalactites calm your senses too. Not everyone enjoys visiting temples, but I do! 😃
One thing you might notice about Ipoh’s landscape is the sheer amount of colossal rock formations and mountains that can be seen surrounding the highways on the outskirts. Lurking underneath some of these limestone formations are an intricate series of caves. Gua Tempurung Cave offers several caving tours ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours. You can also tour it on your own.
We visited Gua Tempurung a year ago, and I’d say that it’s a unique thing to do especially for city kids like Edison who has never been into a cave. The trip enhanced his knowledge of rock formation and how it came about.
Last but not least, do check-out Ipoh’s street art when you’re there. Various interesting street art projects have taken the city by storm over the years, with a series of creative and colourful pieces scattered across the city’s walls, just like the one below.
Famous Local Food in Ipoh
Ipoh is unofficially divided into two sections: the old town and the new town. As their names suggest, the old town is where the older shop lots and heritage buildings are situated, while the new town is the home to newer developments and shopping malls.
Most of the popular and delicious local food are in the old town. If this is your first visit to Ipoh, here are some of the “must-try” food that you must add to your list.
- White Coffee: Sin Yoon Loong, Nam Heong
- Dim Sum: Restaurant Foh San, Ming Court Hong Kong Dim Sum
- Bean Sprout Chicken: Onn Kee, Lou Wong
- Bean Curd and Soya Bean: Funny Mountain Soya Bean & Tau Fu Fah
- Curry Mee: Xin Quan Fang Curry Mee
- Salt-Baked Chicken: Aun Kheng Lim
- Curry Bread: Restaurant Yau Kee
- Claypot Chicken Rice: K10 Claypot Chicken Rice
If you have any questions regarding Ipoh, feel free to ask me in the comment section below. I’ll be glad to assist you. Happy food-hunting and touring in Ipoh! 😋😀