The Picturesque Town of Ipoh
The Town Tin Mining Built!
I arrived at Bercham station, Ipoh after an 8 hour bus ride from Singapore to hook up with my chinese buddy, John Ho. Ipoh, whose population is predominantly Chinese, is capital to the state of Perak, Malaysia. Ipoh boomed into a major mining town at the turn of the century, amassing its fortune through tin and limestone mining.
The limestone mountains serving as a backdrop of the sleepy town…. breathtaking! The place has a laid back and rustic old-town feel to it. One would also notice the influence of British colonial rule on some of the town’s older buildings such as the Ipoh railway station.
John arrived with his Proton late than ever and invited me to play a basketball game with the filipino community at Ipoh. A little bit weird for an itinerary when going to a new country but that’s the fun of backpacking, you’re agile and spontaneous!
Perak Tong Temple is one of the main attractions of this town. A Buddhist temple built within a limestone cave, it houses 40 statues of Buddha (according to the locals) including a 13m Buddha statue acting as a centrepiece. What got me excited is the 400 step ascent to the top of the limestone mountain. After what seemed like 1000 steps we managed to reach the top, and man… it was worth every step!
We were treated with a wonderful panoramic view of the sleepy town of Ipoh.
John toured me around Ipoh with his grandpa’s Proton. Him and I go way back in College, it was really nice catching up with him seeing him doing well as a nurse in Ipoh.
Here’s a photo of us flagged down by the Malaysian Police for not wearing safety belts. Pretty much like the Philippines, uncle was only asking for a few Malaysian ringgits and then he would let us off the hook.
Next up is the biggest limestone cave in peninsular Malaysia, Gua Tempurong. This cave system stretches 5 kilometres and according to the website, the super domes can house 5 jumbo jets! The entrance fee costs only 6 ringgit which is really cheap, even in Malaysian standards! The whole experience was majestic.. the cave is damn huge! Yes, if your ego is big you should visit this cave system! Every super dome has its own characteristics, there’s one area where you could feel a cool draft and another where you couldn’t take a photo with a flash because of the thick haze. It was impossible to take decent photos using my iPhone inside the cave but I’m going to post them nonetheless. Trust me when I say these pictures doesn’t do the place justice!
Ipoh White Coffee
When visiting Ipoh, don’t miss out on the “Old Town White Coffee” shop. You get to enjoy delicious Malaysian & Chinese food, free Wi-Fi and of course, Ipoh white coffee. White coffee is prepared by roasting coffee beans in palm-oil margarine with condensed milk. Personally, I found the rich taste and aroma satisfying.. Ipoh white coffee wouldn’t disappoint coffee aficionados!
John and I are planning to hit up Cameron Highlands next month! Good times brother!