Settled strategically within steep limestone peaks on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, Ipoh possesses a great heritage as being a former tin mining town. Now, a visit to Ipoh would bring travelers an exquisite of experience on varieties of activities, filled with excitement and memories. Tripfez has listed 30, yes 30 FREE things to do for free in Ipoh, Perak. Let’s delve in!
1) Go to the Birch Memorial Clock Tower
Located just in front of the Ipoh State Mosque is the infamous Birch Memorial Clock Tower. Proudly standing still since 1909, it boasts detailed Victorian style designed to any visitors dropping by. This is a monument built in remembrance of J.W.W. Birch who was the first British Resident in Perak. He was assassinated in 1875 at Pasir Salak. The tower has 2 levels; the first level represents the justice, loyalty, fortitude and patience which resembles the four “Virtues of British Administration”, meanwhile the second level consists of vibrant and colorful frescoes that indicate 49 popular professions of different eras from soldiers, scholars, sculptors, astrologers etc.
2) Visit the Ipoh Town Hall
The Ipoh Town Hall and Law Courts are situated adjacent the Ipoh Railway Station and with its intricate and classical style, it does complement the British Colonial feel of Ipoh town. Since built, there were many official events have taken place here, in fact, it used to serve as the district police headquarters as well as post office back in the 40s’.
3) Check out the Choo-choo train at the Ipoh Railway Station
It looks a lot like the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, the Ipoh Railway Station possesses a similar style of architecture. It was believed that it was initially built to be a hospital before it was turned into a railway station. The Neo-Moorish style of architecture railway is owned and managed by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad that offers KTM train services and ETS services.
4) Visit the Death Railway Monument
Sometimes, it is good to remember the dead in order to cherish the living.Visit the Death Railway Monument which is situated just outside the Ipoh Train Station. By visiting this monument, it will give you the chance to remember the warriors who had perished in the tragic World War I and II, the Emergency, Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, as well as those who had died at the Thailand-Burma Death Railway.
5) D.R. Seenivasagam Recreational Park
Be active in Ipoh as you visit the D.R. Seenivasagam Recreational Park. Aside from the great and relaxing environment, by coming here, it is a good way to perhaps have some picnic with your loved ones, friends, and even colleagues. While having your picnic, enjoy football practices conducted almost every evening here!
6) Trek up to Kledang Hill
On Sunday mornings, the Kledang Hill in Menglembu is really famous, especially among the locals. Why? This is because a lot of people love to hike up the hill and some would even do it in the evening. The trek is not that challenging, thus, a hike up to the peak would be a great way to exercise while enjoying the nature of Ipoh. There are a few rest areas along the way and we think this is a good activity to be done as it is good for health, fun and FREE!
7) Visit Museums
In Ipoh, you can visit a few museums and we would advise for you to check out the Geological Museum and the Darul Ridzuan Museum. Both museums offer educational experiences to its visitors and this is a great opportunity to learn more about the geology of Ipoh as well as the history of Ipoh town. And yes, the admission to these museums are FREE.
8) Read books at the library
And we say why not? Reading is always good. It opens one’s mind and at the same time by visiting the libraries in Ipoh, you would get the feel of how the locals’ libraries are. There are two libraries that you can go to while in Ipoh which is the Tun Razak Library as well as the Perak State Public Library.
9) Picnic @ Tanjung Rambutan Waterfalls
Having a picnic is always fun especially when you are doing it in remarkable natural surroundings. Head over to Tanjung Rambutan Waterfalls which is near the Sultan Azlan Shah Dam in Tanjung Rambutan. So pack that picnic basket, lift your outdoor activity mood up, and head over for a nice relaxing picnic here!
10) Visit Limestone Caves
Abundant with the valley of limestone hills, Ipoh could brag with the beauty of its hills as they mixed perfectly into the city’s natural landscape. You can visit a number of popular limestone caves in Ipoh like the Sam Poh Tong (“Tong” means cave in Mandarin), Kek Lok Tong, Tambun Cave, Perak Tong, Tempurung Cave, and many other small caves. Most of the caves have become the places of worships for the Taoists and Buddhists.
11) River Walk @ Kinta Riverfront Hotel
The Kinta Riverfront Walk in Ipoh is called as the Mini I-City of Ipoh as there are many beautiful LED lights on the trees just like how they have them in Shah Alam. But not only that, the River Walk also has plenty of great restaurants facing the Ipoh River and this is a good place to just chill out and enjoy the trees and LED lights at night.
12) Visit Places of Worship (religious)
Ipoh city is a multi-cultural society and without any doubt, is culturally wealthy. Therefore, if you were to visit Ipoh, take the opportunity to check out some of the famous places of worship which has unique architecture such as:
- Indian Muslim Mosque
- John’s Church
- Michael’s Church
- Paloh Khoo Miu
- Wat Puthanimittam
13) Check out the lively night markets
Night markets! What is it not to love about a trip to any night market? With a small size city like Ipoh, surprisingly, it carries a handful of the night market. These are some of the popular ones that you can pick from:
- Monday @ Taman Ipoh Jaya
- Tuesday @ Medan Ipoh
- Wednesday @ Stadium Perak
- Thursday @ Taman SPPK
- Every night @ Gerbang Malam
14) Window Shopping
Just like its night markets, Ipoh is also blooming with shopping malls. So, why not spare some time to do a little bit of window shopping at Ipoh Parade, Kinta City or the AEON Ipoh Station 18 shopping Centre. Remember, we clearly stated “Window Shopping”, so do stick with it so that your activity will still be “FREE.”
15) Be artsy and check out cool Art of Old town
Walk around and be artsy by exploring various Ipoh street murals in the focal area of the old town. To give you an idea, here is the list of murals you can expect to discover:
- Kids on a Paper Plane
- Ipoh Mining Town
- Working Trishaw
- Kopi O Peng
- Girl on a Wall
- Old Uncle Drinking Coffee
16) Check out the Chinese Shophouses
Both the Old Town and New Town in Ipoh city offer a great collection of Chinese shop houses that portray nothing but authenticity, nostalgia and rich culture of the past. Do take the time to capture the essence of the bygone era before it completely vanishes. Who knows? Taking great photos with your camera is definitely a “Free” activity to do. So go ahead!
17) Experience the Ipoh Heritage Walk
You can opt to try the Ipoh Heritage Walk on your own! Commence at the train station and make your way to its rich historical structures. If you are not sure how to do it, head to the tourist office and most hotels to grab the trail map for guidance. By walking approximately 6 km, it will reveal a medley of splendid whitewash buildings in an ambiance of the older world and colonial magnificence.
18) Go jogging at Eco Park
The park situated 5 kilometers south of Ipoh and it is a privately owned park. Managed by the Taiko Properties Sdn Bhd, it is often visited by the locals of the area. The scenery is marvelous suitable for a jog as it comes with a panoramic view of limestone hills too. Here, you can find a jogging track, outdoor fitness amenity, a lake, a gazebo, a lotus pond and a children’s playground! So why not come over and sweat out a little bit.
19) Wander along the Little India
Help yourself with a leisurely walk along the vibrant streets of Little India and snap some interesting photos. You will be entertained with all the great background music as you go along the streets capturing the moment, for FREE!
20) Read a book at the Padang
The Padang in Ipoh was created by Ipoh’s Chinese community back in 1898 to remember the Diamond Jubilee of the honorable Queen Victoria. Back then, The Padang itself cost a large amount of 43,000 pounds! So, why not, grab your favorite book, lay out the picnic blanket, and read on at the Padang. Just cherish and enjoy the moment.
21) Visit Lakes
Interestingly, in Ipoh, there are a lot of what used to be tin mining pools are now wonderful lakes. This is a good way to remember the Silver State history and not only that, the lakes are all backed with breathtaking hills and ancient caves. Most of the lakes are easily accessible so why not take the time to explore some of the lakes and we would advise starting with the Kinta Valley Lakes.
22) Visit the mysterious Pencil Rock
Some people would just go to this area if they are on their way to the Lost World of Tambun. But, we have opted out one cool yet mysterious place for you to check out which is the Pencil Rock. This unique and uncommon monolithic rock formation will provide a great photo opportunity for any visitors.
23) Visit the Concubine Lane
The Concubine Lane or Yi Lai Hong is a place during the olden days whereby the wealthy Chinese tycoons keep their concubines and mistresses. Not so much of a great story especially for women, but nevertheless, it is good to check out what this street has contributed to the Ipoh town now itself. So, why not. Bring your curiosity and visit this place.
24) Have a tour at the Royal Ipoh Club
The Royal Ipoh Club was built at the end of the 19th century and from here, you can view the mesmerizing scene of the Padang. This is another colonial-era treasure for Ipoh city and used to be frequented by the British administrators, tin miners, and planters. Based on historical facts, this place used to be their joint to watch cricket, have tea, while enjoying their carefree colonial lifestyle.
25) Check the Town Hall
Built in 1916, this is another breathtaking colonial-era landmark. Just across the Town Hall is the Ipoh Railway Station and the exotic proportions of the fair and white neo-classical structure really match the station as well as the adjacent Court House which was built in 1928. All three of these buildings were beautifully designed by the famous colonial architect, AB Hubbock.
26) Visit the Heritage Museum in Gopeng
Another museum listed in this article is the Heritage Museum in Gopeng. A slightly different approach from the previous museums mentioned, this would allow the visitors to recapture a simple but without a single doubt the amazing lives of the people in the area. Rewinding back to 125 years ago, you will be able to see antiques, old furniture and calligraphy paintings exhibited. A good way to reminisce the good old days.
27) Gua Tambun Cave Paintings
Having 3,000-year-old cave drawings of human, the Gua Tambun was founded in 1959 by a British soldier. Then, the cave paintings were gazetted in 1986 by the City Council and was announced as a National Heritage by the Department of National Heritage on January 10, 2010. You will be able to see reddish paintings of humans, animals like dugong, tortoise, octopus along with seashells and pieces of coral reef scattered all over the floor. A visit to this cave would definitely bring you back to thousands of years back in time.
28) Take a leisurely walk in the Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden or “Taman Jepun” is a tranquil and wonderful garden located on Tambun Road in Ipoh. It was established in the early 60s’ and the park is a popular place for couples to take wedding photographs. The Japanese Garden is surrounded with fresh plants, trees, flowers including the quintessential Japanese bonsai plant and pond that make up to the garden’s name itself.
29) More arts perhaps?
Not only limited to the 7 art murals, there are more paintings can be found painted on old buildings which are a good effort in sustaining the rare gems of Ipoh. All the paintings represent the many cultures in Malaysia such as the Indian dance, the Kadazan dance, the lion dance, as well as the Kuda Kepang dance. To add it up, the walls are also painted with interesting childhood games which will totally bring back all the fun memories when you were young if you are a local. But if you are not familiar with the games painted, perhaps this is the time to learn more about them.
30) Café hunting!
Did you know that there are more than 30 hip cafes in Ipoh itself? That is a lot of Café for one small town. Well, why don’t you try and check some of them out, maybe those that are located nearby to one another, of course, to save you the hassle? You don’t have to order in all the cafes you go, but, when you are there, snapping some cool photos would be a great thing to do.
With this, it is clear that Ipoh is capable of bringing us many unforgettable memories and an experience-filled trip. Even more interesting, you can do all 30 for FREE!