Ipoh Malaysia, With Family and Kids

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Ipoh Malaysia is a popular destination in Malaysia, with history, street art, food and more, it is popular to visit Ipoh as a day trip or one day tour from Kuala Lumpur, or Ipoh makes a great place for a weekend away or short break suitable for foodies, family or with kids.

This post covers Ipoh Malaysia, things to see and do in Ipoh, plus where to stay. We thought Ipoh was worth visiting and it became one of our favourite places in Malaysia. Find out why in this post! There are some great attractions in Ipoh for kids or families, and more near Ipoh.

Book a one day tour of Ipoh from KL here. or choose a family hotel in Ipoh such as this one.

Ipoh Malaysia clock tower
You absolutely must take a look at this clock tower in Ipoh, we explain why, below.

Read more about Ipoh and things to see and do in and near Ipoh in our post. If you’re travelling with kids, be sure to visit the Lost World of Tambun theme park, Ipoh.

Is it Worth Visiting Ipoh?

Yes, Ipoh is very much worth visiting, We liked Ipoh a lot, more than many other places in Malaysia.

Ipoh Family Travel Blog

In our many visits to Malaysia with kids, we’d previously only passed through Ipoh on the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, but Ipoh Malaysia, in the state of Perak, keeps cropping up in the travel blog world as a destination worth checking out.

It is our job, as travel bloggers to go places and share them with you.

This trip to Malaysia took us to some old favourite places and a lot of new destinations.

We took a road trip around peninsular Malaysia using a hire car, before hopping over to Borneo by air for Sabah and Sarawak. This is the sad trip where we had such a bad time in Sabah.

Much of this trip was pretty ordinary, we went to the Cameron Highlands and the east coast of Malaysia places not so many Western tourists go.

We weren’t huge fans, preferring places such as Melaka, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching, but we did enjoy Ipoh.

Ipoh was good, Ipoh was fun, and there are some cool and interesting places to explore here, plus a rather spectacular water park with a small zoo and rides.

About Ipoh

ipoh malaysia painted shop houses
Pretty shop Houses in Ipoh Malaysia

Ipoh is the capital of the state of Perak in the north of Peninsular Malaysia.

The name Ipoh is taken from the botanical name of a tree, Pokoh Ipoh (Pohon Epu), a plant used in poisoning the tips of darts and spears.

The original settlement here grew on the banks of the Kinta River, in an area rich in tin. You’ll find references to tin mining in local museums and even in the Lost World water park.

Ipoh is one of the largest cities in Malaysia by population and tourism is an important business here. Food tourism, particularly, Ipoh is a famous culinary destination.

Ipoh is about 205 Km north of Kuala Lumpur and 150 Km south of Georgetown, Penang. It’s a good place to break your journey between the two destinations.

You can use our interactive map, below, to get a feel for Ipoh’s location.

Things to Do in Ipoh

food shopping ipoh malaysia
My “best thing to do” just about anywhere is to explore the backstreets, find out what the people do, eat, make, and sell. Shops, restaurants, places of worship used by the locals are what please me, as a tourist.

We were only in Ipoh for a few days and probably didn’t see or do everything, but what we saw, we enjoyed.

A few highlights of Ipoh below. We’ll give you a list of the best things to do in Ipoh, with more detail further down the page. The number one thing to do in Ipoh with family or kids has to be The Lost World of Tambun, but there is plenty to keep the adults happy too!

Ipoh With Kids

We visited Ipoh with kids from about 9 years old to 15 years old, 4 kids, 2 families.

All of the kids enjoyed Ipoh. There was the theme park, of course, pleasant walks around town, amazing temples to see, and good food.

There was nothing in Ipoh that we wouldn’t consider family friendly, so our “things to do in Ipoh” applies equally to families and kids.

Ipoh’s Birch Memorial Clock Tower

This clock tower kept us fascinated for a very long time!

James Wheeler Woodford Birch was Perak’s first British Resident back in 1874.

The area’s rich tin supply, of course, drew colonists to the area. Birch wasn’t popular and his lack of consideration for local tradition led to an uprising.

Birch was murdered in 1875 either by followers of Dato Maharaja Lela or by the local chieftain himself.

This led to British troops arriving (The Perak War) on the scene and taking full control of Perak.

This full control lined a lot of British pockets with profits made from tin.

The tower is a memorial to Birch, opened in 1909, but should he be remembered favorably? Or is Dato Maharaja Lela the hero here?

The four white figures towards the top of the clocktower represent the four virtues of the British government, loyalty, justice, patience, and fortitude.

Beneath this, each of the four sides of the tower has a frieze depicting historical notables, forty-four in total.

ipoh figures on the birch memorial clock tower
The Birch Memorial Clocktower is a must-see in Ipoh. Read the text below, it’s really interesting.

It’s fun to identify characters such as Dickens, Darwin, and Beethoven.

If you’re doing that thing “worldschooling” this is a great spot to cover some history.

On the side facing the State Mosque, you will see an invisible character, a blank space. Again, as with the murder, I’ve read conflicting stories as to who this notable is.

On the day, we presumed it was the last Prophet of Islam, Mohammed, and most reports confirm this, saying this figure was painted over in the 1990s due to objections from the Muslim community to a depiction of the Prophet.

Elsewhere I’ve read that this figure was a representation of a Christian figure, and so was removed as it was facing the State Mosque.

This latter explanation makes no sense as there are other Christian icons on the same panel.

The travel blog that states this is popularly known for publishing information gathered from the internet and not from real experience in the destination.

the missing figure on the birch memorial clock tower ipoh
The mysterious missing figure on the Birch Memorial Clock Tower.

If you can, be here when the bells ring, it’s well worth hearing.

The memorial used to have a bust of J.W.W. Birch, it’s believed to have been stolen, or maybe just removed.

No reference to Birch remains on the tower today.

Unsurprisingly, the memorial tower was commissioned by Birch’s son, E.W. Birch, the 7th British Resident of Perak.

The four panels represent different aspects of human history and civilisation.

  • Panel 1-North. Depicts figures from the Stone Age, a hunter, a fisherman, and a woman spinning. The iron age is then represented by a man and a woman followed by a Nubian with gold and ivory, a Chaldean Astrologer, a woman making pottery, an Egyptian, An Assyrian, and a Persian.
  • Panel 2- West. Represents the Eastern Mediterranean. Far East, Greece, and Rome. It shows Moses, David, a Phoenician, a woman from the Agean civilization, Confucius, Buddha, Lao Tzu, a woman in Greek Art, Alexander the Great, Plato, and Augustus.
  • Panel 3. South. The Byzantine Empire: Constantine the Great. Islam Mohammed. The Age of Chivalry: A Crusader. The Age of Faith, Saint Clare of Assisi. Gothic Art, Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Renaissance: Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, Columbus. The Reformation: Martin Luther. The Elizabethan Age, William Shakespeare.
  • Panel 4-East. Modern Science, Art, and Social Services. Isaac Newton, William Harvey, James Watt, an unnamed embroiderer, Beethoven, Robert Stephenson, Louis Daguerre, Florence Nightingale, Charles Darwin, Thomas Alva Edison, and Joseph Lister

Ipoh’ Theme Park, the The Lost World Of Tambun

the lost world of tambun theme park near ipoh
The Lost World of Tambun. You must go!

The Lost World of Tambun, a Sunway property, is a destination in itself.

You could easily come to Ipoh and have a full weekend in the park, both day and night, there’s plenty to keep you busy and having fun.

This isn’t just a water park, it’s a fun park with dry fun rides, an animal park, and activities such as rock climbing and zip lining.

We had a full day in the park and were hugely disappointed that we couldn’t stay for the evening light show.

This place really is spectacular and our party of three adults and four kids had an absolute blast.

There are water slides and play areas to suit all ages in several distinct areas of the park.

In our estimation, this park is better than Sunway Lagoon in KL. We visited that one in the same week. The Ipoh park was our favourite.

The Lost World of Tambun is about 15 Km outside central Ipoh in a stunning valley reminiscent of Jurassic Park.

I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you choose to come here. Book your Lost World tickets here.

Ipoh’s Cave Temples

Ipoh is famous for its cave temples, and justifiably so. You’ll see some of them from the road, dramatically placed at the foot of a towering rock face and on the banks of a winding river.

  • Kok Lok Tong Cave Temple
  • Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple
  • Perak Tong Cave Temple
  • Ling Seng Tong Temple
  • Guanyin Cave
  • Dong Hua Cave Temple

Mosques in Ipoh

white mosque in ipoh blue roof
Masjid Panglima Kinta. A particularly beautiful mosque in Ipoh Malaysia.

There are many mosques in Ipoh, but a couple we saw are below. The smaller Masjid Panglima Kinta, in the photo above, we thought was particularly beautiful. It’s very close to the Kinta River and Mural Lane.

ipoh main mosque Masjid-Negeri-Perak-Mosques-in-Ipoh
Ipoh Malaysia Masjid Negeri Perak

Masjid Negeri Perak stands near the Birch Memorial Clocktower, Town Hall, Station, and Concubine Lane.

Kinta River Front Walk

Kinta River Ipoh waterfront bridge
littleThe Kinta River flows through Ipoh, a little further north you will find a modern river walk section complete with neon lit trees.

The Kinta River is a major river in the state of Perak and flows through Ipoh, the state capital.the. The 217.6 kilometer Kinta River is the main source of water for the people of Ipoh. The Kinta river is a pleasant place for walking, cycling, fishing and I’ve been told the locals swim here. The Kinta River Front Walk is a designated tourist attraction and at night the trees are illuminated. Kinta Riverfront Hotel and Suites would be a great place to stay to take in the views and enjoy water-side dining.

Ipoh’s Mural Art’s Lane

Very close to the Kinta river and Masjid Kinta, you will find this lane filled with street art. There is many more street art masterpieces to discover in Ipoh, particularly in the old town, below.

Old Ipoh Town Street Art

street art of man cleaning in ipoh old town
Ipoh street art rivals that found in Penang. This 3D trishaw is on Concubine Lane.

Ipoh old town is typical of many older towns in Malaysia. Like the more famous Georgetown, Penang or Kuching Sarawak, you will find Ipoh’s ancient Chinese -style shop houses beautified with street art.

D.R. Sennivasagam Park

DR Seenivasagam Lakeside Park was originally named Coronation Park after the crowning of the British Queen. In the 1960s this park was renamed DR Lakeside Park in honour of D. R. Seenivasagam, a politician and Member of Parliament in Malaysia. This park is the green lung of Ipoh, its a large quiet park featuring lakes and Japanese-styled gardens allowing locals and tourists to escape temporarily from the traffic and busy streets of the city.

Temples in Ipoh

chinese temple in ipoh malaysia

Throughout Ipoh, you will find temples, shrines, and churches from most and all faiths. Ipoh has many temples, not least its famous cave temples, along with the beautiful mosques listed above. It’s always worth checking out places of worship, ancient, and modern, this would be one of my favourite things to do in Ipoh, or anywhere in the world with a rich cultural heritage.

Enlightened Heart Tibetan Temple

A little piece of Tibet in Malaysia. Also called Jingan Jing She, this Tibetan Buddhist temple was built in 1976 and stands on 12 acres of land. It houses the largest Buddhist statue in Ipoh and a 13 story pagoda. Over 200 statues are to be found here, you’ll notice they are different from the Buddhist and Taoist temples found elsewhere, they are similar to some of the artworks and statues we saw in Tibet.

Playgrounds for Kids in Ipoh

playground for kids in ipoh malaysia
Ipoh playground

If you are visiting Ipoh with kids there are plenty of places for them to run and play. We spotted this playground while we were exploring. It’s on the river side near Masjid Panglima Kinta. My teens are past the playground stage now but The Lost World of Tambun would most certainly be a great place to visit with small kids, tweens or teens.

What to Eat in Ipoh

ipoh famous foor to buy
Hainanese Chicken Rice This dish is hugely popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Lou Wong and Ong Kee are famous places in Ipoh to eat chicken rice, or taugeh chicken rice

Ipoh is a famous food destination in Malaysia and Lonely Planet has listed Ipoh as one of the best Asian food destinations in the world.

Some of the foods people come here to try include dim sum, Ipoh white coffee, nasi kandar, chicken rice, curry mee, egg tarts, and hakka mee.

We visited some of the famous traditional food destinations and kopitiam but there was also vegan food and plenty of western food and pizza on offer.

Ipoh White Coffee

ipoh white coffee original shop
You’ll find Ipoh White Coffee all over Ipoh. Sun Yuan Foong may be where white coffee originated, but there is more than one shop of the same name and it’s hard to find hard information with many places claiming to have the best white coffee in Ipoh. We found this shop quite by chance while wandering the back-streets.

Ipoh is where Ipoh White Coffee was invented. Coffee beans are roasted with palm oil margarine to reduce bittererness. It’s not going to win any health or environmental awards, but it’s a famous Malaysian speciality and the coffee is mild and light in taste. Old Town White Coffee is the most famous coffee house, but you’ll find numerous white coffee outlets around Ipoh.

Sin Eng Heong Ipoh

ipoh famous bakery sin eng heong
Sin Eng Heong, the home of kaya puffs and other bakery snacks in Ipoh

Sin Eng Heong is the place to go for kaya puffs in Ipoh. These bite-sized snacks consist of flaky pastry filled with kaya, coconut jam, sometimes flavoured with pandan They’re not my cup of tea, but others travelling with us really enjoyed them and we made a pilgrimage to the famous Ipoh bakery. Also in Ipoh find and eat pineapple tarts and egg tarts.

Indian Food in Ipoh

indian food in little india ipoh
Indian food, yes,you can find plenty of that in Ipoh’s Little India

This is where we have to confess that we really don’t enjoy Malaysian food, nor the Chinese dishes popular in India. We’re mostly vegetarian or vegan if we possibly can be, and one of the beauties of the local cultural blend is that Indian, particularly South Indian food is available in Malaysia. Every big Malaysian city we’ve visited has an Indian district. Ipoh is no exception and has its own Little India, so you can get your fill of dosa (thosai) idly and vada for breakfast, or any other time.

Where to Stay in Ipoh

hotel at lost world of tambun ipoh
What are the best hotels in Ipoh? Well this is one we’d love to try! A floating bungalow inside The Lost World of Tambun

I would suggest staying in or near Ipoh old town and the river if you aim to fully explore Ipoh on foot. This part of town isn’t too far from the train station. Another great place to stay would be actually inside The Lost World of Tambun, that would make for a really fun weekend! There are also scenic country resorts and hot spring spas in the beautiful countryside surrounding Ipoh

We can suggest the following hotels, hostels and guest houses.

  • The Haven All-Suite Resort Ipoh. A beautiful 5 star property in a stunning location outside Ipoh. If you’re looking for affordable luxury, or maybe a suite for a larger family, look here.
  • Weil Hotel Ipoh. A stylish 5 star, with pool, close to the heart of Ipoh City. Free parking on site to dodge that Ipoh traffic.
  • KongHeng Capsule Hotel by Dreamscape. In the heart of Ipoh. If you’ve never tried a capsule hotel, here’s your chance. Stylish, quirky, an experience. Has double capsule beds. Has “superb” reviews and very close to Concubine Lane, Oldtown.
  • Ipoh Bali Hotel. Set a little way outside of the Old Town, this Bali themed hotel is another one with real appeal and superb reviews. Go to Bali without leaving Malaysia! Has family rooms.
  • Manhattan Hotel Ipoh. An affordable option, with family rooms, newly fitted out and modern-stylish. A little way outside the Old Town
  • Brick Box Hotel Oldtown Ipoh. Very central, near Concubine Lane. Modern, stylish, and has family rooms and singles. Highly affordable.
  • Sunway Lost World Hotel. With direct access to the Lost World park.

We stayed a long way out of town in a private home rental through Airbnb, we don’t recommend this, book a hotel somewhere more central to make the most of your time in Ipoh. Trying to park in the Old Town was really difficult and it would have been much better to be able to walk and explore local restaurants on foot.

Interactive Map of Hotels, Home Stays and Rental Properties in Ipoh

Our map allows you to compare locations, prices, and types of properties side by side. It should help you find the best place to stay in Ipoh, for you. If you zoom out, you can actually use it for the whole of Malaysia and the world. It’s a great way to find a place to stay in Ipoh and beyond. Location is everything, of course, a map is the best way to find what you need.

Places to See Near Ipoh

There are two, somewhat quirky places near Ipoh that you should know about. Both would make good day-trips from Ipoh or can be visited from Kuala Lumpur.

Kellie’s Castle

kellie's castle near ipoh malaysia

Kellie’s Castle was built by a Scot, William Kellie Smith. Kellie’s Castle was his home in the colonies, a piece of his native land brought to the tropics. The castle was built on what was Kellie’s rubber estate and the building is reminiscent of stately homes in the UK. Locals legends claim that the castle is haunted and that it sits upon a labyrinth of underground tunnels.

We didn’t go inside the castle, we stopped to take a look from the road. There are shops, food outlets and easy parking at Kellie’s castle.

Gua Tempurung Caves

Gua Tempurung is approximately 25 Km south of Ipoh, near Gopeng. The main chamber is 4.5Km long, making Tempurung Caves some of the longest in Malaysia. We visited, the rest of the family went inside, I sat this one out, I’m not a cave-lover. They reported that it was a good experience, they were accompanied by a guide and were issued hard-hats and head lights. We explored, taking a short tour on foot. Other, far more daring tours are available including “wet tours”, true caving in Tempurung’s underground river.

Book a Food-Lovers Tour of Ipoh from KL

No time for a weekend or short stay in Ipoh? We have you covered. You can book a tour of Ipoh, including many foodie highlights, beginning and ending in Kuala Lumpur. Check it out here.

What are the best places to visit in Malaysia?

Kuala Lumpur and Kuching are our two top recommendations for Malaysia, the two are very different, one a huge modern city and transport hub for Southeast Asia, the other is much smaller but hugely character-full with fascinating cultural elements. Once you’ve explored those two Malaysian destinations you’ll probably want to check out Penang and Malacca (Melaka). You can visit Malacca from Kuala Lumpur as a day trip or short break. If you’re looking for beaches Langkawi is the usual top pick. There are many stand-alone places to visit in Malaysia, including mosques, caves, theme parks, and islands, but if you’re visiting Malaysia for the first time these are probably the places you should choose. We have dozens of posts about Malaysia on this website, take a look at our related posts below

Ipoh Travel Blog Wrap-Up

Is Ipoh worth visiting? Yes, for sure, it’s a great place. Should Ipoh be top of your list of places to visit in Malaysia? No, probably not, but if, like us, you want to fully explore Malaysia, leaving no stone unturned, then yes, go to Ipoh. Unless, of course you are a Malaysian food fan, in which case I’m sure you’ve been already. Ipoh offers a lot of the things you’ll find in other cities in Malaysia, but on a smaller scale. Ipoh is easily walkable and interesting to explore, we liked Ipoh and we will return.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

1 thought on “Ipoh Malaysia, With Family and Kids”

  1. Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.


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