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Ipoh

Tourists who dismiss Ipoh as nothing more than a transit town are doing themselves a disservice. Many people pass through on their way to other cities in Malaysia, but relatively few take a day or two to explore the colonial quarter in the city center or the Buddhist grottoes on the outskirts of town. Despite the number of passers-through, there are relatively few overnight guests, meaning hotels near Ipoh are competitively priced.

This city on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia owes itself to the old days of tin mining. The best architecture is west of Kinta River, where British colonials built government offices and a railway station. Antique Chinese shophouses are found on both sides of the river. That the neighborhood on the east bank referred to as the 'New Town' is still a hundred years old.

After having a look at the Geological Museum east of town, visitors can head into the backcountry to get a firsthand look at Ipoh's caves and rock formations. A few of the local cave grottoes are particularly interesting, complete with murals, tucked-away Buddha images and decorative gardens. All of them were founded by the Chinese community.

Accommodation in Ipoh begins with simple guesthouses and goes on to include a few luxury hotels and wellness retreats. A few really outstanding establishments are housed in old colonial structures. For one of the most authentic colonial experiences in the city, visit the Royal Ipoh Club with its sport and game facilities, library, dance floor and restaurant.

Flights into Ipoh Airport hail from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Many travelers arrive by bus en route to the Cameron Highlands or Malacca. Both the airport and bus terminal have access to a few hotels.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Ipoh, click on the interactive Ipoh map on the left-hand side of the page.