Ipoh is one of many Malaysian towns that owe their success to tin mining. It was founded in the late 19th century, and many Chinese merchants who moved here got rich off of local tin. Several opulent mansions are still standing here in this otherwise modern state capital.
Tourists do come to Ipoh, but most are in transit to the Cameron Highlands or to outlying islands off of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The fact that Ipoh is inland from the sea makes it a less obvious choice for an overnight stay, but there are several comfortable hotels in Ipoh for those who’d like to stick around for a day and see the historic architecture.
Ipoh also hosts a famous Malaysian water park called the ‘Lost World of Tambun’. It’s joined by a particularly up-market hot-springs resort. This area hosts a mix of jet-set international tourists and affluent Malaysian families who are visiting the theme park.
Those staying in less exclusive accommodation in Ipoh enjoy enough attractions and activities to fill a day of sightseeing. The Old Town has an early 20th-century clock tower and rambling rows of Chinese shophouses. Museums, cave temples and a Mogul-style mosque are also in the area.