Known as the quieter, laid-back cousin to Penang’s hustle and bustle, Ipoh can nevertheless stand on its own when it comes to food and heritage. However, that sometimes means having to deal with loads of people during long weekends and school holidays.
Our solution? Book a stay at Ipoh Senses, where you can enjoy some peace and quiet away from the holidaying crowds. This cozy homestay is located in Taman Ipoh Selatan, just 15-minutes away from town, and is probably one of Ipoh’s best-kept secrets.
Occupying a corner lot, the two-storey terrace house appears unassuming from the outside. But the moment you pass the front gate, you’re transported to a leafy refuge with dense greenery, burbling water features and wooden decor.
Comprising five rooms – each named after a popular local fruit, such as rambutan and durian – the home is perfect for small families or those looking for a private staycation. In fact, you can even book the whole house for a large group gathering, as it can accommodate up to 13 people.
Every room is equipped with a mini fridge, safe, flat-screen TV and an en suite bathroom, while its decorations include bed frames made from solid timber, polished cross-cuts of tree trunks, vines and branches, keeping with the rainforest concept.
But the part that turned our eyes into heart-shapes was the bathroom, which is designed to look like your own private rainforest. 😍If you wanna go all-out, be sure to book the Mango Room, which is the only room that comes with a private jacuzzi! Unwind like a king/queen under its soothing bubble jets for a truly relaxing stay.
Guests can chill out at the Senses Bar and living area, or take in the garden view at the open-air patio. There’s even an outdoor fireplace where you can arrange for a barbeque – just ask the friendly staff. Breakfast is complimentary, but the options are pretty simple – usually either nasi lemak or fried meehoon from a local hawker.
For a back-to-nature retreat that’s minutes away from Ipoh, check out from the daily grind and check in to Ipoh Senses.
Top Things to Do in Ipoh
Only a 15-minute drive away from Old Town Ipoh, Ipoh Senses offers guests some peace of mind while remaining close enough to top sights and attractions – win-win, right? These were our favorite things to do during our stay:
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at Restoran New Hollywood
Ipoh is home to a host of beloved restaurants and hawker stalls… But not all of them are Muslim-friendly. *woomp woomp* Here’s where Restoran New Hollywood comes to the rescue – this collection of halal hawker stalls are a popular breakfast stop for locals and visitors. Must-try dishes include char kuey teow, roti telur goyang and prawn chee cheong fun.
Restoran New Hollywood
38, Jalan Lee Kwee Foh, Taman Canning, 31400 Ipoh.
Opening Hours: 7.00am – 4.00pm | Closed on Mondays
Get a history lesson on Ipoh’s tin mining boom at Han Chin Pet Soo
During the golden age of tin, Ipoh was at the center of it all – it was here that the tin magnates made their money and become rich, earning it the nickname “City of Millionaires”. Han Chin Pet Soo was once the exclusive clubhouse used by the city’s affluent Hakka mining tycoons, but the three-storey villa has since been converted into a museum.
The scheduled guided tour, which runs for 75 minutes, will tell you the story of Ipoh’s tin mining industry, as well as the lifestyles of the Hakka miners who worked to the bone and the tycoons who made their fortunes. Run by a non-profit organization, there’s no fixed entry fee, but visitors will be asked to make a donation to help with the museum’s upkeep. The recommended donation is RM10 for adults and RM5 for children and students.
Han Chin Pet Soo
3, Jalan Bijeh Timah, 30100 Ipoh.
Opening Hours: 9.30am – 5.00pm (The last tour begins at 3.30pm) | Closed on Mondays
Stroll down the charming Concubine Lanes
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Concubine Lane, but did you know that Ipoh actually has three historical lanes that belonged to the wife and two concubines of tin mining businessman Yao Tet Shin? There’s Wife Lane (a.k.a. Lorong Hale), Concubine Lane (a.k.a. Lorong Panglima) and Second Concubine Lane, or Market Lane.
Some people confuse Market Lane’s iconic umbrellas for Concubine Lane, but while the latter has stalls selling trinkets and snacks, Market Lane has a collection of picturesque street murals depicting familiar, homely scenes. So don’t miss out on snapping some colorful IG-worthy photos here! 📸 Wife Lane, decked out in a cheerful yellow with Chinese lantern strung above, has a mural of a friendly fruit seller.
Explore the curious wonders of Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village
For something bizarre and offbeat, check out Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village. The park’s name means “serene hill” in Mandarin, which is apt, considering that it’s tucked among the limestone karsts surrounding Ipoh.
The village is an interesting wonderland filled with antiques and nostalgic throwbacks to Malaysia’s past. If you prefer to travel on wheels, you can pick among a selection of bicycles and tandem bikes – at no extra charge. We loved that there’s actually a working jukebox playing classic Chinese tunes!
To purchase your entrance tickets, you’ll first need to head to Syarikat Perabot Kota (City Furniture) in Taman Sri Rokam, off Jalan Gopeng. Tickets cost RM10 per person. The park itself is located about 5 minutes away from the shop, and don’t worry, you’re given a map to help find your way there.
Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village
22A, Persiaran Pinggir Rapat 5a, Taman Saikat, 31350 Ipoh.
Opening Hours: 9.30am – 5.00pm | Closed on Sundays
Wander around the (haunted?) ruins of Kellie’s Castle
If you’re looking for some thrills and chills, then Kellie’s Castle is where you’ll want to go. Located in Batu Gajah, about a 30-minute drive from Ipoh, the incomplete castle stands abandoned beside Raya River, beckoning curious onlookers. Inspired by Scottish, Moorish, and Tamilvanan Indian architecture, the castle has been used as the setting for several local and international films.
Since I’m a cowardly chicken, I hesitantly walked around what’s left of the interior. No lie – I refused to walk into the dark linen room, as the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up the moment I laid eyes on the entrance. The creepy, narrow staircases also filled me with a sense of foreboding and blinking neon signs of nope, but if you’re braver than me, be my guest. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. 👻
The castle’s exterior and the ruins of Kellas House, the first home to William Kellie Smith and his family, are perfect for a short photoshoot. So be sure to visit early in the day or on weekdays to avoid photobombers!
Off Jalan Gopeng, 31000 Batu Gajah.
Opening Hours: 9.00am – 6.00pm | Open daily
MyKad Holders: RM5 (adults); RM3 (children below 12 years old); RM4 (senior citizens)
Non-MyKad Holders: RM10 (adults); RM8 (below 12 years old)
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s stand-out stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!