Ipoh is a fantastic place to visit if you want to escape touristy places in Malaysia. Ipoh does have a tourist industry, but its mostly geared for Malay people themselves. For instance, I spent three days in Ipoh and did not see another foreign tourist the entire time. The city is well known for its caves and temples, as well as its cave temples. If you would just like to spend a few days relaxing in beautiful gardens, exploring temples and cave systems and eating some fantastic local food, then make sure to stop in Ipoh. I recommend staying in the city center if possible as public transportation is non existent apart from using local taxis, but that can add up over time. If you are going to use taxis, pre-negotiate a price with them to take you to several places in a row as that way you will have more bartering power and can strike a better deal. During my time in Ipoh I actually made it onto a national Malaysian news networks report. I happened to be wondering around in the background while they filmed a protest over the forced resignation of a high ranking imam.
Ipoh’s Temples and Caves
Ipoh has a fantastic array of Buddhist temples and shrines throughout the city. Most of these are built in the Chinese style due to Ipoh’s majority Chinese population. The city is mostly industrial in nature and drew in a large number of Chinese immigrants looking to make money in the mining industry. You have plenty of options to choose from as far as temples are concerned, many of which are built into caves. If you want to explore and actual cave system you will need to travel a little outside of town, where you can find Gua Tempurung, a 3km long cave system. If you just wish to explore the cave you can only travel part way into the system. However, if you are there to go spelunking or caving then you can travel essentially the entire system; this does however cost more.
Ipoh’s Gardens and Sanctuaries
Throughout Ipoh you will find fantastic garden sanctuaries, places to go to meditate and walk. Some of which you can access by road, others of which require a short boat ride to cross lakes. If you’re in town to relax and unwind, then definitely spend some time in these gardens as they are extremely peaceful.