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Personal Trip 101: Ipoh Family Day – Day 0 Detailed Planning

Perak Ipoh Personal Trip Family Hills

The capital of the state of Perak, Ipoh was one of the options when we decided that it was high time for a proper family trip outside the Klang Valley (the other was Cameron Highlands) as the last family trip that we organized was in June 2022 involving 2 other families. However, we decided to go by ourselves so that it would be easier to book the hotel room and we would be able to visit all the places on time as per our itinerary. Image source: Wikipedia.

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Best Time to Visit

Deciding when to visit Ipoh was not a major issue as we didn’t have to decide based on whether. However, as a well-known tourist spot in the country, one needs to consider whether the trip coincides with public or school holidays which will make hotel booking & places for meals a major pain in the neck.

With everyone at home having a different timetable when it comes to work & school, it was tough to get everyone off for a trip at the same time. Leaving someone at home as they are not free has become the norm these days whenever we have to travel. But this time, an opportunity came where for a week, everyone could take leave or on school holidays so we could go for a proper family trip without any worries of any pending work or school assignments.

We decided to go on a working day which meant we had to apply for annual leave early & ensure we did not have any important meetings during the week. To minimize the annual leave taken, we decided to go on a Thursday and back on a Saturday so that we could take a good rest on Sunday before going back to the work routine on Monday.

Ipoh Concubine Lane History

Concubine Lane in Ipoh, Malaysia, has a rich history that dates back over 120 years, reflecting the city’s prosperous tin mining era. Originally, the area comprised three lanes, each named after the social status of women associated with the wealthy Chinese mining tycoon Yau Tet Shin. The lane, known locally as Lorong Panglima, gained notoriety as the place where rich miners kept their mistresses. Today, it is a vibrant tourist spot, filled with cafes, and souvenir shops, and retains much of its historical charm. Image source: Flickr/Lloyd Gan

Family-Friendly Hotel

Ipoh being a main tourist spot has plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. Up front, we decided not to book any hotels in the town center as we would have a headache looking for parking so we tried to book hotels that were outside the city center but were close enough for us to drive to main tourist spots.

However since we are traveling as a family, we have decided on several key criteria before we finalize where we will stay namely:-

  • Large rooms to accommodate a family of four without the need to book two separate rooms which may not be available side by side.
  • Plenty of secured free parking within the hotel’s grounds (most important). We have been to hotels where you don’t have any parking spots if you come back late and are forced to park far at unsecured places.
  • Good spread for morning breakfast – this was an exception because usually, we have our breakfast outside where it is cheaper & with more choices. However this time, we decided to have a good breakfast in the morning at the hotel itself so that we don’t waste time and could go back to our rooms & able to relax for a bit before we drove out.
  • Clean & well-maintained swimming pool and this was a special request from the kids as they want to spend their free time at the hotel at the swimming pool instead of the hotel room.

It took several reviews and counter-checks at Google before we finalized where we would stay in Ipoh. The hotel we booked had a “family” room comprising 2 rooms side by side & connected by an interior door for ease of access between the 2 rooms. One had a large King’s size and another 2 single beds for the kids. Both rooms had separate bathrooms and large televisions so there were no queues for either of the facilities. More of this in the next post.

Itinerary for Ipoh’s Attractions

When one searches online for the main attractions in Ipoh, one will get the usual list of attractions namely the Concubine Lane, Lost World of Tambun, the historical buildings within Ipoh such as the Ipoh Railway Station, and the various cave temples. To ensure we have enough time and know where to go next, I used AI to give me a draft hour-by-hour itinerary for the 3 days & 2 nights in Ipoh that I can then fine-tune to meet our requirements.

Day 1 Itinerary

Leaving home at about 7 am on a working day, we expected to reach Ipoh at about noon which would be just right for a good lunch in Ipoh probably at an Indian restaurant. Since the check-in to our hotel is only at 3.00 pm, we decided to visit Concubine Lane after lunch for some minor shopping and to kill time before it was time for check-in.

Then at 3.00 pm, we will be at the hotel for the check-in and I need to take a rest after driving from KL. A good warm shower and a short nap would be good before we head to the next item on the itinerary which would be a visit to the Aeon Kinta City shopping mall for 2 reasons – first: to check if the particular brand of long pants that I wanted to buy is on sale in Ipoh and second: to have steamboat dinner.

Day 2 Itinerary

The day would start with breakfast at the hotel at about 8.00 am (breakfast starts at 7.00 am) before we allow the kids to go back to their sleep. Then at 10.00 am, we will drive out to the famous Perak Cave Temple and spend some time there before heading back to town for lunch at one of the many halal dim sum restaurants (the non-halal dim sum restaurants are closed by lunchtime).

Once lunchtime is over, we would head back to the hotel to rest perhaps with the kids at the pool, and to take a shower and get dressed. Then head to the nearest food court for dinner where we can order different types of Ipoh famous dishes.

Day 3 Itinerary

Breakfast would be at the hotel again and once done, we would check out from the hotel as we wanted to head to the famous Kheng Lim salted chicken and the Buntong nuts & fried murukku shops before we head back to the highway towards home. Lunch would probably be taken at one of the R&R if anyone was hungry despite the heavy breakfast in the morning.

The above itinerary was documented with addresses & opening hours and a general Google Map direction. We went through as a whole family to fine-tune and get their feedback for any changes.

Ipoh Perak Limestone Hill Perak Cave Temple

Ipoh famous for its limestone hills, had several Hindu & Buddhist temples in these hills. The Perak Cave Temple, located in Ipoh, is a stunning example of a cave temple that has become a major attraction. Its history dates back to 1926 when a couple from Jiaoling, China, began the arduous task of constructing the temple within a cave they discovered. Over half a century ago, they transformed it into a site with an elegant palace-like façade, now renowned for its beautiful architecture and hilltop views. This temple not only serves as a place of worship but also offers visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Malaysia. Image source: Flickr/Tian Yake

Final Say

Ipoh, with its charming blend of colonial heritage and modernity, offers a delightful escape for those looking to explore beyond the usual tourist trails. Nestled within the Kinta Valley, it’s a city that invites leisurely strolls through its historic Old Town, where one can admire the well-preserved shophouses and sip on the famous white coffee. The surrounding limestone hills hide magnificent cave temples that are both a marvel of nature and a testament to cultural harmony.

We often pass by the city of Ipoh on our way to Taiping but never stop by for a proper holiday. Past trips to Ipoh have been limited to visiting relatives or weddings. So when the time was right for a family trip that does not take too long to drive, Ipoh was one of the natural options.

I had a lot of fun planning the family trip to Ipoh, Perak as it allowed me to use my project management skills and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to arrange the logistics and get ready the resources so that we will have minimal hassles during our holidays. Further, it was one of the rare moments when we could have all of the family available for the trip.

To be continued in Part 2

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