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Personal Trip 101: Ipoh Family Day – Day 1 Concubine Lane & Quick Shopping

Ipoh Housing Bungalow

The view from the hotel room simply shows how serene & calm Ipoh outside the city center can be. Quite a number of the houses are still based on single-storey designs with a huge surrounding space that can easily accommodate at least 5 cars and this used to be the style of houses we used to have in the Klang Valley in the 1980s.

  • Read Part 1 (Day 0) here

Rawang R&R Breakfast Sambal Nasi Goreng Ipoh Family

Pitstop At Rawang

We were supposed to leave home at about 7 am but as usual, the kids woke up late and there was some last-minute packing to be done. The traffic from home towards the highway was heavy as usual but once we entered the highway, the traffic was more manageable. Originally we were supposed to have a light breakfast inside the car and then a heavy lunch in Ipoh but seeing light traffic on the highway, we decided to have breakfast at Rawang R&R itself.

Rawang R&R has been our standard pitstop whenever we travel up north as they have a good spread of food, the toilets are super-clean and parking is easy. Further, there is a Petronas petrol station next to the R&R which makes fueling up easy.

My pick of food would be the usual fried rice with sides which cost less than RM10.00 whilst the rest of the family decided to go for the usual nasi lemak. It was a good time for a toilet break as well as we were rushing in the morning. The Rawang R&R has always been more organized and cleaner compared to the Tapah R&R and it is an added blessing that it was not a peak season – we managed to find a parking spot right at the entrance.

Yassim Ahmad Ipoh

Ipoh First Impression

As we arrived in Ipoh, we were immediately captivated by its old-world charm and rich heritage. The city is renowned for its colonial architecture, vibrant street art, and mouth-watering cuisine. Some of the roads were confusing but manageable thanks to Google Maps/Waze and it is clear that the authorities want everyone to drive slowly as we noticed there were several huge humps on the road.

First on the agenda was the walkabout at the famous Ipoh Old Town where we can find traditional shophouses and charming cafes. Concubine Lane was a must-visit place although I would strongly advise you not to buy anything there except perhaps souvenirs. Concubine Lane originally known as Lorong Panglima, the lane was part of a network of streets owned by the wealthy mining tycoon Yau Tet Shin, who bestowed them upon his wives. Over time, it gained notoriety for housing the mistresses of affluent men, which is how it got its current name.

Today, Concubine Lane is a vibrant tourist spot (or rather a tourist trap), brimming with cafes, shops, and a blend of historical and modern charm. We expected a lack of parking near this place so we decided to park some distance away nearer to Ipoh’s Little India and we then walked from there using Google Maps. Good thing the weather was fine and we did not have to walk far.

To be frank, as locals, there was nothing much to do or see at Concubine Lane but then we walked into BookXess which was located in a building that formerly housed a bank. You don’t see this from the ground floor but once you go to the basement, you can see hundreds of safety deposit boxes, a large safety box, and old records. There was a small exhibition on the late Yasmin Ahmad which was quite intriguing & interesting – her Petronas ads are still a work of genius.

Yassim Ahmad Ipoh

By this time, it was almost 2 pm and we noticed that some of the restaurants had closed or did not have much on the menu. The one that was still open was crowded and there was a queue. We decided it was not worth waiting under the hot sun so we drove out towards our hotel some distance away and see if we could check in early.

Hotel Bedroom Ipoh

Hotel First Impressions

It was a short drive from Little India where we had parked our car to the hotel and navigation was easy because the traffic was light and easy. We even passed through an old school to get to the other junction. By 2.30 pm, we had parked the car at the hotel’s expansive parking lot and walked into the hotel lobby. There was a refreshing welcome drink waiting for us and the check-in process was easy & fast. We were allowed to check in early as well.

The “family room” was super clean and wide and the bed was very comfortable. It came with a large 2-bedroom deluxe room that comes with one queen-sized bed and two single beds. It also has 2 separate bathrooms so no one had to queue up to use the bathroom. The toilet bidet was the Japanese type which sprays directly to your body so it was uncomfortable for us to use at first but we got used to it soon. Everything else was a four-star quality.

Since we were hungry but too lazy to drive out, we decided to have lunch at the hotel restaurant (Daily Diner). Some of the food on their Tea Time menu was not available at the time we stepped into the cozy restaurant. Nonetheless, the food was great and served with a good-sized portion. We did not take anything heavy as we wanted to take a short nap before going out for our dinner.

Steamboat Dinner Food Ipoh

Shopping Aeon Kinta

There were several Aeon hypermarkets in Ipoh so we decided to go the Aeon Kinta City as it was the nearest to our hotel. We took Grab as I didn’t want to drive on unfamiliar roads at night. Aeon Kinta City was supposed to be one of the largest Aeon malls but it did not look big from the inside initially.

The main reason why I wanted to go to Aeon is because I wanted to check out the long pants on sale in Aeon. After all, the type of long pants I bought from Aeon outlets in KL was sold out. And I was in luck as they have plenty of choices here and in the right sizes which I quickly bought for use. For dinner, we had already planned for a steamboat dinner although Japanese sushi was the next choice. There was a long queue outside the Sushi King outlet so we headed over to Johnny’s Steamboat Restaurant located on the ground floor & quite near the Aeon entrance.

Steamboat Ipoh

Although it was not cheap (opting for TomYam instead of Chicken soup is an additional charge), it has been some time since we had a good spread for a steamboat meal. Further, we already planned for a steamboat dinner under our itinerary. We opted for a standard steamboat set for 4 pax but added more items from the ala carte menu. The chilly sauce that they provided was good but it is not enough. They should have given a larger bowl of the chilly sauce. Service is just so-so because we had to control the stove ourselves which was not that difficult after some tinkering and the cleanliness was below average but we enjoyed the steamboat.

We took the Grab back to the hotel feeling very full so it was very late before we decided to call it a day.

To be continued in Part 3

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