Can’t decide where to go in Asia in the next 12 months? Lonely Planet writers have explored the continent’s most electrifying cities, trekked through steaming jungles and even swum in bountiful seas to seek out the spots you simply cannot afford to miss. It’s a tough job but…
The result is a hit list of classic destinations offering a fresh twist for travellers, regions packed full of action and edge-of-the-map places you’ve probably never heard of. Read on to find out where you should go next in Asia.
Malaysia’s lesser-known food capital has new flair thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that have sprung up in its historic quarter. At the heart of Ipoh’s renaissance is otherworldly concept hotel Sekeping Kong Heng, replete with glass attic rooms and wall-free rooftop quarters. Art-cafes like Roquette, Burps & Giggles and Everyday Lifeshop have appeared nearby, among creaky kedai kopi (coffee shops) and elegant colonial buildings. But food pilgrims still clamour for Ipoh’s old favourites: Lou Wong’s chicken with crisp beansprouts, and tau fu fah (tofu pudding) at Funny Mountain. Wild escapes are close, like birdwatching by bicycle through Kinta Nature Park or whitewater rafting near Gopeng; and with clifftop temples and fragrant Gaharu Tea Valley nearby, Ipoh’s revival seems sure to tempt new crowds.
Ipoh is undergoing a quiet renaissance. Until now, domestic tourists seldom lingered beyond a weekend sampling ayam tauge (chicken and beansprouts) and Ipoh’s famous white coffee. Backpackers considered this pleasant, mid-sized city an overnight stop between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. These days, renewed enthusiasm for Ipoh’s heritage is seeing old shophouses restored, while new cafes and craft shops are springing up within historic buildings. Meanwhile, the ribbon is being cut on brand-new accommodation, from hostels to luxury hotels.
The key to enjoying Ipoh is tackling it by neighbourhood. Its pavements seem designed to shred sandals while its sights sprawl over a large area. Start with the old town’s charismatic laneways and revived period buildings. Grab a trail map to seek out the best heritage structures and street art. South of here, Ipoh’s Little India has glittering shops and some fine eateries.
East of the river in Ipoh’s new town, a cluster of canteens serve up regional classics like ayam tauge and some of the creamiest beancurd pudding around. Just north of this foodie hub are the city’s more upmarket hotels alongside the shiny Parade shopping mall. As Ipoh’s confidence grows, it’s an exciting place for an urban interlude, not to mention a convenient gateway for travel to the Cameron Highlands or Pulau Pangkor.
Sights in Ipoh
Founded in 1926 by a Buddhist priest, this cave temple is Ipoh’s most-visited and offers spectacular views. Located 6km north of Ipoh, the temple extends into a warren-like complex of grottoes, with a gleaming 40ft seated Buddha the highlight. Bright murals of Buddhas and saints adorn the cave walls, some painted as recently as the 1990s.
The clock tower, with its 6ft 6in bell, was erected in 1909 in memory of James WW Birch, Perak’s first British Resident. Birch was murdered in 1875 at Pasir Salak by local Malay chiefs. The friezes on the clock tower are meant to illustrate the growth of civilisation, featuring figures such as Moses, Buddha, Shakespeare and Charles Darwin. A figure representing Mohammed has since been erased.
On the padang’s northern flank is this neo-Gothic, three-storey colonial school with arched verandahs, founded by the Catholic La Salle brothers in 1912. Not open to the public.
In Ipoh, the only genuine resort hotel is The Haven Resort Hotel
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Lonely Planet’s top Asia spots for 2016
Updated 0011 GMT (0811 HKT) July 13, 2016
(CNN)Asia is the world’s biggest and most populous continent.
Ipoh in Lonely Planet’s top 10 must-visits
Last updated on 14 July 2016 – 12:09am
IPOH: The Perak state government’s approach of making Ipoh city a “Hipster Town” has borne fruit as it is recognised as among the top 10 interesting destinations to be visited in Asia.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the approach had, among other things, revived some of the city’s old buildings like shophouses into quaint cafes which had drawn a certain kind of crowd.
“Places or spaces regarded as having historical value are given a facelift so as to have their own identity to attract visitors.
“Besides that, emphasis on highlighting culture and heritage can also bring more tourists to Ipoh,” he told reporters after chairing a state executive council meeting, here, today.
Zambry referred to the “Lonely Planet” portal, the world’s biggest on travel, which has placed Ipoh in sixth place as must-see tourist destinations in Asia this year after Hokkaido in Japan, Shanghai in China, Jeonju in South Korea, Con Dao Island in Vietnam and Hong Kong, China.
According to the website, the lesser-known food capital has new flair, thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that have sprung up in its historic district.
It also mentioned wild escapes, like birdwatching by bicycle through the Kinta Nature Park and whitewater rafting near Gopeng, for tourists.
Jan 20, 2017
LONELY PLANET NAMES IPOH AS THE SIXTH HOTTEST PLACE TO VISIT IN ASIA
Ipoh City ranked sixth most attractive destinations in Asia to visit by “Lonely Planet”, a travel portal in the world. Among the criteria to be considered as recognition of the existence of hipster cafes that grow around the town of Ipoh, especially in the Old Town and New Town.
Actually, the recognition that we have obtained from the “Lonely Planet” is not happening suddenly or accidentally without any control from the MBI as local authorities. It is a result of long-term planning that far through a series of development plans that have been prepared. Although development plans that serve as a guide for controlling the development has changed several times, but has continuity with the concept of continuing to maintain the building’s historic value and architectural and urban heritage. Policies to maintain the facade of the existing building in selected areas, especially in the Old Town area also continued.
Ipoh City Planning has begun since British rule in which “Ipoh (Kinta) Town Plan B3” or better known as B3 Plan was gazetted on 10 April 1931. It was made under the Town Board Enactment and Ipoh is the first local authority in Malaya in Malay States with urban planning. While Singapore was the first under the Straits Settlements or the Straits Settlement with urban planning. Administration Federated Malay States and the Federated Malay States Federated not be separated from the Straits Settlements. Ipoh Structure Plan gazetted in 1991 has listed 22 historic buildings to be retained in addition to the provision of guidelines for the maintenance of building facades and uniformity.
Local Plan Ipoh Central Planning Area was gazetted in 1997 also has listed 13 buildings to be preserved and maintained while providing several rows of police in order to maintain a uniform facades. Policies and guidelines as well as the listing of the old building continues in development plans after this like Ipoh Local Plan Special Area Plan 2020 and the town of Ipoh City Heritage tin 2020.
Now that there is an increased awareness and interest in maintaining the identity of the old building which has been proven to increase the market value of real estate or rental property. Based on these factors, the control to maintain the uniformity of the facade of the building and now has the support and cooperation of building owners. Ipoh still has a number of pre-war building, or pre-war buildings in Malaysia and the second largest after the Georgetown, Penang. As a local authority, MBI will take the opportunity to change the current trend to intensify its business, tourism in the Old Town area by providing incentives and help coordinate the activities of operators in the region.
Hopefully Ipoh City will be known not only in Asia but also the world.