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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For those who are too busy to work out an itinerary, try out this sample itinerary.


7:30 - Breakfast :-
A) DimSum
      (Foh San/Ming Court/Yoke Fook Moon
       - GPS: N04 35.812 E101 05.187); or
B) Hawker Fare
      (Kong Heng@Oldtown
       -GPS: N04 35.776 E101 04.676); or
C) Xin Quan Fang Curry Noodles

9:00 - Morning activity :-
A) Kek Lok Tong and Sam Poh Tong; or
B) Perak Tong; or
C) Gua Tempurung; or
D) Lost World of Tambun (whole day activity)
E) Heritage Trail

13:00 - Lunch :-
A) Yong Tau Foo
      (Dai Shu Kiok@Pasir Pinji); or
B) Hawker Fare
      (Loke Wooi Kooi Kopitiam;
       Central/Wah Nam@Cowan Street); or
C) Indian Curry Rice
      (Yong Suan Nasi Ganja@Jln Yang Kalsom
        -GPS: N04 35.557 E101 05.060); or
D) DaiChau
      (Wong Koh Kee@Oldtown
        -GPS: N04 35.776 E101 04.676)

14:00 - Afternoon activity 
A) Dessert
      (Funny Mountain Taofufa
        -GPS: N04 35.683 E101 05.059); and
B) Shopping Centre
      (Ipoh Parade / Aeon@Kinta City / Aeon@Station 18); or
C) Sighseeing
      (Gunung Lang/DR Seenivasagam Park); or
D) Round Ipoh tour
      (Oldtown/Newtown); or
E) Ipoh White Coffee
      (Sin Yoon Long@Oldtown); and
F) Must Buy Shopping
  • Pomelo
  • Heong Peng Biscuits
  • AunKhengLim Salt Baked Chicken
           - GPS: N04 35.637 E101 05.001
  • Oldtown White Coffee
  • Sin Eng Heong Kaya Puff  
           -GPS: N04 35.700 E101 05.090)

18:00 - Dinner 
Ipoh's Beansprout Chicken
A) Lou Wong- GPS: N04 35.632 E101 05.049; or
B) Onn Kee- GPS: N04 35.632 E101 05.049; or
C) Cowan Street; or
D) Kam Hor (Next to Tung Koo Teng); or
Hawkers' Fare
E) Wooley Food/Tung Koo Teng
      -GPS: N04 36.663 E101 06.629

22:00 - Nightlife
Some internet resources for you to scour for more information to modify the above itinerary
- Attractions @ All About Ipoh
- Ultimate Food Guide @ Motormouth
- Accommodation
- Navigating around Ipoh

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Accommodation in Ipoh

Luxury Hotel / Resorts / Boutique Class:

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat (Spa retreat)
Indulgence Living
Best Western Premier (Eco Residence - coming soon)

Business Class / Family Hotels:

Sunway Lost World Hotel (Theme Park concept)
Casuarina @ Meru Hotel (open in Nov 2013)
MH Studio Hotel (open in Aug 2013)
MH Hotel (open in 2012)
Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites (open in 2012) 
Tower Regency Hotel (open in 2011)
Excelsior Hotel
Syuen Hotel
Heritage Hotel
Impiana Hotel
HillCity Hotel & Condo
Symphony Suites (open in 2013)
Weil Hotel (under construction)
Ipoh Ibis Styles Hotel (under construction - coming soon in Dec 2013)
Cititel Express Hotel (basic frilss - under construction)

Inspiring / Urban escapes / Eclectic styled Hotels:

Sekeping Kong Heng (for the nostalgic & adventurous - open in 2012)
The Happy 8 (open in 2012)
French Hotel (open in 2012)
Le Metrotel Hotel (open in 2012)
M Boutique Hotel (open in 2013)
The Osbourne Apartment


Ipoh Downtown Hotel (open in 2013)
Seemsoon Hotel (open in 2012)
Tune Hotel (no frills concept - open in 2012)
D'Eastern Hotel (refurbished in 2011)
DWJ Hotel (open in 2011)
Tin City Hotel (under construction)
Regalodge Hotel
Paragon City Hotel
Shangg Hotel
Ecotel Hotel
Abby Hotel
Grand View Hotel
Ipoh City Hotel
De Hotel
CheckedInn Hotel (open in 2013)
Station 18 Hotel (open in 2013)
Art Cottage Hotel
The Regency Garden Hotel
Ipoh Boutique Hotel
iGarden Hotel
Ritz Garden Hotel
Ritz Kowloon Hotel
Robin Hotel
Majestic Hotel (temporary closed)
Hotel Transit Terminal Aman Jaya (open in 2013)
Fair Park Hotel
Sun Inns Hotel
Hotel Bajet Malaysia
Highway Hotel
De Botani Hotel
New Caspian Hotel
Seri Malaysia Hotel
Hotel Bajet Ipoh
Hotel Bajet Memori Ipoh
Tambun Inn Hotel
Lotte Hotel
Lucky Hotel
Meru Suites Meru Valley
Merloon Hotel
Fairmont Hotel
Station 18 Hotel
Fresh Hotel
Tokyo Hotel

* The star ratings are not verified but based on approximate categorisation only.
* Compilation of accommodations available in Ipoh. Only hotel website links featured.
* If anyone has a link to the Hotel's original website not found here, please drop us a message so that we can update our list.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Triple Treasure Cave Temple (aka Sam Poh Tong)

A place where mystical scenes exists if you look close enough. These photos were taken during my recent trip to Sam Poh Tong which brought back lots of old memories. So, I decided to share some of the nice photos taken there.

A mythical scene @ Sam Poh Tong

The serenity of this view is enough to calm one's mind. Its quaintness and old fashion charm is pleasing to the eye.

Landscaped stone garden @ Sam Poh Tong

For those who were born and bred in Ipoh, the scenes from Sam Poh Tong will always be etched deep within their memories as its landscaped rock garden is unique and most likely the one and only one in Malaysia. Its elaborate rock garden host minature mountain scenes that usually exist only in China.

A serene sight of rocks, waterfall and green foliage @ Sam Poh TOng

Scenes that conjures up myths and legends of China.

Landscape waterfalls @ Sam Poh Tong

The tranquility of the rock garden is enhanced by the miniature waterfalls bringing alive the artificial landscape. The pond is also home to a school of koi fishes and gigantic dragon fish.

Rock landscape @ Sam Poh Tong

Porcelain figurines placed in the rock garden had the effect of increasing the garden's aesthetic appeal.

Landscaped rock garden @ Sam Poh Tong

The rock garden blends in well against the limestone hills.

Dragon Boat @ Sam Poh Tong

The dragon boat-like building is another structure that adorns the rock garden.
Its been a childhood mystery to me as to what is function of the dragon boat building. Does anyone knows what the building is for? :)

Goddess of Mercy

A scene of a goddess of mercy (Kuan Yin) in a grotto.

A scene from chinese history...

A chinese-styled pavilion in the rock garden.

Sam Poh Tong

Sam Poh Tong Temple in year 2011 and 71 years ago in 1941.

On the 1st floor of the Sam Poh Tong building is where vegetarian lunches are served during buddhist festivals. This place was the place to go for vegetarian lunch on the first day of Chinese New Year for many families. My family used to visit it last time too. Not sure if the restaurant is still there.

Sam Poh Tong Building

Temple arch with the Sam Poh Buddhist Cave's commemorative plaque. Founded in 1912, the Sam Poh Tong temple is now 99 years old.

Sam Poh Tong Temple Arch

Entrance to the Cave Temple

Entrance to Sam Poh Tong

Hmmm... I wonder if this is the residence of the abbots?

private temple grounds

Different styles of stone lanterns found on the ground of the cave temple

Stone Lanterns @ Sam Poh TOng

Stone monks statuettes in different postures

Stone Monk @ Sam Poh TOng

More cute stone statuettes strategically place around the rock garden.

Stone Deco @ Sam Poh Tong

Stone guardian lions

Sam Poh Tong Guardian Lions

Iron cast bells

Sam Poh Tong Temple Bells

Stone pagodas, petrified wood, another stone lantern.

Sam Poh Tong Stone deco

Tortoise pond located at the back of the cave temple enclosed in a valley. This pond use to be favourite for childrens visiting the temple as they would always seek out the aunties selling "kangkung" vegetables to purchase them to feed the tortoises. Of course, yours truly was one the childrens who always look forward to the feeding sessions with the tortoises during our visits. : )

Tortoise pond

And for those who are interested in visiting this place, check out the google map below :-

View Larger Map

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

ETS : Connecting Ipoh

During the colonial era, Ipoh was one of the few earlier town connected by rail in Malaysia. Over the decades the rail service had served Ipoh to transport its valuable tin produce to the ports for exports and provided the transport for the residents of Ipoh to other major towns such as Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth. However, the last few decades as seen the PLUS highway overtaking the role of rail as the main form of transportation due to a boom in car ownerships.

Rail tracks

Now with the introduction electric double tracking from Kuala Lumpur (KL) to Ipoh, KTM Berhad, the operator of rail in Malaysia has brought the intercity electric train service (ETS) to Ipoh. This service now allow Ipoh residents to travel to Kuala Lumpur in approximately 2 hours which is faster than travelling by car along the PLUS highway. The convenience to this service to travel to and fro KL in approx. 2 hours is indeed a much welcomed improvement to the life of Ipohans. Not only will more day travellers be visiting Ipoh for a short weekend trips, Ipoh residents can now look forward to a shopping trip in KL.

ETS logo

ETS which I believe stand for Electric Train Service is a special division of KTM in charge of providing this fast and comfortable intercity rail service. Recently, I had the opportunity to try out myself this service for a business trip to KL. Such that I would like to share my experience on my ride down to KL and back to Ipoh.


Our magnificent Train Station in Ipoh lies as a testament to the grandeur of train service in the colonial era. My journey started off at this landmark building in Ipoh.

The sleek and modern electric train graced the platform awaiting passengers to board and send its passengers to their destinations. I was lucky enough to capture this sight of 2 electric train waiting side by side. Nice and impressive sight, right. Minutes later one of the train later made its way off to its next destination.

ETS train

The open doors of the train carriages awaits the boarding passengers. The trains actually has up to 6 carriages connected and based on my rough estimation, it could carry close to 260 passengers in one trip.

welcoming ETS carriage

This train station has since been expanded to incorporate double tracking railway and also the infrastructure upgraded to cater to this ultra modern image.

Busy rail station

The electric trains also boast having these yellow-shirt stewards and stewardess waiting to guide the passengers to their respective train carriages.

Rail Stewards & Stewardess

Inside the carriages, it was really spacious, neat and clean. Let's hope that ETS maintains a spick and span condition of the trains. The seats were arranged facing 2 opposing directions. Leg space is quite adequate even for a tall person like me.

ETS interior

Inside the train carriages, it was equipped with upper luggage deck, 2 LCD TV, foldable table on the rear of the seats, pull down window curtain and even power socket under the seats for charging your laptops. If only they provide WIFI, then it would have been great.

ETS interior 2

Once the train started moving, it quickly pick up speed to cruise around 130-140 km/h. On a few occasions, the max speed of 145 km/h was seen on  the LCD screen on the wall of the carriage. The ride was definitely very comfortable with minimal swaying and screeching sound of the wheels. Air conditioning was also nicely tuned being not too cold or warm.

Avg cruising speed 145km/h

The benefit of railway travel over bus and was that you can walk around the train if you feel bored being stuffed down in your seat. Furthermore, toilets were also available if urgent need arises. Most importantly, the toilets were clean. Indeed a rare sight. Kudos to the maintenance staff of the ETS.


The washing basins of the toilet.
Washroom 2

A route map of the ETS is displayed in each carriage and an announcement in English and Malay of the approaching station was also made. Currently, the fastest ETS stops at a total of 5 stations from Ipoh being Batu Gajah, Kampar, Tg Malim, Kuala Lumpur Old Station and finally KL Sentral.  The route map also displays the other rail interchange available such as ERL, KTM, RapidKL LRT or Monorail at which station. One can easily hop on the ETS and travel to the KLIA International Airport or various places throughout Kuala Lumpur & Klang Valley.

Route maps

The information board also warns passengers against smoking, littering, carrying flammable materials, bringing animals on board and chewing gums.

Info board

Passengers taking the ETS from KL Sentral may rest in this air conditioned ticketing lounge while waiting for their train's arrival.

One thing to note for those who wish to take ETS from KL Sentral to Ipoh, is that the ticketing counter is located quite hidden from the path to the entrance of the ETS platform. So better go earlier to buy your ticket. Due to this being my first trip, I actually missed my 6:30am ETS back to Ipoh due to being unable to locate the counter to purchase the tickets. Furthermore, the KL Sentral lacks the signage to lead travellers to the ticket counters. (p/s: If any ETS management personnel sees this blog, please improve the signage) Yours truly had to run up and down the different floors looking for the counter. Haiihh!!! As a result, I had to wait another 2 hours for the next train.

ETS ticketing counter @ KL Sentral

Another picture of the ETS train on the platform in KL Sentral.

pre-dawn ETS

The earlier ETS train from Ipoh starts from 4:00 am and 5:30 am. If your take the 5:30 am train, you will get to see the morning sunrise as you approach Rawang .

Dawn greeting

A last pic of the ETS train after arriving safely back in Ipoh. All in all, it was an enjoyable and comfortable trip despite the minor setbacks. I would definitely recommend this mode of transport for travellers to and from Ipoh. One recommendation for them is they should increase the frequencies of the trains. Of course, we as Ipoh residents need to support the ETS from them to make it feasible. Currently, the passenger load is not quite as high as I observed as only 30% of the seats were taken up during the weekday early morning trips. One way trip now cost RM30/- from Ipoh to KL. Perhaps a bit more expensive than a bus ride but still quality of the ride justifies the price.


In future the electrified double tracking would extend to Butterworth and Padang Besar which is up north of this train station. With Ipoh connected to KL and Penang in a couple of years' time, more development will definately flow into Ipoh.

Aerial view of Ipoh rail tracks

Monday, February 21, 2011


A latest addition to the influx of foreign cuisine to Ipoh is the famed Daorae, a Korean BBQ Restaurant offering the finest Korean experience right here in Ipoh's De Garden Mall.

Daorae prides itself for having being listed in the top 300 restaurants in Asia recommended in the 2008/09 Miele Guide. If you can read Mandarin, check out the Sinchew article here.

Daorae @ Ipoh

A Korean flag proudly displayed on the wall

Korean flag

Korean style decors

Daorae decor

A Korean ginseng & herbs display cabinet welcoming visitors at the entrance.

Daorae decor

Guests can choose the traditional style of sitting on the floor to dine in Korean style.

Traditional Floor dining area @ Daorae

Or for guest with elderly members can choose the normal table arrangement for dining without the need to crouch down.

Daorae table dining

Anyone intending to try out Daorae should not missed out from ordering BBQ dishes since it is their house specialties. Notice that in the previous two pictures, each table featured a "arm-like" contraptions above the table. Mind you, they are not table lights nor the dismembered arm of "Dr. Octopus" although they do bear a striking resemblance. Hehehe!!

They are extendable exhaust fans used to vacumm away the BBQ smokes from the grilling pan.

In Daorae, the grilling is done with charcoal tubes. Below is a picture of the flaming charcoal tubes placed in the centre of the table. These charcoal's heat can be felt even 3 feet away. Hot! Really Hot!

Hot charcoal brick

Our first BBQ dish was Hanbang Dweji Wang Galbi (RM38) which is a filleted pork ribs marinated with ginseng, herbs and sweet soy sauce.

Daorae staff doing the grilling work

While we waited for the Daorae staffs to do the hard work of barbequing the pork ribs, we chatted dined on the banchan (side dishes / 반찬). We were served a total of 8 ban-chan and together with a soup makes up to that is called 9 cheop (구첩) table setting. These side dishes are free and is the norm of Korean restaurants to serve them as appetisers/accompaniment to the main courses. You can read up more about banchan here.



Seaweed soup for each customer.

Seaweed Soup

The finished products of the barbequing, tender and still moist. Obviously the waiters were carefully trained to not overcooked the meats lest it would turn up tough and charcoaled. Grilled to perfection, we hastily dig our chopsticks to grab the tender filleted pork ribs.

Grilled pork ribs with chunky garlics

There were two type of sauce for the BBQ. The red one tasted like chilli with fermented bean paste (gochujang) and the other a combination of oil, pepper and salt.

Korean chilli bean paste & sauce

In our haste to grab a bite on the tender porks, the waiter was kind enough to advise us of the proper korean way to eat the BBQ which was to get a piece of lettuce, place some spring onions, a piece of meat and top off with a dollop of the fermented chilli bean paste and a piece of garlic. Wrap the combination and chow down on it. Hmmm... the Korean are really clever to transform a otherwise heaty and oily BBQ dish to become a healthy-looking salad-like dish. This should appeal to health conscious gals.

BBQ Korean style

In between the main course, we were free to saviour the banchan. Take note that you may ask the waiters to top up the banchan that you like.

(Left-right, top-down : Beansprouts, Brinjals, Cockels, Kimchi, Pumpkin, Kimchi Daikon, Chives, Anchovies)

The waiter recommend that we ordered a Heamool-Tang (RM80), a seafood, tofu & vegetable in spicy chilli soup served in an iron cast pots. The heamool-tang came steaming hot. The combination of hot steam & chilli was hot enough to bring the tears and sweat out. It's good that they had air-conditioning there. The nice thing about the spicy soup was that although it was really spicy but it did not burn the mouth like our local chilli padi. The spicyness did not stay long in the mouth. Once the meal was over, the spicyness of the soup was gone.


The spicy soup came with prawns, squid, mussels and flower crabs.

A bowl of heamool-tang

Apart from the pork ribs, we also ordered the Dak-gal-bi (RM28), a boneless skinless lean chicken marinated in hot chilli sauce. Again, the chicken was grilled to tender perfection like the pork ribs.


The entrance of Daorae.

Daorae BBQ Restaurant @ Ipoh

(Note: A special thanks to my friend for treating us to this delicious meal @ Daorae   =D )

After the first visit to Daorae, the experience & food was enticing enough to call for a re-visit again a week later. This time I chose to bring my family to try out Daorae.

This round we ordered a Jab Chee Bok-um-bab (RM18), glass noodles & rice pan fried with slices of shredded pork & assorted vege in sesame oil sauce.

Jab chee Bok-um-bab

And also Hanbang Dweji Wang Galbi (RM38) as ordered during my first visit & Yang Nyum Dak-Gal-Bi (RM28), a boneless chicken marinated in sweet sauce. (Sorry for the lack of picture for the 2nd grill dish as I was too pre-occupied with the eating part. ;P )

BBQ @ Daorae

This time, we were served a mind boggling total of 10 Ban-Chan + 1 soup.

(Left-right, top-down : Kimchi daikon, Fruit salad, KimChi, Ladies Fingers, Sweetened kimchi-like beef)

Banchan 1

(Left-right, top-down : Steam eggs, black beans, snake gourd, beansprouts, kimchi-like spinach)

Banchan 2

Overall, the main courses were well prepared and nice. Some of the ban-chan were a bit plain, but I guess it was suppose to be simple so that it would not overpowered the taste of the main courses. Not many people may be accustomed to Korean dishes as the taste are rather unique such as the KimChi. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate Korean dish which stresses alot on the original taste of the ingredients. The seasoning compliments the taste of the main ingredient rather than changing the original taste.

The pricing does seems rather expensive by Ipoh standards and you can easily expect to spend between RM40 - RM60 per person if you order the BBQ dishes. They do have cheaper options of rice & noodles
dishes or alternatively you can choose their set lunches.

Those of you who has visited Daorae may have notice this new shop by the name of Kim's Mart that has opened quite recently decorated with posters of korean pop artists. It's actually a specialties mini market offering a selection of imported Korean foodstuffs and drinks. Based on the cashier girl, this shop is associated with Daorae and is involved in supplying some ingredients to Daorae. So if you like the food in Daorae, you may consider dropping in to get some Korean foodstuffs. :)

KIM's Mart


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