Ipoh prided itself to be one of the top-visited cities in Malaysia. As the capital of Perak, the location of the city is strategically positioned between Penang and Kuala Lumpur, attracting many local tourists to make a quick trip here. Ipoh was a small village and it began to grow tremendously after the huge deposits of tin being discovered under the British rule back to 1870s. Many historical buildings with British colonial era architecture and Chinese-style township have been well preserved as which are now becoming one of the main spots of attraction for tourists. Ipoh has been famous of retaining much of the old heritage and culture. Some of the foods and cookies with authentic taste can be found here, luring many people to flock into this charming city. There are many articles describing Ipoh with regard to its famous places for visit as well as some excellent locations for food hunting. I strongly believe that Ipoh offers more than what meets the eye. After my one-day trip, I would to like to share my three impressions here, in which are the charm of historical buildings, the white coffee
’ culture as well as Ipoh’s society.
When the new meets the old
Ipoh is one of the largest cities in Malaysia that comprises many races from diverse backgrounds. This cosmopolitan society created a melting pot of culture, standing tall amongst other cities. Despite being one of the flourishing cities with dynamism, Ipoh has much other cultural heritage to present. Birch Memorial Clock tower was constructed by the first British resident of Perak, James W.W. Birch which has more than a hundred year of history, there are some other buildings with British colonial heritage such as Ipoh Railway station, Ipoh High Court and old post office, showcasing on how these buildings have enriched Ipoh. It is indeed fascinating for me as I could see these survived buildings that lasted for many decades. Moreover, there are also many well-preserved Chinese-style townships that can be seen at Ipoh old town. Some of the traditional coffee shops or kopitiam are still operating in those areas which are shaping the local tourism. One of the most famous places to visit will be The Concubine Lane of Ipoh. There are many souvenirs and snacks being sold in this lane blended with traditional Chinese architecture and heritage. There is also a Little India that retains lots of the traditional Indian heritage with many very colourful buildings around. If you are a temple lover, there are some temples here that I would like to recommend which are Sam Poh Tong temple and Perak Tong Cave temple.
The white coffee’s culture
The white coffee is one of the most popular coffee in Malaysia. As being labeled as one of the top three coffee towns in Asia by Lonely Planet, many coffee lovers just cannot resist to travel all the way to Ipoh to taste some authentic white coffee. It is not the colour of the coffee beans that make up the so-called white. It simply describes how the white coffee is made and prepared with sweetened condensed milk. The white coffee has a sweet flavour with bubble on the top and many people love drinking it while having some toasted bread or egg tarts in the kopitiam or traditional coffee shop as their breakfast. I personally love on how the white coffee are served using traditional kopitiam cup that is bringing back much of the old taste. Some of the famous coffee shops such as Nam Heong and Chang Jiang are serving white coffee that could stir your sensation if you are a coffee freak! White coffee is gaining fame nationwide that there are now many 3-in-1 white coffee sold in the market.
A well-mixed of local cultures
Ipoh is accommodating a multitude of groups from various backgrounds that allow this city to shine further. A significant Chinese population can be found in the city center with very strong Cantonese-speaking environment. The Chinese community here prides themselves with strong command of Cantonese dialect which is one of the most spoken Chinese dialects in Malaysia. Due to the strong influx of tourists from other cities and states, mandarin is also widely spoken as many tourists barely understand Cantonese dialect. It was believed that many Chinese immigrants of the past were brought into Kinta Valley (one of the largest tin field) for tin mining sector. Many Chinese migrated from Guangdong and Guangxi provinces of southern China to seek for better life in Nanyang (South Sea). Today, Malaysians are mingling with each other as there are many loanwords from the Malay language as well as other local languages, rendering the Chinese culture here to be more localised after years of interaction and exchange. Despite having a large portion of Chinese population, a strong presence of Malay and Indian communities can be found here that further enriches the cultural landscape of Ipoh.
Ipoh is slowly but constantly redefining itself alongside its current stage of development as this city has more to offer.