Life in Ipoh

Ipoh City

Ipoh 4° 35' 0" N / 101° 5' 0" E is a city in Malaysia and is the capital of the state of Perak. It is approximately 200 km (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway.

Today, "Ipoh" usually refers to the territory under administration of Ipoh City Hall or Dewan Bandaraya Ipoh, which includes the smaller towns adjacent to the city such as Chemor, Jelapang, Falim, Menglembu and Tanjung Rambutan.

Historically, "Ipoh" referred to the Old Town and New Town areas divided by the Kinta River at its heart, from which the city grew. From the late 1980s Greentown, located beside the New Town, was transformed from old government quarters to an administrative and commercial centre of Ipoh, often overshadowing both the Old Town and New Town.


The name Ipoh derives from a local tree, pohon epu or now more commonly known as pokok ipoh. The sap of this plant is poisonous and was used by Orang Asli (indigenous people) to coat the tips of the darts of their blowpipes.

Ipoh was formerly known as "Paloh" among local Chinese, referring to the gigantic mining pump used for early tin ore extraction. It was also called "The town that Tin Built " and "City of Millionaires", referring to the vast fortunes made during the boom of the tin mining industries.

Other nicknames include "The Bougainvillea City" and "Shan Cheng" which means "The Hill City" in the Cantonese dialect.


Ipoh is famous for Malay, Indian and Chinese cuisine. Natives claim that Ipoh's water, which is relatively hard (high alkali content) owing to Ipoh's location on top of a large karstic formation, makes the food especially tasty.

Ipoh is famous for Malay and Indian and Chinese cuisine, such as satay (meat on a skewer which resembles kebabs, served with peanut sauce), tempoyak (preserved durian extract commonly eaten with chilies) , banana leaf rice (Indian cuisine serve on a banana leaf), and a variety of southern Indian food. Most Ipoh residents, particularly the older generation, indulge in their favourite pastime of enjoying "dim sum" consisting of various Hong Kong style cuisine includes small Chinese dumplings and hors d'Å“uvre delicacies; downed with generous servings of Chinese tea. Ipoh is also well known in Malaysia for coffee known as "Ipoh white coffee".

It was believed that as the Ipoh township stems from the development of the Ipoh Old Town and many small coffee shops remain in this part of the city, the coffee from Ipoh is given the moniker "old town white coffee".

Places of interest

The Old Town and New Town of Ipoh are two different parts of Ipoh separated by the Kinta River. Most olden-day pre-World War II shophouses, heritage buildings, and some Government buildings are located in the Old Town while the New Town comprises the area originally developed by Yau Tet Shin, stretching all the way from Kinta River to Greentown. It has newer shops, buildings, shopping malls and housing estates.

Ipoh Infrastructure

The government-owned and operated Ipoh Hospital is located near the Fair Park and Greentown area.