Ipoh is around 250km North of Kuala Lumpur. The driving distance from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh is around three hours. The freeway is AH2. The drive on freeways is quite good, however, keep an eye on the speeding motorists.
The overall experience of driving intercity in Malaysia is quite good. Watch out for the speeding bikers and commercial cars. People do not normally go by the traffic rules and over speed on the freeways. Therefore, practise caution when changing lanes and do not stay in the right lane unless overtaking.
There are plenty of nice stopovers along the way. Best experience of driving in Malaysia is that the stopovers along the way offer nice and cheap food and there is prayers area available. Average meal costs around 6RM which quite cheap.
The freeway does not pass through major cities and you do not see much on the way other than palm plantation on either side of the road. IPOH is nicely laid out town with plenty of open space. There is no much vertical development. It is always a good idea to book your accommodation beforehand as you will get great deals when booking online. I stayed at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel, a nice hotel at a very central location. The average cost is around AUD$80/night and the quality of service is great. The hotel serves great breakfast in the morning and there are plenty of nice eat outs quite near to the city. Little India and the central Greentown Area is quite close to the hotel.
Where to eat in Ipoh
Greentown is the centre of nightlife with plenty of classy restaurants and bars. One interesting venue to hang out for late night dinner is Healy Mac's Irish Pub. Enjoy excellent live music, good crowd and lively atmosphere. Healy's Mac serves typical pub dishes including pizzas, fish and chips and great steaks. The drink selection is wide. With great ambience and impressive food, you are sure to spend a couple of hours at this interesting spot.
Other nice restaurants in the neighbourhood include
- Greentown Dim Sum Cafe
- Old Town White Coffee
- Berlin's Beer House
Other popular eat out along Jalan Raja Ekram include:
- Lou Wong Bean Sprout Chicken
- Funny Mountain Soybean
- Pusing Public Seafood Restaurant
There are several streets of nice karaoke bars, clubs, and pubs. The atmosphere is quite lively and the places stay open till late. There is also plenty of street food available if you want to explore local dishes in the area.
Nightlife in Ipoh
Our hotel reception suggested SOS nightclub in the downtown of the city. The venue is great and attracts young population. There is a live dance performance all night long. You need to buy 6 pints of beer to get inside the venue costing around RM200. I was just amazed at how much people drink in Malaysia as each table buys a tumbler which is enough to last for a night. By the time its time to hit the road most of the crowd is already drunk.
Places to visit around Ipoh
Next day we decided to drive down to LUMUT as coastal town some 40 minutes drive from IPOH. Pangkor island is quite close to this area and very popular with tourists for water sports. Pangkor Island resort is one of the best resorts in the area with private jet boats to pick you up from the LUMUT jetty. I enjoyed the local food and drive around the city centre. The area is great for a day or two. Other interesting places to stay in the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa.
At night we decided to visit Lost World of Tumbun. This is one of the best places to visit in IPOH if you are travelling with family. The theme park is similar to Sunway resort near KL with plenty of water sports and kids play activities. We were quite late and went to the hot spas located right next to the park. The entry fee is around 15RM and you can stay in the hot steaming spas as well as the wave generators.