Ipoh Heritage Trail - Day 1

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Sofi, the youngest member of our group, was assigned the task of leading us around and describing what we saw. She had done her homework well, so she could easily identify the buildings for us. This part of Ipoh is relatively small, and there is something to see around every corner.

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What was immediately striking about Ipoh were the number of gleaming white ex-colonial buildings, the wide pavements and tree-lined streets, and the heat! Oh, the heat!!!!  If you are flagging anywhere near the padang, I highly recommend the cendol stall where there are seats inside and the cendol is deliciously tender. Nearby is also the Old Town Coffee Shop; a brand for which Ipoh is famous.

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Here is the glorious train station where you can park outside for convenience. Lawrence and I walked from our hotel (Kinta Riverfront Hotel) which turned out to be quite a convenient location as it was near the end of the trail.

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Below is the High Court and the Town Hall across the road.

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Ipoh is named after the ipoh tree, the sap of which provides the poison for darts and other weapons. The ipoh tree is the shorter tree in the middle of the photo below.

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Here is a view of the very first multi story carpark in Malaysia! The tin mining activities in Ipoh made this a very wealthy place, so it holds many other ‘First in Malaysia’ awards.

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The next landmark to study was the Birch Memorial, built in 1909 as a memorial to the first British Resident of Perak, assassinated in 1875. The panels on the memorial represent famous figures from world history, and a rubbed out image of Muhammad.

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I was asked by some young Chinese visitors to take a photo of them jumping up in front of the memorial, So here is Hanis’s photo of me taking their photo, and next is the photo which Faizal insisted on taking of myself and Lawrence.

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There are many interesting buildings to look at along these streets and it is good to see that they aren’t all being left to rot. The Malaysian climate takes its toll on buildings, so regular maintenance is essential.

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Walking across the padang, we came to the Indian Mosque next to St. Michael’s Institution (currently a boy’s school).

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Outside St. Michael’s Institution, I saw a boy using a public phone box. And, as we approached the Ipoh Museum, I saw another functioning phone box so asked Lawrence to make a call! It is such a long time since I have seen one of these in action!

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As we approached the Ipoh Museum, we noticed a group of cyclists gathering outside. When their colleagues saw me inside the museum, I was suddenly in demand to be in their photos. Then they dragged Lawrence into the group photo as well! Hanis caught this amusing event on her camera. One of the guys then gave me a badge of their riding group, and I was photo’d receiving this award! Quite made my day! As a point of note, the museum displays panels of photos and text describing the history of Ipoh, but sadly the text is only in Malay. 

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Around the back of the museum were a couple of air raid shelters which you could explore, and some old vehicles.

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© Helen Gray 2019