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Things to Do in Ipoh

Ipoh, the capital of Malaysia’s Perak state, is the country’s fourth-largest city and serves as the gateway to the cool peaks, waterfalls and tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands. While many travelers head out of Ipoh almost as soon as they arrive, it’s worth taking a day or two to enjoy this colonial city.

Ipoh’s excellent collection of British colonial architecture is a testament to the city’s wealth, which developed thanks to a tin-mining boom in the early 1800s. Walk the streets of Ipoh’s Old Town and you’ll also see one of the country’s most extensive areas of Chinese shop-house architecture.

Foodies will find that Ipoh is also famous for having one of Malaysia’s best regional cuisines, with specialties like chicken with bean sprouts and crispy golden kaya puffs.
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Sam Poh Tong
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2 Tours and Activities

Located in Gunung Rapat, about three miles (five kilometers) south of Ipoh, Sam Poh Tong is thought to be the largest cave temple in Malaysia. Local lore tells of a Chinese monk who was passingthrough Ipoh in 1890 when he discovered the cave and decided to stop and meditate there. According to the legend, he remained in the cave for 20 years until his death.

The temple structure in its current form dates back to the 1950s, and to this day, it remains a place where Buddhist monks and nuns come to meditate. A series of 246 steps lead you up to themouth of the open cave, with its small reclining Buddha statue inside. Just outside the temple, you’ll find a Japanese koi pond where local devotees of the Buddha come to release turtles, as they’re thought to be a symbol of longevity.

The ornamental garden outside the front of the temple are worth walking through, and they offerbeautiful views of Ipoh below.

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Taiping Zoo

Taiping Zoo in Perak is located within the scenic natural setting of the Taiping Lake Gardens. It is home to more than 180 species of exotic animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and orangutans.

Covering an area of 34 acres, Taiping Zoo has undergone some developments recently, with the building of its new ‘open concept’ enclosures. These allow greater freedom for the zoo’s various animals by taking into consideration their natural habitats. After the sun goes down, the zoo also offers a night safari, where visitors can experience the nocturnal animals of the zoo under special lighting that recreates the illusion of moonlight.

A trip to Taiping Zoo can be combined with other popular activities in the area, including a visit to Orangutan Island, a stroll through the Lake Gardens, and a trip to the Perak Museum.

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Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS)

Hang out with popular Malaysian animation characters like BoBoiBoy and The Adventurers at Movie Animation Parks Studio. Located in Ipoh in Perak, it’s the first fully animation-based theme park in Asia, and features more than 15 rides, attractions, and live performances across five thematic zones.

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The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat in Ipoh claims to be Malaysia’s first luxury natural hot springs center. Offering a wide range of wellness facilities and relaxation treatments, The Banjaran’s real star quality is the beautiful natural landscape in which it’s situated. The retreat is characterized by dramatic limestone rocks, gushing waterfalls, geothermal hot springs, and natural caves, plus it’s surrounded by lush rainforest-carpeted hills.

Ideal for both a romantic retreat for couples (they even do weddings) as well as solo travelers, The Banjaran offer Garden Villas and Water Villas to choose from for sleeping, plus a wide range of treatments and relaxing features to help you unwind. At its center is a huge geothermic lake, flanked by a cascading waterfall on one side and natural caves on the other. The shimmering mist of vapor above the lake and the dramatic limestone hill in the background combine to create a natural setting that - like the rest of the resort - is as beautiful as it is enchanting.

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