AsiaMalaysiaIpoh

0030 Where’d Ipoh go? (Mal 002—new)

Ipoh Travel Blog

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picture doesn't do the scenery justice...

Day 018: 8 hours, 11.8 kms

I get up early in the morning, eager to get going on my supertour of Southeast Asia.  I have no idea what the cities in north Malaysia are like, so I look at my map and then hop on the bus heading to the next sizeable looking city to the north: Ipoh.

The scenery along the way continues to give me mixed feelings. Small section of jungle…then high rise suburb development... then another small section jungle… another development… then a huge scar where all the trees have been ripped up to clear the way for a palm oil plantation…

As we approach the bus station of Ipoh, there is some impressive natural beauty… some very steep tree covered hills jutting up above the valley. They seem to be begging for a closer look.

But my first order of business is to explore and discover the heart of Ipoh and Malaysian culture.  I head out of the bus station, without a clue as to where the city is located.  Maybe I should just catch a city bus into town, or ask a local… but no… that would spoil the adventure… I need to put to the test my “city finding sense” and follow my instinct.


I head down a busy looking road, past sprawling haciendas and lush, green fields.  It would be a pleasant stroll, if it weren’t for the absolutely suffocating heat which is eating away at my patience quite quickly… Finally I’m forced to admit that I’ve taken the wrong way, and with no interesting looking sidestreets, I’m going to have to retrace my steps.

I reach the bus station and again consider my options… Finally I figure, there are only so many times I can go wrong before I’ll find the city—and I don’t want to be a wuss on my second day in Southeast Asia, so I head in a new direction…

I soon start seeing the typical businesses that you see at the edge of the city… It looks like I might have got it right this time….

I walk on and on doing a big loop, past car dealerships and schools and miscellaneous businesses—but nothing that really gives the city much character… I wander around, not finding a single park, plaza, monument, or anything that feels like “inner city”… It seems to be a dominantly Chinese city so once again I have Chinese food for lunch.

Finally, seeing that I don’t have very many parkbenching options, I sit to rest under a clump of trees to play my songs and take my video clip.  Pretty disappointed by the apparent lake of  “heart” to this city… but hey, maybe Malaysian cities don’t have a “heart” like I’m used to seeing…

In no mood for another long, hot hike back to the bus station, I opt for the city bus…

And then comes a pleasant surprise. The city bus takes me in the opposite direction, across the boring part of town that I had explored and on to the real “Heart of the City”! From there it continues on to an entirely different bus station…

I get off and head back to explore the city once again, kicking myself for not having been able to find the city all on my own… On my way I find a beautiful new train station being built, with a view of the steep cliffs—and a magnificent Hindu temple… here I opt to take my clip…

I continue on to explore downtown Ipoh… past narrow streets lined with jewelry shops… across a rushing stream… on to a vast grassy plaza lined with British colonial style buildings…

After the hours of slogging through steamy fields and ugly, lifeless neighborhoods, it feels like paradise…

While waiting for my bus back to the station, I get to talking with a Chinese lady—who echoes some of the same frustrations the Indian fellow I spoke to yesterday.  But like him, she finally admits that she’s much better off living here than in the country of her ancestry…

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picture doesnt do the scenery jus…
picture doesn't do the scenery ju…
Ipoh
photo by: Caliber-A