The Bougainvillea City – Ipoh

By: Thomas Teo

Ipoh is known as the third largest city in Malaysia with over 710,000 populations. There are few nicknames given to Ipoh, which is The Town Built on Tin and City of Millionaires (boom of tin mining industries), Paloh (gigantic mining pumps used for early tin extraction), The Bougainvillea City (symbol flower of the city), and The Hill City (surrounded by hills). There are lots famous food in Ipoh, such as Ipoh old town white coffee, succulent pomelo, fluffy kaya puff, Ipoh’s famous salted chicken, bean sprouts and chicken, Hong Kong dim sum, Lor Mai Kai, Taro Puff, Char Siew Bao, and Egg Tarts. There are also few places you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Bougainvillea City – Ipoh.

Kellie Castle
In 20th century, Kellie’s Castle belongs to a Scottish Planter, William Kellie Smith who is away from home in Scotland. The castle was built top of hill used to be a rubber estate. Kellie Smith erected a Hindu shrine for is Indian workers on the castle premises. As appreciation, he erected a statue of Kellie with white suit and hat.

The construction was begun in 1915 but it was stopped on 1926 with Kellie’s sudden death. Perak State Government then rescues the structure and putting effort on maintaining the castle. The castle believed being haunted and hidden room and secret underground tunnel available too.

Gua Tempurung
Gua Tempurung is one of the famous caves and largest limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia. The cave has fishes living free in the river, rare ferns, and birds nesting in cave. The walkways built inside the caves allow the visitor to enjoy the natural scenery of beautiful underground waterfalls, stalactites, and stalagmites. There are also scorpions, fish, snakes and small insects hidden in small niches.

Each cave has the stories behind, so do Gua Tempurung. Many believe that the cave was used as hiding place for terrorist during World War II and the Emergency.  Some story says that the cave being used by the Japanese as a prison during their occupation of Malaya. If you would like to discover the story of Malaya time and love adventures, Gua Tempurung is somewhere worth to visit.

Kuala Sepetang
The name Kuala Sepetang , which Kuala means “estuary” in Malay, is a small fishing village located  at Taiping, Perak.  It is also largest unbroken expanse of mangrove swamp forest remaining in Peninsular Malaysia, which is also a great place to observe a natural wetland ecosystem at work.

Since the early 1900s, the mangrove forest here has undergone a sustainable logging program, and the region continues to produce timber while retaining its forest cover in perpetuity. Although mangrove trees grow a lot faster than typical lowland tropical rainforest trees further inland, this prudent system forest management is still something that Malaysia can be proud of. The Rhizophora trees here are the tallest and biggest mangrove trees, which is also taller than the trees in Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

Gaharu Tea Valley
Gaharu Tea Valley is an agarwood plantation located outside Gopeng, Perak and has become tourist destination. Agarwood, also known as Gaharu in Malay or Oud in Arabi is an aromatic resinous wood which forms inside Aquilaria trees when they become infected with a certain type of mould.

Agarwood is well known with it powerful, exotic fragrance as well as its medicinal and health-giving properties. It has a high popularity in Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures. Agarwood is rare and endangered in the wild. Gaharu Tea Valley covered 300 acre area which found two decades ago and open to public few years ago.

Sam Poh Tong Temple
Sam Poh Tong is the biggest cave temple in Malaysia which located in Gunung Rapat, about 5km south of Ipoh. There are various statues of Buddha interspersed among the stalactites and stalagmites.

According to history, a monk from China discovered in 1890 when passing through Ipoh. He decided to make it his home and a place for meditation. He has been resident there for 20 years until his death. There are still nuns and monks who dedicate their lives to Buddha still occupy the Sam Poh Tong until today.

After climbing 246 steps, it will lead you to an open cave with an excellent view of Ipoh and its surroundings. There are other attractions around the temple include a beautiful Japanese pond full of Japanese carps and tortoises, which are a symbols of longevity.