The old world charm and booming hipster cafes here have gained fame after Lonely Planet listed Ipoh as one of the 10 best Asian destinations to visit.
“At the heart of its renaissance is other worldly concept hotel Sekeping Kong Heng, replete with glass attic rooms and wall-free rooftop quarters,” it said on its website.
“Art cafes like Burps & Giggles and Everyday Lifeshop have appeared nearby, among creaky kedai kopi (coffee shops) and elegant colonial buildings.”
The website also said the lesser-known food capital had new flair, thanks to a crop of boutique cafes that had sprung up in its historic quarter.
“But food pilgrims still clamour for Ipoh’s old favourites: Lou Wong’s chicken with crisp bean sprouts, and tau fu fah at Funny Mountain,” the website said.
Ipoh, which is placed at sixth, is the only city in Malaysia to be listed.
In its pick of where to go in the next 12 months, Lonely Planet listed Hokkaido (Japan) at first place, followed by Shanghai (China), Jeonju (South Korea), Con Dao Islands (Vietnam) and Hong Kong.
Ipoh mayor Datuk Zamri Man said tourists were attracted to the city due to its improved infrastructure.
“We are working on providing a comfortable environment for tourists. Gerbang Malam (night market) will be relocated to another area that is more relaxed and well-lit,” he said.
“We have also planted trees which can grow for more than 70 years around the city,” he added.
Perak Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi said investors were coming in to build eclectic cafes and boutique hotels here as “they feel there is a great future” in the state.
“We are now waiting for the movie animation park to open,” she told reporters yesterday.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the state had a wide range of attractions like beaches and historical sites.
“I am happy with the recognition. This happened because of the strategies to broaden the tourism industry in Perak.
“We want to maintain the important places, so that domestic and international tourists can visit the attractions,” he added.