The gateway to northwestern Malaysia, Ipoh is a former tin mining colony not traditionally known as an adventure destination. That is why many are surprised that exciting activities like jungle and mountain trekking, canopy walks, spelunking, whitewater rafting, beach loafing, and much more is available as a day trip from the city.
The former British colonial settlement is not known for its ample urban green spaces and those that do exist are of the amusement park variety (The Lost World of Tambun to the east of the city), but that doesn't mean there isn't an exceptional amount of forests ringing with the howling of monkeys and other jungle creatures just beyond the city limits. Kledang Hill (just west of the city) is a great local site for hiking, with a range of moderate to challenging hikes through limestone monoliths. Paths are worn but not well marked, and there are car parks off of Hala Rasi Jaya and route 317 where trails start. For cavers, head just south of Ipoh to the largest cavern in peninsular Malaysia, Gua Tempurung. This five-chambered, 3 km show cave near Gopeng is quite a sight to see in person, with its stalactite formations and an underground river that you'll find yourself wading through. While you're in the area, there is an encampment of the indigenous Orang Asli at the edge of the Ulu Geroh rainforest. Observe traditional customs or get a local guide to bring you to see the largest flower on Earth, the carnivorous Rafflesia. You may also enjoy the best whitewater rafting in Perak and nearby states on the Sungai Kampar, which runs near Gopeng at a clip of class II and III rapids. Any of these adventures can be had as a diversion when traveling between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.
There are an even wider range of adventure possibilities when you spread your net a bit wider. About 80 km east of Ipoh are the Cameron Highlands, a region of terraced tea and rubber plantations and moderately sized mountains. The highlight is Gunung Brinchang (near the town of Brinchang), a 2,000+ meter peak primed for climbing. North near Taiping is Bukit Merah, a family-centered resort area on a lake, appealing for its Orangutan sanctuary; just don't expect this one to be as inexpensive as much of Malaysia can be.
No, dear user, we have not forgotten the fact that Ipoh sits quite close to the western coast. The issue that you'll find with the coast here is that it doesn't compare to the beaches and resorts available on the opposite coast due to a general lack of cleanliness and attractiveness. Then again, there are still gems like Teluk Batik (white sand and palm trees) and the island across from it on the Straits of Malacca called Pulau Pangkor. The island is known for its stellar beaches (Coral Bay and Pasir Bogak are the best), as well as diving and fishing opportunities in the waters nearby. If you're willing to head a bit further north, there is also the ever-popular tourist destination of Langkawi. The main island has a strong tourist infrastructure and a huge range of activities aimed toward said tourists (helicopter rides, kayaking tours, a Skybridge, etc.). It can be a bit of a resort haven, but Langkawi has earned it with its natural beauty.
For further information on adventures to tackle in and around Ipoh, take a look through our dedicated pages or consult the embark community.