One of the more intact examples of British imperialism, Ipoh is an intriguing example of Malaysian culture and custom. Located north of modern business and commerce mecca, Klang Valley (Kuala Lumpur and beyond) in the state of Perak, Ipoh's contemporary society is based around food and coffee (which we'll talk about in our cuisine section), its architectural heritage, and its proximity to other cultural activities like cave temples.
With landmarks that are quite well preserved in this small city, you'll not have a ton to see, but the little that stands out is worth a day of strolling about. Even better is the fact that most of the places you'll want to see are in close proximity to one another. Guided tours of heritage buildings start at 8am from the Ipoh Railway Station, which is an excellent example of colonial style architecture in itself. Across the way are the bright white facades of the Ipoh Town Hall and Law Courts, while the few blocks north and east are home to a number of other attractions that surround Padang Ipoh, a green space bordered by a few more landmarks. Ipoh Club, the HSBC Building, and others contribute to a sense of Ipoh as it was a hundred years ago, while the Birch Memorial Clocktower just to the south is commemorative of the first British resident of the state and stands in front of the sizable Ipoh State Mosque. While there are other things of cultural value in the city (eating, shopping, etc.), the best taste of Ipoh's convoluted history can be seen in this area. For artifacts of Perak and its tin mining heritage, visit the Darul Ridzuan Museum on Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab.
For more examples of Britain's influence on the visual style of Malaysia, head two hours north to the island of Penang, where the ethnic majority is actually Chinese, making for an interesting mix of both British and Chinese landmarks in one of the biggest tourist cities in the north. More manageable day trip destinations include two famous cave temples, Perak Tong and Sam Poh Tong. Perak Tong is chock full of Buddha statues (including the tallest in Malaysia) and culminates in a great hilltop view of the surrounding area, while Sam Poh Tong is a lovely collection of temples swathed in greenery in Gunung Rapat just south of the city.
There isn't a whole lot else of cultural value in Ipoh, to be honest, so don't spend two weeks of your time in the city hoping for it to reveal its many layers. A few days is enough to see everything worth seeing. For more information, take a look through our activity pages and start building yourself an itinerary.