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Monday, 13 April 2020 // 1:35 pm

Managed to squeeze in two trips before this virus took the world. I'll defo write up a bit about it after this post because I have plenty of time to sit down and do it now. I have absolutely no excuse.

Back to the trip.

Strangely, Ipoh has always been on my to-visit list even though it might not be in the popular travel locations bracket. I think someone told me that the food was amazing, and that I should definitely visit at least once. Now that I have, I can safely say I really don't mind going for a second dive.

Cool chain bookstore. Had to stop myself from buying in bulk. They revamped a bank for this outlet, but kept the vaults. Very, very cool. @excessbooks

Walking down Concubine lane, coloured with graffiti, various food stalls and haberdasheries.

 One of my favourite corners in Ipoh! Loads of hipster-y, cool stuff. It's right next to what seems like the only hipster cafe (untrue) in Ipoh - @Plan B. CF and I joked that if we can't figure out what to eat or if our dining plans go awry, we can always go there.

@Burps & Giggles! All the to-eat lists point here. Decor was kitschy cool (a norm for Ipoh cafes, I must say) and the food was pretty good! I had smoked duck pasta :)

We walked to see Ipoh train station

It was CROWDED, and given the growing COVID19 situation back then, we decided not to test fate for too long. It was... quite a underwhelming building. It was nice seeing how the trains connect, but not worth the 10 minutes walk through the hot sun.

Visited @22 Hale Street - another kitschy cool place, but this time a museum full of knick knacks that'll give you a blast to the past. 

They also have a cute cafe called 董 (@Dong)! The food was really good and pretty value for money! I had the salted egg squid, omlette and bao set. :) I'm not sure what possessed me to order that... I am actually so over the salted egg trend phase. Must be the whole nostalgia vibes.

Popped by @Platform 9 1/2, a Harry Potter inspired cafe... with... the most budget props ever. Look, it's an exercise bikethe nimbus 2000. The butterbeer was pretty good though!

@Kek Look Tong - Being in a temple within a cave is something I can check off my bucket list, yay? It was honestly really breathtaking - the photos do not do it any justice. 

I did enjoy marveling at the rock formations up close. Also, spotted the eight immortals statue outside the temple while waiting for our ride! Does anyone remember those comic books they made?

PS: It was mostly Grab rides for us in Ipoh - they were frequent, and not too expensive too. However, if you can get a car and dare to drive in Msia, go for it.

Yet another cave temple - @Sam Poh Tong! They have a really nice garden, and we fed some turtles!

@Yee Fatt Curry Mee! It was very flavourful, but too gao (thick) for me, personally. They also had tea egg tea? Which was sweet, and strange to me. I drank it nonetheless. Their Lor Mai Kai was delicious!

Taking shelter from the scorching heat at @Chakori - I loved their roselle tea and black hojicha ice-cream bun! CF had the earl grey lavender, which was also a delight.

Learnt a lot about my Hakka heritage this trip! That yam dish that my grandmother made was hakka - never knew! I highly recommend this museum, and the one below. @Han Chin Pet Soo

A herbal tea museum! All about this guy who created this popular brand. Apparently, when transports was expensive in the past, he cycled the whole stretch of Malaysia by himself to deliver and promote his tea. 

Talk about effort for marketing. @Ho Yan Hor

Dinner at @Restoran Tuck Kee

Step aside horfun kings and queens, the emperor has been chosen. Their Moonlight Horfun is absolutely amazing, and their steamed baby octopus AHHHmygoodness.

Starting off the day right with another type of fun - delicious chee cheong fun from @Canning Garden

They seem to be very popular, with a lot of sighs and a queue marker. However, we arrived early and got served pretty quickly.

@Qing Xin Ling Leisure and Cultural Village makes for funny photos and more nostalgia. 

CF also towed me around in a trishaw - for a minute, heh. I towed her after! It was surprising to both of us that it was so easy. What sorcery did this transport machine have?!

I forgot where we had this cuppa and toast... but I tried the Ipoh White Coffee and it was way beyond my expectations. I am not a coffee person and even I thought it was super good! It has a very interesting sweet flavour to that is a smokey and subtle.

 Indomie Carbonara and some red juice I ordered.

Banoffee cake... 100%

Green juice and Avocado. 

@Plan B. Heh, we ended up here eventually.

This was an attraction I thought we could miss, but we had extra time so we decided to fit it in and I am SO glad we did! It turned out to be one of the best ones. 

@Kellie's Castle is a little ways out of the city, about 30-40minutes, and tells the story of a man who died before his castle of love was built.

A short summary: This fella called Kellie was a business man and wanted to move his whole family to Ipoh, but he died before completion and thus... it was never finished. Get this, he died on the way back with an elevator he procured for the house/castle! 
That isn't what made this castle interesting to me though. What was interesting was that this guy was crazy about secret passages! He insisted on building secret passages leading outside for almost all the rooms, including guests rooms! He was extremely concerned about the wellbeing of his family and guests, and thought the passages would come in handy in case of emergencies. 
Also, the castle is said to be haunted but eh, places like to claim they are haunted to up their attraction

Unfortunately we hit a major snag that costed us almost 2 hours and a ton of turmoil - we couldn't get a ride back to the city. We tried to get a Grabcar for 30minutes and even tried calling a driver we had met previously, but the price was too exorbitant. Eventually, we asked a shop owner and he got us a cab. Phew...

But yes, lesson learnt, there are no Grab drivers outside the city.

We were cheered up by The Deck Gastrobar, sitting above WEIL hotel

The food was fantastic, and though on the pricier side it is still significantly cheaper than the prices we would pay in Singapore. The view and breeze was also a welcome respite, as well as the sublime service.

We visited this place twice during our trip and I will definitely visit again on the next!

@Lim Ko Pi  -  their kaya was mmmmmmm.

And now... on to the various pieces of art I saw splashed across the walls of Ipoh! Most of these were found along Mural Lane.

Is this an artist's name? This was sprayed in various corners. Google search turned up negative. Hmmm.

My favourite piece!!!

Ipoh was generally... sparse. Not in terms of the attractions (well, yea a little... 3 days would be what I recommend, not 5 like my trip), but people. I guess the rise of COVID19 meant the decrease in tourists. This was before the lockdown in Malaysia though, and of course right now the situation has gotten worse.

All we can do is our best, and wait for the storm to pass.

I hope this post can help some of ya'll look forward to your travel plans after this blows over! Heh, maybe a trip to Ipoh? :D Coming up next for travel-related posts... one on my Bangkok trip!

Stay safe, stay home, everyone.