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Ipoh is the capital city of the state of Perak, Malaysia. It has well over 700,000 inhabitants, and was once a bustling commercial hub, with vast fortune made from a vibrant tin-mining industry. However, with the collapse of tin prices in late 1970's and the depletion of tin deposit, the mines were abandoned and shut. The growth of the city also halted, and despite efforts to retain the buoyancy of the local economy, it never quite recovered and the signs of wealth and prosperity were all but a thing of the past.
Ipoh is famous for its food, often attracting Malaysians from all over the country to travel there for the local delicacies. It must also be noted that Malaysians in general often would happily travel the distances for the sole purpose of obtaining authentic local cuisines. For this reason, parts of Ipoh where established eateries are located are often crowded and bustling, particularly at weekends.
Ipoh in general is not developed for tourism. There are not many tourist sites, no city tour of any sort, and places of interest (apart from eateries) are usually shopping centres/malls. However, the old buildings and railway station etc are worth seeing, and there are several caves around the outskirts of Ipoh that house Buddhist temples that are very well worth visiting.
Ipoh is separated into Old Town and New Town, although nearby towns of Chemor, Falim, Jelapang, Menglembu, Silibin and Tanjung Rambutan are also included in the definition of Ipoh City.
Ipoh, like most parts of Malaysia, has a hot and humid weather all year round. Day temperature runs as high as 32 °C to 36 °C, while evening temperature hovers around 25 °C to 28 °C. Heavy rain would normally cool the temperature but light rain often acts to elevate the temperature to a small degree. Monsoons during the months of April to May, and October to December, often bring heavy rain.
|Avg Max||32.9 °C||33.7 °C||33.9 °C||33.7 °C||33.5 °C||33.3 °C||33 °C||33 °C||32.5 °C||32.4 °C||32.1 °C||32.1 °C|
|Avg Min||22.6 °C||23 °C||23.4 °C||23.9 °C||24 °C||23.7 °C||23.2 °C||23.3 °C||23.2 °C||23.1 °C||23.1 °C||22.8 °C|
|Rainfall||132.3 mm||149.8 mm||169.9 mm||259.1 mm||210.9 mm||151.8 mm||156.6 mm||157.8 mm||216 mm||297.2 mm||275.4 mm||251.1 mm|
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Daily service on the rail network that connects main cities on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia from north to south stops in Ipoh. To the south, Ipoh is connected to Kuala Lumpur, Tampin, Gemas, Johor Bahru and Singapore. To the north, Ipoh is connected to Butterworth, Alor Satar, Arau and Padang Besar. The route also extends all the way to Bangkok, Thailand.
Ipoh is well connected by the North-South Expressway (Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan) to major cities along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The exits for Ipoh include Exit 137: Simpang Pulai, Exit 139: Ipoh Selatan and Exit 141: Ipoh Utara.
The Amanjaya integrated bus terminal in Bandar Meru Raya, just north of the city, is the Ipoh terminal for all the inter-state buses coming into and leaving the city. Ipoh is about a 2 hours drive from Butterworth in the north and 3 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. Bus companies such as Transnational and Plusliner provide frequent and reliable bus services.
For within-state travel, the main bus terminal is at Medan Kidd near the railway station. Buses from Medan Kidd connect to other locales in Perak, such as Lumut, Taiping and Kuala Kangsar.
Driving in Ipoh can be tricky as many streets are operating on a one-way basis and for travellers from countries that drive on the right, the task is doubly confusing since driving in Malaysia is conducted on the left. A good map is essential.
Taxis are an easy way of getting to know the city. Taxis usually cost between RM (ringgit Malaysia) 5-10 per journey to get from one point to another within the city. Longer hire is possible (1-2 hours), and it shouldn't cost more than RM30-40 or so for an hour of hire. The taxis are usually not metered and bargaining can help to keep the price reasonable. (Tourists beware: the operators may attempt to take you for a ride, pun intended. It makes sense to agree on a price beforehand.). Taxi drivers at bus stations are notorious for over charging.
There are public buses in the city, operated by Ipoh Omnibus Company. The schedule is erratic, the buses are (unfortunately) old and the driving can only be termed as "interesting". On the other hand, it's a very cheap way to travel within the city, with fares between RM1 to RM2 (that's about €0.20-€0.40, or US$0.30-$0.60), which ticket can be bought on the bus.
Under the sweltering heat, walking around the city is not particularly advisable. However, it is possible to explore the city centre and the Old Town by foot.
Cycling in the heat may also be uncomfortable but it is a better option than walking. There are no specifically enforced rules for cyclists, but general road rules should be obeyed. Bicycle helmet is not common.
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Cybercafés are available around the city, although the majority are regularly used as locations for youngsters to engage in role-playing games (RPG). Wi-fi connectivity is limited.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The main post office is located next to the railway station. Pos Malaysia is the national postal service of Malaysia. Rates for sending a standard letter locally is 60 sen (20 gram). International airmail has minimum rates ranging from RM1.00 to RM2.00, depending on destination. It costs 50 sen to send a postcard or aerogramme anywhere in the world.
Expedited Mail Service (EMS), branded locally as Poslaju, is available for both domestic and international destinations. Domestic EMS has a next day delivery guarantee. International EMS guarantees mails and parcels to be delivered out of the country by the following day. The time required to arrive at its destination will depend on clearance by authorities and the postal service of the destination country. For most countries, delivery of documents can be done in 3 to 5 days.
Generally, post offices are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, except the first Saturday of the month. They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
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