Having spent his whole life in Singapore, German Lau Thomas, 23, actually prefers living in Ipoh compared to Singapore.

He explained, “Singapore, as you know, is a concrete jungle. Ipoh, on the other hand, is so close to nature. I love to wake up to the mist in the horizon, which sort of offers me a different view every morning. No doubt, Ipoh is far behind Singapore in terms of infrastructure, connectivity and livelihood, but I personally prefer to live life in the great outdoors. It may not be for everyone, though.

“I first visited Ipoh ten years ago with my parents and sisters. I remember having a whale of a time. But the unforgettable trip was the six months I spent in Gopeng in 2011, where I involved myself in outdoor adventures such as white water rafting and rock climbing.”

Lau Thomas about to explore Perak's best eats

Lau Thomas about to explore Perak’s best eats

Today, as an outdoor-cum-adventure consultant in charge of Malaysia in his parents’ travel agency based in Singapore, Lau brings in school groups to Perak and other states in Peninsular Malaysia during school holidays for outdoor adventures and team building activities.

“Since these trips do not focus on the city centre, I find that planning excursions to Perak for my clients a bit of a hassle because of lack of proper transportation. Handling a large group of active school children require well-planned logistics. As such, price quotation and budgeting could be a problem particularly when my clients only confirm their trips at the last minute.

The Eggcellent (burger) by Loveats, Tanjung Malim

The Eggcellent (burger) by Loveats, Tanjung Malim

“On a personal basis, I recall the time I rode a motorcycle to Ipoh and promptly lost my way in the city as I was confused with the traffic flow and direction. It’s still quite a nightmare riding or driving in Ipoh after all these years,” he chuckled.

During Lau’s most recent trip to Ipoh, he had the chance to check out Concubine Lane in Ipoh’s Old Town. He shared, “Somehow, the narrow lane flanked by a mix of dilapidated and newly restored shop houses reminded me of Singapore’s Chinatown. I was surprised that one of the shops preserved the bucket toilet system, although it is no longer in use, thankfully!

 grilled mutton balls at California Steakhouse & Steamboat, Tanjung Malim, Perak

grilled mutton balls at California Steakhouse & Steamboat, Tanjung Malim, Perak

“I found the wall murals in this section of town well done. Wall art is also all the rage in Singapore and I have no idea why! Unlike Singapore which has lost its heritage, Ipoh is steeped in historical value as could be seen from the colonial buildings that are still standing strong. Although Singapore is now making an effort to preserve its heritage, it is no longer the same. Therefore, it would be great if Ipoh could maintain its history. It’s a great laid-back city. With the many city amenities and facilities, Ipoh offers the best of both worlds.”

sizzling fish Thai-style at Restoran Village Tomyam Seafood, Tanjung Malim

Lau’s recent trip also saw him participating in a food trail in Perak. Stuffing himself with all the best cuisines and street food from Tanjung Malim to Kuala Kangsar, Lau believed that the food here is tastier. He quipped, “Singapore and Malaysia share many similar dishes but I have to say that the food in Malaysia is way more authentic than what’s available in Singapore, if that’s possible.”

Note: An edited version of this article [Adventurous Thomas] was published on 24th October, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.

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