To be honest, Ipoh Old Town is not an area I want to head to as an Ipohite, especially during weekends and holidays. There’ll be scores of tourists that one could hardly walk in a straight line.
However, seeing that it has been months since I last visited, I recently made an effort to go, just to check out its development. Am I glad that I was there as I discovered a number of new attractions in Ipoh Old Town that a tourist might find interesting.
If you have been to Concubine Lane (Lorong Panglima) already and find that it is “nothing special”, then check out my list of five new attractions of Ipoh Old Town. The starting point of my trail is, naturally, Concubine Lane.
1) Get the Key to Your Dreams in Dream Big World
A visitor could easily pass by Dream Big World along Concubine Lane without noticing it. That would be a shame as this is where you will get the key to your dreams.
How so? Although many have said that Dream Big World is a model car gallery, it is more than that. Besides being a gallery for model cars, where there are more than 500 different models on display, this is also where you can dream of travelling by airplane to some of the most exotic destinations in the world. Well, dreams are free, as they say. In Dream Big World’s case, it is merely RM5.
Opened in December 2016, Dream Big World is on the first floor of two shophouses, one facing Lorong Panglima (Concubine Lane) and the other facing Jalan Panglima (Panglima Street). Everything displayed is from the personal collection of Elvin Chew, a mechanical engineer, who began his collection in the 1990s when he was 14 years old. Initially, the plan was to set up a shop that trades in model kits but thinking out of the box, his dream became a reality in the form of Dream Big World.
According to Elvin, every item in his gallery is for sale, if the price is right; yes, even his most prized possession, a limited edition 1/12 BBR Chameleon Ferrari LaFerrari.
Personally, I would say that Dream Big World is a treasure trove for model car collectors. If there is an item that is not available here, Elvin will even assist to source for it. I also found the place educational. Children, especially, will find it beneficial to make a visit, to open their impressionable mind to the world.
As such, Dream Big World accepts school tours. They can accommodate 20 pax per group, inclusive of a guided tour. Elvin’s knowledge of cars and world cities will blow you away.
Dream Big World
Add: 7, Lorong Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak.
Opening hours: 10.30am – 4.30pm (daily)
Admission: RM5 (adult) & RM3 (3-12 years old)
2) Get Artsy at KooKee IpohOldTown
A cursory glance tells me that KooKee IpohOldTown is a furniture shop-cum-art gallery. Obviously, I couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, there are plenty of wood furniture for sale here and the pieces of art on display are looking for a new home as well.
However, KooKee is actually also a space for artists to showcase their work to a larger audience, without incurring the cost. So, if you are an artist, you can consider displaying your art here for exposure, and perhaps sale.
KooKee is also where you can get some of the most popular snacks and beverages that Ipoh is well known for. Think of this as a retail store for Ipoh’s best souvenirs under one roof.
Talking about ‘roof’, visitors with an eye for detail will notice that great pains had been taken to restore this building, possibly aged over one hundred years. Due to its unusual combination of old and new, KooKee seems to be the latest venue in Ipoh for pre-wedding photoshoot.
In the near future, a café may be set up here although the menu to be served is still very much a secret. We can only wait.
KooKee Ipoh Oldtown
Add: 23, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak.
Opening hours: 9am – 4.30pm (closed on Tues)
3) Capture the Sweet Memories of Yesteryears at @mazing Ipoh Old Town
@mazing Ipoh Old Town is actually on the upper floor of KooKee IpohOldTown. This sister of Cameron Highland’s popular Time Tunnel Museum is located on the first floor of a shophouse along Jalan Panglima.
Known as @mazing Ipoh Old Town, this is where visitors relive the old days of Japanese Occupation in the 1940s right up to 1970s.
Although it is already open to the public, this is still a work in progress with another 40% to be completed.
As such, admission is free of charge until its expected completion date sometime in September 2017. Then, it will be RM5 (adult) and RM4 (child).
If you have visited Time Tunnel Museum already, expect @mazing Ipoh Old Town to be similar in flavour. However, this Ipoh Old Town attraction is a more detailed project compared her older sister in Brinchang, although in terms of floor space, this is smaller.
Even at this stage, there are already many things to see and to take photos of, or with. If vintage feel rocks your boat as it does mine, this is where you should pay a visit to when you are in Ipoh.
@mazing Ipoh Old Town
Add: 23, Jalan Panglima (1st floor), 30000 Ipoh, Perak.
Opening hours: 9am – 4.30pm (closed on Tues)
4) Explore the Peranakan World at 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery
This purplish-blue corner shophouse adjacent to Bangunan Mayban Trust was under wraps for a long time before it was unveiled earlier this year. Still, of the few times that I was in the area, it appeared to be closed. Maybe I was there on the wrong day of the week.
Well, this multifaceted project is known as 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery, Hale Street being the original name of this road. Featuring a Peranakan theme, at this moment, it is a retail space that sells products by Persatuan DAYBREAK.
At the same time, it is also a heritage gallery and event space. Later, a café will also be set up, similar to KooKee.
Do take note that at this time of writing, furnishing is still very sparse. However, if you wish to purchase something by DAYBREAK, this is a good store to head to.
22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery
Add: 22, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 30000 Ipoh, Perak.
Opening hours: 9.30am – 6pm (Tues – Sat)
5) Ipoh’s 1st Indoor Mural Arts Experience at Wisma Chye Hin
Opened to the public on 25th June, 2017, Wisma Chye Hin offers the first indoor mural arts experience to visitors. Although structurally, this building is one of the newest kid on the block, what used to be an office complex has been given a new lease of life.
Each floor has a particular theme, beginning with Ipoh’s dying trades on the ground floor, followed by scenes in a dim sum restaurant on the first floor, paying tribute to the building’s history when it was known as Lucky Building, which housed a dim sum eatery. The third floor recaptures the old activities of Sun Cinema, which was Wisma Chye Hin’s neighbour, before its demolition.
Ascending one floor, we are greeted by Ipoh Old Town of the 60s, 70s and 80s, before many of us were born. Senior citizens would particularly enjoy this floor as they reminisce about the days that have come and gone but still treasured in their memory. Last but not least, on the rooftop, visitors will be reintroduced to Chinese culture.
At this point, admission to Wisma Chye Hin is free of charge but do take note that there are commercial plans, understandably, at some sections of the building in due time. Stay tuned for updates.
Wisma Chye Hin (Ipoh Old Town Centre)
Add: 19, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak.
GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 4.5983395 Longtitude: 101.07850129999997
Tel: 05-254 9612
Current opening hours:
11.30am – 5pm (Mon – Fri)
10am – 5pm (Sat & Sun)
So, there you have it. Five attractions in Ipoh Old Town, fresh from the oven. Let me know which is your favourite!
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