As an avid caver, Perak is a natural hunting ground for Liz Price. The British lady who resides in Kuala Lumpur uses Ipoh as her base to explore other areas of Perak, which is rich in natural limestone hills and caves.
“My main passion is caving, so it’s not surprising that I spend a lot of time in Perak, among other states in Malaysia, to visit caves and document them. I have written books and numerous articles on Malaysian caves and keep an active website and blog on this subject. I’ve known about Ipoh long before I stepped foot on Malaysian shores, as I have read about the limestone hills, caves and of course, cave temples that Perak is so well-known for,” she said.
Having spent twenty-odd years in Malaysia, Liz who is still amused by Manglish, has become Malaysianised in many ways. Just like a local, when visiting Ipoh, she avoids “tourist food” such as chicken rice and bean sprouts chicken. She added, “I think they are not that special, yet overpriced. I don’t have a preferred dish but I eat all types of local food. I generally eat in the suburbs rather than in the town. I have friends who show me the good and cheap places where locals patronise.
“Malaysians have this odd habit of driving miles across town just to indulge in their favourite food. Thankfully, I haven’t picked up this habit but I do enjoy the fare at Old Andersonian Cafeteria and drop by whenever I can.”
Liz can be seen around town when there is a heritage-related event going on or when she plans cave explorations in Perak. These trips allow her the opportunity to catch up with friends in Ipoh. As an explorer of caves and forests, it is safe to say that she has seen more of Malaysia than most Malaysians, especially the rural areas, spending time out in the “wild” for ideas to write articles on caves, travel, nature and tourism, with emphasis on being off the beaten track.
Loving Ipoh as she does, it pains her to see the demolition of old buildings. She said, “What’s gone is gone. Luckily there are still quite a number of heritage buildings remaining. I applaud the efforts of a few dedicated people in restoring old buildings, such as Han Chin Pet Soo. Panglima Lane is also being restored and revived – I just hope that it doesn’t become too tacky and touristy.
“In the process of development, there are a number of things that have gone wrong, such as the garish painting of some of the old buildings in new town, and the removal of the garden in front of the Ipoh Railway Station. The expanse of concrete has certainly ruined the area in my opinion, while the terrible condition of information plaques plus the horrible English used give off a poor first impression of the city.
“Also, the wall murals in the back lanes of Ipoh are being turned into tourist attractions. But first, the rubbish has to be cleared away or the purpose is defeated. Apart from murals, there aren’t that many things in town to offer tourists, and it could be a hassle for them to get out of the city to other attractions by public transport. Taxi drivers overcharge because they do not use the meter and Terminal Amanjaya being located so far out of town doesn’t help matters.”
Note: An edited version of this article [Price for Ipoh’s best] was published on 3rd October, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail. Photo courtesy of Liz Price.
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