As the Managing Director of MQTV, a television channel in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, Eka Budiman Sumadji travels extensively in the course of his work that includes the production of travel documentaries.

The 42-year-old first heard about Ipoh when he was invited by Gaya Travel Magazine to Perak to explore the state’s tourist attractions to be introduced to television viewers in Bandung.

Eka said, “My job requires me to be creative in producing interesting as well as informative programmes. My first trip to Ipoh was two years ago but I have since returned a few more times with my TV crew, initially for the programme Jalan-Jalan Jajan and subsequently for Travelogy.

“When it comes to Perak, for me, Ipoh remains the best place to visit in the state. I love the layout of the city and the heritage buildings that are well-preserved. My favourite architecture would be the Ipoh Railway Station. It stands so majestically!

“I also find that Ipoh folk are getting more creative; with the many murals that adorn the back lanes of old shop houses, giving these areas a new lease of life. The popularity of Ipoh’s very own wall murals is almost on par with Georgetown and I am happy to see that local artists have some form of support from the local government to showcase their skills.

Eka photographs the wall mural in Ipoh

Eka photographs the wall mural in Ipoh

“In fact, during one of my trips, I was invited to try my hand in painting a mural too. That remained the highlight of my stay!

“The creativity of Ipoh folk isn’t just in painting wall murals. If you check out Sekeping Kong Heng, M Boutique Hotel or Myth Eatery & Bar, you will know what I am talking about. The interior decorations of these properties are so eye-catching that when I think of Ipoh, these are the places that come to mind.”

But Eka’s love for Ipoh isn’t just about the “beautiful” side of the city. As he explained, “Every time I am Ipoh, I never fail to make a visit to Memory Lane, the Sunday flea market in the city centre that has lots of antiquities for sale. I could easily spend the entire morning there browsing through the many knick-knacks and curios. I am always tempted to buy something for my home.

“Memory Lane and Kinta River that cuts right across the city give Ipoh her very own character. Much as I love Ipoh, if there’s one thing that I dislike, it is the quietness at night, except for the stretch along Kinta Riverwalk. Ipoh would greatly interest visitors if it had a more vibrant nightlife.”

When asked about the food in Ipoh, rubbing his tummy, Eka admitted that the negative effect from his Ipoh trips is that he puts on too much weight each time. He said, “Although Indonesian food is similar to the Malaysian fare, it is not the same. We certainly do not have Ipoh white coffee, laksa, rojak sotong, murtabak or char kuey tiaw! When I am away, I miss the food in Ipoh. And then I have to watch the Ipoh episode of my food programme, Jalan-Jalan Jajan, to relive the taste!”

Note: An edited version of this article [TV man can’t get enough of Ipoh] was published on 10th October, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.

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