Sunday, December 29, 2013
The Charm of Old Town Ipoh
Ipoh Old Town White Coffee is now well known all over in this region, even up to Australia. So there is a lot that this quiet old town can offer. Being here on a weekday, you'll find Ipoh is actually quite a bustling busy town. Much like Penang, there is a heritage in Ipoh with many pre-war buildings. If you ask me, this should also be a Unesco city if even Penang and Melaka can be one.
Some time ago, just before the Unesco announcement, I was interested to buy a double storey shop house in the Penang heritage zone. The 20feet x 100feet shop was really charming but needed a lot of work to restore it and the price reflected this situation... only RM360k. I missed the chance because I was too late... somebody else got it. Today, any heritage house in Penang would be worth 3 or 4 times of that. So, forget about it....
But Ipoh may be somewhat affordable in comparison... except there may be a lack of tourists compared with Penang. There are many such delapidated buildings for restoration...
A survey walk around the old town of Ipoh, you'll discover many owners have made a mess of their restoration, installing modern fixtures, windows that totally destroy the facade and character of the buildings.
However, there emerge some enterprising and artistic people who has done some really good work such as this one... a row of old shops turned in unison to charming cafes and restaurants.
They are located just diagonally across the road from the Ipoh HSBC bank and bar council building at Jalan Sultan Yusoff.
In fact, one of the shops, Burps and Giggles, still maintains the original look, without the roof that it once came with.
The food and drinks are pricey, especially by Ipoh standards. But the atmosphere more than made up for it. Let's hope more people do this Ipoh. Our hero, Ng Sek San has also been here... converting one such heritage shop into a boutique hotel cum restaurant at Kong Heng.