Ipoh Day 2: Breakfast at Restoran Sun Fei Kee, Gua Tempurung, Lunch at Restaurant Fei Kee Gopeng, Tea at Gaharu Tea Valley, Famous kaya puffs from Kedai Biskut Sin Eng Heong, Lost World Hot Springs & Spa and Lost World Crystal Spa, Supper at Tong Sui Kai
Breakfast at Restoran Sun Fei Kee
One of the many coffee shops in Ipoh, it has a famous fish noodle stall (I found the soup a bit too salty and not enough fish), a char kuay teow stall and a nice big airy space to relax.
We also tried the custard pudding that’s ubiquitous in Ipoh, just order “pudding”.
Must go: 3/5 if you like an empty coffee shop in the morning
Adventure 1: Underground cave exploring in Gua Tempurung
This is one of the most enjoyable treks I’ve been on.
By the way, for some reason my Gua Tempurung pictures in my handphone disappeared 🙁 so I’m gonna refer to some images from other people.
There are 4 types of tours you can try. Tour 1 and 2 are dry tours, Tour 3 and 4 are guided wet tours.
You need a group of 8 to go for a wet tour, or you can just go to the entrance and wait for more people to arrive to combine for a tour (if you can’t wait, then you’ll have to pay the package price for 8 people).
We joined a family for Tour 3 (there wasn’t anyone going for Tour 4), which took 2.5 hours at a comfortable pace with rest stops in between.
Buy cheap rubber shoes (we bought ours from Cowboy Melaka) or just wear your sneakers. No slippers allowed.
Your whole body will get wet except your hair. Try to wear pants that covers your knees to avoid abrasions. Bring along a waterproof bag for your valuables.
Outside the entrance, there’s a shop that sells cheap RM5 torches with battery, small enough for you to hold it in your mouth while using both your hands to crawl under rocks in the pitch dark underground stream.
Basically you go into a huge cave which is lit, climb up and down steps while admiring the limestone formations (the guide will explain).
Then the real fun starts when you enter the pitch dark part of the tour where you slide down a big limestone slide with stops in between, enter a hole in the ground and follow the underground stream out of the cave and back to the same entrance.
It’s not difficult if you can army crawl in very shallow water for 10m, or squat walk slowly for 10m.
You don’t need to be extremely fit, as long as you can climb a few flights of stairs with rest breaks in between.
Our guide, Mamat, was very patient at helping the entire group through the route. He enjoys his job (he’s been working there for 2 years) as he gets to make people happy by taking them on a scenic underground tour.
We had so much fun we wanna go back again for Tour 4.
Must go: 5/5 if you love cave exploring
Lunch at Restaurant Fei Kee Gopeng
We were pretty hungry after the excitement of Gua Tempurung, so we ordered a big plate of Ba Wang noodles 霸王面 that comes with egg, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, baby corn, squid, prawns, capsicums, romaine lettuce and fish for RM26.
I felt it was quite expensive but the food wasn’t too bad.
Must go: 3/5 only if you’re around the area
Adventure 2: Enjoying tea and scenery at Gaharu Tea Valley
This tea valley has been around since 1992. The trees are agarwood, not camellia sinesis which is the typical tea plant.
You can take a one hour RM10 minibus tour of the plantation with photo opportunities.
Our first stop was at a three storey building to view the valley, before we went to an area to hug trees painted with animal pictures, and lastly to a kissing zone where you can check out the banyan tree wrapped around another couple of trees. You can relax under a shelter next to a pond.
According to the guide who has been working at Gaharu for over 20 years, three times has Gaharu tried to cut down the banyan tree, but each time the staff visited with the machinery, the machinery didn’t work. So they took it as a sign to preserve the tree and built a fence surrounding the tree to protect it.
Upon returning to the main building, we had our tea break with a bottle of RM3 Gaharu Hoga tea and a tea egg.
You can purchase their famous Hoga tea (or just visit their shop in Ipoh centre’s Concubine Lane), or their other products such as nougat, biscuits etc.
Must go: 4/5 if you like visiting tea plantations and taking photos. The tea leaf/tea bag products are eye-boggling expensive though.
Adventure 3: Searching for famous kaya puffs from Kedai Biskut Sin Eng Heong
Our next stop was back in Ipoh centre where we sought out this biscuit shop for its famous kaya puffs, sold in a box of 10 for RM10.
The kaya puffs were crispy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside. They even tasted good the following night.
This shop was open on Tues but sadly it was closed on Thurs when we returned to buy more kaya puffs.
You can buy many different Heong Peah flavours and other traditional snacks at prices cheaper than the nearby shops.
Take a walk around the area, there are other shops selling traditional snacks and we enjoyed a herbal jelly and herbal drink nearby at Tan Ngan Lo herbal tea shop.
Must go: 4.5/5 and buy the kaya puffs
Adventure 4: Lost World Hot Springs & Spa
This is one of the best theme parks I’ve been to. Why? There were quite a few things this theme park got right.
– Half priced online tickets at their website on Tues nights from 6-11pm
– More than 10 got springs pools for you to choose from (but signages aren’t great) which includes:
- a kids pool of a suitable temperature (I think it’s 37°C which is comfortable for toddlers)
- a bigger pool with mini waterfalls and fountains (that you can fight with the aunties to stand under for a water massage)
- a 40°C infinity pool that leads to a 45°C steam cave (Yes it’s actually a cave in the middle of the pool with 2 water curtain entrances. You can sit in the hot water with steam around you)
- a 43°C crystal pool
- a “Top of the World” jacuzzi
- a quiet pool with little spouts of water you can sit under next to massage huts
- a foot spa pool
- tables and stools set INSIDE a shallow pool where you can enjoy your meal while soaking your feet
– water slides for kids and adults
– a huge pool in the middle of the theme park where you can lie down and nua at the shallow end, or use a float or Zorb at the deeper end
– there’s a huge sandpit next to the huge pool (your kids can make sandcastles there too!)
– mix of English music to listen to
– access to a petting zoo (We got to pet raccoons, hedgehog babies, guinea pigs, tortoises, and say hi to ferrets, meerkats, prairie dogs, bearcats yes there’s such an animal, snakes, tarantulas and roving chickens). There are feeding times at 730pm and 8pm but better check with the friendly staff there.
– you can walk deep inside the theme park to the Tin Valley area but there are no night shows. Check out the Swan Lake, Porcupine Walk and the 300 million years old cave which houses a tea house (sadly it is closed on Tues)
– an eating street where food stalls are housed in a traditional shophouse setting
– kids water playground (we didn’t venture there though)
– lots of tables and chairs
– lockers which you can open and close and open and close and open as many times as you want with a wristband QR code (they’re expensive though, prices for the smallest locker starts from RM15, purchase at the locker counter inside the park)
– rain showers (no water heater nor ledge to put your toiletries though)
– souvenir shops at the entrance or petting zoo
We realised as the lockers can repeatedly open and close many times, we could actually have just worn our clothes to explore the rest of the recreation park before changing into swimming gear for the hot springs.
But being literal, we had already changed into our swimming gear and put our stuff in the locker, so we walked around the park in our swimsuits like two strange tourists, when almost everyone else was wearing clothes.
That was quite funny though, we probably gave the staff a lot to snicker over.
By the way, we saw people just enter the hot springs pools with normal clothes and no one batted an eyelid.
Must go: 4.5/5 especially on 50% Tues nights and bring along mosquito repellent.
This was by far the most fun day in Ipoh. I would visit all the attractions mentioned again, except for the lunch place.
Gua Tempurung looks like a great place for teambuilding (there’re also white water rafting and other outdoor activities), and Lost World also has an Adventure park where you get to scale rock cliffs and do other activities with heights.
Both attractions are not that well-known among Singaporeans here (I think), so if you wanna escape from Singaporean tourists, give these 2 places a go.
Gaharu tea valley is a nice place to relax at with family and friends, just try the RM10 tour, no obligations to purchase anything from the store.
Ipoh is great for road trips, if you can, rent a car.