Ipoh – Lavender Lodge.

Before Eddy starts his work full swing, we decided to visit a friend in Ipoh. Our friend runs Lavender Lodge, a cosy little homestay, really accessible by the highway and close to town. It was just a quick trip for two nights to get away from the city, and also to visit our friend. It was really a great getaway.

Immediately after my Aravind Yoga Flow Class on Saturday, and after a quick lunch, shower and packing, we headed up on to the highway. We really appreciate the journey northbound because it is so much more scenic compared to that heading south. The limestone hills in the distance, and the Kinta Valley closer to Ipoh is really a sight for sore eyes (and eyes used to seeing concrete “hills”)!

We don’t come up to Ipoh that often, but we usually have a pleasant time when we do. Nestled in the Kinta Valley, my impression of Ipoh is usually hilly and green, with an occasional a traffic jam. Whatever it is, the air quality is far better than in the Klang Valley and the pace is slower, thank Goodness!

Lavender Lodge is easily accessible from the North-South Highway, the first exit out according to Waze, and then basically straight down the road and you’re there. Situated in a residential neighbourhood, it was pretty quiet. My friend has a few dogs but I think if boarders have an issue with that, he keeps them away. The highlight of my trip was a little Basset Hound (or possibly Beagle) called Jason. I say “little” but that’s because he is not even one-year old, just a baby in fact. Size-wise, he is pretty big (for a hound) and heavy. And very playful and mischievous.

My new friend, Jason the Basset Hound

We didn’t do much the first evening, just headed off to eat after having a nap after the drive. We went to a vegetarian restaurant, great quiet ambience with servers mostly hearing challenged. I ordered a mushroom burger, which came in a tremendous portion! Our friend then drove us around the city, giving us a detailed tour that we have never experienced before.

We then headed off to dessert, a bunch of stalls that are apparently so popular that they only open four days a week. Since it was a holiday, we had two desserts each, and proceeded on for a bit more of a ride in the car with a guided tour. We headed back to Lavender Lodge pretty tired but also feeling quite at peace.

The following day was amazing. We began with some great dim sum at a restaurant I can’t remember but it was super busy and we waited half an hour for a table. Apparently, they have branches in Sri Kembangan and Cheras as well. I have never tasted such delicious dim sum, the taste was amazing and it was “delicate”, as our host described. The bill was a huge happy surprise as well.

After that, we headed to the Kek Lok Tong Temple, built into the limestone caves on the outskirts of Ipoh town. Not as popular or accessible as Sam Poh Tong Temple, similarly built into limestone caves, but definitely scenic and pretty amazing. Outside the temple, monkeys congregated in droves. They weren’t particularly scared of humans, but neither were they that friendly. Outside the temple cave entrance, in a man-made pond (fed by a man-made waterfall) was a large statue of Guan Yin.

Inside, we were greeted by a statue of Confucius, followed by a slew of statues and figures from the Buddhist pantheon and Chinese tradition. Each cave had a statue, except for one lone empty cave, where the stalactites were apparently still “alive”.

After spending an hour or so here, we headed off for some coffee in a little colonial style cafe (really, I should be more observant of names – I used to be, it must be age!), then headed back to Lavender Lodge. We went to an incredible restaurant that evening, which had a dragon theme throughout. Again, I should have caught the name, but I am not sure. It could be Zi Long Restaurant, but I can’t sweat by it. The food was good and the decor was amazing!

Our last day there, we opted to go to the same dim sum restaurant as the day before. According to our host, most people opt to go again, even if they are there for two mornings, like us. We headed back to Lavender Lodge, had a bit of rest, then drove back down to KL.

Us and our host at the dragon-themed restaurant

Ipoh is an amazing city, and there are possibilities that we may end up retiring there (or maybe Taiping). I really love the landscape heading to and from Ipoh. I’m looking forward to heading there again!

Have you been to Ipoh? Are you from there? What do you think about the city? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!