Friday, April 12, 2019

Ipoh, Perak - Nava K Discovery (Day 1)

Ipoh. Mum's motherland. Mum “Made In Ipoh” and at 14, yep, I said it loud and clear, at 14 years old, mum married to dad, before making Kuala Lumpur as her next hometown. 3 years later, Nava K  “Made In Sungei Besi”. In one of the government houses across the army camp which don't exist anymore. Of course, obviously, nine months later? Aha! Nava K crawling out of mum's worm in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and Ipoh, mum’s heritage? Part and parcel of my life as well. Mostly visiting grandparents during school holidays until Ipoh becoming a permanent full-stop. Due to grandparents themselves uprooting their Ipoh roots from Kampung Paloh for joining us in Kuala Lumpur. Whatever it may have been, Ipoh in tandem to mum's and my background? Those teen years of mine specifically in Ipoh? Walking to the river side for idling my time away, staying in the traditional wooden long house and making it a point in regularly slurping into "Ice Bola” and “Bread Ice-Cream”. Those good old memories? Unforgettable and still, mind you, glued on my mind till this day.   

6 months ago approximately, I decided I want to do my walk of hall of fame in Ipoh for two valid reasons. One, of course, Ipoh down memory lane, the other, Ipoh as my three days escape out of the mad, crazy and always throwing in stress, in some way or rather, city I am living in. This trip of mine alongside my two friends and believe me, don't know what got into my other half-half, he tagging along. Having said that, I knew Ipoh will not remain untouched like how it used to be back then. Basically, for indicating that Kampong Paloh and Jalan Bendahara definitely would have gone through modernisation as well. Yet, the drive we took for passing by the familiar routes? Oh wow! Heart felt warmth.    

Ipoh, by the way, for your information, is now known as a holiday destination stealer amongst local and foreign tourists. Pretty much, in other words, Ipoh on our Malaysian tourism map as a holiday gem. Regardless, whether Ipoh's rating and ranking is at par as the ever popular Penang. Anyway, "Ipoh I am coming for you" started off promisingly. By 10.30am, we departing from Kuala Lumpur despite the unexpected early morning heavy rain lashing and in between, we having our lunch in Little House Café, Tapah. Ambiance of this cafe? Unassumingly basic, but food? Sincerely, tummy wonder. True enough. Not a let-down as per the reviews on Google Maps. Black Pepper Chop, Hainanese Chicken Chop, Fish Kicap and Petai Udang? Truly. Profound, authentic bolt, thundering tastes. Yum!!


Back on the road again after lunching and “Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng being our first sightseeing spot. Honestly, to tell you the truth, I had no clue whatsoever what to expect. In fact, I was under the impression that its gonna be another kinda standard tea plantation. Of course, a tea valley alright, but tea made from tea leaves of Gaharu/Agarwood trees. Trees at their infant stage and those already matured. In a huge slopping up and down area and where we embarked on a guided van tour which included two stops at different heights for a higher up view from up there and for seeing what's housed within this valley. Thereafter, once we returned to the entrance, we sampled the freshly brewed tea and we couldn't also resist picking up a packet or two of Hoga Gaharu tea. Said as tea for health and I must stress that, tea tasting pretty smooth and lovely as well.     

Subsequently, from Gaharu Tea Valley to Kellie's Castle, Batu Gajah. The unfinished ruined mansion, built by Scottish planter William Kelly-Smith and if you don't know, lemme tell you that, Kellie's Castle is listed as one of the hauntings in Malaysia. Ohhhhhhh! By any chance, did  I bump into Kellie or anyone else who have joined him in heaven or hell? No. Seriously, no. But heading from one section to the other, and till the roof top alone during this quiet weekday, while every now and then, passing by one or two people? Trust me, goose bumps. That eerie feeling? Quite a ruckus scary thing actually. Otherwise, all is fairly great wondrous in this historical site, and where you can put your hand-phone or camera to good use by posing over and over, again and again for impressing your Instagram followers.  

Next stop? Taman Herba, Batu Gajah. Well, me the plant lover who insisted on seeing and digesting the facts to the various types of our Malaysian herbs. Pretty much, for me personally, an appreciated knowledge and learning thirsting visit for which you have to pay and whether you are apt for exercising your legs by walking further inside or you prefer driving through this huge nature area before existing out.   

Half an hour,  more or less in Taman Herba, before we arriving in Casuarina Meru. Booked via Agoda there and then instead of prior booking due to wanting to grab the best deal for the day. Excluding buffet breakfast though. Our room? Like any other in other reputable hotels. Clean, well maintained, ample space for two and equipped with the necessary toiletries and beverages we Malaysians always expect. Wifi on the other hand? Duh! A sad case. Crawling at its own slow speed. Thank god for my mobile data.

20 minutes for freshening up, off we left prior to stepping foot in Ipoh town by 6.00pm. Some leisure walking within as far as we could, followed by dinner in Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong. Food definitely didn’t disappoint us. Ipoh Tauge and Ipoh Chicken Rice in Ipoh? A must try right? Sure. Indeed, a satisfying meal, but paying almost RM150.00 for the three of us? Honestly, we really thought it was a rip off for ½ chicken, fish ball soup, tauge soy sauce, liver soy sauce, rice and a bowl of dessert. Anyway, what could have possibly been the outcome since we have already tucked in instead of prior checking how much, roughly we will be paying? Damn! One of those con job billing I suppose. Especially if you are a tourist or because you are different skin color?

After dinner, we started walking again. This time, in and out of the shops selling cakes and food stuffs. Grabbing a few pieces of the baked goodies, we returned to the hotel before showering and calling it a night.  

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