Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join a group for “Ipoh Day Trip by ETS”, one of the railway packages Railway Tourism Association Malaysia (RTAM) is offering. It started with the two hours train ride via Electric Train Service (ETS) that serves KL-Ipoh route. Departing from the bustling Kuala Lumpur Sentral, major rail transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur, the passengers are taken through the countryside where one can observe the daily lives of the locals.
With a total of 12 stops, we finally reached the classic Ipoh Railway Station at 11.20am. The Ipoh Railway Station was designed and constructed by Arthur Benison Hubback, a British architectural assistant to the Director of Public Works. He was responsible to many great Neo-Moorish/Neo-Saracenic architecture styles in Peninsula Malaysia such as the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Masjid Jamek Mosque among others. Because of its design, the Ipoh Railway Station is also known as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh.
The majestic limestone outcrops is certainly the highlight of the trip to Ipoh. It is certainly a sight to behold whenever driving along the North-South Express Highway. It was during the Ipoh Day Trip by ETS that I finally explored the spectacular limestone cave known as Gua Tempurung. We were transferred using a coach to the Gua Tempurung entrance. We did the Tour 2 (Top of the World) which was the platform dry tour.
In Gua Tempurung, there are two kinds of tour; the platform dry tour and the wet tour. The tour that we did, involved a strenuous tour from the entrance to Platform 5 for about 1 hour 45 minutes. As we passed the subterranean river, we could see visitors in the river, crawling and chilling in the cold water joyful. There were dozens of them down the bridge.
Although I personally wished I were the one playing with water in the underground river, the rock formations, stalagmites and stalactites really caught my interest. They were splendid. It was as if we were walking in a cave wonderland.
Next, we went to Kellie’s Castle, which is located near Batu Gajah, Perak. The unfinished ruined mansion was built by a Scottish planter called William Kellie Smith. Due to its fascination to Indian architecture, the mansion was planned after architectures found in Madras. To maintain the originality, Mr. Smith imported bricks and tiles from India and employed a big group of Indian labourers to build his dream house. Interestingly, Kellie Castle also houses the first elevator in Malaya. There are also two tunnels that run under the river near, one of which connects to the Hindu temple some distance away from the mansion.
Tragedies struck the construction of the Kellas House when the labourers became victims of the flu. Then, it was the untimely passing of Mr. Smith that the mansion remained uncompleted. After his death, the wife of Mr. Smith decided to pack up and return home to England. She eventually sold the Kelly’s Castle to a British company called Harrisons and Crossfield.
We had late lunch at a restaurant nearby before we were taken to see the new products of Ipoh. We were supposed to visit Gunung Lang but we ran out of time. So it was replaced with city tour with murals of Ipoh.
We were sent back to Ipoh Railway Station at around 5.30pm to catch the train back to Kuala Lumpur.
If you are looking for a different way to spend your weekend, why not book the Ipoh Day Trip by ETS?