Walking down history lane

THE Ipoh Heritage Walk has proven to be so successful in creating awareness of the city’s tourism potential that groups from other states have flocked to Perak to learn its ways.

Tourism Malaysia and Penang Heritage Trust were among the groups impressed by the success of Ipoh Heritage Walk project since it was introduced last May. The two groups made a special trip to Ipoh recently.

Tourism Malaysia had earlier participated in a food trail to taste the best of Ipoh food, before taking part in the heritage trail proper.

Most of the walkabout takes place in Ipoh Old Town, to showcase its rich heritage and architecturally beautiful buildings.

Participants who go on the trail in the older part of the city are armed with guide maps published by Kinta Heritage Group Sdn Bhd in collaboration with the Perak government and Ipoh City Council.

Perak Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Hamidah Osman was present to meet the two groups who assembled in front of the Ipoh Railway Station before the start of the heritage walk recently.

“You will get to know Ipoh well. Tourism is very important to us,” Hamidah told the participants.

The participants were divided into groups guided by experienced heritage guides who explained the details of each heritage site along the walk.

Panglima Lane aroused the curiosity of the participants who were not only fascinated by the historical past of the area but the activities and lives of the people staying there now.

Panglima Lane had been popularly known as Concubine Lane in the past as it was said to be the place where local Chinese tycoons kept their mistresses.

A heritage building across Panglima Lane is Han Chin Pet Soo building in Jalan Bijeh Timah (formerly Treacher Street) where participants get to see the gem in the building — rare antique furniture and elegant marble flooring from the early part of the 20th century.

Han Chin Pet Soo was founded as an exclusive club for miners. The clubhouse, which dates back to 1929, was the only licensed gaming house for rich tin miners.

Today, the building is out of bounds and is for members only; visitors can enter via special arrangement or permission granted to view the interior.

Its caretaker Phang Ngean Choong said the club was only opened to members because of its valuable antique items, many of which had been stolen in the past.

Roger Rowse, 71, from Adelaide in Australia, who participated in the heritage walk, said Ipoh was more than its beautiful caves.

He said he was in town last year but this time, he was very surprised to discover the many unique and interesting parts in the older side of the city.

Retired teacher Saw Poh Choo, however, was upset by the litter and rubbish and expressed hope that locals and visitors would keep Ipoh clean and conserve the environment.

Nur Natasha Berhanuddin, a tourism officer from Kuala Terengganu, said Ipoh was a nice place thanks to its rich heritage and tasty food.

“I really love its environment, it is very cosy and there is not much traffic. It has nice old buildings but the state government should do more about the maintenance.”

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