The highlights so far - 11th March

Booked a visit on the web to Han Chin Pet Soo the old Ipoh Hakka Miners Club that we had photographed a few days ago. It is in the Old Town.

We arrived at 9.30am and were met by Commander an Anderson RN (Rtd). He regaled us with interesting stories of the Old Town as related to him by a 94 year old member. In the early 1900’s most Chinese Hakka Tin Miners could not read, so for years a man sat under a tree next to the club with a newspaper. He charged a cent to read to the miner until his joss stick burnt out. He then required another cent.

In the Nearby Concubine lane were Chinese gambling dens, opium dens and brothels. The prostitutes were mainly poor Japanese girls.

When a miner died on the premises as they often did, the owner was obliged to bury him. The owners rather than pay for a costly burial would just throw them out of the upper story windows and the street cleaners would pick them up in the morning!

Pang Lima Street on the corner of which the old club stands was the first street in Ipoh. The land was all owned by one man who had two elephant in his front yard! He sold blocks of land for 20 pounds each. A lot of money in those days.

Inside The Hakka Miners Club Christy and Leong took over and guided us through this marvellous place. It has been restored to exactly how it was in the early days. The large dining room is set up ready for dinner and the kitchen is all original with charcoal wok burners. The ground floor also houses a small theatre with a 1930's movie of how tin was mined by the Hakka miners in their coolly hats. There is also a display of tin mining equipment and many descriptive signs explaining the people that were here and how they lived.

On the first floor is an Opium Den complete with original Opium Beds and manikin opium smoking miners. Photographed Erica as she joined them sans the opium!

The next room was the gambling den and Manikin Dancing girls and “Ladies” for the gentlemen surrounded the gambling tables. The “ladies” apparently could only enter or leave by the back door. There was also rooms with beds where the “Lucky miner” could entertain the ladies!

Erica & David in Club dining room

Erica & David in Club dining room

Erica at the gambling tables

Erica at the gambling tables

Erica in the opium den

Erica in the opium den

Truly a Highlight of our visit to Ipoh so far! Remember to book online at www.ipohworld.org/reservation

Ian was most helpful as we left giving us the name of a guide who could take us Batu Gajah and old British enclave that is still intact. I asked him about hospital and he recommends Fatimah Private Hospital as he had a recent visit there and was extremely well cared for.

Christy and Leong kindly took us to Wong Koh Kee Café in Concubine lane and ordered 4 dishes for us. A fabulous green vegetable dish, a plate of local clams in ginger, a braised pork belly and yam dish and an egg dish with 6 year old eggs (and fresh ones) and pork mince underneath. Yummy!

Wong Koh Kee Cafe in Concubine Lane

Wong Koh Kee Cafe in Concubine Lane

Local clams in ginger

Local clams in ginger

Braised pork belly and yam

Braised pork belly and yam

Walked back to French Hotel after inspecting Ipoh’s main Bus Terminal. It has seen better days. 34°C seems quite hot when walking at 1pm! Happy to get back to air conditioning.

Plan to visit Meru Valle Estate soon as recommended by Ian Anderson to see what property is on offer there. It is a gated community. 

We took our laundry round to City Laundry & Dry Cleaning this afternoon. Were pleasantly surprised as the cost was 11RM or A$3.90 for 8 garments washed and dried and 2 dry cleaned. Will be ready at 11am tomorrow! Service with a smile.

Purchased a large knife and chopping board at little shop house for 6RM or about A$2. The cost of living IS low here.

Back at hotel for a cup of Ipoh Old Town White Coffee.