Are you thinking of travelling to Ipoh and wonder how the city measures up for digital nomads? Then this guide is for you. I was in Ipoh 2019 and fell in love with this hidden gem in Perak, Malaysia.
I have been to the tourist favourites Kuala Lumpur and Penang, and Ipoh is by far my Malaysian favourite. It’s less busy and overwhelming and has beautiful colonial architecture, quirky street art and amazing street food.
It might be Malaysia’s third biggest city with 650k inhabitants and a big stream of Malaysian tourists every year, but Ipoh is still not very known internationally.
So if you want to experience an authentic Malaysian town without tourists everywhere, then hurry up and visit Ipoh. I believe it’s just a matter of time until this becomes Malaysia’s hottest tourist destination.
In this digital nomad guide to Ipoh, I will answer these questions:
- Do I need a visa to visit Malaysia?
- What are the living costs?
- What kind of food do Malaysia eat?
- How do I best get around the city?
- Where can I work from?
Let’s get started!
Ipoh Travel Guide for Digital Nomads
Ipoh Quick Facts
- Ipoh’s biggest tourist attraction is their Buddhist limestone cave temples. Visit Perak Tong, Sam Poh Tong and Kek Lok Tong.
- The city is situated right in between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, making it an excellent stop-over option.
- Ipoh is known as the hipster capital of Malaysia.
- Just like Penang, Ipoh is well-known for their delicious food (more on this later)
Do I need a visa to visit Ipoh?
Malaysia is one of the easiest countries to travel to in Asia as a foreign visitor. Most nationalities don’t need a visa and can stay up to 3 months.
What are the living costs in Ipoh?
Just like the rest of Malaysia, Ipoh is cheap relative to Western countries. The average living cost for digital nomads is 1,119 USD a month.
Here are some other average costs, taken from NomadList:
1br studio rent in center: $1,093/month
Beer (0.5L): $2.96
As you can see, eating out is super cheap. So when you’re here you don’t really need to get a place with kitchen.
And the food is super delicious.
Which brings us to the next topic:
What food is Ipoh famous for?
No matter where you go in Malaysia, the food scene (especially the street food) will not leave you disappointed. The food is quite similar no matter where you go in the Ipoh – you see a lot of chicken dishes, noodles and skewers. A must-try when you are in Ipoh is their bean sprouts chicken and claypot chicken rice.
Ipoh is also famous for their unique white coffee. In fact, Lonely Planet named Ipoh one of the top three coffee towns in the world. The coffee beans are roasted with palm oil margarine and served with sweet condensed milk, thereby the white color.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with Malaysian classics like tau fu fah (sweet tofu pudding), cendol (a coconut mil soup with green jelly noodles.) or Malaysia’s favourite (and the world’s smelliest) fruit – the durian.
How do I best get around in Ipoh?
Depends. Old town and new town is best done by foot. Other convenient options for getting around are
- local buses – if you want to explore further than the old town and new town
- taking a Grab – for short distance trips
- local taxi – if there are no Grabs available
- renting a bicycle (Cycledios) – can be found all over Ipoh
If you’re planning on staying several months, then it might be worth renting a car or motorbike.
Where can I work from in Ipoh?
The coffee shop culture is not big in Malaysia, so if you want to get some work don outside of your accommodation then your best option is finding a co-working space.
I could only find 5 coworking spaces in Ipoh, the most popular being WorkPoint Office Rentals, Incubator4y Sdn Bhd and EDM Space. I never visited any of them, but if you go to Coworker.com you can read their reviews.
Ipoh is a beautiful and affordable place with delicious street food, beautiful cave temples and a charming old town. Just bear in mind that it’s difficult to find coffee shops to work from and that co-working spaces are limited.
This was written by Julia Lundin, an ex-Google employee turned nomad with the mission to help spiritual seekers awaken their power, create a life of freedom and step into their purpose and passion.