The city of Ipoh is located about 200 km north of Kuala Lumpur. Journey through the North South Expressway (NSE or PLUS Highway) takes a breezy 2 1/2 hours through scenic rolling valleys, palm oil plantations and limestone hills of Peninsula Malaysia. Distances from other major cities: Penang (2 hours), Johor Bharu (6 hours), Singapore (6 1/2 hours) and Kuantan (5 hours).
Ipoh Field (Padang) is encircled by four streets - Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Jalan Kelab (Club Road), Station Road and Jalan Sultan Yusuf.
Years ago, British men were seen wearing whites on the field, hitting a wicket or two (in the game of cricket, for the uninitiated). Some were then seen heading back to the exclusive Ipoh Royal Club adjacent to the padang, where the rules of "white men only" still applied.
Today, it is more of an exquisite playground for the rich and poor, brown or white. The British has long gone, taking away the rules with them. Ipoh Padang is a testimony of a common playing field that has withstood the test of time and prejudice, almost as old as the massive casuarina trees (pokok rhu) that dot parts of its periphery. It is today that the old town area surrounding the padang seems to be revitalised with a new lease of life. Some of the most intricately designed edifices in Ipoh old town reside here.
Today, citizens from all walks of life congregate at Ipoh Field for sporting activities, be it a round of rugby practice with friends and colleagues, football training or the good old jogging across the beautiful landscape. The
historic sights are aplenty, such as the FMS (Federated Malay States) Bar and Restaurant (1906) which used to be frequented by merchants and traders, the massive St Michael Institution (1912) with its proud Neo-Gothic architecture as the La Salle missionaries intended it to be (sidetrack: I went to this school for a few months back in 1986, such a memory), the India Muslim Mosque (1908) built by Sheikh Adam of South India, the old Hong Kong & Shanghai building (1931) which interestingly still hosts its so-called grand children under the HSBC Bank brand name, the colonial-themed Ipoh Court House (Mahkamah Tingi Ipoh) perched on a slope next to the Tudor-styled Royal Ipoh Club and a beautiful row of pre-war shophouses that has since been repainted and refurbished into fancy eating joints that come alive at night.
If the socialites were seen heading to the exclusive FMS Bar & Restaurant for a round of drink after an energy-sapping afternoon at Ipoh Field, locals today will not miss a chance to sip the wholesome taste of Ipoh white coffee at the fanciful Old Town Kopitiam. Indeed, Ipoh Field has seen better days during the booming era of "silver rush", yet it remains an eternal testament of the city history.
Beautiful city playground with well manicured landscaped. Exquisite display of century-old buildings.