Ipoh /ˈiːpoʊ/ is the capital city of Perak state, Malaysia. It is approximately 200 km (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur and 130 km (81 miles) south of Penang on the North-South Expressway.
Ipoh developed into one of Malaysia’s main cities around the turn of the 19th century due to the booming tin mining industry. During the British colonial era, Ipoh was Malaysia’s second city for administrative purposes. Architecturally, the city centre is characterised by Straits eclectic shop houses. There are several impressive historical buildings from the British Colonial era such as the Railway Station, the Town Hall and the Court House.
Ipoh came into existence in the 1820s as a village at the highest navigable point of the Kinta River. It was less prominent at that time compared to the early mining town of Gopeng, 20 km south of Ipoh. Following the great fire of 1892, the town was rebuilt.
From the turn of the early 20th century, when more British tin-mining companies were set up in the city, Ipoh gained greater prominence. Influential institutions such as The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China Limited opened offices in Ipoh in 1902. It provided credit to the Straits Trading Company and later the Eastern Smelting Company. More Colonial-era firms started to set up offices in the booming town such as the stockbroker Botly and Co., A.H. Whittaker & Co., Chartered Accounts, Evatt & Co., and Estate Visiting Agents Milne & Stevens.
Its geographic location in the rich tin-bearing valley of the Kinta River made it a natural centre of growth. It grew rapidly as a mining town, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. A local Hakka miner, millionaire Yau Tet-Shin started developing a large tract of the city in the early 1930s, today known as the ‘New Town’ section from the eastern bank of the Kinta River to Greentown. In 1937, Ipoh was made the capital of Perak, replacing Taiping.
Ipoh was invaded by the Japanese on 15 December 1941. In March 1942, the Japanese Civil Administration or Perak Shu Seicho had been set up at the St. Michael’s Institution. After the liberation of Malaya by British forces, Ipoh remained the capital of Perak, till this day.
Two of the largest entertainment groups then, the Cathay Organisation and Shaw Brothers Company, set up cinema chains in Ipoh.
Ipoh is in the state of Perak, which is in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The city is in the middle of the Kinta Valley, on the bank of the Kinta River and the confluence of smaller rivers, Sungai Pinji and Sungai Pari. The city is surrounded by limestone hills, which can be found around suburban areas to the northeast, east and southeast.
The Kledang mountain range stretches from the north to the west of the city. This range runs parallel to the Bintang mountain range with the Perak River flowing on its left bank and the Kinta River to its right. This range is interrupted to the north of Ipoh by a tributary of the Perak River called the Pelus River, which is sourced from the Titiwangsa mountain range, which runs to the east of Ipoh.