The one place people tell you to go to when you’re visiting Ipoh? Concubine Lane! It’s part of the Old Town, and it’s a place that’s completely steeped in history, culture, and fun things to do. Otherwise known as Yee Lai Hong or Mistress Lane, this area is over a century old, and it’s jam-packed with preserved shophouses that are now souvenir shops, boutique cafes and cute restaurants, and there are plenty of pop-up stalls and murals. Concubine Lane is actually split into three, and they’re all filled to the brim with old-world charm and nooks and crannies that are perfectly picture-worthy.
Why is it Called “Concubine Lane”?
Back in the old days, a fire destroyed the old town in 1892. In 1908, the town was then rebuilt with lanes of shops, and a mining tycoon called Yao Tet Shin gifted three lanes to his three wives, as well as the rights to collect payments from the shops of their respective lanes. We love a fair sugar daddy.
Most people think that the main Concubine Lane as we know it actually belonged to the first wife’s lane, but it’s actually the second wife, as the first wife was known as the actual wife, and the second wife as the mistress, AKA the Concubine. The three lanes are as follows:
1. Wife Lane: AKA Lorong Hale
2. Concubine Lane: AKA Lorong Panglima
3. Second Concubine Lane: AKA Market Lane
Though Concubine Lane used to house mistresses of British officers and rich Chinese tycoons, as well as brothels and opium and gambling dens, Concubine Lane is now very bustling for very different reasons, which we shall explore down below.
How to Get to Concubine Lane
Concubine Lane is located right smack dab in the middle of Ipoh’s Old Town, and it’s fairly easy to get to. It’s within a walkable range if you’re staying at any of the accommodations in Old Town.
By car: You can drive to Concubine Lane, but most people wouldn’t recommend it as there’s very little street parking, and the parking fees will add up as you’ll most likely spend quite a few hours there. We’d suggest just taking a Grab.
By train: Concubine Lane is about a 10-minute walk from Ipoh train station via the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, or it’s an RM5 Grab ride.
By bus: From the Ipoh Terminal Amanjaya bus station, the Grab fare to Concubine Lane will be about RM12 to RM20, and the journey will take between 15 to 20 minutes.
Best Things To Do In Concubine Lane, Ipoh
1. Grab a Butterbeer at Platf9rm Coffee & Brew Cafe
Haven’t received your Hogwarts acceptance letter yet? Not to worry, just visit Platf9rm Coffee & Brew Cafe for a sprinkle of magic! This quirky bakery cafe is known for its Hogwarts themed decoration in every nook and cranny you look, and we adore how committed they are to the theme. Apart from drinks and pastries, this cute cafe also offers wizadry robes and hats for you to dress up in and take cute pictures with. However, we don’t recommend your run straight onto through the doorways; this isn’t Platform 9 3/4 after all. And yes, muggles are allowed here.
For more information, click here.
|22, Panglima Lane, 30000 Ipoh, Perak
|Weekdays: 11.30am – 6.30pm
Weekends: 11am – 6.30pm
2. Check Out Cool Murals and Street Art
Everywhere I go I keep a picture of…? The street art and murals at Concubine Lane! Just kidding, although the street art at Concubine Lane is plentiful and definitely deserves space in your photo album. This particular one, simply known as the Trishaw 3D mural at Concubine Lane 3 was created by famed Ernest Zacharevic, who also happens to be married to the second winner of Asia’s Next Top Model, Sheena Liam. There are tons of street art all around Concubine Lane and Old Town, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a signboard at Concubine Lane that shows a map of all the art.
3. Try All the Street Food
@bestfoodmy Viral Food @ Concubine Lane Ratings! These are just our personal opinions 😝 📍 Concubine Lane, Ipoh #myfoodie #malaysiafood #makanlokal #ipoh #ipohfoodie ♬ cupid – ❀ ⌗ aura
The internet went crazy for the viral raindrop cake, and you can try it for yourself and see if it’s worth they hype right at Concubine Lane. Ipoh is famous for its food, and you would definitely be amiss if you didn’t check out at least a stall or two while you’re at Concubine Lane. Besides the raindrop cake, there’s also fruit juices that you’ll definitely relish after being in the hot sun all day, rainbow cheese toast, tanghulu, and plenty of other snacks to whet your appetite.
4. Bring Back Home Some Souvenirs
Did you really go to Concubine Lane if you didn’t snag a few souvenirs to bring home to your family and friends? There are tons of shops and stalls in the area that are filled to the brim with keepsakes, mementos, and trinkets that will serve as adorable reminders that you have, in fact, been to Concubine Lane at Ipoh. Even if nothing catches your fancy, wandering around souvenir shops is still one of the best things to do in Concubine Lane as there are plenty of things to discover.
5. Reminisce about Nostalgic Snacks
Trust us, you’ll want to drop by Lim Hong Yuen Confectionary, it’s like an asian version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. This confectionary has all the asian snacks you can think of, from biscuits, chips, and candies to even white coffee packets and teas. PS: Ipoh is famous for their white coffee, if you didn’t know. This is also a great spot to reminisce about all the sweet treats and junk food you used to eat as a kid, like the nostalgic White Rabbit candy. Besides, you can’t miss Lim Hong Yuen Confectionary; it’s right at the entrance of Concubine Lane.
For more information, click here.
|70, Jalan Bandar Timah 3000, Ipoh, Perak
|8am – 6pm daily