The Classic Charm of Sekeping Kong Heng
Sekeping Kong Heng is located in the heart of old Ipoh town, hidden behind the popular and busy Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng. It wasn’t easy to locate this 3 storey neo-classical building after the two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. We kept missing the location even though our GPS kept repeating “You have arrived at your destination.” Until finally it dawned on me that the name of the restaurant was similar to the hotel *smacks forehead*. We parked right in front of the restaurant and was told by the keeper that we needed to pay the parking fee using the scratch coupons. I bought a few from him and started scratching the date, day, hour, minutes. This was just adorable because it reminded me of my school days when I would help my parents to scratch and display the parking coupons on the dashboard before we went about our routine in town. Just remember that you will only need to do this for Mondays to Saturdays though as there is no fee for Sundays.
“Wake up to the heady aroma of white coffee that perfumes the air in the mornings, listen to the cacophony of banter between hawkers, go on a culinary adventure and experience living in the heart and soul of Ipoh.” – Sekeping Kong Heng
From the restaurant, we followed the brick lane which led us to a black gate. Pushing it open, our eyes laid upon the contrast of architectural charm from the past. Placing my hand on the brick walls, I followed the green moss creeping over it, up and down, once awhile bumping slightly into the twirled brown stems. The feeling is nostalgic and takes my imagination to a secret garden albeit Alice in Wonderland, except that this was Ipoh. The tall and shady trees stand hight and mighty, as if shielding this whimsical place from the urban noise that surrounds it.
After checking in downstairs, the keeper took us up to the first door explaining to us that it has to be closed all the time to avoid non hotel guests from going in and out of the building. We were given keys to the gate, to the door and to our rooms as it normally closes at 8 o’clock at night. Walking up to the first floor, I saw more green creeping crawlies on the walls making it a suitable backdrop for random photoshoots. Unlocking the padlock to our door, we pushed it open to this nicely done up ‘unfinished’ room with its’ preserved old character and charm from the past. From the halfway painted walls to the wooden louvred windows, the owner tried to retain the old charm as much as possible. It was simply cosy for me and felt like home.
“Testimony to Ipoh’s decadent past, Kong Heng was used as a hostel to house theatre performers who performed in the adjacent theatre building that was burnt down in the 50s. Now rejuvenated, it is hoped that Sekeping Kong Heng will be able to offer guests a slice of history within a real old town setting which is alive, working and real.” – Sekeping Kong Heng
Such a cosy little place.
Before booking a room here, we were informed that some people may not find it comfortable to sleep in a rustic place like this because of the creaking wood flooring and the mosquitoes buzzing about. We didn’t have any problem with any of those mentionable things. Yes the floorings did creak even when you’re walking on tip toe. We were quite conscious on keeping the noise low and being as quiet as possible since the floor below us might feel annoyed with all the tapping sound. There weren’t much mosquitoes too, probably because we switched on the fan at full blast. It can also get pretty cold at night so make sure you tuck into the warm blanket and snooze off peacefully until dawn.
Exploring the Rest of Sekeping Kong Heng
All the way up the stairs is a large common area filled with bean bags, wire mesh chairs, comfortable sized cushions and sleeping hammocks. The TV is also placed here to allow residents to mingle or hang out during their free time. There’s also a sizeable kitchen with coffee, tea and water should you need a quick hot drink before bed. This is where I sat while updating the blog entries and editing photos. With the fan swirling above and the cool wind blowing from outside, one can find such solace and inspiration in this common area. There is also a dorm room which fits 6 people for a weekend slumber party away from town. Imagine having late night girlie sessions here with your friends.
Waking Up To The Smell Of Coffee
Waking up in the morning to the sound of pots and pans cling clanging with each other, together with the strong aromatic coffee lingering into our room was a contrast to the digital alarm clocks on our handphones. It was different yet pleasant. Just a few feet away from the hotel lies the common library area where books all sorts of books from the past to present is available for your reading pleasure. Sit on the chairs provided with a book in hand or walk a few more feet towards the art gallery area housed in another unfinished building with trees growing on the walls. The feeling takes you back more than a decade while the open roof seeps in enough sunlight touching the art pieces ever so elegantly. The rest of the stay is really enjoyable and the people manning the hotel from the keeper to the gardener were ever so friendly that it just feels like your own home away from home.
Here’s how to reach them:
|Name:||Sekeping Kong Heng|
|Address:||75, Jalan Panglima, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia|
|Closest Station:||Ipoh (via ETS)|
|Contact:||+6 012 227 2745|
|Check-In Times:||2:00 pm|
|Check-Out Times:||12:00 pm|
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.