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Things To Do In Ipoh – First Concubine Lane

Things To Do In Ipoh – First Concubine Lane (二奶巷)

While we searched for more Mural Art In Ipoh, we spotted a particular mural art that led to the First Concubine Lane (二奶巷). We were a little clueless about what this place was all about. Upon further exploration, we discovered that this was another one of the Things To Do In Ipoh.

Not sure if this is worth your time? Then read on for more info about this market street, the trendy cafes and chic boutique hotels. Watch the video and perhaps that will convince you to drop by when you are in Ipoh, Malaysia.


First Concubine Lane (二奶巷) in Ipoh – The Video

The First Concubine Lane (二奶巷) surprised us. There were hip cafes, trendy stores, and lots of interesting shops. And this was on an off peak season.

We later understood that during the peak season, there would be so much more to see. There would be pop up stalls, and decorations were much more vibrant.

Tip: For an exciting time, visit during the peak season; such as weekends and public holidays.


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About First Concubine Lane (二奶巷)

There are actually Three Concubine Lanes in Ipoh. Or rather, one wife and two concubine lanes.

In 1892, after a fire ravaged the Old Town of Ipoh, the entire town was rebuilt. Buildings along many lanes were redesigned with shops at the ground level. A mining tycoon by the name of Yao Tet Shin purchased three of these lanes, and gave each to his wife and two concubines.

Today, Lorong Hale is the wife lane, also called Da Nai Gang (大奶巷). Lorong Panglima is the first concubine lane, also called Er Nai Gang (二奶巷). And Market Lane is San Nai Gang (三奶巷), which is the second concubine lane.

Er Nai Gang (二奶巷), which actually means First Concubine Lane.
Er Nai Gang (二奶巷), which actually means First Concubine Lane., © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

For those who understand Chinese, you may wonder why is the First Concubine Lane called Er Nai Gang, which sounds like Second Concubine Lane? This is because in Chinese  the Wife is called Da Nai (大奶), which ranks her as the first lady in the family. The First Concubine, then becomes Er Nai (二奶巷), which ranks her as the second lady in the family. But she is actually the First Concubine. Hence, the First Concubine Lane (二奶巷).

Of the three lanes, the First Concubine Lane (二奶巷) is the busiest with shops, restaurants, and even a boutique hotel. When we arrived on Friday, the lane is not too crowded. We understand that it fills up on weekends. Also, we visited during the off peak period.

Tourists taking a stroll, slowly browsing and selecting what to eat, drink and what souvenirs to buy
Tourists taking a stroll, slowly browsing and selecting what to eat, drink and what souvenirs to buy, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Tip: If you prefer to avoid the crowds, then visit on a weekday, or better still during the off peak seasons.


What’s At First Concubine Lane? (二奶巷)

The fascinating aspect of the First Concubine Lane (二奶巷) is that most of the old shop houses have been restored. At the same time, the interiors are designed in contemporary style, with a little touch of the past. So you do get the old world charm while you shop and dine in modern furnishings.

Today, you see a lot of cafes, restaurants and even boutique hotels here. Below is a photo of one of the cafes selling traditional desserts, great local coffee, and fruit ice lollies.

There are many food and beverage cafes and restaurants at Second Concubine Lane. You are spoiled for choice.
There are many food and beverage cafes and restaurants at Second Concubine Lane. You are spoiled for choice, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

Of course, as with any tourist attraction, there are the souvenir shops.

One of the souvenir shops at Second Concubine Lane, lots of interesting stuff to buy as souvenir and for friends and family
One of the souvenir shops at Second Concubine Lane, lots of interesting stuff to buy as souvenir and for friends and family, © Timotheus Lee for Asia Travel Gems

We learned later that many of the shops have very fun and innovative ways of attracting customers. Some decorate the front of the shop with unique and eye catching displays. Some decorate the upper floor windows with attractive displays, such as a large teddy bear.

Another Tip: As you explore the street, look up at the windows on the second floor. 


Where is First Concubine Lane (二奶巷)?

Look for the First Concubine Lane (二奶巷) on Lorong Panglima. Below is a map to help you find the place.

Operating Hours

7am to 7pm, Daily including Public Holidays

Address

Lorong Panglima, Concubine Ln, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

How To Get There?

By Foot

If your hotel is not too far away from this area, it is all right to find it on foot. Check with your hotel before setting off. Also, there are hot seasons. So, either take regular drinking stops at local cafes or coffee shops, or carry some water with you.

By Train

This is a small town. There are no train services. And there are no trains to this place.

By Bus

There are local buses, but information on their routes and stops are not well provided. Better to go by car, taxi or Grab.

By Car

If you drove to Ipoh, you are at an advantage. Traffic is not as heavy as cities such as Kuala Lumpur. Navigating around is easy, especially if you have Waze app.

By Taxi

They rarely go by meter. If you choose to go by taxi, sometimes it may be better to book them for the afternoon or day. This way, you can be assured of getting a ride back to the city, as and when you like it.

Tip: Negotiate and agree on a price before you take the taxi.

By Grab

This is my preferred option. One reason is that there is no need to negotiate. Another is that the price is usually reasonable and affordable. No hassles.

It is so easy to travel around in cities now because of Grab. Just download the app, state your destination, a driver is assigned to you, take the transport, and you arrive at your destination. Comfortable and easy.

I have switched to Grab for my travels within a city ever since this option became available.


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If you have ANY questions about this article, about Things To Do In Ipoh – First Concubine Lane, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,
Timotheus

6 Comments

  1. I have not been to Malaysia yet and this sounds very interesting. Your descriptions of everything are very detailed and make me want to go check this place out. What is the best time of the year to visit Ipoh when it comes to the weather?

    1. Hi Curtis! Thanks for your kind compliments on the article. Hope you enjoyed the video too?

      From November to March, the weather is a little bit more wet in Ipoh and the rest of Southeast Asia. But then again, the weather changes. I was there in January this year. While it was cloudy on certain days, amazingly the weather was hot and sunny on the days I explored the city. So, it is quite unpredictable these days.

      To be on the safe side, I would suggest visiting Ipoh from May to August. This is the hot season where the weather is mostly hot and sunny. June is the peak season though, because most schools are on summer holidays during June. So, if you go in June, hotel rates are higher and places are more crowded as families are out on vacations.

      Please do subscribe to the Best Places To Visit In Asia for updates. 🙂

  2. Ipoh sounds like a interesting place to visit. How are the prices there for hotels and food? I will be traveling to the Philippines in July, 2018. My wife is from Quezon City.

    1. Hi Joe, It is very interesting. And the prices there are very affordable. For hotels, book a room via the Agoda links here. You can get up to 67% discount on the rates. That is a really good deal. I enjoy the great rates too.
      Meanwhile, please do subscribe to the Best Places To Visit In Asia newsletter for updates. 🙂

  3. Great post on Ipoh! Havent been in 15 years but great to see that I have not seen everything there yet!

    1. Thanks Amar. Hope you visit Ipoh again soon. And when you do, please do come back to see where else and what else you can enjoy there.
      Meanwhile, please subscribe to the Best Places To Visit in Asia newsletter for updates. 🙂

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