Hakka Miner’s Club

Hakka Miner’s Club

A glimpse into the past

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If there is one thing you should do while in Ipoh, it is to visit the Hakka Miner’s Club, set in the heart of the “Old City”.

Travelfish says:
Street frontage at Hakka Miner’s Club. : Stuart McDonald.
Street frontage at Hakka Miner’s Club. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The miner’s club was established on May 5, 1893 as a mens only club for Hakka tin miners. Within the club’s walls, miners could let their hair down. Smoking opium, gambling, and, as the museum put it “entertaining dancing girls’ were common.

In 1929 the club was rebuilt into the current structure. A substantial restoration was undertaken in 2013, creating the museum as it stands today. The museum opened in 2015.

Enjoying some downtime. : Stuart McDonald.
Enjoying some downtime. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The building is jammed with exhibits. These work to re-create not just how it must have appeared back in the day, but also to explain tin mining. Displays cover vices like opium smoking, prostitution and gambling, but also everyday activities. The rear of the ground floor includes a mock-up mining display, kitchen and street scene. It might sound a bit tacky, but the museum pulls it off well. The guiding throughout is professional and questions are encouraged—and well answered.

The other attraction is the building itself. The building has been lovingly restored, obviously with a careful attention to detail. Guides explain the challenges of the restoration, even down to repairing a light fitting.

Enjoying some downtime. : Stuart McDonald.
Enjoying some downtime. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Tours run four times a day. You can book in advance online, or just show up 15 minutes beforehand and hope to get a place. While officially free, donations of 10 ringgit per person are suggested at the end of the tour. The tour take an hour.

Contact details for Hakka Miner’s Club

Address: 3 Jl Bijeh Timah, Ipoh.
T: (05) 241 4541;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º4'44.39" E, 4º35'46.51" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Donation of 10 ringgit per person encouraged

Reviewed by

Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.

Tours in Malaysia

These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.

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