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Home to good food and beautiful scenery, Ipoh has been fostering quite the happening café scene over the years.

One relatively new destination cafe here is Coffee Camp 612. Opening their doors in January 2023, this space merges coffee with a camping theme, filled with lush greenery and even… reptiles?

The founder is Wong Ru Ing, an Ipoh local. She described herself as an ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) dropout who had worked as a junior account executive for five years.

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

But that’s not the only work experience she’s got under her belt. For more than two years, she ran her own online business.

Entrepreneurship runs in the family too, and Ru Ing has been helping out with her family’s nursery in Lahat, Perak.  

“So from there, I got the confidence to venture into a cafe business.”

Camp meets coffee meets wildlife

Located at Kinta Riverwalk Ipoh in the Taman Istana area, Ru Ing said that the lot Coffee Camp 612 inhabits used to be a Tourism Perak office. Now, she rents the spot from Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh.

She revealed that the startup capital to start and renovate the space was roughly around RM150,000.

“Most of the capital [is] from my own savings,” she said. “My sister and my (now) ex-boyfriend helped me with the balance.”

For those curious about the number “612”, Ru Ing shared it’s an inside reference for her family.

The space merges Ru Ing’s own interests—nature, coffee, and camping. She shared that she’s been a nature lover since she was young, having dealt with plants and animals while helping her family at the nursery.

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

Another element that makes Coffee Camp 612 a unique visit is its reptiles, of course. These animals are not owned by Ru Ing, though. Rather, they have been borrowed from QT Pet Shop Ipoh Parade.

Mainly featuring reptiles, the animals who usually live in Coffee Camp 612 include a corn snake, a Pacman frog, a bearded dragon, a sulcata tortoise, and blue tongue skinks.

“If any of our customers are interested in the animals, we would arrange with QT Pet shop for purchasing,” Ru Ing shared.

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

Being an F&B establishment, a major concern would be contamination and hygiene. To that, Ru Ing assured that they have obtained the “Program Keselamatan Kualiti Makanan” certificate from the Ministry of Health of Malaysia.

“I also got the letter from the Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh to have these animals in my premise, since my idea was to educate people, especially kids, to love and care for exotic animals,” she informed us.

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

Besides, the team usually does not let the animals out of their cages, unless interested customers want to hold the animals.

The animals and their cages are also cleaned every day, mainly by Ru Ing herself, who makes sure staff who are uncomfortable with animals don’t have to deal with them.

Bringing outdoors indoors

To create the unique camp-like aesthetic, Ru Ing brought in her sister, who is a landscape architect based in Shanghai.

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

While her sister helped with the plant arrangements, Ru Ing herself worked on decorating the space, which took about three to four months.

“Those plants, I got them from Bee Hin Nursery which is owned by my family,” she proudly shared.

She also got help from her chef friend to develop the menu. Some of the bestselling drinks here include the Osmanthus Latte, Yuri Matcha Latte, Hojicha Latte, Iced Lychee Rose, Peach Jolly Tea, and Oreo Frappe.

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

Meanwhile, popular main courses are the Spaghetti with Smoked Duck, Chicken Chop (with Black Pepper or Mushroom Sauce), and Mushroom Soup with Garlic Toast.

Those who aren’t looking for a full meal can also snack on Salted Popcorn Chicken, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Cheesy Spicy Wedges, Chicken Nuggets, and French Fries.

Ru Ing shared that all ingredients used in the cafe are sourced from halal suppliers.

A new dream

When asked about what motivated her to open her own cafe, Ru Ing candidly shared, “I would say that my inspiration to start this cafe was to make more money to get married. But end up, it didn’t happen as planned.”

Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

Since then, she has pivoted to be a source of inspiration for young women, showing them how they don’t need to feel scared about starting something new, such as entrepreneurship.

“I did not have experience in the F&B field, but I took this as a challenge to start this business,” she shared. “To be honest, Coffee Camp 612 has helped me get more new friends and new ideas to overcome challenges.”

Although she shared that it’s not easy to open a new business and have it survive, Ru Ing has now made it through the first year of Coffee Camp 612, and she is persistent about sustaining it for years to come.

  • Learn more about Coffee Camp 612 here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about F&B businesses here.

Featured Image Credit: Coffee Camp 612

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)