5 Stunning Cave Temples to Visit in Ipoh

Perak

The city of Ipoh is famously known for its remarkable limestone hills. Nestled amongst the foothills of these limestone mountains, are multiple cave temples that are specially built to coexist with nature. At first glance, you will spot many towering yet elegant statues, which majestically represent the Buddhist religion, filling these temples. Each institution boasts outstanding architecture that is unique to every temple, placing these sacred stops high on the list of any travel itinerary.

Sam Poh Tong Temple

Known as the biggest cave temple in Malaysia, Sam Poh Tong is the temple to visit for both tourists and locals alike. ‘Sam Poh Tong’ can be directly translated from the Cantonese dialect into English, meaning the ‘Cave of Triple Gems’. The temple features an array of majestic Buddha statues, which are intricately handcrafted and can be easily spotted as you journey through the temple. Don’t forget to venture all the way to the back of the temple for a glorious view of picturesque hills and blue skies. At the back also, sits one more temple and is home to Japanese tortoises that walk around freely within their enclosure.

In addition, a beautiful ornamental garden is situated at the entrance of the Sam Poh Tong. This garden was awarded the best landscaped garden in Malaysia in 1993.  Here, you will find a large fish pond, populated with goldfishes to represent longevity. What makes this garden extra unique are the small islands that can be found along the pond. Each island features artificial rock formations that resemble the Huangshan mountains in China. Along the pond also, try spotting intricately carved Japanese stone lanterns that add to the beauty of the area.

Sam Poh Tong temple is conveniently located at the foothills of Gunung Rapat in Ipoh, which is fairly easy to get to. If you are driving , head south to Simpang Pulai from Jalan Gopeng and you will find bright and vibrant temples on your left. To reach Sam Poh Tong, use the slip road behind the pomelo stalls opposite Hillcity Hotels. For a public transport  alternative, visitors can also take the bus number 66 from the Public Bank Stop on Jalan Sultan Idris Shah to the Gunung Rapat Hiong Piah stop, which is located just five minutes from the temple’s entrance. Visitors can also opt for taxis and e-hailing services to get here. The temple is open from Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM with free admission.

Perak Tong Cave Temple

Another must-visit is the Perak Tong Cave Temple, which is situated in Gunung Tasek, Ipoh.

Built in a cave, the Perak Tong Cave Temple has an iconic golden statue of the Buddha that stands over 40-feet high, and is surrounded by four other guardian deities, who are fondly known to be goddesses.

Inside the temple, you will find 358 steps behind the main altar, which lead to different nooks and crannies of the cave that feature different statues from the Buddhist religion. The entire cave is filled with elegant pavilions and gazebos with a scenic view from above. To explore the cave a little more, climb the 450 steps to reach the top of the limestone hill, where you can capture a panoramic view of the city. Lastly, don’t miss out on appreciating colourful and vibrant murals along the walls of the temple that tell the story and characters of the Chinese community and Buddhist scriptures.

The Perak Tong Cave Temple is located at Gunung Tasek, which is situated  on the northern outskirts of Ipoh, near Taman Loke Lim and Taman Permai. For those driving  to the temple, head to the Ipoh Utara Interchange from the North-South Expressway. Those opting for  public transport  can hop onto bus number 35, which heads towards Kuala Kangsar, and stops at Taman Tembok. Visitors can also book taxis or any e-hailing services to reach the temple. The temple is open daily from  8:00 AM to 5:00 PM with free admission.

Kek Look Tong Temple

Another famous highlight built amongst limestone hills is the Kek Look Tong Temple. This magnificently vast temple showcases countless Buddha statues as well as other prominent Chinese deities. Kek Look Tong translates to mean the ‘Cave of Ultimate Bliss’ or ‘Great Happiness’. This great temple was used as a place of worship since the 1920s and to this day, many people still travel to the cave to pray.

 

As you journey through the temple, head up to the second storey and journey towards the back of the cave, where you will be welcomed with a majestic view of the luscious greenery that surrounds the hill.

This award-winning garden offers a variety of activities that you can freely partake in. From the longest foot reflexology in Ipoh to a jogging lane that spans around two lakes, you will be able to enjoy a healthy stroll or a calming visit during your time here. There is also a boat ride, which you can hop on that will bring you around the lakes and the limestone hills. Along the jogging lane too, is where visitors can enjoy a slow stroll whilst admiring a line-up of miniature statues of the Buddhist religion.

Kek Look Tong Temple is also located within the Gunung Rapat area. The temple is open daily from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM with free admission. Unfortunately, there are no public transport services that can take you directly here. Hence, the only option to reach Kek Look Tong Temple is by driving or booking a taxi or an e-hailing service.

Ling Sen Tong Temple

 

The perfect place to learn more about Taoism is Ling Sen Tong, which is a Taoist temple. Conveniently located right next to the Sam Poh Tong temple, Ling Seng Tong can also be found at the foot of the many limestone hills in Ipoh. The temple’s name can be loosely translated to the ‘Rock of Heavenly Spirits’. Living up to its name, are various statues around the temple paying homage to its meaning. Here, you will find statues of different deities, animals and other Chinese folklore placed at the entrance of the temple.

Similar to other temples in the area, there is a beautiful garden at the centre of the entrance, which is decorated with colourful statues representing Chinese mythology characters against a backdrop of beautiful and bright flowers and plants. Look no further than this garden for a dose of serenity or a place to capture some of the most vibrant, breathtaking pictures.

Similar to Sam Poh Tong Temple, Ling Sen Tong Temple can be found at the foothills of Gunung Rapat as well. To get here, drive along Jalan Gopeng and head towards Simpang Pulai. The slip road that leads you to the temple can be found behind the pomelo stalls, which are located directly opposite Hillcity hotel. Those who wish to take public transport  can board the Perak Transit bus to the Gunung Rapat bus stop. You can always opt for taxi and e-hailing services for a smoother and easier journey. Ling Sen Tong Temple is open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM with free admission.

Wat Puthanimittam

Last but not least, is an iconic Thai temple in Ipoh not to be missed. Wat Puthanimittam is a large temple that is home to one of the tallest Buddha statues in Malaysia. The Shakyamuni Buddha statue sits elegantly in a lotus position at the heart of the temple grounds, stretching over 10 metres in height.

Here, is where you will spot the famous sleeping or reclining Buddha. Situated just behind the Shakyamuni Buddha statue is where you will see the ‘sleeping Buddha’ which is covered in gold, and is respectfully placed on top of an altar.

There is also a smaller temple that can be found near the entrance. Here, several Thai Buddha statues are lined up along the outside walls.

The Wat Puthanimittam temple is nestled within the quiet residential area of Taman Kemuncak in Ipoh. Unfortunately, there are no public transport services that will take you directly here. The best option is to drive or opt for taxis and e-hailing services. Admission is also free to explore the wonders of the Wat Puthanimittam temple.


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