Ipoh cave temples are an integral part of Ipoh. Just like how strawberry farms are to Cameron Highlands!
The structure of these temples is unique as they are partially built into limestone hills which are the key geographical feature of Ipoh besides the Kinta River!
And apart from the cave temples, there are caves that are open to the public for visits! Come check them out the next time you travel to Ipoh!
Table of Contents:
- Perak Cave Temple
- Kek Lok Tong Ipoh
- Sam Poh Tong Temple
- Ling Sen Tong Temple
- Guanyin Cave
- Dong Hua Cave Temple
- Tambun Cave
- Tempurung Cave
- The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
9 Top Ipoh Cave Temples
Align your body, mind and spirit by visiting these temples!
1. Perak Cave Temple
Perhaps the most famous one of all Ipoh’s cave temples:
Perak Cave Temple is impressive right from your first look at it! Its symmetrical architecture and central staircase makes it look like a grand Chinese-style mansion!
Not to mention, the magnificent limestone cliffs surrounding it!
Once inside, you can admire the stone formations that are the interior walls of the temple as well as the beautiful paintings that hang on them!
And if you can muster the energy:
You can climb all the way to the very top of the temple where you get a lovely view of Ipoh city below!
2. Kek Lok Tong Ipoh
Next on the list is Kek Lok Tong:
Similar name to the one in Penang but Ipoh’s Kek Lok Tong looks completely different and is less flashy than the other temples in Ipoh!
The inconspicuous outer appearance belies a magnificent cavern with benches and Buddhist and Taoist statues! It’s significantly cooler in the cave than outside.
There’s a total of 12 acres in the whole compound – Complete with a well-maintained garden at the back of the temple!
And now, visitors can take a paddle boat ride down the river outside of the cave temple. Or cycle around the cave to take in the scenery.
3. Sam Poh Tong Temple
Somewhere along a secluded road in Gunung Rapat and roughly 5 to 6km from Ipoh Old Town:
Sam Poh Tong temple sits quietly, backed against a limestone hill.
The caves of Sam Poh Tong serve as a resting place for ancestors, with plaques and urns for cremation ashes.
A beautiful landscaped garden with a fish pond will catch your eye first followed by a white marble entrance!
You can go through the temple via a natural tunnel that leads out to the back where there is an incredible up-close view of the limestone hill and a tortoise pond!
Have a fun family time by feeding the tortoises at the pond. Pay for the feed (e.g., fresh vegetables sold by the temple attendants inside), and you will be greeted by a large swarm of tortoises.
4. Ling Sen Tong Temple
If you’re making a visit to Sam Poh Tong, you will pass by Ling Sen Tong Temple first!
And this one’s hard to miss with its typical bright Taoist colors!
The temple is small in comparison to its neighbors:
But it has a large open-air courtyard with statues and murals of various Taoist religious figures.
Including the Goddess Kuan Yin who is the main deity here, and characters from Chinese folklore!
There is a pond and a garden with a large reclining Buddha too.
Because of their proximity to each other, you should combine a visit to Ling Sen Tong Temple together with a visit to Sam Poh Tong!
5. Guanyin Cave
More than 100 years old, Kwan Yin Tong is 10 minutes’ drive away from the previous two cave temples!
There are around 70 or so Goddess Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) here as well as a pond that is made to resemble a Japanese wishing fountain with stepping stones to cross to the other side.
The main chamber utilizes the natural formation of Guanyin Cave and only the floor has been tiled up.
It’s all too easy to miss the stairs just by the side of the temple. These lead to a platform with a hefty Buddha statue in a seated position.
Couples who want a different scenery from a registration office can choose to get married here. As there are marriage registration services available!
6. Dong Hua Cave Temple (东华洞)
You will have to climb up to this red temple that looks like it’s embedded into the face of a limestone hill.
However, the steep climb up is worth the panoramic views (and exercise) especially in the early morning when it’s not that hot yet!
The cooling chamber of the cave temple is peaceful and calm. Hardly any tourists come here so you’ll get to enjoy the serenity alone.
And thus, the chamber is a nice and cosy location to visit after ascending up the cave side.
Plus, you can only see the impressive 100-year-old massive stalactite hanging from the cave’s ceiling from inside the temple!
Hardly any tourists come here so you’ll get to enjoy the serenity alone.
7. Tambun Cave (Gua Tambun)
Hidden from view behind an army base:
Tambun cave is one of Ipoh’s best-kept secrets!
It takes some effort to find the place and reach the prehistoric cave drawings on the cliff side of a limestone hill so be prepared!
The paintings are well over a thousand years old so many of them are quite faded. But you don’t need to have an archaeologist background to be able to pick out a few!
How To Get To Tambun Cave
- Just before entry point for the North-South highway, is a small Caltex gas station (on your right) as you’re coming from town.
- You’ll have to make a U-turn to enter the Caltex gas station.
- Park your car at the gas station past the pumps to the corner on the right.
- Walk to the back of the gas station around a fence (see where those horse trailers are in the photo below?)
- There will be a guard and a gate for a private road (just tell the guard you’re going to see Gua Tambun).
- And then you just turn left after passing the gate.
- Walk through a field following a red line painted on the perimeter.
- Cross a small drain/stream to a dirt path. Parts of the trail can be very muddy after some rain!
- The path runs along the limestone hills until you reach the a wooden rest area beside some stairs.
- The stairs (~120 steps) are steep and covered with leaves which can be dangerous if you’re not watching your step!
- At the top of the stairs, you’ll see graffiti but walk towards the right and look up. And you’ll see the cave paintings!
After seeing the cave paintings, you’ll definitely work up a thirst! Cool off at one of Ipoh’s many cafes!
8. Tempurung Cave
Better known as Gua Tempurung:
This astounding geographical marvel lies south of Ipoh in Gopeng.
To explore the cave, there 4 tours you can choose from as visitors aren’t allowed in on their own!
- Tour 1 – Golden Flowstone (4 hours, easy)
- Tour 2 – Top of the World (2 hours, moderate difficulty)
- Tour 3 – Top of the World and Short River Adventure (3 hours, moderate difficulty)
- Tour 4 – Grand Tour (3.5 hours, challenging)
You can see more details on the tours at our separate post for Gua Tempurung.
Remarks: Tours 3 and 4 will involve wading through the underground river and require a minimum of 8 pax before the tour can start for the day!
9. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
You might be wondering why a resort is in this list but we’ll explain presently.
The Banjaran Hotsprings Resort in Tambun is famous for many things:
- Massage and spa services
- Their hot pools
- 5-star resort status
- Gorgeous scenery (serene location)
- Luxurious villas
- Fat price tags
- And so on!
But did you know that you can have a fine dining experience like no other at their restaurant, Jeff’s Cellar?
This unusual Ipoh fine dining restaurant is set in a limestone cave where strategically placed lighting brings out the most of the natural cave interior!
Jeff’s Cellar also houses a private wine collection that is open for viewing and wine tasting every day from 6pm to 11pm.
Other than Jeff’s Cellar, you can also see other caves at The Banjaran Hotsprings Resort like their steam and meditation caves!
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How To Get To These Cave Temples
If you’ve only staying in Ipoh for a while, plan your itinerary accordingly to include at least one of these!
A few of them are close to each other but don’t let that be your deciding factor to visit them! Quality is better than quantity!
By the way, some of these aren’t that easy to find or get to so if you need some help:
You can book a private tour to take you to these places and give you more local insight at the same time!
It would take you a few days (maybe even a week!) to see all the beautiful temples in Ipoh!
And each one has something that sets it apart from the others!
So we’ve made it easier for you to select the best ones with this list!
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