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A Cave Temple With Mountain Backdrop and A Beautiful Garden

sam poh tong temple

What tourists said about the Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple in Ipoh, Perak

“The elusive reclining Buddha”

A must visit. Don’t get misled by the first temple at the entry to the road or for that mayer the second one. Lim Seng Tong is resplendent in the brightest color but the natural beauty is completely lost. Good photo opportunity though.

Down the road is Nam Ting Tong which is definitely more natural and houses some impressive status of the Chinese gods and warriors. But the best of them all is Sam Poh Tong.

The miniature rock garden at the entrance is breathtaking. The rocks seem to be floating on water and each of them have miniatures embedded in them. Try spotting the turtle in the water.

The highlight of the cave seems to be the statue of the reclining Buddha which despite its impressive size is the most difficult to spot. Do not miss the turtle pond where locals feed turtles and your see many of them in all shapes and sizes.

The pond is a bit pathetic and doesn’t seem fit to house so many of them but the serenity of the spot with a colorful pagoda in the backdrop is definitely worth the trip.

sam poh tong cave temple

The entrance at the Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple.

“A very old cave temple that is worth a visit”

This temple has a lovely landscaped pond. Good for photographers or if you want to do some portrait shoots. Make sure you visit the tortoise pond area and be awed by a beautiful building with detailed architecture.

Buy some tomatoes from the temple caretaker to feed the tortoise.

Temple closes at 3.30pm….so if you are a photographer, be there early and be prepared to spend a few hours with your camera there.
Visited December 2014

“Mountain backdrop”

Easy to find just outside centre of Ipoh. Very photogenic with the gardens colours against the mountains. Some good paintings on inside walls.

Some places to sit and enjoy tranquility, although I imagine can get busy at festival and weekends.

sam poh tong cave temple

The cave temple is a signature tourist destination in the country.

“Amazing garden”

The garden at the front of this temple is very cool. There are bonsai trees and a miniture “world” made on the lake out of rock formations – a lot of thought has gone into this.

A lot of people were just walking past this but if you take the time to look it really is very clever. Inside the temple is clean and ok – then you go out the back which has an amazing old Chinese building there (looks deserted) and a pond full of turtles which you can feed – well, you can throw food through the bars of the enclosure (it’s a bit sad).

It is very dirty and not well kept which is a real shame as it really is quite beautiful. It is still worth a visit all the same. There are lots of stray dogs and quite a few beggars at the front. It is free to enter so do not pay them anything. It is a shame that they don’t charge a couple of dollars per person and get those beggars cleaning!

Visited September 2014

sam poh tong cave temple

What a view inside the cave temple!

“Sam Poh Tong and neighbouring Cave Temples”

Leaving Ipoh we could not find where to get the public bus so used a taxi to get there, it took about 10 mins to get there from Ipoh and cost 12 Ringits. There are 3 Temples next to each other and it is easy to get from one to the other.

We started at Sam Poh Tong, the garden at the front was beautiful with many photo opportunities. The Cave Temple was interesting, you walk through to the back and down a passage to get out into the outside area where the turtles are swimming in a small enclosed pond.

Don’t bother buying a bunch of vegetables for them, at the gate, they have been given so much that they are totally disinterested in being fed any more!

Next door we visited Nam Toh Yuen (from GoogleMap) but named Tokong Nam Thean Tong at the gate. Inside the temple was similar to the others but again the gardens were very pleasant.

Our attention was also drawn to the cliffs to the right of the temple where it appears that a large face of a Buddha has been engraved, but it is in fact natural, also you can see “an elephant” and a “hand”.

One of the small shops below has a newspaper article and photos on display which helps you find these images.

Finally we walked through the gardens to Ling Sen Tong. This was very, very colourful with many statues and images outside. Inside the temple was similar to the others with much burning of incense.

Overall it was well worth the visit, the temples were all fairly looked after and maintained. It was very quiet with only a few other tourists. There was not the rubbish / litter that had spoilt our visits to other temples.

As other people have commented there is little information available,it is very interesting to watch what is going on, but is not possible to understand the religious significance.

There were no taxis about as we left, but we walked back to the main road and turned right towards Medan Gopeng. As it was the main road to Ipoh we thought it would be possible to catch a bus, in fact a taxi stopped and we got a quick return to Ipoh for 15 Ringits.

Visited February 2014

Source: Tripadvisor

sam poh tong cave temple

A living hall inside the temple.

About Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple

The biggest cave temple in Malaysia is undoubtedly the Sam Poh Tong temple located in Gunung Rapat which is about 5km south of Ipoh.

The cave temple is a famous landmark in Perak and it’s a well known tourist destination among the locals.

Reason to visit Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple

The attractions of Sam Poh Tong temple lie in the impressive art work and the various Buddha statues sitting among the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave.

Moreover, you will feel a sense of openness and calm when you are in the temple. It’s believed that the cave temple has good feng sui.

sam poh tong cave temple

The tranquil environment surrounding the cave temple.

Origin of the cave temple

The cave was discovered in 1890 by a monk from China. The monk found out about the cave when he was passing by Ipoh.

He decided to make the cave his home and a place for meditation after discovering that the cave was an ideal place to practice Buddhism.

He had stayed inside the cave for over 20 years until his death. Since then the cave has become an ideal place for religious practice.

sam poh tong cave temple

Excellent escape from city life.

What to see at the cave temple

Other attraction of Sam Poh Tong includes a 246-steps staircase which will lead you to an open are with excellent view of Ipoh and its surrounding.

The climb will take about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your stamina.

It will be quite a strenuous climb for children and senior citizens as the steps are quite steep in some areas.

There is also a Japanese pond with Japanese carps and tortoises. The pond represents symbol of longevity.

Once inside the cave, you will definitely be amazed by the artistic works of man and nature which is a combination of beautifully carved statues of Buddha sitting among the amazing stalagmites and stalactites.

sam poh tong view

A view overlooking the city.

Practical tips for visitors

Sam Poh Tong is basically a place of worship. Therefore, to make your visit more meaningful, you can time your visit during Buddhism festivals like Wesak Day which usually falls on May.

There will be a vibrant celebration at the temple during Wesak Day. You will have the chance to see how the locals celebrate Wesak Day.

Besides, you can also time your visit on the 1st or 15th of every month in the Chinese calendar when devotees will usually make special offering and prayers during these days.

sam poh tong buddha

Buddha inside the cave.

Getting to Sam Poh Tong temple

Sam Poh Tong temple is located at Gunung Rapat, about 5km south of Ipoh. Refer to the map below for driving direction and location.

Lodging and Accommodations

You can find plenty of accommodations which range from the budget motels to 5 stars hotels in downtown Ipoh.

sam poh tong cave temple

Buddha statues are everywhere inside the temple.

Popular Attractions in Perak That You Might Be Interested

  • Gua Tempurung – These ancient caves stretch over a kilometer from the south of Sungai Siput to Kuala Dipang and comprise of five domes with ceilings that resemble coconut shells with various formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Pangkor Island – Pangkor Island is one of the most highly rated tourist destinations in Malaysia. It’s located in West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The attractions of the island lies in its Pangkor Laut Resort which has been featured in top tourist websites.
  • Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill) – Bukir Larut is located in the town of Taiping. It’s the only well known highland resort around this area. This highland offers cool temperate climate for those who like to escape the heat of the city. There are some hotels located at the top of the hill for those who like to spend a night there.
  • Adventure at Ulu Chepor – Once in a while, it’s refreshing to uncover a hidden gem with such great potential for eco-tourism. Ulu Chepor is unpretentious and untainted by the bane of commercialization.
  • Lost World of Tambun – This exciting water theme park features a wave pool, natural hot spring, children’s area as well as tube slides and speed coasters.
  • Kinta Valley Limestone Hills – I visited this place on the way to KL. Really awesome place to get refreshed your mind.Ambient inside the cave temple is a place where you can set aside my ever-tiring soul. This place simply offers a different ambient and calm you down.

Photo credits: tian yake, chee.hong , mario_ruckh, Bryn Pinzgauer, Colin Goh, lets.book.

Driving Direction, Map and Location of Sam Poh Tong Temple

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