Cave temples and other things to visit in Ipoh
Location of Ipoh
Ipoh town is located in the Perak state, which is one of the 12 states of Malaysia, situated on the Northwest of Peninsular Malaysia. Ipoh is the state capital and its administrative centre.
Perak means silver in Malay – the name was derived from the silvery tin ore that brought a lot of wealth to Ipoh town and surrounded area. Once the Kinta valley situated in Perak state contained the world’s richest tin deposits.
How to Get to Ipoh and around Ipoh
The best way is by bus from all the main towns around Malaysia, also from Cameron Highlands, or by trains from some towns it is possible as well.
To get around you don’t have to pay a taxi, the local buses go very often and are reliable. The town is easy to walk through or you can rent a bicycle in some guesthouses.
Where to stay in Ipoh
I had a friend living in Ipoh when I was there so I could stay at his pretty place. But not everyone can get so lucky. However, there are some hotels in Ipoh, too.
Things to Do in Ipoh
Railway Station – is one of the famous and most recognized buildings in Ipoh, huge white building of Moorish architecture with a flower garden in front of it.
City Hall, called Dewan Bandaraya – is another white building in neo-classical style just across the road in front of the railway station.
State Mosque – close to both Railway station and City Hall, was built in 1968 for the growing Muslim population. It covers an area of 2.6 ha and is adorned with thousands of mosaic tiles. The mosque was named after the Sultan Idris Shah II who opened it. There is a 38 m high minaret.
Birch Monument – dates back to 1909, dedicated to J.W.W. Birch, the first British resident of Perak.
Old Town buildings and Little India – very cute colourful buildings from the older era and a lot of Indian shops with a great smell of Indian spices.
Japanese Garden – next to the Perak Turf Club in Ipoh, with a pond, flowers, a Japanese house, a clock and a wooden bridge. A traditional Japanese garden.
Temples and Caves – Ipoh is located in a valley and surrounded by a huge number of limestone cliffs full of caves. In some of the caves temples were built which gives a unique value to the area. The temples started to be built in the early 19 century, are open for public every day usuaslly from 9 am to 6 pm and are free of charge. You should dress appropriately with shorts at least up to your knees and shoulders covered. Bare-foot with leaving the shoes outside the temple is mostly required. But in these temples no one will tell you anything if you keep your shoes on as sometimes it is not visible inside the temple where you walk nd it can be slippery.
Ling Seng Tong Temple – the second temple in this area, very colourful and lovely!
Sam Poh Tong Temple – is probably the most famous temple in Ipoh area, located 5 km South from Ipoh town where you can take the local bus number 66.
Kek Lok Tong Temple – located almost 1 hour walking from the T-junction before the other temples, is one of the most recent temples. It is completely diffeent from all the other temples because of its golden statues inside the cave and a huge garden with ponds at the other side of the temple (once you walk it through).
Perak Tong Temple – this temple is set in the caves of Gunung Tasek where you can take any bus from Ipoh going to Kuala Kangsar, pay 1,50 RM and just get off outside the temple. A Buddhist monk from China built this temple in 1926 and since then his family took care of it. There is a restaurant with fresh coconuts on the right side, Chinese men playing Chinese chess, or monkeys eating fruit just around the temple. Plenty of chairs and tables are at the entrance, then a 12.8-metre statue of a sitting Buddha which is one of the 40 Buddha statues that belong to the temple nowadays. It is pretty dark inside which gives it a scary and mysterious spiritual atmosphere. You can climb up the cave, it is around 450 steps to the top, where the view of Ipoh is very lovely. All the climbing up is an adventure itself as it shows you the whole cave and the parts of the temple with its statues all around the cave up to the top.
Try white coffee which Ipoh is famous for, Malay Milo drink or desserts, Chinese vegetarian restaurant where the menu offers you the same meat dishes as anywhere else, they just prepare it without the meat 🙂
But the best thing for me in Ipoh was when a friend of mine took me to a secret waterfall where we swam and drank fresh coconut.