Ipoh is the capital city of the state of Perak in Malaysia and the country’s third largest city. For us, the city’s true beauty lies in its natural surroundings. Just 5kms from the city you’ll find picturesque limestone mountains dotted with dramatic cave temples. We visited some of the most popular: Sam Poh Tong Temple, Ling Sen Tong Temple and Perak Tong Temple.
Each temple offered something unique and we enjoyed them all, but if I had to pick, I’d probably choose Sam Poh Tong Temple for its beautiful garden.
Sam Poh Tong Temple
As you enter Sam Poh Tong the garden will be on the right and the temple straight ahead. We debated where to begin our tour, but we ultimately couldn’t resist the draw of the garden. As you can see from the photos above, it’s ethereal.
If you continue on, you will enter a courtyard garden that includes a turtle pond and another building that looks very intriguing, but that was off limits when we were visiting.
Next, we walked a short distance to Ling Sen Tong Temple. If you could only use 2 words to describe this temple, they’d likely be incense and color.
Ling Sen Tong Temple
The central courtyard is filled with mix of statues, including representations of the Chinese Zodiac on a human scale. The cave itself was not as large or extensive as Sam Poh Tong and it can be a bit overwhelming, if you aren’t used to heavy use of incense.
On a separate day, we visited the Perak Tong Temple. It was massive. To give you some idea of the scale, take a look at the photo below. Do you see the two people at the foot of the painting? Yeah, huge.
Perak Tong Temple
Entering the temple grounds there is a garden area with a pond and then stairs leading to the facade and temple entrance.
As you walk into the temple cave itself, you will find yourself in a cavern decorated with giant statuary and several wall paintings.
It’s fascinating to explore the cave itself and the grounds offer an opportunity to hike to the top of the exterior where you’ll find a wonderful view. It is quite a steep climb and the heat and humidity don’t make it any easier. Be sure to bring plenty of water and take breaks.
We spent 2 weeks at the M Boutique Hotel in Ipoh where we could easily explore the city’s heritage trail, many British Colonial era buildings, and its famous food.