To visit temples and caves is always a pleasure to me. And not very often I have the opportunity to visit both at the same time. So, when the hotel desk clerk suggested we should not leave Ipoh without visiting Perak Tong Cave Temple, we didn’t think twice and made a pit stop to visit what’s considered to be one of the best cave temples in Malaysia.
Usually, the kids are not so excited about visiting temples, but this one offered them a pinch of adventure, as it’s built into a large cave complex with some hidden passages and a steep set of steps up to the top of the hill.
A plaque at the right side of the stairs that led us to the entrance of the cave gave us a little explanation about the history of the temple, that was founded by Chong Sen Yee and his wife Choong Chan Yoke. They came from Jiao-Ling province of China in 1926, discovered Perak Tong and on approval from the Perak State Government, started to develop the cave temple.
After the breathtaking view of the temple’s main entrance surrounded by lush greenery, we reached the main cave with an impressive golden Buddha statue placed in its middle. The limestone cave was open and spacious but wet in certain areas and we had to be careful when walking around. The walls of the cavern are beautifully decorated with colorful hand-painted murals illustrating Chinese mythology and Buddhist scriptures.
The real adventure (and the physical activity) began when we started to climb the narrow staircase inside the cave up to the top of the hill. An old man sitting on a chair at the access to the stairway collected a voluntary donation, per person or per family, in our case. On the way up, there were a few hidden recesses and grottoes that the kids were happy to explore. At parts water dripping from the ceiling of the cave made the steps very slippery. Besides that, we all climbed without much effort up to the top of the hill.
The way up to the summit takes more than 400 steps, that can be challenging on a very hot day. After the first steps inside the cave which goes right through to the open air at the back, we reached a peaceful and cool pagoda where we could sit and rest for a moment, enjoying the breeze and the view before proceeding to the top of the limestone hill with the fantastic panoramic view.
We really enjoyed the time spent in this interesting and beautiful temple, a nice mix of religious decorations and natural structures.
It was definitely worth the visit and we would happily come back again.
Tips for visiting Perak Tong:
- Wear proper shoes as the steps can be slippery.
- We were told to be aware of the monkeys outside in the car park area, but we didn’t see any when we visited.
- The pond and landscaped garden in front of the temple is a nice place for beautiful photos.
- A parking fee (voluntary donation) was requested when we parked our car.