Located in Gunung Rapat, about three miles (five kilometers) south of Ipoh, Sam Poh Tong is thought to be the largest cave temple in Malaysia. Local lore tells of a Chinese monk who was passing through Ipoh in 1890 when he discovered the cave and decided to stop and meditate there. According to the legend, he remained in the cave for 20 years until his death.
The temple structure in its current form dates back to the 1950s, and to this day, it remains a place where Buddhist monks and nuns come to meditate. A series of 246 steps lead you up to the mouth of the open cave, with its small reclining Buddha statue inside. Just outside the temple, you’ll find a Japanese koi pond where local devotees of the Buddha come to release turtles, as they’re thought to be a symbol of longevity.
The ornamental garden outside the front of the temple are worth walking through, and they offer beautiful views of Ipoh below.