"The Sam Poh Tong Temple is the most famous of three temples that stand adjacent to each other. Each of the temples have their own characteristic and uniqueness, so all are worth a visit. However the Sam Poh Tong Temple has a hidden tortoise sanctuary inside it. As you enter the temple which is nested inside a cave, you go further inside and it leads out to an opening on the other end. It opens up to a beautiful garden with a fountain and a temple with the tortoise sanctuary just beside it."
Sam Poh Tong Temple is located at Gunung (Mt.) Rapat on the southern edge of Ipoh. This limestone hill has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese and there is a proliferation of cave temples in the vicinity. Sam Poh Tong was discovered by a Chinese Buddhist. He lived there until his death 20 years later. The construction of the temple is said to date
from 1912 although the current facade was added in 1950. Developed by the Buddhist community and now has become an international tourist spot attracting visitors from all over the world.
Among the main attractions there are a beautifully decorated pavilion in front of the temple and a landscaped garden with a fish pool, which was awarded "The Best Landscaped garden" in Malaysia 1993.
Other than that, statues of Buddha and other deities are placed inside for
respective devotees to offer prayers. A staircase leads up to an upper level where there are a few more statues in display cases. Behind a padlocked gate are some steps leading up the hillside but the path seems abandoned and overgrown.
Beyond the altar is a passage way leading out to a secluded garden containing the 'tortoise pond' and an ornate pagoda building with red roof tiles.
Feeding is allowed if you purchase some "Kangkong" vegetables at the entrance.
Sam Poh Tong can be translated as the Cave of Triple Gems but there does not appear to be any explanation of what or where these gems are. There is no entrance charge at any of these cave temples although it is customary to drop some money in the donation boxes.
At the temple's compound is also a crematorium and a columbarium. A columbarium is a place for storing the ashes of the departed.
Sam Poh Tong's columbarium looks like a 4-storey blue coloured apartment block. This area becomes packed at Ching Ming, when relatives pay respects to their ancestors, leaving food and burning paper replicas of items which are of use to the dead in the next world such as fake money, i-Pads, cars, Louis Vuitton bags and so on.
The temples of SAM POH TONG, LING SEN TONG and NAM TIN TONG are all located next to each other on Gopeng Road (Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah), in Gunung Rapat, Ipoh. Going southbound from Ipoh towards Simpang Pulaiís direction. Once you have passed the Medan Gopeng bus station on your RIGHT, go forth and after the second set of traffic lights (you will see a petrol station on your left at the traffic lights junction) you will reach the caves on your LEFT.