Ipoh is the state capital of Perak, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is the country's fourth largest city and a gateway to the Cameron Highlands.
Ipoh developed into one of Malaysia's main cities around the turn of the 19th century due to the booming tin mining industry. During the British colonial era, Ipoh was Malaysia's second city for administrative purposes. Architecturally, the city centre is characterised by Straits eclectic shop houses. There are several impressive historical buildings from the British Colonial era such as the Railway Station, the Town Hall and the Court House.
Ipoh is surrounded by limestone caves and there are several cave temples. The Sam Po Tong is a Chinese temple built within a limestone cave. Another temple is Perak Tong; it has a steep staircase inside leading up to the top of its hill where there is a panoramic view of Ipoh and its surroundings. The statue of Buddha in Perak Tong was the tallest and largest of its kind in Malaysia when first commissioned.
Kek Lok Tong is a cave temple that lies on the other side of the same hill as Sam Poh Tong. It is accessible through the Gunung Rapat housing area. It has a clean, quiet and cool environment and has the best scenic cave view.
Limestone hills extend 20 km north of Ipoh and 20 km to the south. There are many caves in these hills; cave temples are built in some. Gua Tempurung, near Gopeng south of Ipoh, is a show cave open to the public. It is popular among spelunkers. More than 3 km long, it is one of the longest caves in Peninsula Malaysia. Part of it has been developed as a show cave with electric lighting and walkways, and there are tours of different lengths and difficulty. A fine river cave, the river passage runs about 1.6 km through the hill. There are five very large chambers and some stalactites and stalagmites.