Monday, November 26, 2012

Sam Poh Tong @ Gopeng Road, Ipoh

Next destination would be famous Cave Temple Sam Poh Tong after visting Kek Look Tong. Sam Poh Tong is called(Cavern of Triple Gems) whereby is a Chinese Temple constructed in a limestone cave. It is located at Gunung Rapat area and if you drive along Jalan Gopeng heading towards Simpang Pulai, you will see the Chinese Temple on your left on the limestone hill right after the Petronas station. The first Temple would be the Ling Sen Tong and you just drive straight until you see Sam Poh Tong at your left.

Cave Temple Sam Poh Tong

I remembered this place well, been here before, when I was 7 years old, my late grandfather's ashes stored here inside temple's compound. In addition to the Buddhist cave temple, the temple's compound includes a crematorium and a columbarium. This area becomes packed at Ching Ming Festival falls on 4th April every year when Chinese paying respects to their ancestors.

Everything changed, previously compare to this time. As I walk in I saw huge fencing outside Sam Poh Tong covered with marble design looks like great wall of China. And I saw a lot beggars especially old ladies been begging for money. Sympathy came across my mind without thinking so much, I took out my wallet donate a small amount to them.

Main entrance to Sam Poh Tong

Saw some monkeys climbing roof top

Beside that, got one old lady has been selling the tortoises’ feed for years. The ‘Kangkong’ leaves in a small bunches cost RM1. I never forget the memory of visiting tortoise, and I want to go again this time, I don't mind buying for the tortoises’ feed. After snapping photos, I carry on to visit tortoise inside the cave.

Tortoise feeding

Getting lesser and lesser tortoises over here

The main altar area is smaller than I expected and filled with statues of Buddha and deities. 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. Last time place well highlighted and it's famous for tourist destination. During the prayers timer, totally packed with people at all.

A fenced-off pool of vivid dark green water surrounded
by an assortment of turtles sitting on a drab brick pavement.

The pond was disappointing saw a fenced-off pool of muddy green water surrounded by an assortment of tortoises sitting on a drab brick pavement. Pond's water down sizing plus small portion of water for tortoise to wet their bodies.The water was changed irregularly and that the living conditions totally poor with savage smell. I purchased a bunch of kangkung (swamp spinach) from a old lady at the entrance and I threw pieces over the fence to get tortoises attractions. Wondering if they really eat this bunch of Kangkung. They seemed lazy but eventually gobbled down the food.

The pagoda building is reminiscent of Buddhist temples in Japan

The pagoda building is of Buddhist temples similar to Buddhist temples in Japan but it was also fenced off and padlocked. The whole area is completely encircled by towering cliffs and dead road exit other than the passageway back into the cave temple. It was a silent and forlorn place, not helped by the fact, and the only sounds I could hear were the tortoise doing belly-flops into the pond and the abundant mosquitoes buzzing near my ears. Sound's creepy during the night time.

Visitors taking pictures

Cave filled with limestones

A group visitors mainly are family group busy taking photos here. Really hope, they can maintain this place well so that they can attract more tourist to visit this cave again. It took me 30 min to visit here poor maintenance nothing much to visit, walked out with disappointing feelings.

Sam Poh Tong
No. 36543, Jln Raja Dr Nazrin Shah,
31350 Ipoh, Perak