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Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

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One of the most beautiful temples in Ipoh, Kek Lok Tong is a limestone cave temple built into the side of the mountain with a gorgeous garden and lakes.

Boating at Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

Meaning ‘the Cave of Great Happiness’, Kek Lok Tong temple is one of the best free attractions in Ipoh and a top Ipoh thing to do.

The setting is simply stunning and you are surrounded by nature. The temple is split into 3 cave areas plus fun activities (and a LOT of monkeys).

From what to expect to activity information, here is our guide to visiting Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia.

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How to get to Kek Lok Temple in Ipoh / Parking

Around a 20 minute drive from Ipoh’s old town, the best way to get to Kek Lok Tong Temple is by car or Grab taxi (there are no public transport options to Kek Lok Temple).

A Grab taxi to Kek Long Temple from Ipoh old town or Ipoh train station will cost around 10 MYR (although prices may slightly vary depending on time of day and location).

There is a large parking lot at Kek Lok Tong Temple which has free parking.

Ipoh Grab taxi prices correct as of December 2023.

entrance Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

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How much is it to visit Kek Lok Tong Temple?

Ipoh’s Kek Lok Temple is free to visit – there is no charge to enter the temple or visit the lake / parkland.

The only potential charge is if you hire the bicycles or ride on the boats situated outside the temple near to the lake.

Although entry to Kek Long Tong temple is free, donations are appreciated (as are any purchases made at the small shop inside selling the likes of joss sticks and lotus candles).

Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

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Kek Lok Tong opening times

Kek Lok Tong is open 7 days a week from 9am to 4:30pm.

Please note the cycle hire and boat hire concessions are closed on Tuesdays (the hire shop is open 9am to 4pm on weekdays, and 9am to 4:30pm on weekends and public holidays).

lake Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

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The history of Kek Lok Tong

Kek Lok Temple was established as a place of worship in the 1920s although much work has taken place over the years adding new facilities and attractions.

In the 1960s, the temple was closed off and became part of a huge iron mining site, although it returned to its original purpose in the 1970s after mining ceased.

You can still see some of the iron mining sites towards the rear of the site (thankfully the parkland obscures most of the mining activity).

Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

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Entering Kek Lok Tong Temple

As you first arrive at Kek Long Temple, other than the sheer rock face and entrance into the cave temple, you’ll see a beautiful fishpond and a large statue of Kuan Yin (the Chinese goddess of mercy) with a waterfall running down the mountain in the background.

Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia
Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

The setting is absolutely serene. There is also a set of Chinese lions guarding the entrance (the whole area originated as a Chinese settlement).

The steps to the cave entrance are said to have been modelled to resemble the shape of a carp’s tail and the opening to be its mouth but we aren’t so sure!

Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

You can purchase fish food for 3 MYR at the shop inside the cave to feed the koi carp fish in the front pond only.

From here, you can walk up the steps to enter the Kek Lok Tong Temple. There is also a small accessible ramp on the right hand side for wheelchairs / anyone who cannot walk up the steps.

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Inside the Cave Temple in Ipoh

Once inside the temple, as well as the incredible naturally formed stalactites that hang from the ceiling, you’ll see several deity statues and religious relics.

The Kek Lok Tong complex has a main altar section with several large Buddhist statues (and randomly, several drink vending machines – handy on a hot day!).

Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia
Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

The small gift shop inside sells joss sticks for 3 MYR plus lotus candles for 10 MYR.

At the rear of the cave, you can add your personalised wish to the candle and light it, leaving it to burn in a metal frame with lots of other lotus candles.

There are several stone statues inside to marvel at (including Confucius). Many of these statues are quite damp (along with the stairs) due to the damp nature of the cave. As such, do be careful when tackling wet steps inside.

Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

There are several raised staircases and platforms inside the cave, all of which lead up to a second and third level – the complex consists of three caves in total.

Do be sure to find the platform that looks out over the entrance and car park where you first arrived as it offers incredible views of the mountains and sky.

As you approach the exit to the park at the rear of the temple, make sure to check out the set of stairs on the right hand side. This allows you the best access and close up views of all the incredible limestone rock formations and slimy stalactites.

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Gardens, lake and outdoor activities

As well as the cave temple, Kek Lok Tong is renowned for its stunning gardens which include several lakes as well as wildlife galore, peaceful pagodas and walkways.

To get to Kek Lok Tong gardens, take the steps down at the rear of the temple.

Be sure to look out for monkeys on the steps – we saw several monkeys as we exited the cave temple, although nothing like on the scale of Batu Caves (more on this later).

lake Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

The first thing you notice in the Kek Lok Tong park and gardens (other than the lakes) is a set of statues at the foot of the stairs – there are about 10 statues in all with descriptions on each.

For instance, the first one you see as you exit the cave at the base of the steps is Pindola, a former power official in the Indian Kingdom who became a Buddhist monk and convinced to King to become one too.

statues Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia
statues Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

Next up, you’ll see one of the longest reflexology footpaths in Ipoh, great for reiki and a popular activity spot. Remember to take off your shoes if you want to feel the full benefit.

reiki  Kek Lok Tong Temple in Ipoh, Malaysia

If you are porty, there is also a jogging path / walking path that goes around the entire circumference of the Kek Lok Tong lake.

Around the main lake, there are several pagodas serving as resting spots or a place for shade and to escape the sun.

The lake also contains lots of koi carp and the odd turtle – there are signs here requesting that you don’t feed the fish or release any more in here.

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Cycle hire and boat hire / pedalos at Kek Lok Tong

Although not something we’ve seen before at any Buddhist temples or Ipoh temples, one of the most popular things to do at Kek Lok Tong Ipoh temple is to hire a two or four seater bicycle to explore the gardens.

Alternatively, you can hire a duck shaped pedalo boat to float on the small lake at the base of the cliffs.

Given the setting, whilst it isn’t quite on the scale of Mirror lake at Tasik Cermin, the boating at the temple looks good fun (and is quite cheap) and a popular activity for families and young children. Lifejackets are provided too and boat hire is around 30 minutes.

Cycle hire and boat hire is available Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesday) from 9am until 4pm on weekdays, and until 4.30pm on weekends and public holidays.

Boat rental prices at Kek Lok Tong including life jackets:

  • 12 MYR for two people for 30 minutes
  • 20 MYR for up to four people for 30 minutes

Bicycle rental prices:

  • 6 MYR for 2 people for 30 minutes
  • 10 MYR for up to 4 people for 30 minutes
Bicycle hire

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Monkeys at Kek Lok Tong Temple

There are lots of monkeys that call Kek Lok Tong temple and the surrounding limestone cliffs home. Unlike Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, they seem to stay away from the temple and mainly explore / live in the garden.

We saw a couple of monkeys by the lake and a couple on the stairs leading up to the temple.

Most of the monkeys seemed to stay towards the rear of the garden. Indeed, we saw around 10 monkeys including babies scrambling all over the electricity pylon.

Although we don’t agree with it, we saw security guards keeping monkeys away from the temple steps by firing catapults at them – jeez!

The monkeys also seemed to be at war with the temple geese – if they could just be more Buddhist and get along with each other!

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Kek Lok Tong Temple – is it worth it? In summary

Yes, we would rate Kek Lok Temple as one of the best free things to do in Ipoh (and so quiet compared to the likes of say Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur).

The setting is peaceful and idyllic with incredible views and vantage points. After visiting the temple, why not hire a bicycle or duck boat pedalo as the prices are pretty inexpensive and kids will love it – just remember to keep an eye out for those cheeky monkeys!

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Other things to know

  • There are several toilet blocks onsite including in the main car park plus in the gardens at the rear
  • The car parking at Kek Lok Temple is ample – it is also easy to get a Grab taxi back due to all the tourists and visitors that come and go from the site
  • No swimming is allowed in the lake
  • The fish food that can be bought at the cave temple gift shop is only to be given to the koi carp out front
  • Although the official closing time is 4.30pm, temple security may start to close up certain areas beforehand so try to get there no later than 4pm

Kek Lok Tong address and opening horus

Address: Kek Look Tong, Gunung Rapat, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Opening hours: 8am–4.30pm daily

Other recommended temples in Ipoh – Sam Poh Tong

The other similar cave temple in Ipoh that is popular with tourists and worshippers is Sam Poh Tong temple, Ipoh’s oldest cave temple

Based on our experience, Sam Poh Tong is much quieter and smaller than Kek Lok Tong. The small temple started out as the humble home of a Buddhist monk in 1890 before the main temple and lodgings were constructed by other monks in the 1950s.

Sam Poh Tong Cave temple Ipoh

As well as a small cave temple, there is a beautiful pond with koi carp out front and several sublime pagodas and incredible ornate places of worshop

Sam Poh Tong temple in Ipoh is free to visit and within walking distance of several other famous Ipoh temples.

Sam Poh Tong Cave temple Ipoh
Sam Poh Tong Cave temple Ipoh

Where to stay in Ipoh, Malaysia

M Boutique Hotel

This is where we stayed in Ipoh. It is around a 15 minute walk from the old town and the rooms are huge here, plus the interior decor is quite quirky, especially the reception area.

Each floor is themed and there is also a free laundry onsite – a Grab taxi from here to Concubine Lane is only 5 MYR.

Check rates and availability on or Klook.

Brick Box Ipoh 

A 3* hotel built in 2016 in the heart of Ipoh Old Town; rooms are modern with red brick walls and flat screen TVs. Check rates and availability for Brick Box Ipoh >

Cititel Express Ipoh

Located on the river and a short walk into Ipoh Old Town, the Cititel Express Ipoh is a 3* hotel with great views of downtown. Check rates and availability for Cititel Express Ipoh >

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