Kwan Yin Tong Temple: Ipoh’s 2nd Oldest Cave Temple

Kwan Yin Tong Cave Temple

(Goddess of Mercy cave temple)

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Perak Kwan Yin Tong Temple (or Guan Yin Tong Cave Temple) is Ipoh’s second oldest cave temple and it is certainly worth paying a visit. It lies at the foot of Gunung Rapat on Jalan Gopeng, Ipoh (see the box below for more about Gunung Rapat). The temple is also known as Tokong Kwan Yin Tong or Guan Yin Tong Temple.

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If you are travelling to Ipoh and plan to explore a few caves during your visit, this is a good one to include in your itinerary. Primarily, this is because it is in the same vicinity as other cave temples such as Kek Lok Tong, Sam Poh Tong, Nam Thean Tong, Takong Da Seng Ngan, and Ling Sen Tong. All these temples are housed in a limestone soluble rock, known as a karst. Indeed, Gunung Rapat has the highest concentration of cave temples in Ipoh (see below).

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When you enter Kwan Yin Tong Cave Temple you will walk on a marbled tiled floor into chamber that stretches for approximately 20 metres under the limestone cliff. You will also notice that some of the cave walls have been levelled and whitewashed. However, the upper walls and cave ceiling that is some two-storey’s high, remain original.

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The Deity

Kwan Yin Tong Cave Temple is faithfully attached to the deity Guan Yin (or Kwan Yin) – the Goddess of Mercy in Mahayana Buddhism – revered in many East Asian cultures and religions.

As soon as you are through the large cavity hall, you will see a large statue of Guan Yin sitting at the altar. Alongside are rows of smaller statues of Guan Yin robed in gold that line the walls. The temple claim that are seventy-five Guan Yin statues throughout the cave.

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Exploring Kwan Yin Tong Temple

There is plenty to discover in Kwan Yin Tong Temple. There is a significant amount of golden Buddha statues throughout the cave complex, including hundreds of tiny Buddha statuettes that have been meticulously fixed onto the cliff face. Outside in the temple there is large mural depicting Buddha under a Bodhi tree.

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You will also find a chess set with the temple complex as well as a a shrine devoted to pet dogs. There is a wishing well as well as a place where visitors can leave messages. It even boasts its own 3D art museum and a wishing well.

Getting to Kwan Yin Tong Cave Temple

The best way to get to this temple is by car. If you do not have access to a car, you can use Grab car. This area is sufficiently busy that you should have no problem getting a return Grab after your visit. Once there, you can explore the other temples in the area on foot.

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Gunung Rapat

The area, Gunung Rapat, means ‘Close Hills’ in English. Literally translated it can mean ‘Mountain Meeting’. This is an apposite name for a neighbourhood found intimately close to a series of limestone hills connected to one another. This special place in Ipoh is synonymous with two things: caves and biscuits.

Ipoh Caves

Gunang Rapat features six cave temples:

Kwan Yin Tong Cave Temple
Sam Poh Tong Temple
Ling Sen Tong Temple
Kek Lok Tong Temple
Tokong Da Seng Ngan Temple
Nam Thean Tong  Temple

Ipoh Biscuits

But Gunung Rapat is not just famous for its profusion of cave temples. It is also the original home of one of Ipoh’s most famous bakery products – heong peah. This fragrant biscuit is also known as heong peng. Gunung Rapat and Ipoh’s flaky delicacy are intrinsically linked.