Sam Poh Tong Temple

Coordinates: 4°33′49.429″N 101°6′55.464″E / 4.56373028°N 101.11540667°E / 4.56373028; 101.11540667
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Sam Poh Tong Temple
Malay: Tokong Sam Poh Tong
Chinese: 三寶
Geographic coordinates4°33′49.429″N 101°6′55.464″E / 4.56373028°N 101.11540667°E / 4.56373028; 101.11540667
TypeChinese temple
Date established1950[1]

The Sam Poh Tong Temple (Chinese: 三寶洞) (also known as the Three Buddhas Cave)[2] is a Chinese temple built within a limestone cave and is the oldest and the main cave temple in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.[3] The temple was built in a raw limestone cave in the mountains located about 5 km from the city centre and follows the Buddhist branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism.[2][4]


The cave which now became the temple gateway was founded by a monk from China in 1890 who walked through the area from Ipoh.[1] The monk then decided to make the cave as his home and a place for meditation where he remained there until the end of his life. This was then continued by other monks and nuns who dedicated their lives to Buddha where a temple was then constructed in the 1950s.[1][2]

In Malaysia's Sam Poh Cave, a striking collection of multicultural cave paintings has been discovered, reflecting the history of the three major ethnic groups.

Located in the state of Perak, Sam Poh Cave is a Buddhist temple and a historically significant site. Within the cave, various rock paintings have been found, depicting images from different cultural and religious backgrounds. These paintings illustrate elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism, showcasing the exchange and fusion of diverse cultures and religions in this location.

Specifically, some rock paintings depict deities from Hinduism, such as Vishnu and Parvati . This suggests that in ancient times, Malaysia's Indian community engaged in cultural and religious exchanges with other ethnic and religious groups.

This intriguing discovery emphasizes that the cave paintings at Sam Poh Cave serve as a site reflecting the history of multiculturalism . It proves that in this region, there exists a historical narrative of interaction and coexistence among different ethnicities and religious communities.


From a steep climb of 246 steps to the cave opening, visitors can view the city of Ipoh and its surroundings.[1] It is the largest cave temple in Malaysia and contains art work such as a reclining Buddha figure.[3] The temple also offers visitors the opportunity to feed fish and feed or release turtles into its turtle pond as a means of balancing one's karma.[2][3][4][5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sam Poh Tong Temple". Malaysia Travel. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Holley Moyes (15 April 2012). Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves. University Press of Colorado. pp. 332–338. ISBN 978-1-60732-178-1.
  3. ^ a b c Chris Wotton (1 October 2012). "24 hours in Ipoh". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b Karl-Heinz Reger; Nelles Verlag Staff (1997). Malaysia - Singapore - Brunei. Nelles Verlag. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-3-88618-902-1.
  5. ^ Simon Richmond (2010). Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei. Lonely Planet. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-1-74104-887-2.

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