Perak’s capital has many nicknames and claims to fame. But the biggest allure is the gorgeous nature and natural attractions near Ipoh, including limestone cliffs, caves, bird sanctuaries and mountains. Here’s how nature lovers can experience the best of Ipoh and Perak.
Gunung Lang Recreational Park sits a few kilometres to the north of Ipoh’s Old Town, along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Limestone hills and outcrops form the backdrop against the lake and a 30-hectare park. Apart from making an attractive place to spend an afternoon, tourists can walk along the two-kilometre (1.24 miles) boardwalk over the swamp, enjoy views from lookout towers and visit the cascading waterfall.
Visit the magical Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple and Zen Gardens
Kek Lek Tong is one of the many cave temples in Ipoh. Located near Mount Rapat 8 kilometres (5 miles) south of the city, the temple also ranks among the best natural attractions in Ipoh. With an entrance characteristic of most Chinese temples around the world, visitors enter into a mysterious incense-filled interior decorated with religious relics and golden statues. Stroll around the back and find an award-winning landscaped garden with a pond full of fish and turtles. But the highlight is the outstanding beauty and photogenic nature of the temple sat elegantly in front of the limestone cliffs.
Stretching for 100 kilometres (62.1 miles) through Perak State, the Kinta River meanders and traverses through limestone cliffs and divides the Ipoh’s old and new towns. The Kinta Riverfront in Ipoh uses decorations and LED lights to create an atmospheric environment for an evening stroll. Visit during the day and walk from the bridge near Mural’s Art Lane north alongside Garden D.R Seenivasagam. At the end, turn left and find a little-known Hindu temple and Buddhist cave temple.
See the cascading waterfall at Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve
A local’s favourite spot to enjoy nature near Ipoh is the Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve. At just 17 kilometres (10.6 miles) from the city centre, the dipterocarp forests cover a vast area bursting with natural beauty. Have a picnic next to the Kinta River as it passes through the thick forest. Or head to Tanjung Rambutan Waterfall and enjoy the sights and sounds of the water tumbling over the rapids.
After recently opening to the public following a decade of repair work, the Kinta Nature Park in Batu Gajah is a treat for all nature lovers. The 900-hectare park consists of 14 disused tin mines transformed into ponds, restored walkways and several viewing platforms. But Perak’s third gazetted park offers an ideal environment for bird watching. Housing more than 150 species and acting as a significant breeding ground for herons and egrets such as the cattle egret, the nature park attracts a plethora of birdwatchers. A pro tip is to combine a trip to nearby Kellie’s Castle with Kinta Nature Park.
While the Kampar River might not be the best natural attraction for a casual stroll, it is among Malaysia’s thrill-seeking centres. Located approximately 24 kilometres (14.9 miles) south of Ipoh, tourists can spend the morning or afternoon on the river. Kampar meanders through lush jungle and consists of 14 rapids between Class I and Class III. Join either the 9:00am or 1:00pm session; Prices start at RM170 ($43) per person. What can be a better way to marvel at the gorgeous nature near Ipoh than from a raft?
Tempurung Cave, one of West Malaysia’s most extensive limestone cave systems, sits approximately 29 kilometres (19 miles) south of Ipoh in Gopeng. From the outside, the craggy limestone cliffs look similar to the others found around Ipoh. But step inside and discover a 4.5-kilometre (2.8 miles) path leading through five chambers. Expect to pass stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites protruding from the floor as thousands of bats squeak in the empty darkness above. Visitors can choose between joining a wet or dry tour as they pass through the cavernous obstacle course. The wet tour passes water. Prices to see the incredible natural phenomenon of Tempurung Cave near Ipoh starts at RM20 ($5.10) to RM50++ ($12.70) depending on the package.
The majestic Mount Yong Belar towers 2180 metres (7152 feet) and is just 30 kilometres (18.7 miles) east of Ipoh, as the crow flies in the Titiwangsa Mountains. While climbing can be challenging even for experienced hikers, visiting as part of a day trip to admire the beauty of the surroundings is a possibility. For those who do want to tackle its summit, expect to spend one night on the mountain. Access is from Kampong Raja approximately 69 kilometres (43 miles) from Ipoh.