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Monday, 4 July 2011

Sights of Ipoh: Kek Lok Cave

I spent the past Chinese New Year with my family in Cameron Highlands, which isn't new to me at all -- dad used to drive us up there a few times every year.

This time, however, before driving all the way back to Klang after the trip, we made a small detour and stopped by Ipoh for a half day.

Before you go bombarding me with questions like "Oooh, did you try the Ipoh xxx?" (replace xxx with one of the many famous delicacies in Ipoh) let me first tell you that we only ate one meal there, and it was just a simple fried rice, which in Malaysia is as common as salt in the sea.

Nope. But we spent our time in Kek Lok Cave, a Buddhist cave instead. I went around taking pictures while my parents set up their tools and started sketching.

Main entrance to the cave.

The place is genuinely interesting, even before entering the cave. There is a koi pond, and another tortoise pool. I'd never seen so many tortoises in such a small area before. Small man-made miniatures line up along the path into the cave. While I'm not a big fan of still life photography, I approached a few interesting looking ones and snapped a number of pictures anyway.

Miniature 1

Miniature 2

Everything gets darker once you step into the cave. It wasn't actually too hot inside, despite the blazing hot Malaysian sun, probably due to the high ceilings. Floors are fully man-made with cement to ease navigation.

Nature Up, Manmade Down
Staircase not far away from the main entrance.

Not being a regular visitor of Malaysian caves, I was impressed by the natural structure of the ceilings and the walls.


Most sections are artificially lit with lamps strategically positioned not just to illuminate the surroundings, but to increase contrast of the walls and ceilings to bring out their shapes. I personally prefer them to be naturally lit, though, as lamps usually introduce a yellow cast, which I don't really fancy. Check out this following picture of a naturally lit section of the cave.

From some angles, the texture and structure of the walls are simply astounding.

If you're lucky, like I was, you may be able to notice the internal layering of the walls.

Took me so many tries (and that much dust on my beloved camera) to get this shot.

Once you read the end of the cave, though, you'll reach another exit.

To A Brighter Day
The exit at the other end of the cave.

Beyond, you'll see a park with a huge lake, surrounded by hills. Breathtaking view.

Out of Kek Lok Cave
The scene that caused so many to suddenly stop in their tracks. A panorama -- click on the picture to see a bigger image.

Lazy Day By The Lake

Guess what this little building is? Hint: zoom in to see symbols of a man and a lady.

So next time, when you visit Ipoh, stop thinking about xxx (replace xxx with favourite Ipoh cuisine) and start looking around for things you may have missed.


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