During my recent visit to Taiping, I went on a daytrip with my friends Henry and Soon Lay. In 2019, before the COVID pandemic started, we made a similar trip: Two Caves and a Waterfall. This time Henry had selected a number of interesting locations around Ipoh and Kampar. Too much for one day, especially as Henry’s favourite expression is “Take your time”
After picking me me up from my hotel at 7 am, we drove to Ipoh, where we had breakfast at Roti Canai Pak Syeikh, considered to be one of the best Roti Canai in Ipoh.
Our first destination was the Gua Wu Ji Ngam temple. Gunung Rapat has many Chinese cave temples, in 2018 I have visited several of them, here is my report Gunung Rapat Cave Temples. This temple is not very well known and it took us some time to find it. First we took a wrong sideroad and ended up near the Mirror Lake, which now has become a commercial tourist attraction (entrance fee RM 5).
Nearby is another temple , the Da Seng Ngan temple , already visited by me in 2018, so I only took a few pictures this time. The interesting story about this more than 100 year old temple, is that in 1974 a flash flood and a resulting mudslide completely covered the temple. It was only in 2006 that the temple was excavated and restored.
The Gua Wu Ji Ngam temple is located less than 100 meter away. The only information we could find about this temple is on Google Maps. When we arrived , only the friendly caretaker was there, who gave us permission to explore the temple.
Soon a group of devotees arrive for a prayer session..
The caretaker was willing to take pictures of us and of course we took a picture of him as well.
The temple is attractive and has two interesting features. The murals are one of them, rock paintings of deities.
The other one was the structure of the cave. Using metal stairs we could climb to the upper level where erosion (by seawater?) had hollowed the limestone rock. There were two levels of erosion. Must have taken millions of years.
Easy walking on the lower eroded level, with a nice view of the temple below..
The next temple we visited is also not well known. Again we could only find it on Google Maps. Not even sure about the correct name, probably it is Wat Dhammamonkon. Anyway, it is a Buddhist temple in Thai style, with two magnificent Naga’s guarding the entrance.
;;A beautiful tree stands at the entrance of the temple. Despite the warning not to carve into the holy tree, people have done that in typical Malaysian style: carving four numbers, hoping it will bring luck in the popular 4D lottery.
Actually this temple was not our destination. We were looking for the the Big Coral Cave, about 200 meter away from the temple. Again, only information in Google Maps
Henry at the entrance of the cave.
It is also a temple. Quite interesting. Many statues.
The same layered structure as in the Gua Wu Ji Ngam
Interesting stalactites and other limestone formations.
Exploring the cave, we came to another exit.
There must be many more interesting features in this cave complex. Henry tried to reach the opening in the picture below, but the rocks were slippery and we were not equipped for real cave exploring, so we have to come back another time.
Our next destination was the Istana Raja Billah in Papan, but first it was time for lunch.. Restaurant Meng Fuong in Pusing would have been a suitable choice, I had enjoyed their “puppy duck” and their freshwater prawns several times. But on our way Henry spotted a food outlet “in the middle of nowhere”, part of a coffee factory. We decided to give it a try
The name of the outlet is Cascada by Magical Beans. It was surprisingly popular, but we found a free table.
I had a Rosemary Chicken Chop that was was quite nice. Soon Lay had Cheese Baked Rice and Henry ordered a Burger.
The Istana Raja Billah is a mansion in Papan, built in 1896 for a Mandailing nobleman.
Unfortunately not open to the public, we could only walk around it.
I found one window, where the blinds had a small gap, just wide enough for my smartphone to take a picture of the interior.
While we were walking around, a family arrived, we chatted a bit and discovered that they were living in Sri Damansara, very close to Damansara Perdana where we are living. Characteristic for Malaysia, in my experience, you will find easily a connection when meeting strangers 😉
Although it was not in Henry’s to-do list, we had of course to visit Papan, one of my favourite locations in Malaysia. I have several times brought friends to this ruined village, see for example my blog Tour Guide! .
I had read in the news that recently Papan has been made a tourist attraction, but I was still shocked a bit how different the atmosphere had become. Look at all the signs. But for a first-time visitor it must still be a fascinating experience.
Two new galleries have been opened in Papan, one about its heritage and the other one about the history of New Villages in Malaysia. I am very interested in New Villages, Taiping has two (Pokok Assam and Aulong), so I was quite surprised to read on one of the poster boards: In some cases, 22-hour curfews were placed upon the populations of New Villages, such were the case in Tanjong Malim, Pusing and Papan. Papan a New Village, how can that be?
We decided to visit one more place on Henry’s list and chose the Vine Garden, another location with limestone formations, only found on Google Maps. Not far from the “mysterious” temple which Aric and I had visited recently, see my report .A Nice Outing.
A few pictures of this temple. Henry and I at the entrance gate.
Part of the collection of deities left behind by devotees.
During our trip we didn’t have the coordinates of this vine garden. We expected a trail, but there was not really one. We noticed a gate, Henry explored a bit, but found nothing. Our second attempt meant entering a palm oil plantation. Soon we found that it was water logged, so we decided to turn back. We may try again after the end of the rainy season, because we were very close to the Vine Garden, less than 100 meters!
Our drive back to Taping took longer than expected, because of big traffic jam. Henry and Soon Lay dropped me at my hotel to refresh and rest a bit.
Later they picked me up again for dinner. They suggested the Raintree Kitchen Restaurant and that was a good choice. Both local and fusion food.
I had smoked duck spaghetti and ambra as a drink. Henry and Soon Lay had the Nasi Ulam set and the Tomyam Fried Beehoon. A place to keep in mind.
It was a wonderful trip, thanks to Henry and Soon Lay