NESTLED safely in a quiet site of Gunung Rapat is the famous tourist spot Kek Look Tong cave temple, which in recent years has become an ideal place for morning exercise as well among Ipoh folk.
Beyond the cave temple that first greets visitors lies a well-kept and tranquil garden where fitness enthusiasts can jog or play sports along the paths that encircle two lakes.
Among those who come here for an early morning workout was retiree Jessie Lau, 50.
She said she had been coming to the garden to exercise with her husband for three years now.
“We stay quite near here and we thought it was an ideal place to keep fit because the famous scenery here is breathtaking.
“We have also noticed that recently more people have been trickling in to exercise here,” she said, adding that she would usually try to make exercising here a daily routine.
Lau and husband Simon Liew, 53, love playing badminton in the garden after jogging for a few rounds.
“My children are all grown up and they are working outstation.
“So with some extra time on our hands, we are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle now as we used to be quite busy with our full-time jobs,” she said.
Housekeeper Liaw Soh Wan, 52, said she loves coming here to exercise because even during late mornings there would still be people walking around the vicinity.
“I notice that in public parks, especially if you arrive at around 10am, there will be fewer people around because of the sun.
“I need not worry about that here because the height of the cave provides ample shade for the garden,” she said, adding that the cool air here made exercising less strenuous.
Prior to keeping a healthy lifestyle, Liaw said that she used to have trouble falling asleep at night.
“I have been sleeping so much better ever since I started exercising.
“Work has been keeping me busy, but I would still try my best to come here especially during weekends when I have more time on my hands,” she said.
Student Anis Dayana Abdullah, 19, said she has been frequenting the garden to exercise thanks to the recommendation made by her friends.
“As this place is near my school hostel, I think it is good to use this place for jogging because the serene environment here soothes the soul,” said the Kolej Poly-Tech Mara Ipoh student.
She would spend around three to four hours here, jogging with a group of her friends.
Kek Look Tong is under the care of non-profit organisation Kek Look Seah.
Its chairman Chung Thim Lam said he was very happy that the residents of Ipoh are very receptive to their social contribution to the public.
“I hope everyone who comes here to exercise will be in the pink of health always, as it gives us encouragement to keep up with our volunteer work,” he said.