IS KEK LOK SI TEMPLE WORTH A VISIT IN PENANG? WHAT TO SEE AT KEK LOK SI TEMPLE? BEST TIME TO VISIT KEK LOK SI?
Have you enjoyed the city of Penang, Fort Cornwallis and the various Indian and Chinese quarters (full guide for visiting Penang)? It’s time to get out of the main town to discover the island’s other gems like Kek Lok Si Temple, the most important Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.
“Kek Lok Si is the most important Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia“
This Buddhist temple is the largest temple by its size in all of Southeast Asia.
It is absolutely gorgeous. Take your time to explore every corner of this temple, you will not be disappointed.
You can easily spend hours there, without getting bored for a single second. There are lots of details to see, benches to rest on, prayer rooms to observe people entering into communion with the place…
Here some first impressions of Kek Lok Si Temple:
HISTORY OF KEK LOK SI TEMPLE IN PENANG
Kek Lok Si Temple is nicknamed the “Temple of Ultimate Happiness”. It is one of the largest Buddhist centers in the world!
It is a high place of pilgrimage for many Buddhists in Southeast Asia.
The temple is located on the hill of Ayer Itam. The place has always been considered by Buddhism and Taoism as a sacred place, conducive to retreats.
Construction began in 1890 and was completed in 1930. It is therefore not the oldest temple on the island, but by far the largest!
If the temple has many rooms, two buildings in particular attract most people’s attention: a 7-storey pagoda containing more than 10,000 statues of Buddhas and especially the famous statue of Guanyin measuring over 30 meters in heights!
The temple also offers a unique panoramic view of George Town. It has many viewpoints which allows you to see the city. Particularly beautiful during sunset!
The pagoda’s real name is “Ban Po Thar” is a subtle blend of three Buddhist cultures.
The octagonal base and the upper floors are totally of Chinese inspiration, the other three levels are of Thai influence. As for the last 2 floors and the top of the pagoda with a golden spiral dome, they echo the Burmese tradition.
This mixture is in fact a voluntary act wanting to emphasize the cultural diversity of the island and the ability of Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism to cohabit without problem. The pagoda’s intention is to unify the communities in a single place.
Be aware that there are lots of stairs to get to the top! But worth the climb with a fabulous view of Penang at the top!
A giant statue
The other remarkable construction of the temple is the famous bronze statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.
It measures more than 30 m or 99 feet. Although the statue was originally intended to be larger (its size was limited so that its shadow would not fall on the nearby mosque), the project’s instigators chose 99 feet because of the doubling of the number 9, a lucky charm.
The statue is recent since the work started in 2002 and was completed in 2009. .
This is one of the best places to visit in the Temple.
To get there you will need to take the funicular from the temple. It’s a short ride to the top.
The prayers Halls
There are many prayer halls throughout the temple. You can light a candle or incense, or write a wish on a piece of tissue which you can hang inside the temple.
USEFUL INFORMATIONS TO PREPARE YOUR VISIT AT KEK LOK SI TEMPLE IN PENANG
How long to visit the temple?
The temple is big. If you really want to see everything without rushing too much, it takes a minimum of 2h00-2h30.
Bring plenty of water. The temple is huge with lots of steps.
A round trip: adult 16 RM. Child: RM8
One way: Adult RM8. Child: RM4
Open every day. The opening hours of the temple are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It opens later during the 30 days after the Chinese New Year (around February).
The general admission is free. However you will need to pay for the funicular and the pagoda.
How to get there ?
There are several ways to get to Kek Lok Si Temple (Location):
By bus: lines 201, 203, 204, 502
With the Grab application: about 20 RM, it takes 30 to 40min from George Town.
Good to know
The Temple is best known for being one of the most magical places during Chinese New Year. For more than 30 days, the temple is then illuminated with thousands of lanterns. This is the best time to visit the temple!
A great to explore Penang and especially the beautiful Kek Lok Si Temple is with a local tour guide. The guide will explain you about the temple and its details. It’s fascinating. You can book a guide here.
In conclusion about KEK LOK SI TEMPLE IN PENANG, MALAYSIA
Is Kek Lok Si Temple Worth Visiting? ABSOLUTELY YES! This is one of the best things to see in Penang.
Kek Lok Si temple with its incredible architecture, with a beautiful Pagoda, a giant statue, beautiful gardens and many different halls is a true marvel.
Make sure to visit this place during a trip to Penang!