Kek Lok Si Temple

Sights Type / Religious
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
Location

Penang, Malaysia

Address

86 S, Jalan Kampung Pisang, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Getting there

Access: Getting to Kek Lok Si is very simple. You can take a bus or taxi from George Town.

Depending on your location, you can take Rapid Penang Bus U201, U203, U204, U206, T306 and U502. If you come from Batu Ferringhi, taxi is your best choice.

Alternatively, try asking from the hotel that you are staying whether or not they have hotel buses to drop you there. If you drive, look for the signboard that lead to Air Itam. Once you get into Air Itam, you should be able to see the signboard that can direct you to Kek Lok Si.

Telephone

+60 18-493 0852

Email

email@kekloksitemple.com

More information

http://kekloksitemple.com/, https://facebook.com/kekloksipenang, https://foursquare.com/v/kek-lok-si-temple

Prices

The entrance to the Kek Lok Si Temple is free but the entrance fees to the Pagoda is RM 2.00 per entry. Incline Lift to see the statue of Kuan Yin is RM 2.00 each way.

The Kek Lok Si parking fees is RM 2.00 per entry for a car and RM 0.80 per entry for a motorcycles. Taxi from George Town about RM20, from Batu Feringghi about RM30.

Opening hours

7 am–9 pm daily

Something wrong?Submit a correction

Also known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss, Kek Lok Si is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, and arguably one of the most famous in Penang

The ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’ is also the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and one of the most recognisable buildings in the country. Built by an immigrant Chinese Buddhist in 1890, Kek Lok Si is a cornerstone of the Malay-Chinese community, who provided the funding for its two-decade-long building (and ongoing additions).

Located in Air Itam, the hills in that area (called “He San” or Crane Hill) have traditionally been regarded as geomantically significant, having all the right “feng shui” for a temple. In fact, they are extremely popular as a retreat for monks and Taoists striving for immortality. 

The temple’s construction began in 1893, inspired by the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple at Pitt Street. The Manchu Emperor Guangxu approved of the project, bestowing a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras. Other Chinese rulers, such as His Majesty Emperor Kuang Xi and Empress Cixi of the Ching Dynasty, have been sufficiently impressed with the temple so as to have bestowed the temple with gifts. 

The best time to visit Kek Lok Si is during the Chinese New Year celebrations, when the temple is adorned with thousands of bright hanging lanterns. At other times, there is still much to see, with prayer halls, pagodas, bell towers and a tortoise pond topping the list. 

Its main draw is the striking seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI (Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas), completed in 1930. Boasting 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha, its design symbolises the harmony between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, marrying a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, topped by a Burmese crown. One can climb to the top of the pagoda via a steep flight of stairs and be rewarded with a great view of Penang. The 30.2m bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, is yet another popular highlight. 

Kek Lok Si is both carved into the rock face as well as perched atop the slopes of Air Itam. The main attraction here is the impressive pagoda of Rama VI and at the centre of the complex, the seven-storey, 30-metre high tower is acknowledged as the ‘face’ of Kek Lok Si. Topped with a Burmese crown, Ban Po Thar – the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda – displays a collection of alabaster and bronze Buddhas and has a Chinese octagonal base while its middle tiers are of Thai design. Meanwhile sited in the Hall of the Devas, are statues of the Four Heavenly Kings – each of the Kings allegedly controls one of the four points of the compasses – Kwang Mu (Guardian of the West), Tou Wen (Guardian of the North), Ch'i Kuo (Guardian of the East) and lastly Tseg Chang (Guardian of the South).

Additionally, there’s a three-storey shrine with a large Buddha icon that was donated by King Bhumibol of Thailand – you can find several temples here as well as shops and a vegetarian restaurant. At the highest level there is a 36.5 metre-high bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy; in the future 16 ornately decorated bronze columns supporting a roof over the statue, as well 1000 two-metre high statues of the goddess are planned to be built.

At the apex are a couple more temples, a fish pond, sprawling gardens and 12 animal statues that represent the Chinese zodiac. Kek Lok Si temple houses tablets and imperial Buddhist sutras gifted by Manchu Emperor Kwang Xi and Empress Cixi of the Ching Dynasty; these historic relics are kept in the temple archives. The impressive complex is usually crowded with visitors and is located approximately three kilometres from Penang Hill.

To reach the entrance, walk through a maze of souvenir stalls, past a tightly packed turtle pond and murky fish ponds, until you reach Ban Po Thar , a seven-tier, 30m-high tower. The design is said to be Burmese at the top, Chinese at the bottom and Thai in between. A cable car whisks you to the highest level, which is presided over by an awesome 36.5m-high bronze statue of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy.

There are several other temples in this complex, as well as shops and a vegetarian restaurant.

History

The history of Kek Lok Si can be traced to the late 19th century. The founder and first Abbott of Kek Lok Si was the Venerable Beow Lean, who was born into a devout Buddhist family in Fujian province in 1844. At the age of 33, he left his occupation as a businessman to devote his life to the teachings of Buddhism. In 1885, he came to Penang with the aim of obtaining donations for the renovation of a monastry in Fuzhou, China.

As faith would have it, the trustees of the oldest temple in Penang, the Kuan Yin Teng (Godess of Mercy Temple) in Pitt Street, offered him the position of Chief Monk-in-residence. Impressed by the deep devotion of the Penang Chinese to Buddhism, he accepted and settled down in Penang."A man determined can move a mountain, but a man devoted can carve one". It was through the sheer diligence, determination and devotion of Venerable Beow Lean that the Kek Lok Si temple began to take shape. With the blessing of his superiors and the unstinting support of five local tycoons, the first phase of the temple complex, which consisted of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, and landscaped gardens, was built between 1891 and 1905.

Even in those early times, fund-raisers were experienced enough to dedicate structures and artefacts to the temple's benefactors. These five substantial benefactors became known as the "Big Five Supporters" of the Kek Lok Si and their life-like sculptures and those of a few other donors are kept in the upper floors of the Tower of Sacred Books, to perpetuate the memory of their generosity.Such was the renown of Kek Lok Si, it even gained the imperial sanction of the Manchu Emperor Kwang Xi who presented the temple with a set of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras, the Emperor's hand-written scripts, and several other relics.

Well-known Empress Cixi of the Ching Dynasty also wrote and presented hand-written scripts to the temple. The inscription in Chinese calligraphy Ta Seong Pao Dian on this plaque (picture, right) was written by His Majesty Emperor Kuang Xi of Ching Dynasty and was presented to the First chief Abbot of Kek Lok Si in 1904.Today, these priceless heritage relics still exist in the temple archives.

The Attractions

The main attraction of the Kek Lok Si Temple is of course the impressive and striking Pagoda of Rama VI which was completed in the year 1930. It is known to be laid by the Thai Monarch himself. Widely known as Wan Fo Pau Ta or "The Pagoda of 10, 000 Buddhas", The Pagoda displays a collection of Alabaster and Bronze Buddha and it also contains a Chinese octagonal base with middle tiers of the Thai architecture and is tapped with a Burmese Temple crown.  And towering over one hundred feet and seven storeys high, The Pagoda is currently the largest of its kind in Malaysia.

At the Kek Lok Si Temple ground, it contains beautiful gardens and sacred pond. One of the famous ones will be of course "The Liberation Pond" (Sacred Turtle Pond). Chinese tradition believes that a turtle is a symbol of longevity, strength and endurance. It is an act of spiritual liberation when a turtle is captured and set free in this pond.

Another interesting view that you can see there will the supreme statue of The four heavenly kings. Sited in the Hall of the Devas (Tian Huang Dian), each of the Mighty Kings controls one of the four points of the compasses. The Heavenly Kings consist of Kwang Mu (Guardian of the West), Tou Wen (Guardian of the North), Ch'i Kuo (Guardian of the East) and lastly Tseg Chang (Guardian of the South).

Sitting at the center of The Heavenly Kings are the statue of Maitreya (The Laughing Buddha). It represents the center of the universe that brings happiness, hope and prosperity to the people.

The latest additions to the temple complex include the reconstruction / refurbishment of the huge 30.2 m bronze statue of the Greatly Compassionate & Sagely Kuan Yin Avalokitesvara, the completion of the Guan Tong Great Hall, the Aghast Hall and the installation of an Incline Lift to the statue of kuan Yin.

The Kuan Yin statue was completed and opened to the public end of 2002. If you want to get a close-up look of the Kuan Yin statue, look for the signs of the "Incline Lift" that can brings you there. It is an elevated box sized lift mounted on rails. The cost for using the "Inline Lift" will be RM2 each way.

The Unforgettable View

When you have the opportunity to visit Kek Lok Si during the Chinese Lunar New Year on the month of Jan or Feb, you will get to see the glittering and sparkling Buddhist temple that cannot be found in another place. This is the period where the whole temple if filled with beautiful lantern that light up the hills during the night. It is like you are in a city that comes alive during the night.

The fantastic view of the whole glittering temple can be seen clearly at Penang Hills, and don't forget to bring your camera. You would not want to miss the captivating view that will only appear once a year.

Err... Not to forget.....

Due to hot weather and the amount of walking needed, it is advisable to wear proper attire when you are exploring this temple. Bermuda's, T-shirt and sports shoes are excellent. Your journey will start at the foot of the hills. Along the path that is leading up to the temple, hawker will bombarded you with all kind of souvenir, T shirt and many others memorable. This where you can brings out your bargaining skills. Try to bargain until you can get a reasonable price and if it doesn't work out, you can always buy from another stores.

Annual events

The temple is a focal point of festivals of the Chinese community in Penang. The Chinese New Year celebrations are particularly impressive. For 30 days following Chinese New Year, the temple remains open until late at night whilst thousands of lights turn the scenery into a sea of light. During the festival days, the complex is decorated with thousands of lanterns representing donations offered by devotees. Another festive feature is the long marches undertaken by hundreds of monks from Thailand to the temple, once or twice in a year.

Worship

Worship of the deities in the temple complex reflects the diversity of the ethnic origins of the Buddhist devotees. Such worship could be in the form of counting prayer beads or by burning incense or by cash offerings or just by bowing and clapping to make one's presence known to the deity. Highly learned people offer prayers at the tower of Sacred Books in the upper part of the temple. Some pilgrims also offer prayers in the extensive gardens located in the precincts of the temple.

The religious paraphernalia sold along the winding steps that lead to the temple precincts cater to the religious offerings to be made by the pilgrims. The goods on sale comprise ornaments, books, pictures, collection of sayings and strings of a sacred orange colour and mementos such as T-shirts and CDs.

When's the best time to visit Kek Lok Si Temple?

The best season to visit Kek Lok Si is during the Chinese New Year season, when the temple complex is lit up with thousands of lanterns. It is also the best time to visit the temple complex during the day, as the chances of viewing it against a blue sky is higher. The complex is particularly impressive during dusk, as the lanterns are lit up over a darkening sky. You will see throngs of photography buffs jostling with devotees and worshippers to get the best angle and view, particularly during the blue hour.

How to get there

Depending on where you’re coming from, take the Rapid Penang Bus 201, 203, 204, 206, 306 or U502. You will be able to see the Kuan Yin statue from afar. Stop at the bus stop located along Jalan Pasar, at the foothills of the temple. From there, follow the signs leading to the temple.

The temple is in Air Itam, 8km from the centre of George Town. A taxi starts at about RM25, or you can hop on bus 204 (RM2.70).

Reviews by visitors

Beautiful buildings and gardens. There is a welcoming and homely feel to this sanctuary. We were amazed buy the level of detail. Great for all ages. Amazing view of penang.

~emily

The enormous gorgeous grounds have beautify maintained gardens. Temple is also well maintained and is a great example of architecture from different regions being fused. A must do in Penang.

~hannah

This chinese temple is beautiful and huge.

it offers a different experience from some other temples because there is a tram to go up to the higher up of the temple (i.e. Guanyin statue and etc). 

There are so many candles and wishing ribbons which you could purchase and wish for something.

There are a lot of shops selling commercial items at the lower and higher hill.

You could both take pictures from the amazing view and pray for those devotees.

~pipin

Pretty amazing temple with heaps to see. 

It's a Chinese temple & they are continually adding to it.

You can go up to the top on a little tram up the hill. The view is very good!

At the top there is a huge viewing platform of the island below along with the massive statue of the Chinese woman. I forget what she is called.

All around the paths are sculptures of the Chinese New Year animals.

I forgot which ones my children where so asked in the shops but they only have records up till the year 2005 or some think close so we didn't work it out.

There are many souvenirs to be bought here. You can even have your name painted on a tile to be added to the temple at a cost of course.

There are toilets & a shop to buy refreshments too.

~sarah

A fantastic morning stroll with the family. Take a taxi ride up is easy. Great architecture and beautiful temples. Lots of beautiful things to see. Taking the lift to the top is definitely worth it. Sunny morning for some photos. If you walk back down to exit, a nice vegetarian restaurant is on the way. Not a vege fan but very pleasantly surprised. A welcome change to the spicy street food and away from the heat and cooking heat.

~sabin

This temple was absolutely amazing and we could have spent hours exploring. When you visit allow plenty of time to see all this temple has to offer. There is even a finicular railway to take you right to the very top and then you can spend many hours there as well. This was truly a sight to behold and one that should not be missed by any visitor to Penang.

~graham

It's situated very near to Penang Hill. You may drive up or choose to walk your way up (takes less than 10 minutes) through the many steps with stalls on both sides selling souvenirs. These stalls don't wander around you to buy so they are not annoying... it's a free and easy sheded walk.

The temple comes with many areas with different small architecture you may explore. Viewing from one angle/corner to another gives a different outlook on the building and the decorative architecture.

~alfred

Visited with 2 young children. The only thing they would enjoy is the cable car going up/down. Weather was blazing hot and it was really bad for the family. Not convenient.

~jimmy

The place it self is easy to reach, but the path way to the temple is filled with shops, luckily there are sign that show the way to the giant statue. The statue it self is what i expected, very elegant and quite detail, would recommend to go there after going to penang hill because they are close by and have some lunch at the market nearby

~sulamem

I am a enthusiast for classic architecture, so this object is in my list first. I took taxi (red taxis in Penang has already fixed rate when you go to certain area, but beware they usually trying to charge you slightly more). I dropped of at the entrance of the temple, and the directions are quite unclear. The temple and pagoda itself was excellent, but the pavement seems lacking of maintenance. Go to the building behind the temple, crossing the prayer room, and pay 6 RM for round trip with inclined cabin, to the Kwan Im temple. This Kwan Im temple is fascinating, seeing this giant structure from far already giving me excitement. Taxis are scarce here, so take the exit from bazaar like tunnel, passing a pond full of turtles, and you arrived at the public market area to pick some local delicacies

~yessie

We couldnt go all the way up but hwat we saw of the temple was beautiful. Different things to see in various spots

~kim

We got the bus from the central terminal (near the ferry). It cost 2rg each and the journey took about 35 minutes. From the bus stop it is a five minute walk to the temple entrance. You walk up a covered staircase, of sorts. There are stalls lining the way. There is construction work taking place at the entrance to the main temple, but it doesn't detract from the overall experience. There are some beggars as you head up the ramp to the 10,000budha temple. There is a solid 2 to 3 hours worth of sights in the complex. Entry to the pagoda is 2rg and a return trip on the lift car is 6rg. The main negative point for us was, the temples don't have the same mystic spiritual feel that you get in Thailand, for instance. Everything is there but it feels kinda Disney.

~connor

Went here with the public bus from George town, takes some time to get there but it's worth it if you like temple architecture. Climb up on the temple/pegoda to cool a little bit of with some fresh air!

~iris

There is some construction going on at the complex right now that mars the overall feeling a bit, but it's still a good take. You may want to try to pick a cooler time if there is such a thing, as there is a lot of climbing and out in the sun areas that make you quite hot. You will have to pay to take the funicular, it's worth it. Also, pay to go up in the tall temple spire. It's a lot of stairs, but it's not too hard. Climb slowly to the top. The view is worth it. You can take one of the city buses out to here, rather than paying a taxi. The ride is enjoyable and gives you a $2 scenic ride through the island. Just ask the bus driver where to get off.

~livino

This is one of the must see sites in Penang. This temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy Kwah Yin. A huge statue of the Goddess is built on top of a hill. You can dirve all the way up to the top of the hill and visit the statue. Then visit the temple where there are several Buddha statues other pieces of Buddhist culture and arts.

~ko

We manage to try the famous Sister's Curry Mee nearby, the nice lady selling drinks told us we better walk there (which is reasonably near). Some guys will proposed to drive you to the hill (chargeable). You will definitely missed out some details if you do so! There is a shading route for walking purpose, some stalls along the way. Please be careful of pick pockets (as I lost an expensive black glasses and my friend lost the thing she just bought from the stall). Half way, you can use incline lift to Kuan Yin Statue (MYR6/return-way). Finally, proceed to Pagoda 7-level, highest place at Kek Lok Si with great view (MYR2/person). All charges will be used for temple development and maintenance.

~jenny

The temple is about 30 min from the center, not far, with the buses #201, 203, 204 or 502. The best is to go from komtar or the ferry station and take the 1st bus that arrives.

I didn't like the place that much.

First, not good vibes, can't explain. Second the style was...special, not subtle, dainty, not sure how to say. And there are so many touristic shops! First all the way up to the temple, and then inside TOO! It really alters the atmosphere and take off all spirituality. 

Only about 8 rm total to pay, max. The 6 rm up to the big statue is worth it (stairs are right under the sun, no shadow!). Nice view, nice statue.

Also there were a lot of beggars....

~adeline

It's near Penang hill so if you plan to visit Penang hill, Kek lok si should be on your route too. Very easy to travel by bus, after get off at the bus stop just walk a few minutes. The highlight might be Guan yin statue on top of the hill which you have to pay MYR6 for round trip to go up and down.

~daeng

Kek Lok Si Temple is a must se place for any visitor to Penang. You cannot say you have been to Penang if you have not been here. This place seems to be well known to many foreigners and you get to meet many of them here.

The temple is huge and you need to walk up a long but not too steep flight of stone steps to reach the temple, but you don't get tired because of so many things to see. 

The architecture is unique and beautiful, every section of the temple has it's charms and the pagoda is something to talk about. There is a huge Goddess of Mercy figure which looks down on the temple and it is so awesome to be here. Truly glad to be here for a visit.

~ming

This is a great place. Very calm atmosphere and nice view over Penang. We just strolled around and enjoyed beeing there. 

It is only RM2 when you want to go to the top. It is definitely worth it. The buses 203 & 204 stop here but also the hop-on hop-off bus.

~dora

I don't go to Kek Lok Si Temple very often, but the last time I visited it was an eye opener - refurbishment (both good and bad) has changed the sleepy temple centre into a tourist destination, just shy of becoming a trap. What saves it are the little green / flowered corners and being in the temple complex. Yes, worth a visit!

~ken

The temple is situated at the town of Ayer Itam. Can be reached by public bus from Georgetown bus terminal. The temple has a terapin(turtle) pond, where there are hundreds to thousands of them. Temple can be reach by climbing flight of stairs or a small cable car. The pagoda has Chinese, Thai and Burmese design influence. Nearby the Kek Lok Si temple is the Ayer Itam resevoir park.

~frugal

We took a taxi right up to the Buddha statue. The temple was closed. The Buddha statue looks majestic and has a serene expression which had a very calming effect on us. A must visit.

~didicoi

My wife and adult daughter went with me to Kek Lok Si Temple. The grounds are very large and very nice. There are many levels and for those in good shape, lots of stairs to climb to the highest places:). However, you can enjoy many sights without a lot of climbing. Our Uber driver took us here, so there is no need for a your snd no cost to look around. The only thing we did not appreciate was the "freedom pond". Here you pay a small amount to "buy" a turtle, feed them some food and immediately "set it free again" without ever really touching it. The little pond was over-crowded with turtles, and visually sad to see them in that space ... so we left immediately. Perhaps young children would be delighted, but the turtle lover in us felt sad for those turtles. Otherwise, it is a great place to wander and enjoy the beautiful temple areas.

~sheamus

Awesome temple to visit if you are in Penang. Though you have to walk for a while if you are taking the path where shops are there but worth going up.

~senti

Wonderfully amazing pagoda with thousands of buddha figurines. Its quite a walk and not for the weak and slow movers. A tortouise pond with thousands of them clamouring on top of each other is quite pitiful to watch.

~vd

Beautiful temple, a lot of prayer like to visit here, especially during Chinese new year, there is lot of beautiful lantern during night time, the guan yin temple is still new, can sit the train (RM3) per person to the top, you may view a part of penang island over here.

~horeesi

We took taxi straight from Penang Hill all the way to the highest level as my kids still young. Quite crowded, therefore is good to visit before weekend. You can enjoy some panaroma view of Georgetown on top. This should be the tallest Guanyin statue in SEA if not wrong. Don't mind to donate a piece of tile if situation(financial) allow. Thereafter, stop and having lunch at Air Hitam popular Assam Laksa stall. The stall is just at the roadside, limited seat and the uncle is very friendly as well. There is a Malaysia and Penang state flag on the wall which make visitor easy to recognise them from others laksa stall. Find it out yourself !!!

~dominicsew

This is a good way to spend half a day but involves quite a lot of walking up stairs. Access to temple is via stairs through many market stall selling merchandise and clothes. There is a horrifying small pond filled with approx 200 tortoises which was very unpleasant. You could buy food to feed the turtles but this is not a nice attraction. 

Once in the temple it is very beautiful and it's a nice place to wander round and experience the atmosphere. You can leave a prayer at the temple also. Access is free but you pay to take the funicular train up to the large monument. This is worth doing because it is very dramatic and views are good from the top. 

Also nearby there is a good cheap Street restaurant serving laksa only which is delicious.

~sophie

Another must-stop in Penang Area, Kek Lok Temple sounded quite promising. Taking a taxi from George Town to here, at least 30 MYR (so try to bargain anyway!), nobody will use taximeter up to there. At least 30-35 minutes to arrive, with no traffic. It's not so big, the biggest attraction is an Avalokiteshvara statue, a cable car, gardens, altars and halls; its decoration looks kinda plastic and cheaply painted. Be sure to arrive before 5pm, they close at 6!. Penang Hill Tram is 20 minutes walking for 5 by taxi (at least 10 MYR). Recommended for first time travelers!

~mike

There were a lot of renovations going on so that didn't help, there used to be a bustling market on the steps up to the temple but this is now a show of it's former self. The turtle pond is where they are doing some of the reno's and it was not as good as last time I was there in the mid 90's.

~jim

...went there twice and spend hours taking pictures. This temple is almost a small city and very enjoyable. Don miss it its worth to go. Roughly 20min. drive from central Georgetown, this is a chinese buddhist temple. There is a huge Sala with buddhist statue which you can see already from the airplane. Try to go in the afternoon since you avoid the big groups, but check the closing time.

~kay

It was my 2nd time visiting this magnificent temple, climbed the 7 storey pagoda, and went up to the hilltop by small cable car to see the 99 feet tall Kuan Yin (Avalokiteshvara/Kannon) Statue.

The route has changed since i last visited in 2012. Once you see the Air Itam Market, get down from the bus(best to catch the bus from Komtar, buses are quite frequent), then walk pass the market (do ask the local which way to go), turn to left and walk till you see a small concrete bridge on the left just next to a nutmeg souvenir shop, pass through that bridge, there will be a narrow route of steps leading up to the temple, there are many shops along this route. 

If you happen to miss this small bridge, you can still find this narrow steps when you go up using the main road, its located halfway along the main road where you will see many stone statues at the roadside, that's the parking lots and there is a small entrance to go into.

If you are travelling with elders, its better to travel by car as the way up by foot is abit steep. 

There are a few prayer halls to visit. Visitors need to take off their shoes before entering the hall. (Beware of shoes thieves) Besides that, there is a pond where you can feed the turtles (there is a middle age man selling vegetables which is used to feed the turtles). The 7 storey pagoda also has many small steep steps, but the view at the top is worth to climb up for. 

There are many more Buddha Statues to see as you explore this big temple. The access to the cable car is located inside the shop. The cable car cost RM11 for a return trip, so do keep you tickets for your return trip.
This temple is worth to visit, especially for Buddhists.

~ban

Parking fee is around RM3, hiking up is not really recommended. Entry is free and there are some nice views to look at but not spectacularly scenic. It is another RM3 to drive up to the Quan Yin statue but it is definitely worth it.

~roger

The ascent up the temple was through flights and flightsl of steps but we were rewarded with views of the grand structures of religious representations. The most awe striking is the Kuan Yin Goddess who stands at least 5 stories high. To reach there,take a long lift up. The lift ride is chargeable but the scenery on the way is breathtaking.

~clara

Drive up as far as you can to avoid the very hot, airless and dark walkway which is lcrowded with vendors. Head for the pagoda and make yourself walk up all the levels--great views and each floor is different. Skip the giant Kuan Yin statue (seems rather soulless, like so much concrete).

~beirut

This was the second time we visited Penang.Never knew this temple was there.If you visit one on your holiday, it must be this one .Amazing!! But some advices:If you take a cab, he will bring you at the top of the hill .Busses not. Make your way to the souvenir shop to go to the elevator who brings you at the highest place with the hugh statues, before the bus-tourists arrives.You will pass so many beautyful places and sights, just realize that you have to take the same way down and then stop to enjoy all this beauty.Just more relaxed. Enjoy.

~martin

One of the must to visit when you are in Penang. The temple has been expanding every year for decade, Big building and big statues, prepare to pay a little more for a comfort cable ride to the top to see the tall GUAN YIN. RM2 for the Pagoda, not a must to visit as nothing much inside there, but worth for the city view up there.

~ck

The Kek Lok Si Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang facing the sea and with an impressive view, and is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The main draw in the complex is the striking seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI (Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas) with 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha and the grand final atraction is the 30.2 metres (99 ft) tall bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy at the top.

Many tourist makes mistake by walking by the road side and missing all the main walk through of temple experience, missing everything before reaching the top as the main entrance is blocked with many stalls selling clothes to souvenirs so they basically cannot find the entrance. 

Since you know this now and once you are in this entrance and you find yourself walking upstairs then you are on the right track.

If you have a car and not fit to walk up this place , then just use the side road and drive all the way up to see the bronze statue of Kuan Yin

~sooria

If you are visiting Penang island, this is a must visit spot. You can travel there by bus, car or cab. Be alert - the traffic jam could be bad after 11am. You can drive up the hill and park at the temple for a fee (RM3). You can either take a 3mins train/tram (RM6) up to the top or drive there. The view - spectacular. So mesmerized watching the huge Kuan Yin statue. Hats off to all the craftsman who successfully made it. Take loads of pictures and enjoy the moment. You can go down the train again and explore the ground temple as well. Souvenirs are sold everywhere at the area. The temple management is doing a great job maintaining the place.

~sen r

Was pleasantly surprised by this temple. Got the 203 bus from George Town (can also take the 204 and 502) took about 45 mins and was dropped off in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the small town of Ayer Itam. Took a wander through and found the temple ok. 

Once there I thought it was lovely - so many different features through a multitude of stairways. There's a turtle enclosure (seemed a little depressing to me but they represent eternity apparently).
Aside from that - lots of different areas and rooms and lots of photo opportunities. 

To go up to the Kuan Yin statue (huge statue that dominates the hillside) you take a lift up (like a funicular) costs 6RM return) - I went late morning and the queue wasn't too bad but was massive a couple of hours later when I came down. 

It's worth going up for the size of the statue alone - there's also great views of Penang and the surrounding countryside .

Worth mentioning that on the walk up to the lift there are lots of shops selling souvenirs and clothes. It's actually quite a nice way of doing it - nobody hassles you. There's also plenty of places to get food and drink. 

Couple this visit with some food back in the town and a trip to Penang Hill (20 min walk away) and you have yourself a good day out.

~terri

This temple is similar to the Chin Swee Caves Temple in Genting, but on a smaller scale.

Lovely Buddhist sculptures and figures all over the compound. Make sure you visit the Goddess of Mercy sculpture (still under construction) via the tram ($6 two-way ticket) at the top of the hill. Majestic sight.

Good place for pics.

~jat

This is one place you must visit when on Penang Island; the steep climb inside the tower is a bithard but more than worth it with all the scenes you see inside; we were sorry we had little tilme to visit as we arrived rather late due to heavy traffic getting there

~jean

You can see more Penang travel guide at here.


TYPES