This is probably the most well known iconic symbol of Penang Island. Driving towards Air Itam, you will see the Kek Lok Si temple complex mushrooming on a hill slope appearing about the town.
There are two ways going up the temple complex.
The recommended one is to walk all the way up - easy covered steps with lots of souvenir stalls on both sides. It can be hot and humid but take your time. While stopping to catch your breath with the fan blowing, you can check out what is available and the going price. Better to buy on your way down because you can compare prices and you do not have to carry it with you all the way. You will see a tortoise pond where you can buy some vegetables to feed.
The other way is to drive up and park near the vegatarian restaurant. You thus avoid walking up the series of staps and at he door step of the temple complex but miss the walking and the stalls. You can always walk down, it is easier but take care of your knees.
There are several halls with old and new Buddhas and engravings. You can go up the pagoda or take a short tram to see the both the new and old giant statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin).
A nice view of the valley from up there. Many locals worship and you will be surprised to fund collection to expand the temple complex. Money and religion go hand in hand.
There is heavy traffic going to the temples during school and public holidays.
Kek Lok Si is the biggest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It is perched majestically on a hill in Air Hitam. The temple consists of many prayer halls, pagodas, bell towers and just about every other typical temple structure you can think of, in varying styles from Burmese to Chinese to Thai - it's well worth a visit! The temple features scenic gardens, shrines, a turtle pond, two structures dominate the scenery, especially when the temple is seen from afar - marvel at the statue of The Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) and the 30 meter high Pagoda of a Thousand Buddhas.
There is no admission fee to the temple itself. However, fees do apply to the incline lift to the Kuan Yin statue and to enter the area of the new prayer hall and pagoda.
You can get a taxi from Georgetown for RM 15 to 20 to take you to the temple. You can also take the TransitLink shuttle bus number 8 to the temple and Penang Hill.
The Temple of Paradise (Kek Lok Si) is the biggest buddhist temple on Penang and, given its large dimensions, I guess it must be the largest religious complex on the island.
The temple stands near Penang Hill, close to the funicular and has commanding views of George Town and the channel that separates it from the Peninsula of Malacca. The complex is made up of several buildings and is so large that it takes about half a day to visit. It is well visible from afar, as it is crowned by a giantic statue of a Buddha.
It is not a very old temple and it may not be noted for its artistic value, but coming from a Western country, such display of Oriental architecture can only be described as amazingly exotic.
After passing a number of shopping arcades with stalls selling souvenirs and clothes, you reach a courtyard with a pond where thousands of turtles struggle to get their small piece of land under the sun. Apparently, it is here that locals release their pet turtles when they grow too big or get tired of them.
The 10.000 Buddhas Pagoda is the highest structure in the Temple of Paradise Complex. The building was the last to be completed and mixes Thai, Chines and Burmese influences. For a small contribution, you are allowed to climb to the top to enjoy the view.
This temple is just huge and very impressive. I nestles behind the houses and streets of George Town and when you first cath a glimpse of the Golden Buddah you are transfixed! Walk about, chat with people, take it all in ...
The "Temple of Supreme Bliss" is a wonderful place to get in touch with buddhist architecture and tradition. It was built at the end of the 19th century and is known to be the largest temple arrangement in South East Asia (or at least in Malaysia itself). I especially liked the identical buddha statues and the shiny white pagoda.
Great half day away from the beaches of the north and the hustle and bustle of georgetown. I hired a car and had no problems getting to the temple and there is a small car park at the bottom of the steep access route. You can actually drive further up the road towards the dam but we parked at the bottom of the hill. A french lady staying at the same hotel said she had struggled to get to the temple under her own steam and in the end plumped for a tour. Hire the car it gives you more freedom, or if in a group hire the taxi. Driving in and around gorgetown is a nightmare. Outside of the city it's not that bad. The temple is peaceful and beautiful the people using the temple are friendly, just remember to remove your shoes before entering any of the temple buildings. We approached the temple through an avenue of chinese stalls selling all sorts of souvenir stuff. Half way up there is a pool full of turtles which you can feed for a couple of ringit. Not sure about this given the numbers of turtles the space available and the colour of the water.
Kek Lok Si temple is a vast complex of many temples that climb up the hillside.
There are one or two entry fee's into some sections but are a minor cost such as two rinjit.
Climb up to the Big tall Pagoda for a great view over Georgetown.Take you camera as there are a million photo's to be taken. Beautiful buildings and loads of culture..
From rock formations with chinese ingravings to hanging pumpkins and bonsai's..There is a giant statue of Kua lin right up the back of the grounds you need to take a small cable car to reach the godess of mercey or you can walk up but in the humity i guess only the strong can do that.Carry water or buy it there on the way back down past the car park you will walk past the turtle pond temple and then there are many market stall along the path they will hassle you to buy but they are probably cheaper than in town..
The largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia is the Kek Lok Si Temple. You will need your walking shoes for this one.
After you get past all the souvenir stalls you will reach Ban Po Thar, a seven tier tower.
It is said to be Burmese at the top, Chinese at the bottom, and Thai in the middle.
In another three story shrine, there is a large Thai Buddha image that was donated by the king of Thailand.
When we were there it was Chinese New Year and the temple was decorated with red and gold lanterns.
The whole place is huge. We started from the very top of the temple where a big Buddha sits facing Penang, and took a short cable train down to the other halls.
Surroundings are very peaceful and we even bought a few roof tiles, wrote our names and donated it back to the temple for rebuilding purposes. When completed, we will have our names on the roof of the temple. Cool!
As we walk down, it's easy to get lost, especially towards the turtle ponds where there are a lot of stalls by each side. Not a easy walk down to find our driver who was waiting for us at the bottom of the hill, but well worth the trip up just to see.
Where does one being to describe this place? It's really a complex: multiple temples, building, statues, buddahs...plus, it's a hike up a hill...but you don't really know that it's such a hike, since it's relatively enclosed, with shops lining the sides.
I don't want to offend anyone with this next comment, but this complex is the Las Vegas on temples....really, there's an unreality about it, there's stuff to buy everywhere, there are ways to part you from your money buy supporting even more building of the temple....all in all, a pretty amazing place....
Once you reach the top, you're treated to great views of Penang below!
A huge statue of Goddess of Mercy and a 7-storey Pagoda leaves you a deep impression of this temple. Currently the temple is building a shelter for the statue of Goddess of Mercy. The Pagoda is also undergoing some renovation. However is still worth a visit as you can admire the great architecture works.
How to get to this place? -- You can get to this place by catching a cab and telling the driver Kek Lok Si temple UPHILL. Must mention that you are going uphill or you will have to climb a long way uphill before reaching the temple. It would cost you around RM20 (per trip) from Georgetown hotels. The return trip will cost the same.
Bear in mind that there is a tram that goes up a hill to see the statue of Goddess of Mercy and it closes at 5.00 pm. and the temple 5.30pm. You may wish to arrive at 2-3pm, spend a few hours there and walk the stairs downhill where you can see/feed the turtles and browse souvenir shops. If you are interested to buy T-shirts esp. those printed with Penang attractions, the further down you go, the cheaper it gets esp. near closing time around 5-5.30pm. e.g. a T-shirt near the top of the hill can cost RM10 while near the bottom is 4 for RM10 !! Is really a big difference! My guess is that Penang locals like to close a deal just before closing for good luck. :)
After visiting the temple, is best that you catch a cab to Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) as it is just nearby. Bargain with the cab drivers. RM7-8 would be a reasonable price.
Kek Lok Si Temple is a 7 or 8 story high Buddhist temple... There are some amazing buildings around and it's definitely worth spending some time there...you might find you spend too much time there accidentially though...
One of the finest Buddhist temples in South-east Asia, Kek Lok Si Temple stands majestically on a hill in Air Itam, this temple built in tiers culminates the beautifully crafted ''Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas''. It took more than 20 years to build which features gardens, a turtle pond, shrines and beautiful sculptures. There are many souvenir shops leading up to the temple which offers good buys. And as for food lovers,famous hawker food are lined up near the Air Itam market.
For the best Assam Laksa in Penang, stop by the Air Itam market corner and the shop is located outside the market.
The temple is especially beautiful at night during Chinese New Year with colourful lanterns which add to the air of festivities.
Admission is free.