Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi (Khoo Clan) Temple, Penang
Kongsi or "clan halls", are benevolent organizations of popular origin found among overseas Chinese communities for individuals with the same surname. This type of social practice arose several centuries ago in China.
Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, or Khoo Kongsi for short, is one of the most distinctive Chinese clan associations in Malaysia. It is well known worldwide for its extensive lineage that can be traced back 650 years ago, as well as its closely-knit and defensive congregation of buildings and magnificent temple.
The Khoo Kongsi is a clan association of the Leong San Tong (Dragon Mountain Hall) clan, whose forefathers came from Xiangcheng in Hokkien province.
The Khoos were among the wealthy Chinese traders of early Penang. In the 19th century, the clan complex resembled a miniature village, with its own self-government as well as educational, financial, welfare and social organisations. The clan temple was built in 1906 when the Khoo clan was at the height of wealth and eminence in Penang society.
The famous Khoo Kongsi is the grandest clan temple in the country. A large Chinese clanhouse with elaborate and highly ornamented architecture, a mark of the dominant presence of the Chinese in Penang, Malaysia. The clan temple has retained its authentic historic setting, which includes an association building, a traditional theatre and the late 19th century rowhouses for clan members, all clustered around a granite-paved square.
The Khoo Kongsi is a clan association of the Leong San Tong (Dragon Mountain Hall) clan.
Opening hours daily, including Sundays and Public Holidays: 9 am to 5 pm
Perhaps Penang's most recognisable tourist attraction, the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi or simply Khoo Kongsi for short, is the finest Chinese clan temple outside China. It was was founded in 1835, on the 8th day of the 5th moon of the Chinese calendar, when 102 members of the Khoo clan gathered to form an association to look after the welfare of Khoo clansmen in the Nanyang. It was to be similar to another Khoo association in China, the Ee Kok Tong. One of the functions of the association was to keep records of the clan ancestors and descendents. The result of this meticulous exercise is that the Khoos have one of the most complete genealogical charts of all the clans in Penang.
The Khoo Kongsi is in fact a miniature clan village set into the city of George Town. Many of the town houses surrounding the Khoo Kongsi clan temple bear the sign "Sin Kang", as do the gateways leading into Khoo Kongsi. The original building was truly opulent and took some eight years to build. It was made from wood but just three weeks after completion in 1902 it burnt down. Superstitions abound that the clan house burned due to jealousy from the Gods as the house was too opulent, rivalling the temple and heaven.
The current building was built in 1906 from the ashes in half the time but is still a marvel. The four granite columns at the entrance way symbolise each year of construction and are intricately carved. The splendour of Khoo Kongsi lies in its highly detailed wood carvings, wall frescoes and roof decorations. The entire roof structure is said to weigh 25 to 50 tons, and is the best example of the cut-and-paste chien nien technique, where shards of ceramic bowls are used to form patterns, beasts and beings.
Open: Daily from 9am-5pm. Admission: RM5.
The Khoo Kongsi is the finest Kongsi in Penang. A Kongsi is a Chinese clan house, part temple & part meeting hall. On the night it was completed the roof caught fire, this was considered as a message from above that they'd overdone the design. It was rebuilt in a less grandiose scale.
The building is full of dragons, statues, painted lamps, coloured tiles & carvings. It shouldn't be missed on a visit to Penang.
Let's see, Khoo Kongsi is a famous stop for tourist for being the grandest clan temple in Penang. What can be seen here is the amazing architectural sturcture comprising of stone and wood carvings. The walls were decorated with murals of beautiful pictorial folklores and art.
However, do you know that there is a hidden coin somewhere besides the handrail of the grand staircase where the two monks are? Well, look for the hidden coin then touch/rub it before proceeding to rub on the laughing monk 3 times for luck! Remember ONLY rub on the LAUGHING Monk!
Believe It or Not? Can U find It? It's a secret between U & Me then!
One more thing, do you know Anna & The King was filmed here? The filming was done at the courtyard--Cannon Square. It was tranformed into a market. I was there as an extra and I do say it was an enjoyable experience.
A Kongsi is a clan house of Chinese Families with the same last name. It is partly a temple, partly a hall of fame and partly a meeting place for that clan.
The Khoo clan has the nicest Kongsi by far and attracts many visitors from all over the world. It is very interesting to see such a place as a western guy, as we lack such places. Imagine to have a place built by your ancestors showing the life of your extended family, where they have studied, what companies they have built up and to see the family tree.
Especially the little temple is a beautiful place to visit.
The whole kongsi was built in 1835, but has not been finished until around 1900.
One of the most visited clanhouses in Penang is Khoo Kongsi. A clanhouse under the family surname of Khoo.
Traditionally, Chinese practises ancestor worship. Here, you will see wood tablets with engraved Chinese characters of famous sons of the Khoo clan members on the altar in one of the side rooms.
There is an traditional theatre stage located opposite the clan temple.
The main room of the temple is a living room with a private back room as well as two side rooms. The temple roof has intricate designs of mythical animals. The temple columns has impressive stone carvings.
During the Chinese New Year period, this courtyard is often open for festivities and outdoor performances.
On other days, there is now an admission charge of RM5 for adult and free for children under 12 years. This has reduced the number of local visitors.
Worth visiting for any first timers.
This is the modest entrance to Khoo Kongsi. Walk pass this gate to enter the old world. I almost missed the entrance as I expected a grand entrance!
If you are walking on Jalan Pitt (Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling) towards Jalan Acheh, the entrance is on your left before the end of road.
Admission: RM5 (adult) inclusive of a postcard
The walls of Khoo Kongsi Temple is decorated with deities from Chinese legend. It is beautiful and painted so carefully. The very modest almost black and white mural is a contrast to the rich gold colour of the architectural decorations.
I think what makes this small temple so unique is the details. All carefully carved by artisans and painted in gold colour. You have to look up and really appreciate the fine decorations on the ceiling too. Definitely worth a visit!
Interesting to read from the museum that the style of this temple is not pure chinese. It has colonial influence too.
Entrance fee: RM5 (inclusive of a postcard)
I am ashamed that I had never visited this marvelous temple on my countless visits to Penang before! Finally, on my most recent visit, I paid a visit to this beautiful and well preserved building. Strongly recommend this to everyone who visits Penang. If you appreciate culture and architecture, this is the place the you must NOT miss in Penang.
There is a small museum on the lower level of the temple. It is better to visit the museum before you go up to the main temple. There are history of the temple and story of the Khoo clan to educate visitors.
Entrance ticket of only RM5 for adult is a steal!!!!
Being few in number during the early colonial period between the late 18th century to the early 20th century, the various chinese "dialects" from their respective chinese provinces saw the need for a common place of congregation and for the veneration of their deities and ancestors in a foreign land. In addition, there arose a need for temporary accommodation for their newly arrived kinsmen. Hence, the clan houses were built. Over the subsequent decades as a number of clan members grew wealthy in the Straits Settlement (the British colonies of Penang, Malacca and Singapore), the aging clan houses were renovated. The classical designs mirrored the new found wealth of the Straits Chinese.
Khoo Kongsi is the clan house of the Khoo clan. It was recently restored to its past glory.
Khoo Kongsi is one of the grandest clan temple in the country. Clustered in its square are an elaborately embellished temple, association building, a traditional theatre as well as serveral 19th century row houses.
Khoo is the family name. Kongsi means clan (family) house.
This clan house of the Khoo family reminds us of the very first period the Chinese came to Penang. The Khoo family that built this Kongsi came originally from Sin Kang village in the Hokkien province of China. They actually began migrating overseas in the 16th century. They came to Penang sometime in the late 18th century. By 1835 their numbers were large enough that they formed a clan group and purchased the land and building for the first Kongsi.
The Khoos were among the the wealthy Straits Chinese traders of 17th century Malacca and early Penang.
The idea of a temple was first mooted in 1836 and was completed 8 years later. The Leong San Tong of the Khoo Kongsi in Cannon Square is the most picturesque clan-temple in Malaysia. The richly ornamented carvings of the roofs, walls and pillars reflect the art and architecture of ancient China and made of the finest wood. It was built as a clan-house for people with the same surname.
In the 19th century, the clan complex resembled a miniature clan village, with its own self-government as well as educational, financial, welfare and social organisations.
It burnt down in 1894 and some believed it was due of its resemblance to the Emperor's palace. A reduced version was later built in 1902 which features a magnificent hall embellished with intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of finest wood bearing the mark of master craftsmen from China.
The Khoo Kongsi complex consists of the clanhouse Leong San Tong, an administrative building with a meeting hall and offices, an opera stage, and 62 units of terrace houses and shophouses. There are three entrances to the complex: the main entrance is at Cannon Street: the rear entrance, with a decorative archway, faces Beach Street; and the side entrance leads to Armenian Street.