Snake-less Temple, Penang
I read everyone's comments about the snake temple but i still decided to go. Yes there really arent many free reigning snakes around however for a small price the temple has a mini zoo enclosure of snakes and this was very interesting! We even had the opportunity to go into a cage with one which i obviously declined!
This place is a fair bus hike out of town or approx $25RM taxi ride each way.
I arrived expecting to see a huge temple surrounded by tropical forest. I was quite disappointed to find a tiny temple almost squeezed out by the semi permanent shops and stalls hanging around for the trade spin offs. All this was bordered by a 6 lane highway right out the front. Not exactly the sacred charm I was expecting. Those darn glossy tourist pamplets.........
I climbed the steps and was shown one of three barely moving green pythons high up on a branch surrounded by signs not to touch them.
Before you pass into the next room, you are 'encouraged' to make a donation towards the upkeep of the temple.
Then it's into the next room where there are a couple of green vipers that you can pay an exorbrant price to have a photo with - just don't blink or you'll miss the brief second the vipers are on your hands.
Then, and this is the best bit, you are guided by curiosity to find out what the Snake Pool is. My advice - don't.
It's another section where you are guided without words by many attendants to give money for the poor, which I did, then I was shown what to do with some incense and directed to another table to give more money......so you can see a pattern forming here. At some point, you are thanked and shown an above ground tiled and EMPTY pool with some mangrove trees that you've been standing next to the whole time. Apparently there are snakes in the trees in the empty pool but I couldn't find one.
Left feeling not so much as spiritually uplifted rather more like spiritually syphoned.
Unique Suggestions: If you are going to this temple just to see the snakes, just go up to the first Budda and photograph the pythons you see there. It doesn't get any better the further in you go.
Fun Alternatives: There are other places around that let you handle snakes and get a good photo too. Ask a local Tuk Tuk (taxi) driver as they'll be more that eager to help you out. Make it clear to them you DON'T want the snake temple though.
Although Lakeside Resort is about 40 minutes out of town, for the ultimate snake handling experience, visit the Eco Park when there is a room full of various snakes. The attendant will even let you wear a huge python which is not adverse to the occasional kiss (the python, not the attendant). See my tip.
Although it is a free attraction, there isn't a real must-see at this temple. Yes, there are a handful of green poisonous snakes in a temple. However, it is not outstanding as the driver told us the snakes have been driven away by locals.