Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

Kek Lok Si Temple

Home > Penang > Walks | Outdoor | Free | Chinese New Year
by Pauline (subscribe)
Published April 30th 2013
The largest buddhist temple in South East Asia
Kek Lok Si temple is one of the most iconic landmarks in Penang, Malaysia. It is also known as the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Hence, it is no surprise that this majestic temple is often frequented by locals and tourists.

The temple is divided into three main sections. Each section showcases interesting features of the temple such as prayer halls, temple, garden and statues. While some visitors prefer to start their tour in descending order, I decided to go in ascending order.


Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Attraction, Malaysia
Lower ground temple

There is not much to see at the ground level apart from a car park bay, food stalls, several souvenir shops and the (sacred pond) Liberation Pond with hundreds of tortoises in murky water. It was quite a let down as the pond is not properly maintained. Fortunately on the way walking up to the mid-section of the temple, I was greeted by a beautiful courtyard with mini pagoda structure in Lotus Pond and neatly manicured trees.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Attraction, Malaysia, Buddha
Statue of Buddha

There is also statue of Buddha housed in a gazebo surrounded by bright red and yellow lanterns.


Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Attraction, Ten thousands Buddha
Mid-level of the temple

Occasionally, you can hear the monks chanting prayers in harmony around the mid-level section of the temple. The main attractions here are temples, prayer halls, garden and the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddha.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Buddha statue
Row of Buddha statues

Built on the hills of Ayer Itam from 1891 - 1905, the temple was founded over a hundred years ago by a devout Buddhist from China. Kek Lok Si is literally translated as The Temple of Supreme Bliss. Today the temple has an archive of invaluable heritage relics including Buddhist sutras, hand written script and calligraphy by emperors and empress.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Attraction, Wish ribbons,
Wishing tree

At the prayer hall, devotees and visitors can make offerings through the purchase of wishing ribbons or tiles. The wishing ribbons are tied to a tree branch. I saw the ribbons were printed with different offerings such as successful career, good health and prosperity.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Pagoda of ten thousands buddha
Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas

The seven stories Pagoda of the 10,000 Buddhas is a must-see. It has very fine and intricate exterior as well as interior, boasting 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha. Visitors can climb the pagoda using the spiral stairways and admire the beautiful views of Penang Island story by story.


Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Lanterns
Chinese Lanterns

The hilltop garden is accessible by foot or using the incline lift for a small fee of RM2.00 (less than AUD 1).

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Kuan Yin
Bronze Kuan Yin Statue

It was truly a breathtaking moment to see the Goddess of Mercy Pavillion which houses the magnificent bronze statue of Kuan Yin standing at 33.67m tall.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, hilltop garden, lunar animals
12 lunar animals at the hilltop garden

There is also an amazing garden with the theme of 12 lunar animals in Chinese Calendar. If you are too tired from all the walking, just sit and relax at a nearby gazebo surrounded by fish pond with koi. It did feel very peaceful and calming to watch the koi swimming in the pond, admiring the impressive bronze statue of Kuan Yin and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Penang Island from higher ground. The hilltop is undoubtedly the highlight of my visit!

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, inscription
Red inscription on the rocks

The best time to visit the temple is during the Chinese New Year festival when the opening hours are extended to late evening and the entire place is lit up with beautiful lanterns. If you happened to visit during the day, the weather can be scorching hot so do prepare some water, sunglasses and hat.

Kek Lok Si Temple, Pagoda, Penang Must-See, Attraction, Malaysia
Night view of Kek Lok Si Temple during Chinese New Year, Source: Penang Tourism website

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  67
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia
When: Anytime
Where: Ayer Itam, Penang
Cost: Free admission, $2 incline lift
Your Comment
Its a great place to visit while staying in Penang. Well worth the effort. The market near the entrance is also quiet good
by g;eno (score: 1|23) 3700 days ago
Articles from other cities
Popular Articles