Located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Georgetown in Penang island, the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi or Khoo Kongsi in short is a major attraction in the city. The magnificent complex has a history of 650 years with ancestral origin from the Sin Aun Village in China and most of the clansmen had the surname Khoo. The construction of the building was completed in 1906.
Today, the wide spread of the Khoo clan is evident in Penang as well as many South-east Asia countries.
Main entrance @ Cannon Street
This historical clan house consists of a famous clan temple, administrative building with meeting hall and offices, an opera stage as well as rows of terrace houses and shop houses accessible via three entrances. The complex resembles a miniature clan village in the colonial city.
Intricate carvings on the roof and pillars
Much of the architectural structures and characteristics of the building are retained even after a major restoration effort in 2001. The styles and decorations reflect temples in Southern Fujian with intricate carvings everywhere on the walls, pillars, and roof.
Giant green stone lions
There is also a pair of giant green stone lions guarding the courtyard of clan house. Other interesting features of the house include stone carving, ridge decoration, timber work, murals, inscriptions and the prayer pavilion.
Electronic screen display & exhibition
A small museum and an art gallery can be found on the side wing of the lower ground where a collection of historical materials are found along with detailed history of Khoo Kongsi.
Khoo Kongsi as part of the filming location of Anna and the King
If you recalled the movie, Anna and the King, (starring Chow Yun-Fat as King Mongkut and Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens), part of the movie was filmed in Khoo Kongsi especially the scene where Tuptim (by Bai Ling) was captured by palace guard.
The single storey kitchen on the side wing is worth a visit. It models the setting of the kitchen back in the old days as well as human sculptures of men and woman eating their meals at the dining table.
Do check out the official website to find out more about the ongoing events such as art exhibition, an evening of lights, concerts and other cultural celebrations at the location. Some of the events are free for all to enjoy and participate. Various merchandise items are also on sale for international visitors who are interested to buy them as souvenirs.
Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi is definitely worth a visit to gain insight of the past and admire the beauty of this historically rich building. Small admission fees do apply. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm including Sundays and Public Holidays.