Kek Lok Si Temple of Penang

Kek Lok Si Temple: Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

by Salsabila Nasution
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Kek Lok Si Temple of Penang is currently the largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia. Even though we acknowledge the famous Borobudur Temple in the UNESCO heritage list, Kok Li Si is not less important. People from all around the world still come to pray and began their sacred journey. No wonder that this temple is arguable the most important pilgrimage center for not only Malaysian but also people from Hong Kong, Philipines, Singapore and etc. Above all, the temple reflects a balanced harmony between the local and Chinese culture.

Location of Kek Lok Si and How to Get There

Kek Lok Si is located in Penang, Air Itam. That is not very far away from the nature walkabouts of Air Itam Dam. You can reach Kok Lok Si by using RapidPenang. Go to the Komtar Bus Terminal which is the center terminal in Penang to get easier information about bus routes and schedules. Usually, the bus #204 and #203 go in the same direction depending which will arrive first, so you can take either one of them. The bus will only cost you about $0.5. Alternatively, you can also take the taxi for around $15-$20.

The Kek Lok Si Temple sitting on the foot of Air Itam Mountain.
The Kek Lok Si Temple sitting on the foot of Air Itam Mountain.

Getting Around Kek Lok Si Temple

Staircase leading to the main building of Kek Lek Si Temple
Staircase leading to the main building of Kek Lek Si Temple

Kek Lek Si temple was built in 1890 and was finished in 1930. The name Kek Lek Si itself means The Temple of Supreme Bliss. People built the temple on the foot of Air Itam Mountain. A person named Yeoh Siew Beow was kind enough to donate 12 hectares of his land for the temple. With a lot of tourists come to visit daily, there are plenty of people to take the opportunity to open some souvenirs stall before the entrance of the temple. Unfortunately, I feel like it makes the temple a bit lousy. Anyway, these stairs will lead you to the complex building.

The stunning pagoda becomes the main attraction of Kek Lok Si
The little Pagoda and the Red Lampions reflected Chinese Decoration

If you notice, there are a lot of Chinese embellishments around the temple complex, even on the walls and the pagodas. There are a lot of Red Lampions hanging as well. The temple has a unique and sophisticated architecture which includes beautifully carved pillars, fine statues, and combines with bright colors. There are also some Fish ponds and flower gardens making my journey around even more pleasing.

White and Red dominated the Sophisticated Architecture of Kek Lok Si Temple
White and Red dominated the Sophisticated Architecture of Kek Lok Si Temple

Kuan Yin Statue

Kuan Yin Goddess Statue from above

Another famous attraction in this temple is this Kuan Yin Statue which stands 36 meters tall from the ground. The construction of the statue was finished earlier in 2009 since the previous statue was broken in 2002 due to a fire accident. There is also a pentagon roof above the statue which was built strictly not to go over the height of the Penang State Mosque. That is to respect the majority of Moslem populations in Penang. In order to see Kuan Yin Statue closely, you will need to pay 3 MYR. Under the Kuan Yin statue, there are around a hundred smaller statues of Kuan Yin

Smaller statues of Kuan Yin Goddess in Kek Lok Si temple
Smaller statues of Kuan Yin Goddess in Kek Lok Si temple

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