Kek Lok Si - The Majestic
Temple Of Penang
Kek Lok Si - The Temple of Supreme Bliss

The Temple of Supreme Bliss that sits majestically at the hills of Ayer Itams is perhaps one of the remarkable gifts that Penang possesses today.

The symbolic and unique characteristic of Kek Lok Si is made well known not only to locals but also to the mass population of Malaysia. It is like a name that closely related to history of Penang as a whole.

Right now, it has became one of the top tourist attractions in Penang that is frequent by travelers all around the world.

The History
Founded more than 100 years ago by benevolence Beow Lean, a devout Buddhist from Fujian province, the temple was once given the name of "Huock San" (Crane hill) due to the hills resemblance of crane spreading its wings

Perhaps benevolence Beow Lean were right when he envisioned setting up a monastery here so that Buddhist traditions will be widely known and accepted by the public. And do you know what? He was right.

A man of passion can move a mountain but a man who is deeply devoted can carved one. It is the diligence, determination and devotion of benevolence Beow Lean that bring to the existence of Kek Lok Si and a retreat place of Buddhist tradition in Penang.

Impressed by Beow Lean deep devotion of the teaching of Buddhism, the trustee of Kuan Yin Teng (Goddess of Mercy Temple) in Pitt Street, offered him the position of Chief Monk in which he gladly accepted and at the same time he has been nominated as the first abbot of kek lok si.

Between the year 1891 to 1905, constructions to build one of the greatest Buddhism temples in Malaysia has finally take shape that consist of series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples and beautiful landscaped gardens.

Kek Lok Si Temple even received an imperial sanction Manchu Emperor Kwang Xi, who bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras and some others relics that still exist today. A hand written scripts and calligraphy by His Majesty Emperor Kuang Xi and Empress Cixi of the Ching Dynasty has also been presented to the temple. As of today, these priceless heritage relics still exist in the temple archives.

The Pagoda of 10, 000 buddha

Kuan Yin Statue
The Attractions
The main attraction of the Kek Lok Si Temple is of course the impressive and striking Pagoda of Rama VI which was completed in the year 1930. It is known to be laid by the Thai Monarch himself. Widely known as Wan Fo Pau Ta or "The Pagoda of 10, 000 Buddhas", The Pagoda displays a collection of Alabaster and Bronze Buddha and it also contains a Chinese octagonal base with middle tiers of the Thai architecture and is tapped with a Burmese Temple crown.  And towering over one hundred feet and seven storeys high, The Pagoda is currently the largest of its kind in Malaysia.

At the Kek Lok Si Temple ground, it contains beautiful gardens and sacred pond. One of the famous ones will be of course "The Liberation Pond" (Sacred Turtle Pond). Chinese tradition believes that a turtle is a symbol of longevity, strength and endurance. It is an act of spiritual liberation when a turtle is captured and set free in this pond.

Liberation pond

Another interesting view that you can see there will the supreme statue of The four heavenly kings. Sited in the Hall of the Devas (Tian Huang Dian), each of the Mighty Kings controls one of the four points of the compasses. The Heavenly Kings consist of Kwang Mu (Guardian of the West), Tou Wen (Guardian of the North), Ch'i Kuo (Guardian of the East) and lastly Tseg Chang (Guardian of the South).

Sitting at the center of The Heavenly Kings are the statue of Maitreya (The Laughing Buddha). It represents the center of the universe that brings happiness, hope and prosperity to the people.

The latest additions to the temple complex include the reconstruction / refurbishment of the huge 30.2 m bronze statue of the Greatly Compassionate & Sagely Kuan Yin Avalokitesvara, the completion of the Guan Tong Great Hall, the Aghast Hall and the installation of an Incline Lift to the statue of kuan Yin.

The Kuan Yin statue was completed and opened to the public end of 2002. If you want to get a close-up look of the Kuan Yin statue, look for the signs of the "Incline Lift" that can brings you there. It is an elevated box sized lift mounted on rails. The cost for using the "Inline Lift" will be RM2 each way.

Gardens at the hill top

The Unforgettable View
When you have the opportunity to visit Kek Lok Si during the Chinese Lunar New Year on the month of Jan or Feb, you will get to see the glittering and sparkling Buddhist temple that cannot be found in another place. This is the period where the whole temple if filled with beautiful lantern that light up the hills during the night. It is like you are in a city that comes alive during the night.

The fantastic view of the whole glittering temple can be seen clearly at Penang Hills, and don't forget to bring your camera. You would not want to miss the captivating view that will only appear once a year.

Err... Not to forget.....

Due to hot weather and the amount of walking needed, it is advisable to wear proper attire when you are exploring this temple. Bermuda's, T-shirt and sports shoes are excellent. Your journey will start at the foot of the hills. Along the path that is leading up to the temple, hawker will bombarded you with all kind of souvenir, T shirt and many others memorable. This where you can brings out your bargaining skills. Try to bargain until you can get a reasonable price and if it doesn't work out, you can always buy from another stores.

Stores alongside the pathway leading up to the temple

The 3 main section of the Kek Lok Si
  • Temple ground - The hill entrance, souvenir sellers, food and drinks, liberation pond.
  • Mid Section - Temples and gardens, the pagoda, four heavenly kings.
  • Hilltop - Statue of Kuan Yin, gardens and temples.

If you have any question that you would like to know about Kek Lok Si, do drop me an E-mail. I’ll reply back to you as soon as possible.

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Opening Hour:
Kek Lok Si opens 7 days a week from 9am to 6pm.

The entrance to the Kek Lok Si Temple is free but the entrance fees to the Pagoda is RM 2.00 per entry. Incline Lift to see the statue of Kuan Yin is RM 2.00 each way.

The Kek Lok Si parking fees is RM 2.00 per entry for a car and RM 0.80 per entry for a motorcycles. Taxi from George Town about RM20, from Batu Feringghi about RM30.

Getting There:
Getting to Kek Lok Si is very simple. You can take a bus or taxi from George Town.
Depending on your location, you can take Rapid Penang Bus U201, U203, U204, U206, T306 and U502. If you come from Batu Ferringhi, taxi is your best choice.

Alternatively, try asking from the hotel that you are staying whether or not they have hotel buses to drop you there. If you drive, look for the signboard that lead to Air Itam. Once you get into Air Itam, you should be able to see the signboard that can direct you to Kek Lok Si.