Penang Snake Temple
The Temple of the "Azure Cloud"
Penang Snake Temple - One of a kind in the world!

The origin of Snake temple as a place for worship dated back thousand years ago.
Snake is the representation of many different religions around the world. Some of the famous ones include Apollo (moon god) and Grecians (sun god) for the Egyptians. For Hindus in Burmese and Siamese, snake is worship as a good aspects demon such as Krishna and Vishnu.

In China, snakes assume the form of a dragon that is known to be very fierce creature yet protective. Penang Snake Temple though is built to honor a human deity which decades ago provide intervention and prayers to help saved people from severe drought and illness.




Hundreds of devotees, who throng the Penang Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas, are a true believer of the temple deity. With hands holding sticks of burning incense they turn their gaze heavenward and utter silent yet fervent prayers. The large turnout during the deity's anniversary must surely be testament to his magical powers in working miracles. The temple is also known as the "Temple of the Azure Cloud" and"Pure Cloud Temple" crafted to honor Penang's beautiful blue skies.

The fame Penang snake temple history is dated back to 1800s when a monk from China who traveled hundreds of miles away to island of Penang. He brought with him the statue of famous deity called Cheng Swee Chor Soo or Chor Soo Kong which in other words means "an eminent historic figure" who is continuously revered by a community generation after generation".

It is the myth and believes of the deity power in healing sickness that has made British resident David Brown (owner of Gelugor Estate) cured of a strange illness in 1873. As a gesture, he donated a piece of land so that a temple can be build to help others who like him, a believer of the deity curing power. It is on this land, which Penang Snake Temple has stood for over a century.

According to legend, soon after the temple was built, snakes from the surrounding forest mysteriously appeared in the building. The monk who sees this strange phenomenon senses that it is a good omen and immediately gave shelter to the snakes and allowed them to take up residence in the temple. So far, only the species of pit vipers can be found here.


The species is known to be venomous and aggressive but inside the temple, surprisingly all the snakes appeared docile. Devotees believe that the thick clouds coming out from the burn incense act as a tranquillizer causing the snakes appear to be motionless, even asleep. No wonder, no one ever get bitten by the snakes in the temple.

Today, Penang Snake Temple drew hundreds of locals and foreign visitor daily. Some came as far as U.S, Europe and China. The scene inside and outside the temple is totally different. Inside, devotees and visitor touring and offering countless prayers with their voices respectfully reduced to a whisper. Outside, the surrounding is filled festivities with noises and din of traders shouting and haggling with visitor to get the best prize of souvenirs as well as others memorable.

The bad news is that the snake population in the temple is declining, not because of bad omen but because of rapid development that is disturbing the snake natural habitat. To overcome this, devotees start to donate snakes to the temple on Chor Soo Kong feast day which occurs thrice yearly, on the 6th days of the first, sixth and eleventh months of the lunar calendar respectively.

At the corridor inside the temple houses several cages with fully-grown vipers. Next to it is a small altar bearing the Deity of Prosperity and Moral. At the back of the temple is a snake pool filled with fruit trees. You might not notice it but if you take a closer look, there is snakes coiled on the branches of the trees.

There is a 600-pound bell made from China during the Manchurian Dynasty (1886) hanging in the main hall. It is rung on the 1st and 15th days of every month of the Chinese calendar to invite the denizens of heaven and hell to pray. And... If you dare enough, you can take your photograph with the snakes wrapping up on your body. The fee for this photo shoot is RM30 for two 5R snaps that can be ready in a few minutes.

Penang Snake Temple Map

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Opening Hour:
Open daily from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm including weekends & Public Holidays.

Admission:
Free

Getting There:
Penang Snake Temple is located at Sungai Kluang near Bayan Lepas airport in the
Penang Island. You can also take a bus from Komtar - About 30 minute ride.