Guide to Top Temples to Visit in Penang, Malaysia

Top Temples in Penang are worth the visit and is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the rich cultural and religious tapestry of the Malaysian island. Here are some notable temples you might want to explore:

1. Kek Lok Si Temple

Situated at the west end of George Town, the Kek Lok Si Temple is by far the largest temple in Penang. Not only that, it is also one of Southeast Asia’s largest temple! Aside from tourists worldwide, the temple is a center for Chinese culture and Buddhist teaching. It attracts generations of devotees who come to pay homage to their faith. 

Every year during the Chinese New Year, the temple would be beautifully decorated with lanterns and lit up. Devotees would travel from afar to pray for blessings.

2. Goddess of Mercy Temple

The Goddess of Mercy Temple, built in 1728, stands as the first and oldest temple in Penang. It celebrates the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy, Guan Yin, despite its original establishment for the worship of Mazu, a sea deity. The temple has also served as a mediator site in the frequent disputes between the Hokkiens and the Cantonese. Workers last renovated it between 2012 and 2017, and it remains a popular site for both locals and tourists alike.

3. Snake Temple

Built in 1856, Hock Hin Keong, popularly known as the snake temple is located in Sungai Kluang. Its location is quite near Penang International Airport. A priest brought the image of the deity Cheng Chooi Chor Soo, better known as Chor Soo Kong, over to Penang in the 19th century. Devotees later constructed the temple on a donated land in honor of Cheng Chooi Chor Soo.

Since the temple completion, many pit viper snake species came and made the temple their home. Their presence became well known, contributing to the temple’s unique identity.

4. Thean Hou Temple

The founders originally established the Hainan Thean Hou Temple in 1870 at Lebuh Gereja. Later, they moved it to the present building in 1895. The Thean Hou Temple, also known as the “Temple of the Heavenly Queen,” dedicates itself to “Mazu,” the patron saint of seafarers. In 1955, the temple underwent a facelift, transforming into this new and highly ornamental façade during its centenary celebration.

Many Hainanese clans worship at Thean Hou Temple, which the Penang Hainan Association, formally known as “Kheng Chew Hooi Kuan,” owns and manages.

All in all, remember to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting these top temples in Penang! Be mindful of any specific rules or customs observed at each site as well. Enjoy your spiritual journey through Penang!

Do check out my other travel guides too!