When having holiday in Malaysia, do visit the Penang Island as it offers a wide range of tourist attractions. One such tourist attraction is a temple on the hills of Ayer Itam. The Kek Lok Si Temple is a must see for all cultural enthusiasts who want a look into the interesting details of Buddhist culture.
Before heading to this temple, why not have a history lesson of the beginnings of the temple. It was nearly a century ago that a devout Buddhist from the province of Fujian founded the temple. Seeing that the temple resembled the hills which looked like a crane spreading its wings to take flight, he named the temple Huock San which means Crane Hill. The trustee of the Goddess of Mercy Temple not too far away was moved by the deep devotion of this Buddhist devotee that he offered him a position of chief monk. Later on, constructions began to build the great temple that stands to this day, to be the place of prayer, monastery and a beautiful escapade for Buddhists and tourists alike.
When in the temple, do take a moment to go through the temple archives. Here, you will find the hand written scripts that were given as presents to the temple by the emperor of the Ching dynasty. You will also want to take a picture with the backdrop of the Pagoda Rama, laid by the King of Thailand himself. This is the largest pagoda that you will find in Malaysia.
The grounds of the Kek Lok Si temple are a beautiful and tranquil array of flowers and grand trees giving shade to those who walk along the garden paths here. There are also many ponds that are said to be sacred here and one such pond that is a must see when in the temple is the Sacred Turtle pond which is believed to be a symbol of strength and long live. The turtles that were released here were done to symbolize liberation. Statues of the four heavenly kings also sit here in the temple and are definitely a sight to behold for tourists. Recently, there have been new additions to the temple. The Kuan Yin statue is a must see and you can take the Incline lift to reach it for a minimum charge of RM 2 per trip.
The best time to visit the temple would of course be during the festival of the Chinese Lunar New Year. This is the time when the temple is brightly lit up with lanterns. When visiting the temple, do dress appropriately and wear shoes that can take you comfortably on your walk from the foot of the hill all the way to the temple. Your journey there will be interesting as well as there will be many hawker stalls and ambitious businessmen offering you bargains on souvenirs and t-shirts.
|Recommended Area to Stay in Penang:|
|Line up of beach front resorts from budget to luxury along Batu Ferringhi Beach.|
|For those looking for boutique style hotels and countless of cosy backpacker hostels.|
|A series of luxury hotels with fantastic sea view. Eateries and night entertainments are within walking distance.|
|Bayan Lepas / Airport|
|For business travelers.|