Kek Lok Si or the Temple of Supreme Bliss is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia built between 1890 and 1930 by Beow Lean, a Chinese Buddhist immigrant. It is also considered to be a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over Southeast Asia. The area itself is so beautiful that even the non-believers can’t stop themselves from visiting up the temple. Here is everything you need to know about Kek Lok Si.
KekLok Si is located in Air Itam in Penang, Malaysia.
Best time to visit:
Best time of the year to visit Kek Lok Si would be around the Chinese New Year. The temple is completely lit and decorated beautifully during this time and continues to be so for around 30 days more. Best time of the day for the temple visit would be either early morning or during the dusk hour.
How to reach:
In order to reach Kek Lok Si from Kuala Lumpur, you’d first need to reach Penang. If you come to Penang Airport you can hire a taxi or bus to Kek Lok Si. The public bus transport and private taxis are available from almost every place on the island. If you are in George Town, you can take a bus from Komtar Bus Terminal, the main bus terminal for the city.
Exploring the temple:
Kek Lok Si is situated on the hillside terraces of Air Itam or Ayer Hitam on the Crane Hill or He San, which’s traditionally considered to be geometrically significant, with the right Feng Shui for the temple.
The temple is comprised of a number of monasteries, prayer halls, and temples. The main attraction of the temple is the pagoda of Rama VI and the seven-story tower, 30 meters in height, situated at the center of the complex recognized as the face of Kek Lok Si.
You’ll find souvenirs, food stalls, hill entrance and the turtle “Liberation Pond” at the ground level. The middle-section mainly comprises of temple houses, pagoda, the four heavenly kings pavilion, and gardens. The highest point, which is reached through the inclined lift costing around MYR 3, consists of the most famous Statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.
There are several places to stay in, during your visit to Kek Lok Si, in Air Itam. The places close to Kek Lok Si range from low budget simple lodgings to high-end hotels. However, most of the people visiting the temple stay in the main city area itself in George Town since Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill could be covered in a day.
Where and what to eat:
Once you get down near Kek Lok Si, you’d find lines of street vendors and hawkers selling mouth-watering street foods. Get your tummy some surprises before moving further. A lot of stalls are famous for their own specialties and have been in the business for really long. One of the noteworthy ones is Sister’s Curry Mee which was started in 1946 and has established a name in Penang. Another one is easily Air ItamAsamLaksa, which couldn’t be missed for anything.
Things to keep in mind:
- You can find several ATMs and money changers near the Airport and even around several places on the island, especially George Town. Get yourself some cash before going to Kek Lok Si.
- Find out about the best offers on the local Malaysian SIM and buy yourself one for best communication throughout your stay.
- The visiting hours for the temple is between 7 AM and 5:30 PM.