Considered as the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia, the hillside location of Kek Lok Si is what makes it even more interesting. From the closest bus stop, the journey up to the temple begin by passing thru a shopping alley of souvenir items and by climbing a set of staircase leading to the entrance of the elevated temple ground.
The red and yellow lanterns hanging from the main corridor, the towering seven storey pagoda designed with Burmese, Thai and Chinese influences and the numerous statues of Bodhisattvas and Chinese gods combined with the openness of the area plus the surrounding greenery created a one special place, with some even comparing Kek Lok Si to “Disneyland” if such terms can be appropriately use to describe a temple.
Apart from Kek Lok Si, Penang is an island of dynamic mix of architecture, culture and religion. Along with the fascinating murals blend with numerous historic shophouse and colonial establishments, various places of worship is what seals the distinction of Georgetown as a Heritage city.
One good example is Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi or commonly know as Khoo Kongsi, a large Chinese clan temple of elaborate and grand architecture.
Located and hidden inside the maze of terrace houses at Cannon street, Khoo Kongsi clan temple not only retained its old world charm but provided a glimpse of the lives of Straits Chinese traders of the 17th century. The overall elegant ambiance made Khoo Kongsi as one of the chosen filming location for the Jodie Foster movie Anna & The King.
Strolling around Georgetown is a way to understand the city multiracial population. The temples, mosques and churches not only a treasured spot marked on the tourist map symbolizes the city diverse religious denomination.
To name a few, there is Kapitan Keling Mosque at Jalan Kepitan Keling, the Hindu temple of Sri Mariamman Temple at Little India, the Acheen Street Mosque at Lebuh Cannon, the Han Jiang Ancestrial Temple of the Penang Teochew Association at Lebuh Chulia and St. George’s Church at Lebuh Farquhar.
If you are planning to visit Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, a short weekender trip to Penang will not disappoint.