- Place or Historical Monument
I visited Penang Island on a trip to Malaysia, staying at George Town while I was there. Kek Lok Si Temple sits on a lovely hill outside the city. To reach it, you have to walk up the hill via a covered passage where there are lots of traders selling cheap souvenirs. However, it's best to buy these at the temple itself because most of the profits then go straight to it.
Kek Lok Si Temple consists of several large buildings which house altars in honour of various gods. There are good views out over George Town from the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas, which has seven floors. To reach the statue of the Goddess of Mercy you, have to ride up on a funicular railway, for which there is a charge (this is the the only thing that needs to be paid for at the temple). Unfortunately for me, the statue of the Goddess was being renovated when I was here, which meant I only got to see part of it.
Just like the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur, Kek Lok Si temple is one of the country's emblems. It's one site that you really have to explore during a trip to Malaysia. It's easy to get to by local bus from the centre of George Town.
I am used to Thai temples which are usually silent so I wasn't expecting it to be so lively. There were crowds of people, lots of noise, little shops and a restaurant right in the middle of pagodas that were all really impressive. I took the cable car which goes to the high point of the temple from where you can see the immense staute of Kuan Yin and also have a 180 degree view over the town.
I thought the Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas was the most beautiful one in the temple. Unfortunately I only saw it from the outside because you had to pay to get in.