Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

We started Day 2 in Penang with a whole morning of non-stop eating action around the Air Itam Market area. If you’ve missed out my earlier blog posts on some recommended local eats, here they are –

Tummies satisfied. Time to head over to Kek Lok Si Temple, which is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and also a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists in the region.

How to get to Kek Lok Si Temple?

If you’re staying in a hotel in George Town area, the easiest and most convenient way to get here is via Grab. Our ride from Victoria Street to Air Itam Market took about 25 minutes or so and the fare was just RM11.

Alternatively, you can also take Bus 203 or 204 from KOMTAR Bus Terminal to get here. The bus stop to alight is at the end of Jalan Pasar.

As Kek Lok Si Temple is huge and there will be a lot of walking (and stair-climbing) to tour the place, I would suggest that you get fuelled up first before going. Given the available food options in the Air Itam Market area, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

From the market area, you can easily spot signages directing you towards Kek Lok Si Temple. Follow the signages and make your way to Cheong Nutmeg Trading. The path on the left hand side of the shop leads to the temple.

Take this route if you don’t mind climbing steps

Kek Lok Si Temple is located on a hillside at the foot of Air Itam mountain and that’s why there’ll be a fair bit of stair-climbing.

This route is like an uphill alleyway with shops on both sides of the pathway. You can find souvenirs, local products and all sorts of knick-knacks. Prices here are quite wallet-friendly and you can bargain if you like. I got a fridge magnet for RM3.50 (after a 50¢ discount, lol).

At the end of the pathway leading to the entrance of the temple, you should see the Tortoise Liberation Pond. It’s supposed to be one of the main attractions of Kek Lok Si Temple as you can buy kangkong from vendors to feed the hundreds of tortoises in the pond.

By the way, entry to Kek Lok Si Temple is free for all. However, there are additional charges to go up the Ban Pho Tar pagoda or to take the inclined lift to the Guan Yin statue.

We turned right to the pagoda side to explore the temple compound before heading up to the Guan Yin statue.


Do not proceed with this plog if you want to check out Kek Lok Si Temple in person, haha.

Ok, I didn’t share every single photo I took in this post. Merely some noteworthy ones that I want to remember.

About Kek Lok Si Temple

Within the 130-year-old Kek Lok Si Temple, there are several prayer halls, pavilions, pagodas and many statues of Buddha, bodhisattvas and Chinese gods.

The unique feature of this temple lies in its architecture. Carved pillars with intricate details. Ornate woodwork. Vibrant colours. Beautiful sculptures. This place is like a piece of art.

If you want to know more about the temple, you can read about it on Wikipedia.

I really love the vibes of this temple. So calm, serene and peaceful. All the flower gardens, fish ponds and water features just make our visit feel so therapeutic.

Ah, inner peace.

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

To get to the Guan Yin statue, you can take the inclined lift at RM3 per way if you don’t want to walk up.

Kek Lok Si Temple | Largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia

This 30.2-metre (99 ft) tall bronze statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) looks really impressive. Apparently, it’s also the tallest standing bronze Guan Yin statue in the world.

Make A Wish

With a donation of RM1, you can hang up a wishing ribbon on this wishing tree.

Every ribbon colour means a different thing, depending on what you’d like to wish for – happy marriage, good health, good luck, good career, etc. There are also ribbons for the kids such as “Listen To The Words Of My Mother”, “Beautiful & Good Looking”, “Obedient”, “Safety”, etc. They are just direct English translations of the Chinese words, lol. Sounds amusing though.

Thought these little statues look really cute!

From where the Guan Yin statue is, you can get a scenic view of the area.

Instead of taking the inclined lift back to below, we chose to walk down the road which was near to the left hand side of the Guan Yin statue. If you want to do the same too, just make sure you are wearing shoes with good grip because the slope is rather steep.

Back down at the entrance to the temple, you can find a souvenir shop from where you can also buy drinks and refreshments. From there, we just walked down the same pathway (with shops on both sides) to get back to the Air Itam Market area.

Final Thoughts

Visiting Kek Lok Si Temple when in Penang is a must. It’s interesting. It’s beautiful. And it’s incredibly big. I’m not a religious person but I feel this temple visit has definitely deepened my understanding of what Buddhism is about.

Kek Lok Si offers so many photo opportunities. Both hubby and I just kept snapping away as we hoped to capture all the architectural elements for memory’s sake.

Kek Lok Si Temple
Jalan Air Itam
11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang
8.30am to 5.30pm daily

+60 4-828 3317



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