Where We Be
|Khoo Kongsi is lovely, as you can see, but we'll let you in on a little secret: this is a photo of a
photo (a lighted display inside the temple). They only light up the real temple once a month.
|Penang's Best Temples -- Malaysia
|George Town is simply chock-full of temples, so we'll mention only two more.
This one, Cheah Kongsi, was closed but looked beautiful from the outside.
|Large paintings greet you at the entrance doors
|We also stumbled upon this lovely ancestral temple called Tokong Han Jiang. The
association running it looks after the welfare of settlers from the Guangzhou area of China.
|Within is a sanctuary for quiet prayer and meditation for the weary traveler
|The name is a mouthful -- Wat Chaiya Mangalaram -- but this
is a lovely Thai Buddhist temple with plenty of gold bling to enjoy
|Colorful dragons greet you at the entrance
|The big attraction here -- literally -- is the enormous reclining Buddha.
At 33 m (108 ft) this is the third longest reclining Buddha in the world.
|The feel here is completely different, with lots
of outdoor statues and a sort of folksy vibe
|Just across the street is the Burmese Buddhist temple.
Its name is also a mouthful -- Wat Dhammikarama.
|There are depictions of peasants and princesses mixed in
with gardens and flowers. You feel happy visiting here.
|This dreamlike depiction, reminiscent of a Marc Chagall painting, shows the Renunciation of the Buddha. Encouraged
by the Devas, Buddha renounces his earthly desires for the life of an ascetic despite the demons trying to dissuade him.
|Built in 1803, this is the oldest Buddhist temple on the island
of Penang and is surely one of the most elaborately decorated
|This tall golden statue is particularly impressive -- it towered above us
|The temple is small but elaborate. The ornamental
hanging lanterns are particularly lovely.
|The interior of Khoo Kongsi is a splendor of gold and red.
This is the grandest Chinese clan temple in Malaysia.
|We loved this lighted display of hanging lanterns inside the temple
|"Anna and the King" was filmed in part at Khoo Kongsi
|Thai Buddhist Temple -- Wat Chaiya Mangalaram
|Burmese Buddhist Temple -- Wat Dhammikarama
|It's one of the oldest in Penang (1810). The word "kongsi" means "clan" so you'll
find different temples built by different Chinese clans throughout Penang.
No visit to Penang would be complete without
taking in a few of its exceptional temples. We
already shared examples of Muslim, Indian, and
Christian places of worship, but what you'll find
most in Penang are Buddhist style temples.
Perhaps most exquisite is Khoo Kongsi, shown
left. It's a bit hard to find as it's hidden down an
alley and you have to look up to see the sign.
The cost is RM 10 ($2.50) each but is worth it as
it's decorated with loving detail. We visited in
the early morning when it was quiet and cool.
Two other temples we'd particularly recommend
require a short Uber or taxi ride (unless you
don't mind walking 45 minutes each way in the
heat). They're located across from one another.
One is Thai Buddhist with a huge reclining
Buddha statue. The other is Burmese Buddhist
with lots of happy, colorful statues dotting the
grounds. Both have plenty of locals lighting
candles and paying their respects, and both are
worth a short visit to appreciate their artistry.
|Detailed sculptures abound throughout
|The towering gold chedi is unmissable