February 21, 2018
September 20, 2017
A complex of temples, prayer halls, gardens, a pagoda and a very tall statue
Following the recommendation of a friend (thank you, Nanda!), today we headed out to the Kek Lok Si temple, the biggest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and one of the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia. It didn’t disappoint.
The whole temple complex is beautiful and very well maintained, although a bit commercial with all the shops in and around it. There are several prayer halls, gardens and a 7-storey pagoda with 10’000 Buddha statues (The pagoda has 3 tiers, built in distinct architectural styles: Chinese, Thai and Burmese – very much in the spirit of the wonderful mix of cultures that you find everywhere on Penang island.) The whole temple complex is located on a hill and has beautiful views of the valley and the city. On top of the hill, there is a huge statue of the Goddess of Mercy, overlooking all the buildings of the temple and the city in the valley.
It was raining a lot when we got there and it didn’t stop as long as we stayed in the temple. Well, we are in the end in the tropics during the rainy season. But we didn’t think of that when we left our hotel and so had no rain protection with us (except for the rain cover for the photo camera, which was luckier than us and managed to stay dry). After arriving at the temple complex, we were running from one hall to the next, while still trying to look at the gardens too. When we went up to the statue of the Goddess of Mercy, the owner of one of the shops lent us an umbrella. But in the end, the rain made the whole experience quite fun and maybe even more special. We were lucky enough to be there for a ceremony that was performed by monks in one of the prayer halls. Songs with Tibetan mantras were played in the various temples and I guess they worked on me, because I really enjoyed the whole visit and got back to the hotel feeling quite relaxed and energized.
Off to Singapore!
Tomorrow we’re flying to Singapore to meet my luggage – big day! We’ll stay in Singapore for a few days at our friend Chris’ place (thank you, Chris!), who will also host one of my 2 big backpacks until we come pick it up again before flying back to Switzerland. So we’re looking forward to spending some time with Chris, getting our bellies full on the great food you can find in Singapore, and probably revisiting some of our favorite places in the city.