Kek Lok Si is a very popular destination for those visiting Penang. During Chinese New Year, the latern and light decorations are breathtaking when you are going there at night during the Chinese New Year.
Note that the usual opening hours of Kek Lok Si temple is from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
For Chinese New Year you can see the entire temple will be lit from the eve to Gap Goh Mei, the last day.
It will be a great time to take photos of the memorable place. For now, I only have photos of the daytime.
How to get to Kek Lok Si :
Normal days (not during CNY), the temple closes at 5.30pm. As are many places to walk around in Kek Lok Si, I suggest you reach there early – at least 2 to 2.5 hours ahead to give yourself time to walk around. If by car, can drive up to park but during weekends, unless you go early- it is difficult to find a parking. Parking is about RM2.
From Komtar, you can take a bus- if I remember correctly, it is the long bus # 1 that is going to Ayer Itam. There are a few mini buses going there as well but I usually take the bus #1 because it is more frequent. Just let the bus conductor know that you want to get to Kek Lok Si and he/she will usually remind you where to stop- it is one of the bus’s last stop anyway and from afar, you can already see the huge temple up the hill when you are approaching Ayer Itam.
After getting down from the bus, you will walk passing some hawker stalls on your left and a market on your right. The hawker stall directly opposite the market near the place you get down from the bus is the famous Penang Asam Laksa- well know for the most delicious asam laksa. It is on your left and by the roadside. Afterwhich, you will pass some shophouses and then at the end of the junction, you will turn left to hike upwards towards the temple. Along the way, you will see many stalls selling souveniors like Penang key chains, Tshirts, batik shirts, postcards…..and sigh, imported items from China. Aside from that, you can also find foodstuff like nugmeg (famous in Penang) and green pea biscuits (tau sar peah) sold in certain shops.
There is no entrance fee to the temple but if you are going to the pagoda and the Bronze Kuan Yin Statue, there will be some charges- the pagoda is about RM2 or RM4 per person. While the Bronze Kuan Yin- you need to pay if you want to take the lift up- about RM2, I think.
Note: if you reach around 4pm, the stalls will be closing- and also you may not have much time to visit places like the Pagoda or the Kuan Yin bronze statue.
Above: The pagoda- you need to pay entrance fee to go in. It is free for monks and nuns. As you enter the pagoda, you will be climbing spiral steps around to go up the pagoda- and every floor you will see different Buddha images. Next to the pagoda is forest area and it is also near the Ayer Itam water reservior- where Penangnites love to go there for hiking in the evenings.
Below: The Bronze Kuan Yin- the picture is taken in 2007, before the pavillion was completed.
To get to the Kuan Yin Bronze statue, you need to take a lift- if I am not mistaken you pay about RM2. The money goes towards the building and maintenance of the place.
The Kuan Yin Bronze statue is really magnificient. I remember the first time I saw the statue, it was on a hot afternoon. The area is windy and you can actually see part of Penang from the top area- I remember walking around barefoot around the Kuan Yin statue, admiring its splendor and beauty. The bricks were hot but I did not feel it. When I went back to Kek Lok Si in 2009, the pavillion covering the Kuan Yin was almost completed. Because you’ll probably see the statue now with the pavilion, I thought to show the photo taken when the Kuan Yin statue was against the clear blue sky: