Although there is Kek Lok Si Temple which is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia which is very famous, but besides that, Penang also has the lesser known snake temple which is probably the strangest place.
Legend has it that in 1800 after the construction of the temple was completed, swarms of snakes from all over the world drew themselves here. Instead of killing snakes, the monks gave them shelter. Bearing gratitude, snakes have never bitten anyone, humans and venomous snakes have lived in harmony for centuries.
The Snake Temple in Penang was built in 1850 in memory of Chor Soo Kong, a monk who did many good deeds, including healing and feeding snakes from the nearby rainforest. Chor Soo Kong was born between 960 and 1279 and is still revered today, on the day of his birth in the first lunar month of each year, many pilgrims from all over Southeast Asia come to pay their respects. .
The original name of the Penang Snake Temple is “Temple of the Azure Clouds” or “Ban Kah Lan” in Hokkien.
And of course the snakes here are real!
The most common snake found around the Penang Snake Temple is called the Wagler pit snake. Originating from Southeast Asia, the Wagler pit snake is now often referred to as the “snake of the temple” because of its association with the Penang snake temple. They often lie motionless on trees, are small in size, colorful, and have very strong venom. Although the venom is very painful, it is not usually fatal to humans.
In the afternoon, the snakes were still very still and motionless as if they didn’t exist. They are like colorful, motionless plastic patches even though the eyes are still moving. First-time visitors often think they are fake snakes and see the temple as a poor tourist attraction. To be extra sure, signs are also posted around the temple warning visitors of the danger of snakes present. Remember that snakes are actually real.
Many sources say that the snake has been removed from its venom, however, temple staff believe that although snakes are poisonous, they are also “lucky” and have never bitten anyone. The snake’s fangs are still intact and can make very painful bites. Please obey warning signs, do not handle or touch snakes yourself!
Visit Penang Snake Temple
Snake Temple is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm; Entrance to the temple grounds is free. Flash photography is not recommended inside the Snake Temple to avoid irritating these reptiles. You can also find snakes hanging from the interior of the temple’s courtyard. Please note that the temple is still a crowded place of worship so do not take pictures or interfere with worshipers during their prostrations.
Located within the grounds of the Snake Temple to the right when you enter is the “snake farm”. The snake farm is a fairly private attraction that operates under an agreement with the temple.
The owner of the farm is a traditional Chinese biologist and has provided knowledge of snake care in the temple. In return, the snake farm is charged a $2 entrance fee from tourists. While you can observe snakes for free around the Snake Temple, the snake farm also allows visitors to handle and touch snakes under the supervision of staff. Snake farm is usually open from 9am to 5:30pm.
Other gates inside the snake temple
Although snakes always attract the most attention of visitors, there are several other historical objects of interest inside the Penang Snake Temple. The two brick wells known as “Dragon Eye Wells” or “Dragon Water Wells Water” date back to the mid-1800s. The snake temple itself represents the dragon’s head; wells are placed symmetrically spaced like dragon’s eyes.
There are also two giant bronze bells cast in 1886 hanging inside the Snake Temple.
How to get to Penang Snake Temple
Snake Temple is located in Banyan Lepas, not far from Penang International Airport, Sungai Nibong Bus Station and Queensbay Mall – the largest shopping mall in Penang.
Fast Penang trucks #401 and #401E started all the way from Komtar in Georgetown and passed the temple on Jalan Tokong Ular. Please notify before boarding to let the driver know that you want to stop at Snake Temple; you will be dropped off on the main road so you can easily see the temple.
Bus 401E continues to Balik Pulau, which is convenient for you to add the Snake Temple as part of your day touring the suburbs of Georgetown.
When should I go to the snake temple?
Snake Temple, Sacred Snake Temple In Penang, Malaysia 3
Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia @ Shutterstock
The Snake Temple in Penang is open daily from 7am to 7pm. Snake observation is temporarily suspended during the Lunar New Year to avoid crowds affecting snakes. Entrance to the temple is free.
Chor Soo Kong’s birthday celebration takes place three times a year, corresponding to the Fridays of January, June, and November of the lunar calendar. These dates correspond to the following calendar days:
2019 – February 10, July 8, December 1
2020 – January 30, July 26, December 20
The most prominent celebrations take place in the days near the Lunar New Year. These ceremonies are attended by many devotees mainly from Thailand and Indonesia and other areas in Malaysia. The temple hosts a variety of traditional Chinese cultural activities, including acrobatics, lion dances, and fireworks