When you visit Penang Island, then a visit to Kek Lok Si Temple is something you should do. It isn’t far from Penang Hill and therefore can easily be combined in one day. Both are located in Air Itam of Penang Island, which is a 20 minutes taxi ride for around 20 MYR from George Town. You can do it actually much cheaper by taking bus 204 from Moktar. When you want to go from Penang hill to Kek Lok Si, just take bus 204 too for 1.40 MYR only. The bus is waiting at Penang Hill every 20 minutes or so. It’s not more than a 10 minutes bus ride and from the stop another few minutes walk.
Kek Lok Si temple is of huge size with its three zones. The first zone is when you enter from the road and take the hill entrance where you walk through small paths full of small shops selling souvenirs, clothes, food, etc. Once you are at the end of that, you walk upstairs to the middle zone. Here you can find temples, pagoda, garden and the four heavenly kings area. Then you go to the third zone, the highest one. A small train, just as at Penang Hill, brings you up. Although Kek Lok Si temple is free to visit, you do need to pay 6 MYR for the train. The profit from that goes to renovations, maintenance, etc.
Penang is Malaysia’s most populated area of people with Chinese roots. Grandfathers or grand grandfathers from China. That’s why you see Chinese language characters everywhere. Therefore it isn’t strange that the temple was built by an immigrant Chinese Buddhist named Beow Lean, in 1890. It took 20 years to complete the construction. The whole project was mostly funded by the Chinese community of Penang.
There is a fish and turtle pond. The last one is also called liberation pond because the turtle stands for longevity, endurance and strength. Several prayer halls can be visited. A pagoda of Rama VI can be seen, it’s a 30 meter high tower. There is Ban Po Thar, the ten thousand Buddha’s pagoda, topped with a Burmese crown. Statues of the four heavenly kings are pointing to all directions, north, east, south and west. Also there is a shrine which was donated by the former king of Thailand, Bhumibol. On the highest level is a statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of mercy.
Kek Lok Si is impressive, huge, detailed, many designs, has variety and is of absolute beauty with its view from the hill over a part of the island. A lot more info can be found here http://kekloksitemple.com/?page_id=5 and an impression video can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwDTSXCXj9c&feature=youtu.be