15 April 2015

Kek Lok Si Temple 极乐寺 (Penang)

According to Kek Lok Si Temple website, the temple came about with the arrival of Venerable Beow Lean who was deeply devoted to Buddhism and had later found the right feng shui location in Air Itam village to build a Buddhist monastery.
Opening hours
As the temple consists of different halls and they have a slight difference in their opening hours. Generally, I'd suggest making a trip to the temple between 8.30am to 5pm.

How to get there?
Address: 11500 Ayer Itam, Penang
Kek Lok Si Temple Facebook

From Komtar bus terminal, take Rapid Bus 201, 203, 204 or 502 to Jalan Air Itam. Rapid Bus 204 and 502 start from Weld Quay Terminal (Jetty) and will stop by Komtar bus terminal. We took Rapid Bus 201 at a cost of RM2 per person and the bus ride was about 40 minutes.
Alight upon reaching Jalan Air Itam where there is the Air Itam Market, you'll see many people patronizing the market in the morning.
We noticed the signage for the direction to Kek Lok Si Temple.
Follow the signage and turn right, walk straight and in a short distance, you'll see the temple on your left. Turn left and walk in the direction towards the temple.
A while later, you'll see a alley between the convenience shop and Cheong Nutmeg Trading.
Walk through the alley and you'll reach the temple in about 10 minutes.

Along the way, there are commercial shops and a pond of tortoises.
Soon you'll reach the basement of the temple.
As this was our first time visiting the temple, we went past the alley and followed the road path. Indeed, we walked a longer path to reach the temple.
Nonetheless, we reached the main entrance of the temple and offered our prayers.
If you are not sure about praying, feel free to approach the staff who work there. I'd think they are friendly to advise you on that. Whenever I pray, I'd say where I came from and what I am praying for, to seek for good health, etc.
We made a small contribution to the development of the temple.
The hall is linked to another hall where there are more deities.
 Next, we went to the pagoda. I made a small donation at the entrance before we went in.
The pagoda consists of Chinese, Thai and Burmese architecture. We saw the Buddha statue on the first level and made our prayers before we climbed the stairs. Each level consists of a Buddha statue. When I was at the third level, I thought I was reaching the top. But wait, more STAIRS await!
So finally, we reached the top of the pagoda!
 The view is magnificent!
From far, you can see the Goddess of Mercy.

We then descended the stairway and headed towards the Goddess of Mercy.
Subsequently, we arrived at the "Tian Wang Dian" before taking the lift to Guan Yin Statue.
We paid RM6 per person for a return trip.
We then took the incline lift to go up to the Bronze Statue of Avalokiteshvara (Goddess of Mercy).
Goddess of Mercy!
After offering our prayers, we took the lift back to the main hall.
We had our lunch at the vegetarian restaurant that is located at the basement of the temple.
Opens from 10am to 6.30pm.
Vegetarian sweet and sour fish
 Mapo Tofu
White radish soup

The vegetarian dishes were just normal and we left the temple after our lunch.
We strolled back to Air Itam Market to take the bus back to Georgetown.

To locate the correct bus stop, walk straight once you came out of the alley and you'll see the 7-11 convenience store on your left and slightly ahead, the bus stop is located there.
Here is the bus stop where I am standing!
Take Rapid Bus 201 from this bus stop to go back to Komtar bus terminal. The bus fare is RM1.40 per person. If you are going to Penang Hill, take Rapid Bus 204, do confirm with the bus driver on the destination and bus fare.
We were lucky to have asked the bus driver as I thought all buses are going back to Komtar initially.

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