What do you do when your 30-day Thai visa is expiring? You make a visa run to Malaysia and visit Kek Lok Si Temple!
In 1891, people began building the Temple of Supreme Bliss. Today, it is still undergoing many upgrades and renovations. However, Kek Lok Si Temple is definitely worth the detour.
The inspiring design blends Chinese, Thai and Burmese architecture to symbolize the welcoming of different schools of Buddhism. It’s said that this is the largest Buddhist temple in southeast Asia, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this were true.
After climbing through a tunnel of never-ending market stalls, visitors finally reach a turtle pond and glimpse Kek Lok Si Temple. More stairs lead toward the real structure and the beginnings of the Buddhist temple are further unveiled.
To get to the upper part of the temple, visitors catch a rail-mounted elevator (after paying a small fee) that glides them to the top of the hill. Halls for prayer and worship abound as well as monks at work. Intricately carved designs and figures adorn the buildings while thousands of buddha look down upon you. The place is serene and intimidating at the same time.
Flashes of bright colors – golds and reds – gleam in the sun and remind you of the strong influence from the Chinese that has shaped the temple. A humongous statue of Guanyin (or Kwan Yin or any other variation), the goddess of mercy, stands towering above the temple. She is highly respected in both Buddhism and Chinese mythology. Other statues stand guard of the temple and ward off evil spirits.
Kek Lok Si Temple in Ayer Itam, Penang, Malaysia is a great place to spend the day, and I’d recommend visiting if you’re in the area.