I went to Kek Lok Si last Thursday to photograph the annual Display of Lights event, where thousands of lanterns and lights are lit at night for 30 days following the Chinese New Year. I am quite surprised to know that there are Malaysians who do not know the existence of Kek Lok Si in Penang. When they saw the photos they were thinking if such a beautiful place is located in Thailand? Just wow lol.
For unknown reasons 18th Feb was the day most people went up the hill at Air Itam, even Chinese New Year’s eve did not see so many tourists. Because of that the way up the temple was so jammed up that some people were stuck for 2 hours. Luckily I went quite early around 7pm so I did not experience such a bad traffic jam.
But once I reached the temple parking was a huge problem, as drivers parked their cars on the narrow driveways! It was quite a chaos. FYI the parking cost RM2. Now for the photos, those shown in this post are smaller in size but high res nonetheless. Do click on the photos itself to view them at their biggest resolution, or visit my Flickr photoset to view all of them.
The temple was still quite empty at 7.30pm but you could see the long queue of cars waiting to enter from afar.
The lights and lanterns were lit at 8pm, signaled by loud sounds of bells from the main pagoda.
First time I managed to photograph the pagoda with a moon in the background.
Inside the main hall.
One of the Buddhas, Vairochana Buddha.
To enter the white pagoda, they charge RM2 but it’s really worth it as you get to see it upclose and also another different view of Kek Lok Si.
Oil candles lit in pineapple shaped containers are also a highlight, usually seen near temple entrances.
While I was taking photos of the flowers placed outside one of the halls, one kid walked by and said “Take flowers go Cameron Highlands take laaa“.. wtf? lol.
Then I had to walk up the higher hill where the Guan Yin Statue is located at, it took about 10-15 minutes. Actually you have no choice under such circumstances.. most cars were not able to exit the temple at all because of a traffic deadlock. And the lift carrying tourists to the Guan Yin statue from the ground temple had a super long queue. So those who rode motorcycles were the luckiest, they could come and go anytime they wished.
If you didn’t know, the 30.2m bronze Guan Yin statue was built to replace the previous white Guan Yin statue which was damaged in a fire. The latest bronze statue was actually completed quite long ago but the ornate shelter was completed only recently, thanks to public donation.
They were still accepting funds to complete the roof tiles of the ornate shelter. For RM30 you get to write your name on a small roof tile measuring about 6 x 3 inch, RM50 for a larger tile or RM150 for a tile with special design like Dragons and Qi-Lin as shown above. It’s a small fee actually considering your name will stay with Guan Yin’s statue permanently.
Compare the average adult’s height with the Guan Yin statue beside and you can imagine how grand it is actually.
Devotees paying their respects to Guan Yin.
I think these charms can be used as souvenirs as well as key chains.. they can be seen near the Guan Yin statue.
For those interested to visit Kek Lok Si Temple for the magnificent Display of Lights or simply paying your respects to Guan Yin and other Buddhas, you may still do so until the event ends on 14th March 2010. If you plan to stay longer it’s better to go by 29th Feb because after that the lights would be turned on until 10pm only instead of 12am.
Kek Lok Si Display of Lights 2010
Kek Lok Si Temple
Air Itam, Penang
GPS Coordinates: N5 23.988 E100 16.414
Event Website: Penang State Tourism Official Website
Feb 7th – 7pm – Opening Ceremony
Feb 8th to Feb 12th – temple open to public 8.30am to 5.30pm only
Feb 13th to Feb 15th – temple will be light up from 7pm to 7am
Feb 16th to Feb 28th – temple will be light up from 7pm to midnight
Feb 29th to March 13th – temple will be light up from 7pm to 10pm