• Opening Hour

    9.00am to 6.00pm. (365 days)

  • Location

    Ayer Itam Area

  • Admission Fee

    To the Kek Lok Si Temple: Free

    To the Pagoda: RM 2.00 per entry.

    Incline Lift to see the statue of Kuan Yin: RM 2.00 each way.

    Car Parking: RM 2.00 per entry

    Motorcycle Parking: RM 0.80 per entry

  • Exploration Time

    1 – 2 hous

Brief Introduction

Located in Air Itam in Penang facing the sea and commanding an impressive view, and is one of the best known temples on the island.  The largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and also an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and other countries in Southeast Asia.  This entire complex of temples was built over a period from 1890 to 1930, an inspirational initiative of Beow Lean, the Abbot. The main draw in the complex is the striking seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI (Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas) with 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha, and the 30.2 metres (99 ft) tall bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.


The construction of the temple began in 1890 and completed in 1905. It was inspired by Beow Lean, the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple at Pitt Street in 1887; he had served earlier in the Kushan Abbey in Fujian in China. The site chosen by Beow, a spiritual location in the hills of Ayer Itam, facing the sea, was named “Crane Mountain”.  

It was established as a branch of the Buddhist Vatican in Drum Mountain in Foochow in Hokkien province. Beow Lean was the first Abbot of the temple. The buildings of the temple complex were sponsored by five leading Chinese business people of Penang known as “Hakka tycoons”. They were: Cheong Fatt Tze, his cousin Chang Yu Nan, Chea Choon Seng, Tye Kee Yoon, and Chung Keng Kooi. Collection of funds for building the temple was also facilitated by dedicating the structures and artefacts in the name of the temple’s benefactors.

The main hall, which was completed first, housed a shrine to Guanyin, in a recessed area where many other female goddesses called the Queen of Heaven, the Goddess of the Earth, and Goddess of Childbirth are housed; which is said to represent, on a miniature scale, the island of Potalaka where there is a large shrine dedicated to Guanyin in the China Sea. People compared this shrine to the Amitabha Buddha’s Western Paradise and started calling it the “Kek Lok Si” (“Jile Si”).


The main attraction of the Kek Lok Si Temple is of course the impressive and striking Pagoda of Rama VI which was completed in the year 1930. It is known to be laid by the Thai Monarch himself. Widely known as Wan Fo Pau Ta or “The Pagoda of 10, 000 Buddhas”, The Pagoda displays a collection of Alabaster and Bronze Buddha and it also contains a Chinese octagonal base with middle tiers of the Thai architecture and is tapped with a Burmese Temple crown.  And towering over one hundred feet and seven storeys high, The Pagoda is currently the largest of its kind in Malaysia.


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