Penang Snake Temple

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Tags : Temple

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Timings : 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Entry Fees : Temple: Free
Snake Farm: Adults: RM 5, Kids: RM 3

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Snake Temple, Georgetown Penang Overview

The Penang Snake Temple, earlier known as Temple of the Azure Cloud, is a Chinese temple built in remembrance of Chor Soo Kong, a Buddhist prist and healer. Located in Bayan Lepas in the Southwest Penang, this magical temple is one of the few places where one can get close to the venomous snakes and live to tell the tale.

The Snake Temple in Penang has many unique features like giant incense burner, whose incense spreads through the main prayer hall rendering the various snakes to fall asleep or to prevent them from approaching the visitors. There are also small exhibit areas which house harmless pythons and cobras with the devenomized and defanged snakes.

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Legend of Snake Temple Penang

Constructed in 1805, the Snake Temple was created to pay homage to the Buddhist monk and healer- Chor Soo Kong, who was a prominent figure in the Song Dynasty era. He was said to have gained supernatural powers through his skills in dharma and meditation and his uncanny ability to heal the wounded and the ailing.

Chor was very fond of snakes and his own house was often a refuge for a variety of snakes and reptiles. Strangely, the same cycle of events took place in this temple where the Wrangler’s pit viper snakes which are said to have appeared mysteriously once the area was consecrated. Thus this temple, which was initially called Temple of Azure Cloud, soon adopted the new name - Snake Temple.

Snake Temple in Penang
The Wrangler Pit Viper snakes comfortably curled up inside Chor Soo Kong's shrine (Source)

Architecture of Penang Snake Temple

The original temple in its earliest years was just a simple attap structure adorned with red and yellow patterned which used to be a popular traditional housing style in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. However, after years and years of renovations and upgradations, the Snake Temple in Penang has now developed into a magnificent structure with intricate carvings and tapestries. Not far away from the shrine is the ‘snake farm’ which is designed in such a way that heat doesn’t enter the glass boundaries within which baby snakes are allowed to grow and the wounded ones are allowed to heal.

The main temple leads us to the courtyard where the Shrine Hallo Kuan Yin is located. There are narrow pebbled pathways around the shrine which lead to a beautiful pond area with green, leafy trees all around it on whose branches numerous snakes reside.

Snake Temple Penang
This beautifully designed and structured snake temple attracts throngs of visitors (Source)

How to Reach Snake Temple in Penang

The temple is about 30 minutes from downtown Penang, so taking a cab or a shuttle bus would be convenient.

Bus: If opting to take a bus to the temple, bus lines 102, 306, 401, 401E and AT stop a few meters from the temple from where one can walk for about 7 minutes to reach the main gate.

Taxi: Although not very economic, cabs are a pretty convenient means to reach the temple. 

Need to Know

  • Although the locals claim that the snakes have been devenomized, you must be cautious of your step and also ensure that there are no snakes around the place you choose to sit and meditate.
  • It is recommended to not bring small children to the Snake Temple although the authorities claim that no one has ever been bitten by any of the snakes till date.

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