My Island Penang
My Island Penang Travel Guide

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Penang Snake Temple

The only snake temple in Malaysia is in Penang

The Penang Snake Temple is one of Taoist Places for Worship. The story goes to tell you that the snake enters the temple after the temple is built. I wonder how it was named before the snake got there.

On the sixth day of Chinese New Year, we drove to Bayan Lepas, where Chor Soo Kong Temple is situated.

The Temple of Azure Cloud or Chor Soo Kong Temple is the Penang snake temple. It must be then when there is not much development that this name was given.

Supposedly this location in Bayan Lepas has the most peaceful and tranquil cloud and jungle wriggling snakes. I hardly go to the Penang Snake Temple as I am not all together friends of snakes.

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Story of Chor Soo Kong

Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas Penang

As it is also the birthday of Chor Soo Kong, we wanted to see whether there were lots of snakes. I remembered hearing about the snakes. They seem to find their way to the Penang Snake Temple as they know it is their big day.

That much I know and Dad told us when we were young, about a Taoist monk from China. Chor Soo Kong was born with the Tan surname in China during the Song Dynasty.

He was very into spirituality and was ordained when he was young. Since young, he was around snakes and was their care taker. Only when he died did they bestowed the title "Chor Soo" to him for his meritorious deeds he has done.

The title "Chor Soo" as I was trying to understand when this older folks shared means this person will be remembered and revered by the community forever. No wonder we never forget Chor Soo Kong.

This monk carried the statue of Chor Soo Kong to Penang, all the way from China. Same time he brought with him the miracles stories and healing powers of the Great Chor Soo Kong.

British Resident, David Brown

Nun on Duty in Snake Temple

Orang Puteh, British resident and owner of Glugor Estate was cured of a sickness in 1873. The British Resident David Brown donated a piece of land so that a temple was built in homage of Chor Soo Kong who healed him and so named it Penang Snake Temple.

What I truly like about this temple is the three dimensional sculptures on the roof. It is worth the trip of going up to Bayan Lepas to pray, see the roof and the snake farm.

Beautiful Architecture on the roof

Then you get to see a 600 year old Manchurian Bell in the main hall of the Penang Snake temple. I was told, it will be rung on the 1st and 15th of every month following the Chinese calendar.

Then you get to see a 600 year old Manchurian Bell in the main hall of the Penang Snake temple. I was told, it will be rung on the 1st and 15th of every month following the Chinese calendar.

See more pictures of the Snake Temple! After the Penang Snake Temple was built, understandably (using my modern mind) snakes from the forest appeared in the temple.

The Green Vipers

Viper resting on tree in Snake Temple Penang

Being kind, the monk gave shelter to the snakes and since then, it became their home.

There are not much snakes now. I guess development around the area has disturbed the natural habitat of the snakes. The few snakes I can see appear to be motionless, maybe dizzy "pening" from the smoke.

Mostly, little green vipers, sleeping away. But don't for a moment think you can steal a touch. Better be gentle. Handle them with care. They look docile but in the hearts of heart, vipers are venomous and aggressive

One will coil the snake round your body or where ever you want while the other snap away.You get to see a collection of some snaps he has taken displayed.

Other things to see

Tourist taking photos with a viper

A new wing at the back of the original temple houses Kuan Yin, goddess of Mercy. There is chanting of the sutras at 5am daily if you are interested.

A snake farm with more then 50 species snakes. You get to see local snakes like vipers, king cobras, pythons, tree snakes, racers, kraits, water snakes, cat's-eye, paradise tree snakes and the rare albino cobra.

In the main hall, two guys were busy putting taking snaps of visitors. The farm is open daily from 9am to 5.30pm. Admission is RM5 for adults and RM1 for children aged 12 and below.

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