VIDEO: Kuan Yin Teng Temple

As we randomly wandered around historic George Town we spotted Kuan Yin Teng Taoist Temple and decided to check it out in this travel video from Penang, Malaysia.

Known as the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, it is the oldest (although not the most ornate) temple in all of George Town. Given its historical significance in the city, it is still regarded as the most significant Taoist temple situated along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling street.

Kuan Yin Teng, or Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, is one of the most important temples in Penang. It is officially known as the Kong Hock Keong or Temple of the Hokkien and Cantonese Communities, but that name is largely unpopular among the locals, who know it simply as Kuan Yin Teng.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the temple has to do with its location based principally on feng shui. Kuan Yin Teng, situated on a gentle knoll, is considered the optimal placement for the dragon. With views of both the sea and hills, the temple also has several wells regarded as the ‘eye of the dragon.’

Over the years, Kuan Yin Teng temple has undergone numerous renovations, upgrades and repairs; however, it still is the most significant Taoist temple for the Chinese population living on Penang island.

The temple was built by the initial Cantonese and Hokkien settlers in the early 19th century. One can typically witness plenty of worshippers praying and/or burning money made out of paper. When we visited it was atypically quiet though given all of the renovations. In fact, certain areas of the temple were strictly off limits to the general public. To work around this we placed or cameras in between the bars and barriers to still capture some footage or photos of certain aspects of the temple from a distance.

One of the most quirky encounters we had was with a man who decided to dance like a chicken and yell aloud, “I’m flying!” At first I didn’t capture him on camera; however, the second time I walked past him he did his ‘chicken dance’ once again for me and I was sure to have the camera rolling this time around. I may forget certain details about the temple over time; however, I’ll likely forget what this man did. For me, travel is personally about the people you meet just as much – if not more – than the attractions you visit.

One thing that struck me about this temple is just how tiny it is. I suppose I’m used to visiting massive temples and expecting to have my mind blown away; however, in relative comparison, this one was quite humble. Although I would put visiting the Clan Jetties or Little India ahead of the experience of wandering around this historic temple, we both still enjoyed checking it out.

For those interested in visiting the temple, it is located on former Lebuh Pitt (now Jin Masjid Kapitan Keling) nearby Little India. If you’re staying nearby Chulia street or the Komplex Komptar, it’s easy enough to reach on foot.

Visiting Kuan Yin Teng Chinese Taoist Temple in George Town, Penang

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Arti July 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

A very beautiful temple. Simple, yet elegant.

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Samuel Jeffery July 10, 2013 at 9:35 am

Thanks Arti, I agree with what you said. I’ve been to far more elaborate ones but this one has its own charms.

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Tim Horgan @ On and Off the Gringo Trail July 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm

How do the taoists compare up to the other faiths in asia?

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Samuel Jeffery July 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

I haven’t been to many Taoist temples; but the ones I have visited, all had a lot of burning incense sticks!

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noel July 10, 2013 at 12:06 am

I liked the video even if its just the exterior shots and details, music works well with the imagery. I don’t recall this temple when I was in Georgetown, too many things to see in my short visit there.

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Samuel Jeffery July 10, 2013 at 9:42 am

Thanks Noel! Isn’t that the truth! I’ve been to Penang several times and there are still things I haven’t yet seen or done.

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Nicole @ Green Global Travel July 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Great Video. I love the temples in SEA. One day we will get there! Have to put up with the churches in Europe until then ;)

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Samuel Jeffery July 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

It’s funny Nicole because I’m templed out in Asia, yet I would love to check out churches in Europe. We need to switch locations ;)

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