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The Temple With Glorious Past

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    What others said about the Penang Snake Temple

    “A place to visit if you want to see snakes”

    The snake temple is located at Bayan Lepas and is quite near to the airport. It did undergo some renovations and now is reopened back to the public. When you enter the temple, going further in, one will be able to see snakes ‘lying’ or rather curled on the branches of a tree in the middle of the small courtyard in between the 2 rooms. Children are delighted and amazed at the many snakes ‘staying’ at the tree. Proceeding in, one will find a few guys with pythons available for photo shoots at a certain fee. Overall a good experience to let children see the snakes up close.
    Visited November 2012

    “I WAS EXPECTING A TEMPLE CRAWLING WITH SNAKES – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

    The story – The temple and its history sound interesting. The story is a good one. Please check out the story about the origin of the snakes.

    The temple today – It is small and has a few snakes on a table, at the front of the temple. That is it.
    My wife had her picture taken – for $10 USD – with a python wrapped around her waist and a viper positioned on her head. That was the high point of our visit. A great photo, for sure, but not much to see in the temple.

    “Great place for snake lovers!”

    The temple was pretty with intricate details and all those stuff but what I loved the most was the garden just behind the temple where there are snakes roaming around the place. There are no warning signs or anything so just look around the trees and you’ll notice a couple of snakes!
    Visited June 2013

    “Largest snake I’ve ever seen”

    I went into the snake temple and was amazed by the sheer size of the Burmese python and the Cobra. The was allowed to touch the Burmese python and take some increditable video of my experience.

    Visited October 2012

    “Good place if you also go to the snake farm next door”

    The most interesting temple of the lot and the snake farm next door is also interesting if you can turn a blind eye to the caged monkeys.

    The owner is happy to talk you through all the snakes.

    In the temple you can have your picture taken with a couple of pythons draped around your neck. Downside is its a bit far out.

    Visited July 2012
    Source: Tripadvisor

    Snake Temple Penang

    Live snake at the Penang snake temple.

    What’s special about the temple

    The Snake Temple is situated in Sungai Kluang, Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia and is perhaps the only temple of its kind in the world. The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and a variety of pit vipers. The vipers are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke, but as a safety precaution, the snakes have also been de-venomed but still have their fangs intact, visitors are warned against picking up the reptiles and placing them on their bodies for taking pictures. Local devotees believe that the temple’s snake population has come there of its own accord.

    Source: Wikipedia

    My experience of visiting the snake temple

    As far as I remember, the last time I visited the snake temple in Penang was when I was on a primary school trip to Penang island. I guess I have not been to this place for more than 10 years. Although I am now living in Penang, I still haven’t taken any initiative to visit this once popular temple for over 2 years. The reason was simple; the snake temple is no longer an attractive place. It was once a signature icon of Penang island back then. I still remember anyone went on a trip to Penang would absolutely stop by the snake temple. But things changed now. The place is not having its charm anymore because there aren’t any snakes at this temple.

    There is no one to blame for the predicament of the snake temple except on the development of the snake temple surrounding area. The surrounding area was used to be a forest where all the snakes loomed. Due to modernization, the surrounding forest was cleared and was replaced by housing area as well as factories. Currently there is really no trees and bushes except all the skyscrapers. I guess this is the main reason the snakes in the snake temple are gone.

    Chinese New Year Visit

    Nevertheless, a few days before Chinese New Year, I decided to take a chance to visit the snake temple to see what this place has to offer. I am hoping that I can at least see one or two snakes.

    Anyway, here is a little bit of history of the temple. The temple has got quite an amazing history. It was built around the 1850s. In other words, its age is over 100 years old. According to local folklore, the temple became inhabited by snakes that crawled out of the jungle during the night when the construction of the temple was completed. It became a sanctuary for numerous vipers which the devotees refer to as guards of the temple. I could still remember vividly during my primary school trip, i was seeing a lot of snakes coiled around candlesticks and pillars or hanging loose from beams and bells.

    As soon as I arrived at the snake temple, the first thing i noticed was the snake temple had been given a new coat of paint. It was really eye catching. Besides, there was also some renovation work going on. I guess it ain’t too bad after all. At least there is something being done to restore its charm.

    Snake temple

    The front view of the Penang snake temple. It has been
    given a new coat of paint and some renovation works are being carried out as well.

    My verdict after visiting the snake temple

    I stepped inside the snake temple and walked around. Much to my disappointment, there is really no snake except the one which you need to pay RM30 to take a picture with. From the appearance, I believe it’s a python and there is also a green snake if I am not mistaken. Don’t get scared as these snakes had been tamed and they are put inside a cage. Unfortunately, I guess these are the only snakes at the entire snake temple. Apart from these snakes, there is really nothing much to explore.

    Another thing you could do is if you practiced taoism, you may light up some joss stick and pray to the “Ching Sui” deity at the entrance as well as the “Kuan Yin” deity at the back of the temple.

    Apart from this, you could also check out on the history of the temple. There are some interesting well-written articles for you to explore and I am sure you probably find it interesting as the temple has well over 100 yrs of history.

    Snake Temple

    The “Ching Sui” deity is located right at the entrance
    of the snake temple.

    My verdict is if your purpose of going to visit the snake temple is not purely on seeing snake, then you probably won’t be disappointed much.

    Snake Temple Nearby Attractions

    Aquarium

    Outdoors

    • Penang Hill
    • Queen Street
    • The Weld Quay Clan Jetties
    • Tropical Fruit Farm
    • Penang War Museum

    Temples

    Museums

    • Penang State Museum and Art Gallery

    Heritage

    • Georgetown
    • Pinang Peranakan Museum
    • Khoo Kongsi
    • Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
    • Old Protestant Cemetery
    • Clan Jetties

    Shopping areas

    • Queensbay Mall
    • Prangin Mall
    • First Avenue

    Location, Map and Driving Direction to Penang Snake Temple:

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      { 1 comment… add one }

      • Sherry November 2, 2008, 7:46 am

        I visited the Penang Snake Temple several weeks ago and found it interesting and worth a stop. There were vipers coiled at the top bamboo supports (three snakes on each side) on the right and left sides of the alter where devotees had left eggs, fruit, and small packages. The air was heavy with incense. The men taking the pictures (doorway on the far right of your picture of the temple) explained that the vipers, normally aggressive, were “drugged” by the smell. My companions refused to go inside fearing they would rouse from their stupor and fall off their perches. They didn’t.

        I did let the guys drape a couple of snakes around me, one a huge python went around my shoulders and the other small snake was placed on my head…that one was unexpected. I felt rather foolish, but my four year old grand daughter has recently become fascinated by anything reptilian. I knew she would love the picture. (She does!) I didn’t mind paying for it because there was no fee charged to enter the temple.

        The renovations are still going on. There was scaffolding in front of the temple so my outside photo isn’t as good as yours at the top of this page.

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