Attraction Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Published on: 01-07-2016
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Why Penang Snake Temple (Tokong ular) is special ?
Also known as ‘Temple of the Azure Cloud’, the Snake Temple was originally built in 1850, in the memory of Chor Soo Kong, a Buddhist monk said to have great healing powers. According to legend, he had provided shelter to a number of snakes during those days, and it is said that the snakes that had entered the temple had stayed and never left as a mark of respect to the monk.
What to explore at Penang Snake Temple (Tokong ular)?
At the entrance of the temple there’s a big incense burner which fills the main prayer hall with ‘smoke’: the incense that wafts through, acts as a tranquillizer, making them appear motionless, even asleep.
Additionally, there are statues and carvings that make for great photo opportunities – check out the 600-lb bell in the main hall, brought from China in 1886 during the Manchurian Dynasty. It is rung on the first and 15th of every month in the Chinese calendar, as an invitation for those departed to pray.
At the back of the temple is a snake ‘pool’ filled with fruit trees – take a closer look at the trees to see snakes coiled around the branches.
Nowadays it is hard to determine the amount of snakes that live in the temple grounds. Some say that the temple’s population is declining due to the rapid development that is disturbing the snakes’ natural habitat. However, during festivals you’ll see more of them, probably due to the extra offerings available. At night they slither about eating offerings, so during the day they’re reportedly too worn out to do more than lay around. Prayers at the temple begin as early as 05:00, when devotees pay homage to the deity by chanting the sutras.
There is a small exhibition annexe next door to the temple with tanks containing snakes, including pythons and cobras; the entry fee is cheap and this is where you’ll take pictures with defanged snakes (most of the snakes in the temple have had their fangs extracted). Having a photo taken while holding a snake can be slightly expensive, so do not give into the persistent snake handlers unless you really want to.
How to get to Penang Snake Temple (Tokong ular)?
The Snake Temple is located in Banyan Lepas, not far from the Penang International Airport and Queensbay Mall - the largest shopping mall in Penang. Rapid Penang buses #401 and #401E leave frequently from Komtar in Georgetown and pass the temple on Jalan Tokong Ular. Let the driver know as you board that you want to stop at the Snake Temple; you will be let out on the main road within eyesight of the temple.Bus #401E continues on to Balik Pulau, making it convenient to add the Snake Temple as part of a sightseeing day away from Georgetown.
- “Pleasant surprise”
- “Different temple”
- “Little Entertaining Place"
- “Real Snakes in Temple”
- “Quick lessons on reptiles”
Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tips for you
Very nice temple to See snakes. Unique. Just right beside a factory. Can try the coconut stall too!
From airport to city center, you can have a stop at Snake Temple. Is it worth it? To me, yes. Because live poisonous snakes are worth to see. I dont know how but they are in trance and you can come closer to them. Temple is the same as the others. There isn't any entrance fee to this temple. But there will be a charge of RM5 as an entrance fee to the snake gallery at the temple itself.
This low key attraction is a must do in Penang. You start with photos with a python wrapped around you and a tree snake on your head. You enter the snake enclosure for a small fee and see snakes all around you in the trees. You see the venomous ones behind glass cages. You see the most enormous python in one cage which the keeper let us enter. The highlight is when the keeper puts on a show literally right in front of us with a deadly king cobra - which he handles with extreme caution, and skill. Scary as - but also a lot of fun. Very informative, interesting and an education for the young ones that is better than watching on an ipad.
There are some serious looking vipers (I'm no snake expert, I was told they were vipers) that seem to be just lazing around. The temple itself isn't anything special. I'd say it is still worth seeing.
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.