Wesak Day, also known as Vesak Day, is an important Buddhist festival held worldwide to commemorate the birth of Buddha. In Malaysia, Wesak Day is a public holiday. Many Buddhists visit their local temples on this day to join in chanting, meditation, and thought on Buddhist beliefs. They also perform nice acts, bring offerings to the temple, and share food with others. Join us as we discover some of the temples for a one-day trip to celebrate Wesak Day.
1. Kek Lok Si Temple
The Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia, is not only Malaysia’s largest Buddhist temple, but also a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all across Southeast Asia. Its majestic interior and exterior display millions of Buddha images, as well as hundreds of beautiful and valuable carvings, sculptures, and paintings. The temple complex contains a number of remarkable structures, each built following sophisticated architectural lines. Some of these structures are reminiscent of famous Chinese Buddhist temples, while others are original, representing the Kek Lok Si’s own brand of creative creativity. The temple is a treasure trove of Buddhist civilisation and historical significance just waiting to be discovered.
Location: Kek Lok Si Temple, Jln Balik Pulau, 11500 Air Itam, Penang
Tel: 04-828 3317
2. Thean Hou Temple
The Thean Hou Temple is a magnificent six-tiered temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu, located on a hill in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was built in the late 1980s by the Hainanese community living in Malaysia and is now owned and run by the Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association. It is one of the largest and most popular temples in Southeast Asia.
The temple is famous for its stunning architecture and picturesque views of the city. It is dedicated to Thean Hou, the patron goddess of the Hainanese community who is believed to watch over fishermen. Many locals come here to worship Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The temple incorporates elements of Taoism and Confucianism as well, making it a unique blend of different spiritual beliefs.
Location: 65, Persiaran Endah, Taman Persiaran Desa, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2274 7088
3. The Pahang Buddhist Association
The Pahang Buddhist Association Temple, also known as ‘Wan Fo Tien’ or ‘Ten Thousand Buddhas’, is a stunning Chinese temple located in Kuantan City. It is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring Buddhism and Chinese culture.
The Pahang Buddhist Association is committed to promoting Buddhism in the local community and actively organizes festivals and ceremonies especially Wesak Day. Don’t miss the Vesak Day Celebration, which includes chanting and blessing, offerings to the Tiratna, and taking refuge with the Triratna. There will also be a range of activities such as art exhibitions, Buddhist lectures, calligraphy workshops, and guitar performances.
Whether you’re interested in Buddhism, Chinese culture, or just looking for a peaceful and beautiful place to visit, the Pahang Buddhist Association Temple is definitely worth a visit.
Location: Jalan Sungai Lembing, Wan Fo Tien Temple, Bandar Indera Mahkota, 25200, Kuantan, Pahang, 25200
Tel: 09-573 9644
4. Buddhist Maha Vihara
Buddhist Maha Vihara is a Sri Lankan temple located in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was founded in 1894 by the Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society (SAWS), with the support of the Chinese and Indian communities. This temple has become the heart of the annual Wesak festival, a major event for Buddhists in the area. With its rich history and cultural significance, the Buddhist Maha Vihara is definitely worth a visit, especially during the Wesak festival, where you can witness the beautiful procession and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. Come and experience the celebration of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing with the local community at the Buddhist Maha Vihara!
Location: 123, Jalan Berhala, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2274 1141
5. Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple in Malacca, Malaysia is the country’s oldest functioning Chinese temple and a premier historical monument that has survived the ravages of time. It is lavishly decorated with Chinese sculptures, ceramic sculptures on the roofs, and golden paintings on temple doors, making it one of the most beautiful buildings in Malacca. The temple practices the Three Doctrinal Systems of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism and is central to the spiritual aspirations of the Chinese community. It is a center for the propagation of these three doctrines and carries out numerous traditional Chinese rites, making it a must-visit during Wesak Day for a unique cultural and spiritual experience.
Location: 25, Jalan Tokong, Kampung Dua, 75200 Melaka
Tel: 06-282 9343
6. Ho Ann Kiong Temple
Ho Ann Kiong Temple is the oldest Taoist temple in Terengganu, Malaysia, built in 1801 by early Chinese immigrants. The temple has a special significance for the Chinese community as it played a pivotal role in curing an epidemic that struck the town in 1915. Thousands of devotees visit the temple every year to offer prayers and admire the beautiful red and golden architectural elements and stone carvings. The temple also boasts a giant wishing tree on its premises. Despite suffering damage from a fire in 2010, the temple was restored to its former glory in 2012 thanks to the efforts of the younger generation raising funds.
Location: 183, Jalan Kampung Cina, Kampung Banggul, 20100 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
Tel: 011-3677 6208
7. Sam Poh Tong Temple
Sam Poh Tong Temple, located in Gunung Rapat, Ipoh, is the largest and oldest cave temple in Malaysia. The temple is built within a limestone cave and features stunning Buddha statues and intricate carvings surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors can climb the 246 steps to reach an open cave with a beautiful view of Ipoh and explore the temple’s Japanese pond, which is home to carp and tortoises. The temple also includes a secret garden with a five-tier pagoda and passageways leading to breathtaking karst formations. The temple’s beautifully landscaped grounds earned it the “Best Landscaped Garden” award in 1993. With its rich history and stunning natural features, Sam Poh Tong Temple is a must-visit destination, especially during Wesak Day celebrations.
Location: Kampung Gunung Rapat, 31350 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: 05-255 2772
8. Poh Ka Buddhist Temple
Poh Ka Buddhist Temple is a beautiful and ancient temple in Kuching, Malaysia. It’s a must-visit place for Buddhists and a popular spot for tourists. During Wesak Day, you can witness special ceremonies, offerings, chants, and prayers. The temple also hosts exciting events like an annual vegetarian buffet lunch and a Sangha offering. The government supports the temple’s development, and it’s currently building a new monastery. Don’t miss the chance to experience the peace and serenity of Poh Ka Buddhist Temple!
Location: No. 2222, Jalan Uplands, Simpang Tiga, 93200 Kuching, Sarawak
9. Tow Boo Kong Temple Butterworth
Rumah Berhala Tow Boo Kong Butterworth, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Temple, is a stunning Taoist temple located in Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth, Penang. The temple has a humble beginning as a small unknown attap shed, but it has grown steadily throughout the years with the generous contributions and support of the government and its devotees. The temple’s imposing entry gate and beautiful decorations are definitely worth a visit. The temple is still expanding, with a new building being constructed behind it. Its grandeur is a testament to the generosity of the people who donate. The temple is especially worth visiting during Wesak Day, as it showcases its beauty and significance during this important festival.
Location: 894 & 896, MK14, Jalan Raja Uda, 12300 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-331 8717
10. Snake Temple
The Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia, was built in 1805 to honour a deified Buddhist monk named Chor Soo Kong, who was known for his miraculous healing powers and for providing shelter to snakes. The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and pit vipers, which are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke. Visitors are warned not to touch the snakes, but can admire them from a safe distance. In addition to the snakes, the temple also features two Dragon Eye Wells and giant brass bells. The temple is a popular destination for devotees and tourists alike, especially during the monk’s birthday celebrations. Don’t miss the chance to visit this unique and awe-inspiring temple during your trip during Wesak Day!
Location: Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang Island, Malaysia.
Tel: 04 643 7273