11 February 2015

Meandering in Malaysia: Thean Hou Temple

As much as I am against religion, I also recognize the fact that religion is one of humankind's driving force when it comes to cultural development. This means that whenever I am in a new place, a place of worship tends to be a good place to go to in order to check out cultural practices of the local land. And since Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, I found myself visiting several different places of worship during my short stay. First, I visited Batu Caves, which was holy to Hindus. Then I visited the Masjid Negara, which was holy for Muslims. And now, I visited the Thean Hou Temple, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Heavenly Mother.

This place isn't the most accessible one for pedestrians. So I took a taxi instead to take me to the hill that contains this temple. And upon reaching the place, this is what I saw.

It is very ornamental. And it has several tiers. It actually has six tiers, and one has to climb all the way to the top to enter the inner room, where the statues of the Heavenly Mother are located. Architecturally, it mixes aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, and features very ornate and embellished designs on the roof.

This is how the interior looks like. There are three altars: one of them is for the Heavenly Mother, while the others are for other goddesses. People come here to worship these goddesses, and they pray, bow down, and offer incense.

But this is not just a simple temple and place of worship. People can also register marriages here, as well as have their fortunes read. And downstairs, there is a wide selection of Chinese and Malaysian food, and guess what? I found a stall selling very good tea eggs here.

Overall, it was a nice place. Oh, it also gives you a great view of the city, since this is located on a hill. But take a taxi, since it is relatively inaccessible from the public transportation system.


  1. I haven't visited this one but yes, like you, I try to visit local places of worship, temples, mosques or churches. As a Westerner, I still find temples exotic--at least the first couples are, after a while you can OD on temples (and this incense smell...)

    1. Zhu,

      Oh yes, ODing on temples is a possibility. I call it temple fatigue, which definitely happened to me in this trip as well! More on that later...