Snake Temple

The Snake Temple (Chinese: 蛇庙; pinyin: Shé Miào; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tsuâ-biō) (also called as the Temple of the Azure Cloud)[1] is a Chinese temple situated in Bayan Lepas, Southwest Penang Island District, Penang, Malaysia. It was built in 1805 for Master Qingshui or Chor Soo Kong (祖師公), a deified Buddhist monk.[1][2] Devotees from as far away as Singapore, Taiwan and China come to pray in the temple on the monk's birthday (the sixth day of the first lunar month).[3]

Snake Temple
Malay: Tokong Ular
Chinese: 蛇庙
Front view of Snake Temple
AffiliationBuddhism, Taoism
DistrictSouthwest Penang Island District
LocationBayan Lepas, George Town
Geographic coordinates5°18′50.20″N 100°17′06.71″E
TypeChinese temple

The temple also featured during the 8th leg of The Amazing Race 16 and become a location in Tan Twan Eng's novel "The Gift of Rain" (book 1, chapter 4).[4]


The temple was constructed in the 1805 to honour Chor Soo Kong (also known as Master Qingshui), a Buddhist monk who lived during the Song dynasty (960–1279) for his numerous miracles and good deeds especially in healing the sick and giving shelter to snakes.[1][2] When the temple structure was completed in the 1800s, snakes coming from the species of Wagler's pit viper reportedly appeared by themselves.[1][5]


The temple is filled with the smoke of burning incense and a variety of pit vipers.[6] The vipers are believed to be rendered harmless by the sacred smoke, but as a safety precaution, the snakes have been de-venomed but still have their fangs intact.[2][3] Other species of snake also available in the temple.[2][7] Visitors are warned against picking up the reptiles and placing them on their bodies to take pictures. Aside from the snakes, two brick wells known as the "Dragon Eye Wells/Dragon Pure Water Wells" are located inside the temple together with two giant brass bells.[1] In 2005, a snake breeding centre was set up in the temple.[2]


  1. Gregory Rodgers (30 May 2018). "A Tour of the Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia". TripSavvy. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  2. Choong Kwee Kim (9 July 2005). "New lure at snake temple in Penang". The Star. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  3. Erny Suzira (10 January 2016). "Famous places to visit in Malaysia: Penang". The Hive Asia. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  4. Tan Twan Eng. "The Gift of Rain". Retrieved 11 March 2019 via Goodreads.
  5. Clive Roots (2006). Nocturnal Animals. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-313-33546-4.
  6. Alan Teh Leam Seng (16 July 2017). "A Penang Scotsman's legacy". New Straits Times. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  7. Anthony Tan (23 April 2011). "Python the star attraction at Snake Temple". The Star. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
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