KL has its fair share of attractions, swanky buildings and lavish malls. But apart from that it also derives a major part of its life from its people and cultures. From Indian to Chinese, it is modernism closely knitted with culture that makes the city what it is.
I spent a few days in the city right after I completed my Penang Island leg and it was a warm and wonderful experience mostly. But, if I am to choose the highlight of the trip, it would be visiting this beautiful Taoist temple of Goddess Thean Hou just off Jalan Syed Putra, perched atop a serene Robson Heights.
The first time I came across Thean Hou Temple was via the internet. Of course, it wasn’t among the usual suggested attractions or places to visit. I had specifically put in a search criteria for Chinese Temples in the city and I was lucky to have stumbled upon it. Somehow this place seems to have missed the eye of most of the tourists. And, none of the city tours cover it. So figuring out how to reach the temple itself was quite a tricky affair. But if you are looking to experience a mix of the Chinese culture and the city’s absolute vein, I suggest you could give this place a go!
How to get there : Probably the easiest way to get there is to go to KL Sentral station and get a cab to drop you off at the temple. All the other ways (Bus or Train) will involve a lot of uphill walking, but if you don’t mind that you should go for it. For details on direction go here.
First Impression: The moment I reached the place the first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful whitewashed walls and the majestic building, the colorful carvings and Chinese architecture. The building looks impeccable from afar and squeaky clean inside. The courtyard has interesting figures from the Chinese zodiac. The sky was overcast when I had reached and it seemed like a perfect backdrop.
Exploring the Temple: Once you enter, be prepared to climb some stairs and when you climb up to the upper level you are greeted by the most stunning view of the city. This place must be at the most perfect spot! Such a nice blend of culture and city life. The place was devoid of tourists as I reckon it hasn’t yet caught much attention as a tourist place. There were mostly people from the Chinese community offering their prayers.
The prayer hall with Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin’s Idol was so magnificent! And I learnt quite a bit about Chinese praying and traditions from a nice lady who helped me out with lighting my joss sticks ^_^
Extra Treats! If you are hoping to take back some souvenirs! This is the place, people! Not only can you get some book and CDs based on Buddhism for free ( I absolutely loved reading them ), there are shops with cheap and beautiful souvenirs available. (Too bad I had stopped by here on my way back to the airport and had already done my shopping)
Now before the staunch culture junkies jump at this, I’ll admit that this temple is rather new and if you are looking for some historical significance, probably it hasn’t much to offer. The temple was built by the locals from Hainese community in the area. But it does have a charm of its own and seems to be straight out of a movie screen of one of those Chinese influenced Hollywood movies. And, as a first experience of visiting a Chinese temple, this was indeed a wonderful experience for me as I hope it would be for you. So, if you are interested in learning something about the Chinese culture while you are in the city, you can drop by the beautiful temple that is Thean Hou Temple.