Thursday, January 22, 2015

Checking Out the Snake Temple in Penang

This is a super late blog post. I was supposed to blog about my not-so-recent visit to Penang back in October but didn't manage to do so because of 1001 reasons. Seemingly blogging about travels requires extra efforts, e.g. choosing and editing the photos, and a bit of legwork too. Additionally, I must admit that the side effect of months of putting off writing about my travel story would be the slight 'memory loss' on the details of the trip. Hence the delay and laziness to do the above. Oops...!

Back to the Penang story, when my parents visited us in October last year, we had the chance to bring them to Penang for the first time as they had never been to this famous tourist destination in Malaysia before. My parents had gone to Malaysia for approximately 8 times by now but visiting Penang was always deemed too far to do. Our Penang trip in October was a good short trip where sightseeing and eating local food were high in our agenda. My husband and parents-in-law gave us a very touristy tour itinerary during the 2D1N visit in Penang so I got to see quite a bit of new places that I've never set foot in Penang.

Now let me begin with sharing about my Penang trip partially first - starting with a place that I found really interesting.

All of us, minus my husband, in front of the famous Snake Temple in Penang.

One of the places that we visited in Penang last year was the famous old temple called the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas. A brief history lesson from Wikipedia stated that this temple was built in memory of a Buddhist monk who sometimes gave shelter to the snakes of the jungle. After the temple was constructed, snakes reportedly appeared by themselves.

When my MIL first suggested us to check out this place, I shrugged her idea off a little bit but was choked to express my minor objection. For few moments, I experienced the so-called tension of opposite. A part of me was very curious to see this place in real life (also wondered if this temple got anything to do with Bai Suzhen - google White Snake Legend if you never heard of her) and another part of me was quite scared with the potential of encountering so many live snakes in such short range. To me, the whole idea sounded like a safari with snakes and only snakes.

Next, MIL emphasized that if one had gone to Penang but never visited this place, it would be a real shame. Everyone agreed so I just tagged along.

When we reached the temple, it was already 6.30pm. The temple was about to close, the sky was getting darker and the inside of the temple was exceptionally dark because no lights were turned on. Two nuns, preparing their vegetarian dinner in front of the temple, were a bit grumpy when they knew that we were going to visit the temple that late but MIL said something to them in Hokkien and we're in.

Being someone who has particular phobia of snakes, I was already shivering when I just stepped inside this temple. It was so dark and I was just afraid with the snakes that, I heard, were everywhere - roaming around the temple freely. What if I accidentally stepped on one and it bit me, right?

Then we arrived to the temple's hall where lots of old pictures of the temple were displayed. Right in front of my eyes, there stood a really humongous and hair-raising structure used for Dragon Dance, I think, but it's in the form of green giant snake with a pair of big dagger eyes and black dots all over its body. This snake replica or whatever it was looked so God-sized when it was placed in a not so big room. It's so friggin' frightening that I tried my best not to look at it. When my husband kindly offered me to take a photo with it, I was perplexed and quickly told him, "Hell, no. OK, bye."

Moving on, MIL began pointing some snakes to us. I responded "Oh, yeah? Snakes? Where? Where is the cage?" She replied, "There, it is sleeping on top of that photo frame." Eeekkk. "There, one more, above there. Curling in the circle wood decoration near the ceiling" Aaargh! "Over there, snakes." "There, another one in that vase."There, you see?" I was like "Nooooo. Snakes are everywhere. What if this hissing creep fell down from the ceiling and landed on my head?" 

No kidding, but standing in a rather dim room surrounded with so many live vipers was just not easy. Then MIL said, "Relax lah. They won't attack people." I remarked, "How come?"  She looked at me and said, "I don't know. Maybe because they are well taken care of."

Soon, we continued our exploration to a small garden near the temple's hall where visitors could see more snakes reside, hidden somewhere in the trees or maybe in the bushes as well. I walked really fast, almost running, when I was leaving the temple's hall to go the other area.

Knowing that Naomi usually turns her hyper mode on when she is a park, I was frantic. When we were walking towards the park to see a collection of trees which host snakes, I told everyone like a maniac, "Please watch over Naomi carefully. Hold her tight. Do not let her running around here. Not here. I don't want the snake to bite her." "Hey, be careful, Naomi. There are snakes everywhere. Naomi don't touch. Naomi, don't go there. Stay away from the plants. Naomi don't run around. Naomi, stop! Naomi, stay still." I unconsciously repeated, almost chanted, these lines several times.

Anyway, late evening was obviously not the best time of the day to check out the temple nor these trees. We couldn't really spot the snakes in the trees easily. Everything just looked so green. Although if we looked really carefully, there were indeed snakes in those trees. Not to mention the additional petrifying atmosphere visiting a place like this not in a broad daylight. Also, looking at some posters pasted somewhere in the temple, I supposed there were more of bigger snakes kept in the captivations outside the temple but we didn't check them out.

After checking out the trees, we decided to end this somewhat scary tour. On our way out, my Mom and I saw two Chinese ladies who were about to go the ladies' toilet in the temple. Mind-boggling. I told my Mom, "Why are they going to the toilet here? I will never ever use the toilet here. What if there're snakes in the toilet? I'd seriously just hold my bladder and find a public toilet at nearby petrol station". My Mom agreed and said, "Yeah, me too."

Asked my Mom be my model here. 

We ended our short visit to the Snake Temple by taking some group photos with the temple as our background. And one more thing, this temple apparently has got nothing to do with Bai Suzhen. Bai Suzhen legend is from China, not Malaysia. Duh!

Sorry, you won't be able to see any snake photos in this blog post. Sounds disappointing given this blog post's title, right? But no, I always refuse to take pictures of creepy animals, let alone keep them in my phone or laptop. I just cannot deal with the shock and mild heart attack episode whenever I scroll down my travel photos and bump into a disturbing picture in my laptop or phone screen.

Snake Temple (蛇庙)
Address: Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang
Opening hours: 6am - 7pm
Entrance fee: Free admission

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving your comment here!