Snake Temple
Malay: Tokong Ular
Chinese: 蛇庙
AffiliationBuddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk beliefs
LocationJalan Tokong Ular, Bayan Lepas
MunicipalityGeorge Town
Snake Temple is located in Central George Town, Penang
Snake Temple
Location within George Town
Geographic coordinates5°18′50.20″N 100°17′06.71″E / 5.3139444°N 100.2851972°E / 5.3139444; 100.2851972
TypeChinese temple

The Snake Temple (Chinese: 蛇庙; pinyin: Shé Miào; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tsuâ-biō), also known as the Temple of the Azure Clouds,[1] is a Chinese temple within George Town in the Malaysian state of Penang. Located at Bayan Lepas, the temple is well-known for being a refuge of resident snakes, said to be reincarnated disciples of the deified Buddhist monk Master Qingshui, to whom the temple is dedicated.[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] It was also featured during the 8th leg of The Amazing Race 16 and become a backdrop of 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 while still retaining their fangs.[2][3] Other species of snakes 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. ^ a b c d e Gregory Rodgers (30 May 2018). "A Tour of the Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia". TripSavvy. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Choong Kwee Kim (9 July 2005). "New lure at snake temple in Penang". The Star. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b 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.