Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Our first impression of Kuala Lumpur is that it is among the bustling cities around the world. From towering skyscrapers to trendy fashion and geeky technology, KL proves that it can keep up with the nonstop evolution of the modern times. But aside from these fancy trends, KL does not forget about its culture. Places that prove this can be explored within the city, and among those is the Thean Hou Temple.
How to get there?
It was a shame that we have lived in KL for almost 3 years now but we just heard of this place. We rode the monorail from KL Sentral to Tun Sambathan, as we read that this is the nearest station to the temple.
We laughed and said jokes about how we should have just walked because it is only a station apart and the travel time does not even last 5 minutes. But, man! Yes, Tun Sambathan is the nearest station compared to other stations, but walking from there to the temple is still a hike! Normally, fatigue will start to sink in after a long walk but as we were nearing the entrance, we could not wait to get in.
What to do?
Outside there is an exhibit of what looks like a depiction of Chinese traditions demonstrated with statues/mannequins. On the far side are life-size statues of the Chinese Zodiac animal signs, the highlight of which, of course, is the sheep (for 2015). As we walk to the entrance of the temple, we were awed by its beautiful architectural design. The temple has 4 levels. First floor for its office, the second is the main hall where cultural and religious activities are held.
At the third floor, the smell of incense burning adds to the spiritual feeling that soothes your senses. There are various patterns on walls, ceilings, and pillars fitting for an oriental epic. The lanterns would surely snatch your attention and would make it difficult for anyone not to take pictures with them on the background. Inside is the main temple shrine where people say prayers. I guess as a sign of respect, we are supposed to leave our footwear on the stairs, and we did so.
But the most attractive are the roofs – the style that we often see on Jet Li period films, complete with dragons on the edges that look like watchful protectors. At the top level, there are more of the same religious traditional designs. Looking down, the lanterns look like a sea of red bubbles looming towards the people. And from here, we see a panoramic view of KL’s business district, its tall buildings and offices.
It is great to learn that in spite of the huge technological and economic influence that modernization brings upon us, a lot of people do not forget their religious heritage, as evident to the number of people who visited the temple with us (with their luxury cars and high-end smartphones). Traveling to Kuala Lumpur usually directs you to the famous KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers, but we recommend everyone to also include this temple in their list. It would not disappoint.