A historic treat in the heart of Chinatown
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th December, 2017
Set through a fairly low-key temple gateway on Jalan Tun HS Lee, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest houses of worship.
The somewhat tongue-twisting name to this temple relates to the patron deities of two local men—deified as Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya. This deification was in respect for their assistance to Yap Ah Loy, who as the third Kapitan China of Kuala Lumpur, and the head of the Chinese community, is often considered to be the founding father of Kuala Lumpur.
The temple was established in 1864 and remains to this day an important place of worship. Come in the morning to see devotees having their fortune told and making offerings for good fortune—Chinese New Year and before exams are especially popular periods. The central alter houses Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya and before them lies a large bench for offerings and urns crowded with smouldering incense sticks. Note also the intricate carving held aloft above the centre of the temple.
As you enter the pagoda, pay attention for the large glass cases to the left and right, by the doors as you approach. Each holds an ornate throne, dating back to the late 19th century, which are used to transport the deities for ceremonial processions. To the left there are also two large storks in glass boxes—no idea what they are for sorry. In the parking area you’ll also see two large brick chimneys for burning off offerings and so on.
The pagoda is obscured from the street—curiously set behind and to an oblique angle of the shopfronts which line Jalan Tun HS Lee and Leboh Pudu. This is for reasons of feng shui and while the main entrance is on Jalan Tun HS Lee it is understated and easy to miss.
Fifteen to twenty minutes should be more than enough for a casual visit. Mornings are busiest, while in the late afternoon, between 16:00 and 17:00 you'll likely have the place almost to yourself. You'll find Sin Sze Si Ya Temple just a five minute walk from Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. The closest MRT station is Pasar Seni.
Address: 113A Jalan Tun HS Lee, near junction with Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Chinatown
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º41'46.64" E, 3º8'44.44" N
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Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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