A sense of calm within the storm
Published/Last edited or updated: 8th December, 2017
In a built up city like Kuala Lumpur you can feel under siege and roped in by the racket and traffic, so it can be pleasant to find a place where you can step into a realm of serenity surrounded by the hubbub of a modern city: Guan Yin temple is such a place.
As you climb the two short flights of stairs from the road up to the brightly coloured Buddhist Guan Yin temple (full name Wei Zhen Gong Guan Yin Temple), it is easy to imagine a time when set on the hill, it would have enjoyed peaceful views across the lower reaches of the city looking out from the southern bank of Chinatown. Today, not so much—it backs almost onto a stadium, has two major roads right out front and a monorail track which runs so close you could almost reach out and touch the train as an elevated train rolls past.
Peaceful isn't the first word that comes to mind in describing this place, but once you do step into the main hall (literature on site calls this hall “the precious hall of the exalted hero”), the racket does dim an octave and you can almost begin to appreciate at least in an abstract sense, the principle of inner peace.
The above-mentioned main hall is divided into three separate sections, each housing gold-plated deities and offering tables. To the left sits the multi-limbed Thousand-hand Bodhisattva (though not with the legendary one thousand arms in evidence), the centre has Buddha Sakyamuni and, to the right, South Sea Guanyin (note the flowing robes). There is more detailed (and complimentary) English language information available within the temple (at the desk to the left as you walk in).
There’s little else to see at this small site, and while it probably isn't worth legging it across town to see, if you’re in the area, pop by. The closest monorail station to here is Maharajalela and you’re almost next door to Chan See Shu Yuen Temple. Petaling Street market in the heart of Chinatown is a five to ten minute walk away.
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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