Snake Temple in Penang, Malaysia

Looking over our shoulders each and every step, we approach the stairs of the snake temple with mixed feelings.

For the first time in the past year we had a rental car for a full week. It was a wonderful and easy company to work with, and we did not hesitate to head out exploring right away. The buses in Penang are wonderful, but some outings are just a bit out of the way and having a car makes them a lot easier to access.

The snake temple is one of those places.  Roughly an hour from Batu Ferringhi and close to the airport, it would necessitate 2 buses and likely take around 2 hours of travel each way.

With the car we took the long way around the back side of the island just because I love a scenic drive while listening to music. It was beautiful, offering views of the ocean as well as a glimpse into what Penang must have been like 20 years ago. There are no tourists out that way, and it seemed to be much more Muslim based.  Mosques dot the landscape and almost every time we rolled the window down, the glorious sound of the call to prayer captivated everyone in the car.

Islamic architecture everywhere
That is one way to transport Durian..the fruit so stinky I am forbidden from having any in my rental car!
We reached the snake temple with a mixture of worry and excitement.  Okay, so in the interest of full disclosure, the excitement part was the kids and the worry part was me and my oldest -- but it was all mixed up in our collective energy field nonetheless.  We immediately wondered if we were in the right spot as it was a pretty industrial area which didn't seem to be housing any gardens like the ones I had read would be full of snakes.

The front of the temple, up just a small flight of stairs, is quite beautiful even if small in size.  Inside the main temple area are Buddhist sculptures, Chinese lanterns, and pit vipers! You read that right, pit vipers. And they are all over the place.

Inside the temple they are elevated on branch-like structures. So you must look up if you don't want to miss anything!  Once we were done admiring and exploring the main temple (read as 10 minutes when you do this with 3 kids who have had just about enough of temples this past year) we moved over to another room where a few men had quite a few more snakes, some you could take a picture with.  My 5-year-old was desperate to do it, but since the thing outweighed him and the rest of us were not interested in a slithering beast being draped over our shoulders, we passed on this.

The snake my 5-year-old wanted to hold!!
At the main alter

I nearly walked into this guy about 3 is lethally poisonous!
In the small garden you will also find a lot of snakes that are behind a fence. This did nothing for my confidence but it was slightly better. The boys would have preferred that they were closer, as searching through the bushes and trees was somewhat unyielding in their opinion.  A few whine fests about the stifling heat passed and we moved on to a small and sad "museum", which immediately makes me ponder how one dubs themselves an actual museum...  This was the only part we needed to pay for and I think it was roughly $4 for all of us.

The sign above this guy warns, "I have a height phobia so if you pick me up I will SHIT!"
Although the cages are pathetically meager, there is a large variety of snakes and a wonderful man inside joking with the kids.  He explained just how big the goat was that was found inside the 25-foot-long reticulated python we are staring at.  The goat was bigger then my 5-year-old in case you were interested.  Now, I don't know about you, but I sort of have a policy of pretending things that insanely scary simply don't actually exist.

24-foot python, otherwise known as one of the scariest critters alive!
The gentleman actually opened the cage door and invited my little one in...which I promptly stopped from happening.  I did however go in to get a better photo, but now I will never be able to enjoy my delusion that these creatures don't exist!

Have you had an up close and personal encounter with a critter that you fear?

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  1. I really freaked out when I saw these pictures and this temple will not be in my list if I visit Malaysia.

  2. I still have not gathered up the courage to do this one. The kids aren't begging either, so we may not ever get there. Last year, someone brought a huge python to our Penang school, thinking that he had killed it after it ate his pet duck. It was so long that the entire 1st grade class of 16 kids could line up against it. At the end of the school day, after every single kid from preschool to high school had touched it, they figured out it wasn't dead. It was just in a food coma from ingesting the duck.

    1. How funny! It really is not too scary although it also wasn't all that special so, if you get to it or are sitting around with nothing much to do one day head down there. Otherwise you are not missing all that much!

  3. OK now how did I miss this place? Last week I went to Penang for a tour but I never heard about this scary place. I hate snakes and they are so discussing for me. But I am sad for miss this place last week. I should visit next time for sure.

  4. Now this is a place worth visiting and I’d love to see my parents face when I tell them that we are going to this temple on our next vacation.

  5. For the first time hearing a place like this in Malaysia. So many times I have visited over there but I didn’t notice a place like this before, but the next time I will never miss it.

  6. I have been Malaysia for several times. But I have never visit and never knew like these kind of place. That is amazing to know place kind of snake temple and these pictures making me to visit for that place soon in my next vacation.

  7. That’s amazing to see snakes there in a temple. But I don’t want to visit there for any reason. I really scared of snakes and here in this temple we can’t even think where will be these snakes and I don’t want to make a big risk for my life.

  8. This sounds great and it’s really a good place to get some experience with different snakes.

    1. Yes there were a lot of different types. It was a fun outing!

  9. When visiting other countries places like this are a must especially with children, not sure how my kids would be with big snakes so close think my 5 year old son would want to get out a ssoon as he noticed them.