2024 Chinese New Year Fire Watching Festival at Penang Snake Temple

The annual fire-watching festival was held at the Penang Snake Temple during the 6th lunar day of the Chinese New Year this year (which was 14 February 2024). There were also various cultural performances held alongside the fire-watching ceremony, including a traditional puppet show, lion dance and fireworks.

Legend has it that the temple, dedicated to the deity Chor Soo Kong, was inhabited by venomous pit vipers centuries ago. According to folklore, these serpents, believed to be guardians of the temple, emerged from the nearby jungle and took refuge within its walls.

Penang Street Food: Snake Temple’s Seafood Porridge (Lim Kee)

Seafood Porridge
The porridge is usually served with a generous amount of scallions and fried garlic.

Located just outside the Penang Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas, there is this food stall called Lim Kee Famous Seafood Porridge. Its popular porridge menu includes mixed seafood, prawns and fried grouper fish porridge (there is also an option for noodles). This stall is a popular dinner and supper place for the locals here.

It is closed on Wednesdays and usually opens from 5pm till 10:30pm.

Penang Snake Temple CNY Festival 2018

This year marks the 6th Ban Ka Lan Chinese New Year celebration at the Penang Snake Temple.

The Ban Ka Lan (or Flame Watching) festival is held annually during the Chinese New Year period, as a ceremony to predict the year’s economy by observing the intensity of the flames during the ritual. The festival is also held to celebrate the birthday of the deity of the snake temple, Cheng Chooi Chor Soo Kong.

Penang Street Art (The Postman Mural)

The Postman Mural

At the side of the the stairs leading up to the Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas, Penang, lies an art mural depicting a postman with his bicycle and a postbox. The bicycle is an actual bicycle attached to the wall while the rest is painted.

Penang Isle: The Snake Temple

The Snake Temple (also known as Temple of the Azure Clouds) is located at the sourthern end of Penang, not far from the Penang International Airport. The small temple is home to a few varieties of snake species, mostly pit vipers (although the number of snakes there are getting fewer now due to nearby industrial development).

According to legend, the temple was built in to worship a deified monk who was also a great healer. Before the building of the temple, the monk had given shelter to the snakes of the nearby jungle and when the temple was completed, the snakes moved in.