Malaysia is a beautiful multi-ethnic melting pot in South East Asia and while the state religion is Islamic, the Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion. This unique blend of Chinese, Indian, Thai, and Malay people (along with many others) make for a diverse country with a strong religious focus on Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This is reflected in the many beautiful Mosques and Temples that can be seen around the country. While there are many more that could be listed, here are 12 of the most stunning.
12. Malacca Straits Mosque, Malacca Island
Opened in 2006, the Malacca Straits Mosque was built on a man-made island near Malacca Town, south of Kuala Lampur. When the water levels are high, the temple appears to be floating in the ocean. The cost to build this beautiful building was 10 million Malaysian Ringgit, or about $3,165,000 USD.
11. Batu Caves Temple, Kuala Lumpur
The amazing limestone caves around the Batu Caves Temple are thought to be around 400 million years old. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu temples outside of India and draws visitors from all over the world to view its ancient stone caves and spectacular Hindu shrines. To reach the biggest of the 3 main caves at the site, visitors must climb a daunting 272 steps.
10. Floating Mosque, Kuala Terengganu
Tengku Tengah Zaharah or The Floating Mosque, is located in a lagoon off the Kuala Ibai River near Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia’s north east coast. The stark white building was built from 1993 and officially openend in 1995. The first real floating mosque in Malaysia combines typical Malay architecture with bold modern designs for a sight that’s truly something to see.
9. Iron Mosque, Putrajaya
The Iron Mosque, also known as Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque is in the territory of Putrajaya, which is just south of Kuala Lampur. Construction on this grand structure took over 5 years as it started in 2009 and wasn’t officially opened until June, 2010. The Iron Mosque gets its name from the fact that 70% of its construction is steel. The building also has other interesting features such as steel mesh windows which serve as natural air conditioning.
8. Crystal Mosque, Kuala Terengganu
Masjid Kristal or The Crystal Mosque (not surprisingly) gets its name from the fact that it uses crystal in its construction along with glass and steel. The sleek modern design is also coupled with the fact that the whole building is equipped with wireless internet and full IT facilities making it a truly modern place of worship.
7. Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang
Located on an island just south of George Town in Malaysia’s Penang state, sits the Kek Lok Si Temple, or ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’. This historic Buddhist temple was constructed in the late 1800’s and combines Chinese, Thai and Burmese architectural styles. Said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, this ornate edifice draws visitors from all around the world.
6. Putra Mosque, Putrajaya
The pink domed Putra Mosque sits in the center of Putrajaya Malaysia. The building gets its signature rose colored hue from the pink granite used in its construction. The mega structure can easily accommodate 15,000 worshippers at any time. The soaring minaret stands at 115m (377ft) and has 5 tiers to represent the Five Pillars of Islam.
5. Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lampur
Located on the edge of Chinatown in Kuala Lampur, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest functioning Hindu Temple in Malaysia and served as a place of worship for early Indian immigrants to Malaysia. First built in 1873, the famously colorful ‘Raja Gopuram’ tower was later added in 1968. The impressive 5 tier Gopuram tower was built to reflect a traditional South Indian style.
4. Jamek Mosque, Kuala Lampur
The Jamek Mosque is located right in the heart of Kuala Lampur where the Kelang and Gombak rivers meet. First opened in 1909, it has the distinction of being the oldest mosque in Kuala Lampur. Nicknamed the ‘Friday Mosque’ by locals because come Friday, the mosque fills up with worshippers from all over the city until the crowd overflows into the streets.
3. Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lampur
The Thean Hou Temple was built by the Hainanese community of Kuala Lampur and is located on 1.6 acres atop Robson Heights in the city centre. The temple was constructed between 1981 and 1987 with its official opening in September 1989. A main feature of the temple are the 3 goddess sculptures in the prayer hall; Tian Hou (The Heavenly Mother), Guan Yin (The Goddess of Mercy) and Shui Wei Sheng Niang (The Goddess of the Waterfront).
2. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Sabah Borneo
The beautiful City Mosque in Kota Kinabalu was built over a period of 8 long years from its initial construction in 1992 to its opening in 2000. Its design was modeled after the second holiest site in Islam, the Nabawi Mosque. Sitting on the South China Sea, the mosque is partially surrounded by a lagoon and in 2008 paddle boats were introduced here to offer its many tourists and visitors a unique view of the structure from the water.
1. Khoo Kongsi Temple, George Town
Located in Cannon Square, in the heart of the city of George Town sits the famous Khoo Kongsi Temple, the most grand and ornate Chinese clan temple in Malaysia. It’s one of the city’s most visited historic attractions and the site still features a traditional theatre and 19th century row houses for clan members in addition to the main temple building. The intricately detailed structure shows the strong presence of the Chinese in Malaysia.