Choo Chay Keong Temple on Lebuh Armenian
The Choo Chay Keong Temple is located at the junction of Cannon Street and Armenian Street, right in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in George Town. Completed in 1924, the temple has a total land size of 10,000sqft. It is dedicated to the deity of the Yap clan, Hoay Che Chung Wang, the god of prosperity. Part of the temple also houses the ancestral tablets of the departed, that’s why it is also called the Yap Ancestral Temple.
Choo Chay Keong Temple is comparatively small but it has several distinctive features like the exquisite dragon pillars supporting the front doorway. The craftsmanship is simply stunning. There is also a polygonal incendiary being guarded by lions and paqua on the altar in front of the temple. This was added when the temple underwent renovations in the 1990s. The roofs are intricately ornamented which stands out and can be easily seen when you pass by the Armenian Street.
The exterior is decorative and elaborate. The yard is filled with lampoons. The interior is the prayer hall with altar table and alcove that has images of the patron deities. The prayer room has been perfectly restored with lively doors and altars with decorative gilded reliefs.
Originally, there were 2 Yap clan associations in George Town, the Hook Teik Choon Ong Yap Kongsi and the Tong Eng Siah Kongsi. In the early 20th century, the 2 clans merged to establish Lum Yeong Tong Yap Kongsi. The association building now comprises the Choo Chay Keong Temple which houses the deities, and the Yap Temple, which houses the ancestral tablets. The Choo Chay Keong Temple is of Chinese architecture located at the corner of the cross road, while the Yap Temple is the Straits architecture white building next to it.
The land on which the Yap Temple stands was bestowed by a famous Yap philanthropist, Yap Chor Ee. He had humble beginnings when he arrived in Penang. He used to be a barber before venturing into trading local products like rubber, sugar and other farm products. He then diversified into banking and established the Ban Hin Lee Empire. Aside from the land for the Yap Temple, he also gave generous contributions in other charitable works.
The ancestors of Yap families in Penang are mostly from Southern China, particularly the Fujian Province. They migrated to Penang in the 19th century searching for greener pastures. Most of them worked as coolies initially, and later on turned into traders at the busy port of Penang.
To get to the Choo Chay Keong Temple, take any of the Rapid Penang Bus No 401, 302, 302, 301, 103, 10, U502. Alight at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. Walk southwards until you see the Choo Chay Keong Temple at the corner of Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Lebuh Armenian on the right side.
You can conveniently visit the temple in around 10 minutes. It is a good stop over as you take a heritage walk around the busy Armenian Street. The Choo Chay Keong temple is next to the Nan Yang Restaurant. A few minutes’ walk down the Cannon Street, will take you to the famous Khoo Kongsi Temple.
Other famous sites within the vicinity incude the Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple, Cheah Kong Si, Acheen Street Mosque, Dr Sun Yat Sen’s Penang Base, Penang Islamic Museum and the Masjid Kapitan Keling.
Address: 71, Lebuh Armenian, 10200 George Town, Penang
Phone: +604 261 0679