Penang Heritage Tip :: Hainan Association & Temple

When the Hainan people migrated to Penang late in the 19th century, the key occupations were dominated by other Chinese dialect groups, and so they turned to niche occupations by becoming sailors or cooks. Some Hainanese cooks first served in European and Straits Chinese households before branching out to open their own coffeeshops and restaurants. To the right of the temple is the Hainan Provincial Association or Kheng Chew Hooi Khoon premises.

The temple, called Thean Ho Kong or Temple of the Heavenly Queen, was founded in 1860s and the present building was built on 1895. It is dedicated to the goddess Mar Chor, the patron saint of seafarers. Goats are slaughtered during the deity’s feast days. It is a common temple for the different migrant groups from the island of Hainan in South China, now called Kheng Chew or Hainan province.

To celebrate its centenary in 1995, the 100-year-old temple was completely renovated by craftsmen from China with elaborate stone carvings and swirling dragon pillars, in accordance to the trustees’ idea of what a Chinese temple should look like.

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GPS Coordinates: 5°25’11.50″N 100°20’4.36″E Geotag Icon Show on map