Poh San Teng Temple, Bukit Cina, Malacca

Poh San Teng TemplePoh San Teng Temple (2 May 2009)

Poh San Teng Temple (GPS: 2.196, 102.25541) is the temple at the foot of Bukit China in Malacca. According to local historian Josephine Chua, it was built in 1795 by her ancestor Kapitan Chua Su Cheong, in the same year he was elected Kapitan (leader of the local Chinese community) by the Dutch Government.

An inscription on a stela commemorating the founding of the temple reads: "Bukit Cina is the place where early traders from China were buried. Many Chinese traders came to this country with high expectations of success. Sadly, some died before fulfilling their dreams. Without a family with them, there was no one to pray for their souls. As such, the Chinese Kapitans initiated prayers on their behalf. However, these were always hampered by strong winds and heavy rainfalls because there was no proper shelter. So in 1795, after Chua Su Cheong had been appointed the Chinese Kapitan, he looked into this problem faced by the community and initiated the building of a temple at the foot of Bukit Cina, to ensure that the prayers for those buried in Bukit Cina would not be interrupted."

The name of the temple, Poh San Teng, is inscribed on a 1795 tablet during its founding and is also above the front door of the temple. Moreover, the main deity is "Fu De Zheng Shen" or "Tua Pek Kong". It is the tradition of the Chinese in China as well as Malaysia to dedicate graveyard temples to Tua Pek Kong."

Door plaque of Poh San Teng TemplePoh San Teng Temple (2 May 2009)

It is often incorrectly assumed that this temple is dedicated to Admiral Cheng Ho (Zheng He), the Ming-dynasty navigator. Many publications therefore erroneously called it the Sam Poh Kong Temple, after the illustrious admiral. In fact, there is no evidence of Zheng He's involvement in the history of the temple. How then did it came to be known by so many as Sam Poh Kong Temple?

The Hill on which Poh San Teng temple was built was written as San Bao Shan on a tablet in the temple. San Bao Shan translates as "Three Gems hill". There is a possibility that the name was shortened to San Bao Temple, and in the ensuing transliteration from Chinese to English confused the meaning.

An image of the deified Admiral Zheng He, known locally as Sam Poh Kong (after the name he acquired while under the service to the Prince of Yan) was added to the Poh San Teng Temple by its caretaker in 1960.2

Within the premises of the temple is the famous well, Perigi Rajah. subject to many legends and stories.

Founding stelae inside Poh San Teng TempleFounding stelae inside Poh San Teng Temple (2 May 2009)

Poh San Teng Temple is on the map of Chinese Temples in Malacca


1. Thank you to Josephine Chua for her invaluable advise in preparing the information for this webpage.
2. Chronology about Bukit China and Poh San Teng (12 October, 2016)

List of Chinese Temples in Malacca and Chinese Temples in Malaysia

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