We analyzed 2 929 reviews about Kek Lok Si temple

What do visitors to Kek Lok Si think of their visit?

The Kek Lok Si Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia. This complex is comprised of a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples, beautiful gardens and is a national icon and a big tourist attraction. Kek Lok Si is one of the most well-known attractions in Penang and is also a pilgrimage site for some Buddhist followers throughout Southeast Asia.

We wanted to see what visitors thought of these spiritual grounds. So we ran 2 929 reviews from TripAdvisor through Gavagai Explorer and some of the things we learned really surprised us.

Here are 3 things we found interesting!

The topic “temple” is, of course, the most occurring topic. We wanted to see what we could find from studying the net sentiment(which shows the overall positivity in a topic) in relation to the topic. We can clearly see that something caused the net sentiment to drop from 100% in 2008 to -30% in 2010. Further studies indicates construction work might be the cause.The sentiment around the topic “Prime” has been on a significant and steady downward trend since 2010. It is mentioned in 17% of the reviews, and when mentioned it is associated with a lower than average grade.


The analysis indicates that the “Chinese new year” is the highest-rated topic. When studying related topics, we find that the Kek Lok Si Temple is more decorated and lit during this time of the year. People seem to be very happy about experiencing Kek Lok Si Temple at that time of the year.

The topic “pay” is one of the negative drivers here, but what are visitors talking about? Further studies show that the Kek Lok Si Temple offers free entry, but a lot of the activities inside costs money. Such as riding the lift, guided tours and shops along the way, according to visitors. But, occurrence is around 10-20% each year and the overall positivity involving the topic is rising.

What can we learn from this analysis?

Further studies on the first insight indicate that the topic “construction” has the most frequent occurrences in 2010. This provides a possible answer for the big drop in net sentiment in 2010. 

We also found a lot of potential topics like the topic ”walking”. Upon a closer look, it shows that the visits to Kek Lok Si Temple are physically challenging and not adapted to disabled. We think these kinds of analyses can be impactful for Kek Lok Si Temple, or other parties such as travel agencies.

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Gavagai is a Swedish language-tech company using advanced AI to help businesses analyze text and feedback – so they can understand their customers better. Spun off from the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, our Word Space Technology has grown and improved over 20 years, and our research team has published more than 400 academic papers.