Near the southeastern tip of Penang, you will find the Sam Poh Footprint Temple, dedicated to a giant footprint set in stone whose origins remain mysterious. Chinese locals believe the footprint belongs to Captain Zheng He (whose local name is Sam Poh), a legendary fifteenth-century explorer whose fleet of ships sailed far and wide across the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.
Penang Indians, on the other hand, believe it was Hanuman, the Hindu monkey deity, who made the footprint when leaping over the Indian Ocean to save King Rama’s queen, Sita, as described in the Ramayana. Yet another story of the footprint is told by local Malays, who attribute the footprint to the terrible giant Gedembai, who once lived on the island hundreds of years ago. The temple itself may be unassuming, but the rich folklore surrounding its origins make this a special place to explore.