Day 37, Thursday, 02 Feb 2012, Penang.
A good day in Penang !
Day started really early with one of the other hotel guests coughing up both lungs for about an hour from 5.30am. I got up about 7.00 and started my day. I had planned on going via bus to the Kek Lok Si Temple which is about 10km from town, I also wanted to suss the time of the of the bus to Ipoh tomorrow morning so I headed to the bus station a km or so down the road. The sun was low in the sky and the day looked like it was going to be a good one.
This area is a working commercial part of Penang, lots of small businesses run out of shop houses, I love the mix of businesses in these lovely old buildings, food shop, bike repairs next to rice wholesalers and Angry Bird t-shirt importers. In the main they are in wonderful condition though they are outside the heritage area. Occasionally I came across some that are about to renovated.
I booked a 7.15 am bus to Ipoh, I don’t think it is one of the fancy VIP busses I have been getting so will see in the morning, another early start though ! I also managed to get a bus OK to Air Itam where the temple is located. I got off the bus at a local market and picked up some curry puffs for breakfast. I passed this specialist physician on the way…
The Kek Lok Si temple, is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, and contains a 36.5m high statue of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy. The Ban Po Thar Pagoda which is also in the grounds was closed unfortunately. To access the temple, you, naturally, have to walk up a number of stairs, though these were fully enclosed and surrounded by shops primarily selling cheap tat, Angry Birds t-shirts etc. From the main prayer room of the temple you take a small funicular up to the Kuan Yin statue, which is mighty impressive ! I spent a couple of hours in the temple area, it was all quite interesting and being slightly up a hill there was a nice breeze blowing too. I even bought my first souvenir, as small Buddha!WTF !! This was in the temple complex.
I discovered the way to catch a bus when you cannot find a bus stop is to step into the road and hail it, well it worked for me ! I had lunch a great kaoy teow for lunch at the New World Park food court as it was on the way back to the hotel and highly recommended. I then spent a couple of hours at the hotel and did a bit of email and blogging while the worst of the heat left the day.
After lunch I headed towards the heritage area of Georgetown to see more of the sites. The weather wasn’t so kind with a constant off on rain. With Georgetown having such a mix of people there were a large number of temples or religious buildings from all the big regional faiths, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhism. I took photos of a quite a few ! But the highlights, which I will share were the little things.
I wandered back to the hotel about 6, it was raining fairly constantly so I just decided to chill in the hotel for the evening and just eat some of my snacks for dinner – slacker I know, Alex will be so disappointed – all that good food !
I have enjoyed Penang, a good place to wander around, I hope Ipoh is good and I am not wasting a final day in Penang for nothing.
I had a call from Trefor tonight saying he is heading back to Brisbane for a few days so I wont be able to stay when I am in KL next week. Bugger –I was looking fwd to catching up, and now I will have to find a bed for a couple of nights.