My first travel this year happened last weekend to Penang Island, Malaysia. For four days I got to explore and experience the island's unique cultural, historical, and natural scenery. Penang has plenty of sightseeing opportunities scattered around the island. Aside from the attractions they have their on unique food not to be miss while in Penang.
Upon arrival to Penang and after checking in at the hotel I immediately explore the streets of Georgetown. It was in the afternoon so the walk was a breeze and being saturday there is no much cars running along the streets so it was surreal passing the old streets and seeing the old buildings you can really feel that you are in a different era. While there are tall odd buildings mostly hotels, I find it spoilers, still there is something with Georgetown that you can really fell how it was then centuries ago. Chinese and Indian temples, Christian churches and Muslim mosques are within the vicinities and close to each other. I ended my walkabout at Little India which is quite interesting at night time because it is very lively with all the loud music from music stores, food carts. You can practically found here all things Indian i guess. My first night was spent at bars along Upper Penang road, the place you don't want to miss when you are in Georgetown. The street is alive that Saturday night and crowded.
The next morning I woke up early and hopped a bus to Pengakalan Weld to catch sunrise and check the Clan Jetties. It is actually a fishing village built over water lined along Weld Quay. I was able to explore two jetty clans Lim and Chew Jetties. The sun didn't come out so i was a bit disappointed but it was compensated by the sceneries of the surroundings. While in there I take my breakfast at a street cafe nearby and ordered a mee soup a local food. Actually it just ordinary noodle soup but what is unique is it's thick brown soup and it tastes good, another must try.
After that I hopped a bus from the bus terminal to Teluk Bahang for the beach. The bus route passes to seaside of Tanjong Bungah and Batu Feringgi before reaching Teluk Bahang. My purpose of going there was to go swimming and I was told that monkey beach is a nice place for swimming compared to the Batu Feringgi beach. So from the foot of Penang National Park, I hired a boat that brought me to Monkey beach. Boy, I was doped as the waves was strong and beach is ordinary. It is 15 minutes boat ride and cost me 80 malaysian ringgits. And little did I know that it is accessible by hiking through the National Park, as I seen people coming out from the jungle through a wooden boardwalk. I got to swim for half an hour and just lay down under the shade the rest of my two hours stay there. Then I became curious to see people walking towards the other end of the beach and disappears. So I ended up following them and learned that there is a lighthouse setting on a cliff 227 meters above sea level. Should I have known earlier I would be able to see it. I have only 30 minutes left before the boat will arrive to pick me up, but I still go inside the jungle and followed the steps. After 15 minutes and still 600 meters away from the lighthouse, I decided to go back or else I might not be able to return back to Teluk Bahang and to the hotel.
I took the same bus back to Georgetown and arrived at the hotel by 2pm. Took a half an hour rest then proceed to the health club of the hotel for the pool and steam bath. Then late afternoon I explore again the other parts of Georgetown. This time I explore the Fort Cornwallis, another landmark in Penang. Just like in any city which where under the Spanish colony like the Fort Santiago of Manila, this fortress's 10-feet walls were laid out in a shape of a star. Within the confines of the walls are a chapel, prison cells, ammunition storage area, a steel structure lighthouse, and of course cannons. From here you can see also the Victoria Memorial Clock tower, the Town Hall, and the City hall, and the Esplanade.
The next day I explore the town market and have breakfast there and the Campbell Street. After that I walked all the way to Jalan Burma in search of the reclining Budda thai temple and the Burmese temple. I missed these places since the map I have doesn't clearly indicated the exact location. All I know is that it can be found along Jalan Burma, but actually in one of the alleys hidden from from the main street. Until I walked more that a kilometer and nowhere I can find the location, I stopped a taxi and I went to Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam.
Kek Lok Si Temple is the largest Buddist temple in Southeast Asia as claimed, and stands on top of a hill. The temple is actually a complex with beautifully-landscaped gardens, and sacred temples. The focal attraction of the complex is the massive braze Kuan Yin statue 120 feet in high up on the hill.
Afternoon and evening was spent at the shopping malls and dinner along Gurney Road Promenade. The Gurney Plaza, a premier shopping mall is located here. A lot of restaurants dotted along the road that faces the seaside. I had my dinner inside the mall as I missed the usual, but I end up my night at the other end of Gurney Road open air food stalls with a lot of local food choices. The next day was just relaxing at the hotel health club before heading back to the airport for the trip back to Singapore.