Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Penang Heritage Trail



Day 1
(26 March 2009). Come guys! Follow my trail!



I just realised that I've been writing alot on my out-of-country-trips but hardly any of Malaysia itself. Hence, I feel (I owe it to myself & my country) that I should write something (the least) on my home ground PLUS since it is during the MERDEKA MONTH [INDEPENDENT DAY, following FuFu's lead ;-) ]. So here goes... This is THE TRIP I took last year which led me to INJURE my right knee (tore my ligament) for the silliest & weirdest reason [too embarrass to even tell the doctor], will tell you all the stories leading to it (It kinda stop me from traveling for almost a year thus I started this blog to occupy my wanderous mind :D ).

Here's the thing, my cousin Tantry from Pekan Baru, Indonesia stayed with us here in Malaysia for few months (taking English course at British Council). One day, I asked her whether which part of Malaysia has she visited, I said not those drop-by-kind but visit-kind BUT like really tourist V.I.S.I.T ! She said "aahhh..... ngak ada Uni, semua nye kerna keramaian" (basically "errm.... none Uni, all are family function trips" hence I guess as much it's a "touch & go trip". Hemm.... thinking to myself, that's not being a good host Lily! Where's the sense of giving right? After all, they have always be very (EXTREMELY more like it) to anyone who visited them. And for a travelholic like myself - HEY! It'll be an insult not taking her around!

Which lead to this great idea - ROAD TRIP!!!! *I think it was more for my lame excuse to travel... hahahahha*. Since my travel kaki was base in Penang back then, WHY NOT? We can drop by to visit her right and bunk in for a night or two? BRILLIANT IDEA! Off we go to....

PENANG

Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company landed in Penang and renamed it Prince of Wales Island. "Penang" comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means island of the areca nut palm. Also known as "The Pearl of the Orient" or "Pulau Mutiara". You know what is so interesting, while I was googling to get more info for "hyperlink-ing", I found out that many of the early settlers succumbed to malaria, earning Penang the epithet "the White Man's Grave". Hemm... never knew about this.

Penang was long the only state in Malaysia where ethnic Chinese is the majority, there were also Jewish and Armenian communities in Penang before World War II, but these dissipated as a result of the Japanese occupation. A small but commercially significant community of German merchants also existed in Penang.

On 7 July 2008, George Town, the historic capital of Penang, was formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

Anyway... we decided to start with Penang greatest & highest landmark - PENANG HILL or BUKIT BENDERA.

This is the only hill with a 87 year old funicular train running in Malaysia (by the way, it is now under construction and they are changing it a new Swiss made funicular train); I guess I was kinda lucky to be able to ride this train before they cease operation.

Nothing much on Penang Hill itself (my very own first ever trip), there's a few kiosk that sells souvenirs, food and we did see a police station, mosque and temple as well. Also a few bungalow for rental for holiday goers. I guess the view wil be splendid in the evening or sunset, as you will be able to capture the scenary of - the sea, the Penang bridge and the island/mainland. Maybe next time.

;-)

Regret! Regret! Regret! To be fair, when I was doing this trip, I haven't start blogging yet hence I did not take sufficient & detail enough pics of this place (Excuse to go again lar kan!). What I really wanted to share is the path leading up to KEK LOK SI PAGODA TEMPLE (Temple of Supreme Bliss - Southeast Asia largest Buddhist temple).

It was a winding steps with souvenir stalls on the side, and when you reach half way; you will get to see a Liberation Pond with hundreds of turtles/terrapins (kid you not) - following the Buddhist tradition of merit-making, turtles may be released into freedom. You can go into the pagoda but we were way tooo tired and decided not too.

Next stop - WAT CHAIYAMANGALARAM THAI BUDDHIST TEMPLE (The Temple of the Lifting Buddha). Strange huh? Well, Thailand is not that far from Malaysia let alone Penang. For you to reach south most Thailand border takes 6 hours from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia capital), probably 2-3 hours from Penang. Yup! Very near, hence there's alot of Thai community especially in northern region and bordering state. The temple is not as huge BUT it is most colourful one that I visited in Penang. Been here before in the 90's, there's the reclining Buddha and the COLOURFUL dragon - FACINATING.

Oh! If you noticed, the architecture is still very much Thai instead of the Chinese except for the Buddha statue of course (look kinda the same everywhere in the world). This temple was officially given its site by Queen Victoria in 1845, presented by Mr. W.L. Butterworth of the East India Company of Penang on July 22, 1845.

DHAMMIKARAMA BURMESE BUDDHIST TEMPLE across the street. Perfect! NO driving required, hehehehe.... I am abit tired as I the designated driver for the 4.5 hours drive to Penang. This temple was founded on 1st August 1803 (Yeah! Very OLD!), and apparently it was purchased by Nonya Betong from George Layton, granted by Sir George Leith Baronet, LT. Governer of Prince of Wales Island, for 390 Spanish Dollars.

Never been to Burma before but I do noticed that the dragon is slightly different then of Thai's, hemm... its like a dragon lion or lion dragon ?!?

We ended our trip here for the day, tomorrow we start anew - British footprint and Peranakan heritage. What's NEW in Malaysia?


~ The funicular train has been replaced to a modern one ~

Sad.... but PROUD.






Hyperlink credits : WIkipedia, Visit Penang, Penang Heritage City, Malayland, iguago

22 comments:

its simple love said...

Wow. Your country is beautiful. I hope to visit one day.

Rachael

Biqque said...

i lurveeeeeeeeeee penang!!! dari kecik pegi sampai besar, still teruja! owh the food...yummmmmmmiest amongst all!

fufu said...

i still prefer the old funicular train :)

Lily Riani said...

rachael,

yes, do visit. i can recommend you few places to visit.

biqque,

kaaaannnnn!!!!!!!!! but am not much of a foodie. you kene recommend ler kan.

fufu,

i agree, it adds to the drama right :D

Wenny Yap said...

Travel travel travel ... now back to Malaysia. It's beautiful too, kan? Love the pose on your back.

Miles Of Style said...

wow!! this post brings back wonderful memories of my trip to malaysia with my bestie!!

i loved genting, shopping in kl, the foot massages....ahhhhh i wanna go back to malaysia someday...and hopefully meet you too!

persis.

britni @ Antika Moda said...

Great photos! I'm new to your blog and I can't wait to read about all of your travels :)

Lynda said...

Your country is beautiful!

Lily Riani said...

wenny,

so far penang & melaka my best favourite, johor is not too bad too. do recommend other places. i havent even been to east coast... sigh...

persis,

please visit again, i will take you around... :D

britni,

thank you for visiting my blog...appreciate it.

lynda,

thank you! do visit us here.

Ai Shiang said...

I heard Penang has very good food. Have you tried the popular ones? I've never been there. Everytime when someone mentions Penang, it is always the snake temples.

Rafael Lam said...

I will celebrate the Merdeka too!
Because 31st of August is my birthday! Haha! ^^

I went to Penang George Town and Langkawi once, really love there! Specially the Coral Island of Langkawi! So beautiful!

I also visited the KEK LOK SI PAGODA TEMPLE, I went to the top of the tower and the view of the tower was great!

Carlos Lorenzo said...

Excellent shots and post. I specially like the perspective in the funicular train picture.

Lily Riani said...

aishang,

yes, they are well known for their food however the good ones are non-halala..:(

rafael,

happy bird day in advance :D

i envy you for able to climb till the top.

carlos,

thank you for your lovely comment and dropping by my blog :)

Shingo T said...

Kek Lok Si was probably the most majestic temple I ever been. Love Penang food.

I'm from Johor, but seldom travel within the state, else I could have done a writeup too.

Hmm... but Penang definitely more places to go.

manglish said...

i always love penang...more for the food though hahahaha

Lily Riani said...

shingo t,

you should be a tourist in penang, kids a looooooot of fun! trust me.

manglish,

you're back!!!!!!! who doesnt love penang right>!?! Lp

Tina said...

looks like such an adventure. absolutely beautiful

Lily Riani said...

tina,

yes it is. thanks for your compliment

Biqque said...

lily, jom masuk contest i :D

http://biqque.blogspot.com/2010/09/photo-challenge-balik-raya-dah-ready.html

Lily Riani said...

biqque,

i will try... cam scary... sob sob... i local

MKL said...

Lived in Penang for 3 months back in 2007 and loved it. Saw all the things you mentioned. My ex was working there and I visited Malaysia after graduating, I was free and had a lot of money. I really enjoyed myself and remember the time in 2007 like this year, my best year so far. 2007 was second best for sure :D

Lily Riani said...

mkl,

ehhehe.... i know you would say this... come again!







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