Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Penang Trip - Day 2

We had our breakfast at the Hotel early in the morning. A hotel with budget room rate inclusive of breakfast, i can't really expect too much. It's a self-service breakfast, with only coffee, tea, bread, fresh fruits, cordial fruit juices, cornflakes, muesli, butter and jam to offer. I ended up eating lots of cornflakes. My favourite.

I was hoping for something like this...

But it turned out to be like this...

Early in the morning. Nearly stepped on dog shit. It was sitting at one end of the zebra crossing in Penang Road. Penang Road is one of THE main road in George Town. With dogs roaming on the streets, one really have to watchout for dog shit.

Penang Hill @ Air Itam

Our first stop was Penang Hill in Air Itam.

Penang Hill is a hill resort comprising a group of peaks, the major hill system of Penang. It is 6km from the city centre of George Town, and stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area. Penang Hill is also known as Bukit Bendera, which refers to Flagstaff Hill, the most developed peak.

We took the Penang Hill Railway ride. Heard much about the tram, we were really looking forward to the ride.

The Penang Hill Railway is a two section funicular railway which climbs Penang Hill from Air Itam. The total journey takes about half an hour, with passengers changing cars at the mid-point station.

I just thought that the ride was slow and boring. But enjoyed the windy cool air when we reached the peak. The view was breathtaking!

Before... It was cloudy & cool, not able to see much.

After a couple of minutes... It was sunny & warm, able to see the view clearly.

We had our lunch near the foot of Kek Lok Si Temple. It's a Chinese restaurant occupying a corner lot with a few hawker stalls.

I forgot to look at the name of the restaurant as we were very hot and exhausted, eagerly looking for a place to rest. Of course we do follow the crowd. The restaurant was "half-packed" by the way.

I shall never forget this lunch as it was the cheapest lunch i have ever had in Penang, some say KL too!

I ordered Hakka Mee and it was only RM2.50. The portion was so so so small. It is served in a mid-size bowl (i seldom see this size in KL, maybe it was meant to be a soup bowl). However, the taste was quite nice. The noodles were very tender.

Some of my friends ordered Char Hor Fun and Har Mee. The taste was not bad as well. They were RM2.50 and RM3.00 respectively. With that kind of (small) portion, of course it's cheap lah! I don't think the food here are cheap. It's cheap because the portion is so small!

Kek Lok Si Temple @ Air Itam

Our second stop was Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam as well.

The Kek Lok Si Temple ("Temple of Supreme Bliss" or "Temple of Sukhavati") is a Buddhist temple and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Mahayana Buddhism and traditional Chinese rituals blend into a harmonious whole, both in the temple architecture and artwork as well as in the daily activities of worshippers.

We managed to explore the whole Kek Lok Si Temple, including the seven storey main pagoda, the 30.2m bronze statue of Kuan Yin and other various smaller temples. We noticed that Kek Lok Si Temple is still growing as there are additional buildings still under construction.

The new Kuan Yin Temple is still under construction.

Saw this picture hanging on the wall. Kek Lok Si Temple by night is simply incredible!

It was around 1pm when we arrived at the Temple. It was a bright sunny day and the weather was so hot! However, it seems worthwhile as we managed to snap a lot of nice picture.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram @ Burmah Lane

Our third stop was Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram in Burmah Lane.

Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram (better known as Sleeping Buddha Temple) is a Thai Buddhist temple, most notable for its Reclining Buddha statue. The temple was built in 1845. The statue is the 3rd largest of its kind, being 33m in length.

In the main shrine in front of the Reclining Buddha there are smaller shrines of different Buddhas and popular Thai deities. Also on the temple grounds many colored statues of Devas and other mythical creatures are on display.

I just thought that the Sleeping Buddha Temple was awesome. However, it's a very uncommon sight to see disco songs being played in the temple's yard, with blasting ear-piercing volume. It just seems odd to me.

Dhammikarama Burmese Temple @ Burmah Lane

Our fourth stop was Dhammikarama Burmese Temple, which is located directly opposite the Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram.

The Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is one of the oldest temples in Penang. It was founded in 1803 and is the largest Theravada Buddhist temple in Malaysia.

In Penang, the Burmese temple and some of the Thai temples had a significant effect on the Malaysians. The Burmese community of Penang built their imposing temples which portray architectural traditions of their home nations.

Personally, i never come across Burmese temple in KL. Therefore, it's indeed an eye-opener for me. The Temple's architecture was magnificent, with elaborate interiors and colourful statues and paintings.

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre @ Persiaran Gurney

Our last stop was Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, the ever-so-popular hawker centre in Persiaran Gurney, Penang.

This hawker centre offers the most amazing collection of food stalls, with earthy regional food served in open air. It was drizzling when we reached Gurney Drive and hawkers started putting up big umbrella to keep out the rain. So it's a bit hot and stuffy.

Anyway, we ordered a good variety of food. Check this out...

Fried Oyster - Very starchy and smell very nice. Lots of oyster. You should check out the queue in front of that stall. I've waited 20 minutes for this dish.

Roasted Chicken Gizzard - Very tender and smell very nice. I would not normally take this, but it was delicious.

Satay - Taste nice as well.

Char Koay Teow - Just average. Taste bland.

Hokkien Mee (known as Har Mee in KL) - Just average.

Roasted Sotong - Just average. Very hard to chew.

Penang Pancake - Just average. Nothing special.

Kon Lou Mee - Nothing to shout about. The Char Siew looks "fake", because it was so reddish.

All in all, you can get a variety of food in Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, but not good food. One really have to make one's way into roadside stand or unprepossessing storefront for good food.

We took a walk briskly along Persiaran Gurney waterfront and headed back to the Hotel afterwards.

Saw this at one end of Persiaran Gurney. It's something constructed to beautify the roundabout. However, you can see that instead of "Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang", only "Majlis Perbandaran Pul" is visible. What a joke!

We had been out for the whole day, from 8.30am until 10.00pm. Hop on and off buses to get to these tourist spot. Rapid Penang have done their job well. The bus service were quite frequent. Better than what we expected. It's a tiring day but very satisfied. Day 3 would be a hectic day as well since we need to cover more places of interest.

[Disclaimer: The opinion expressed here are based entirely on personal taste buds, view and preference and may vary from others.]

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