Penang Free and Easy Trip Day 1
Yeah, Penang we are coming…
For our Penang trip we rented a car to tour around the Island. We visited several famous Temples, Penang Hill, Clan Jetties, Georgetown, Batu Feringghi, Georgetown World Heritage sites and took some shot of the famous Street Art by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic.
The weather was nice, slight rain and sunshine, the traffic is smooth, not crowded at all on both Friday and Saturday. Actually, this is the Birthday Celebration trip for both mummy and baby oh. Cheers.
Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple
Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple is the largest Thai temple in Penang. Set just off Jalan Burma (on the way to Batu Ferringhi), the yellow-and-blue temple is also known as Wat Buppharam.
Built in 1845, it is home to a 108ft-long reclining Buddha image, said to be the third largest in the world.
The reclining Buddha statue at Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple is surrounded by elaborate images of a gold-leaf covered Buddha in different poses.
Each pose is supposed to signify different things: Buddhists believe that the reclining Buddha, for example, (with his head resting in the palm of the right hand and his head pointing northwards) signifies enlightenment or Nirvana.
Around the outstretched giant Buddha sculpture are a series of hand-painted gold 3D images detailing Gautama Buddha’s story.
Interesting fact: underneath the lounging Buddha are slots where urns containing the ashes of deceased devotees are stored.
They are many smaller statues of the ‘Awakened One’ in various guises and a series of colorful statues of Deva’s and other mythical creatures on display, spread out across the temple grounds.
Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram Temple is designed in typical Thai-style with sharp-eaves roofs and flamboyant ceilings. The temple entrance is set off by a statue of a Naga (a Southeast Asian water dragon), while the exit is marked by a Chinese dragon (the East Asian equivalent).
These serpents lay coiled around the feet of two grim green-faced statues carrying hefty swords that flank the entry way: supposedly the statues were designed to ward off unwanted visitors.
Dharmikarama Burmese Temple
Dharmikarama Burmese Temple is the only Burmese Buddhist temple outside Myanmar.
Located in Georgetown Penang, it stands just opposite Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple, with a pair of large stone elephants flanking the front gates. Inside the pagoda grounds is a Boddhi tree, a wishing pond and apartments for monks.
Devotees have contributed many statues of Buddha, so his serene-faced image can be found at almost every corner in different meditation poses.
The walkways have a series of panels with beautiful murals depicting scenes of the journey of Prince Siddhartha (dressed in typical Burmese fashion) achieving Nirvana and becoming Buddha.
Built in 1805, one of the most notable features found in the Dharmikarama Burmese Temple are two Panca Rupa (guardian protectors of the world) images, which stand over a globe.
These mystical creatures are said to be the masters of water, land and air respectively and have the head of a lion, trunk of an elephant, body of a fish, wings of the mystical Garuda, ears and hooves of a horse, and the horns of a deer.
The first Buddhist temple in Penang, the Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple is one of two major Buddhist temples located within the Theravada Buddhist co-op on Burma Lane. It was built on land donated by a Buddhist devotee known as Nyonya Betong.
Kek Lok Si Temple
Standing on a hilltop at Air Itam, near Penang Hill, Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. The complex is divided into three zones while the temple grounds comprise the hill entrance, souvenir, food and drinks stalls and the turtle liberation pond.
The mid section of the temple houses temples, gardens, the pagoda and the four heavenly kings pavilion; meanwhile the hilltop plays host to an enormous statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin as well as more gardens and temples.
Comprising a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples and beautifully-landscaped gardens, this national icon was built in 1890 by Beow Lean, a devout immigrant Chinese Buddhist.
The ten-acres site was purchased in 1893 and the initial temple structure was built on the summit of He Shan. 20 years later, the two-decade long additional construction of this sprawling house of worship is largely funded by donations from the Penang Straits Chinese community.
Kek Lok Si is both carved into the rock face as well as perched atop the slopes of Air Itam. The main attraction here is the impressive pagoda of Rama VI and at the center of the complex, the seven-storey, 30-metre high tower is acknowledged as the ‘face’ of Kek Lok Si. Topped with a Burmese crown, Ban Po Thar – the Ten Thousand Buddhas Pagoda – displays a collection of alabaster and bronze Buddhas and has a Chinese octagonal base while its middle tiers are of Thai design.
The Hall of the Deva’s are statues of the Four Heavenly Kings – each of the Kings allegedly controls one of the four points of the compasses – Kwang Mu (Guardian of the West), Tou Wen (Guardian of the North), Ch’i Kuo (Guardian of the East) and lastly Tseg Chang (Guardian of the South).
At the highest level there is a 36.5 metre-high bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy; in the future 16 ornately decorated bronze columns supporting a roof over the statue, as well 1000 two-metre high statues of the goddess are planned to be built.
Penang Hill was the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia. Comprising Western Hill, Bukit Laksamana, Tiger Hill, Flagstaff Hill and Government Hill, it is located six km away from Georgetown.
Set 821m above Penang’s capital, islanders call it Bukit Bendera and it is generally about five degrees cooler than Georgetown.
It is the last patch of tropical rainforest in Penang so the flora and fauna here have been protected since 1960. Today, the ridge on top of Penang Hill is known as Strawberry Hill.
From the top of Penang Hill on a clear day you can see the mountains of Langkawi, north Kedah and Penang Bridge but it is the night time sight of lit-up Georgetown that is especially rewarding.
The most popular way to the top of the hill is the Penang Hill Railway. Located at the foot of the hill, this Swiss-designed funicular starts out from Air Itam.
Built in 1923, it is one of the world’s oldest funicular systems and has a 2,007m-long track that climbs the hill at a crawling 30-minute pace. It was recently upgraded and replaced by a newer and faster Tram system.
There is a food court, fruit and souvenir stalls, some gardens, an exuberantly decorated Hindu temple, a mosque, a police station, a post office and an 11-room hotel (Bellevue Hotel) at the upper funicular station: the original funicular train, built in 1897, is also on exhibit here.
Batu Feringghi is one of Penang’s most popular destinations (in fact, it’s the second most popular destination after Georgetown), Batu Feringghi consists of a long stretch of soft, white sandy beach along a winding road named Jalan Batu Feringghi, filled with a host of accommodation and dining options.
Hard Rock Hotel
With busts of The Beatles in the lobby and autographed Sex Pistols albums in the corridors, there is little doubt about the four-star Hard Rock Hotel Penangs theme – its extravagant Vegas-ques vibe is a refreshing departure from traditional beach side hotels.
Everything spells stardom, from the giant music-related murals and rock star memorabilia to the open-air lobby with a reception/bar combo.
The hottest action revolves around the energetic Hard Rock Cafe, which acts as regular host to live bands.
Charcoal Steamboat Dinner
We went far a nice traditional style charcoal steamboat dinner in the evening together with some family members.