Kek Lok Si Temple/Penang Hill

Penang Travel Blog

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I slept through the short flight between Singapore and Penang. I was awaken from time to time by some turbulence but I was resigned and too sleepy to get scared. I reckon the whole flight was a rough one - could be one of my roughest plane ride but I was just too sleepy to give a damn.

It was raining when we arrived in Penang. There was gloom as I looked outside from my airplane window as I waited for the passengers to go out of the plane. I was just too lazy to stand up and squeeze myself out. We let all the passengers to go out before we stood to get our bags and go out.

My friend told me that there is a bus outside the arrival hall to Georgetown.
I think it was too early for us to rush and get a cab that would bring us to our hotel. It was only about 9 AM and the check in time was 2 in the afternoon. I argued that we had enough time and there was really no need to pay much for a taxi ride to the city. Good thing we looked for that Rapid Bus. It only cost us less than 3 Ringgit for a trip from the airport to Komtar. Komtar is the tallest structure in Penang, and the start of all travels since the Bus station is right there. Then from Komtar, we took the free shuttle, and after 2 stops, we dropped off and we started looking for our hotel. Tune Hotel is just a few minute walk from the stop and it was not difficult to spot it, its exterior is just so obvious, a building painted with white and strong red.

We still arrived quite early to check in.
We decided to just deposit our bags (for 2 Ringgit a piece) and decided to explore the place. Lacking sleep and had no breakfast, we looked for the nearest place to eat. Starbucks was just next to the hotel, we had our breakfast there. I mapped out our plan for that day: Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill. And based for the brochure that we took from the hotel, we could take bus 201 going to Penang. From Starbucks, we walked again back to the bus stop for the free shuttle. I planned to take the bus 201 from the Jetty area. In doing so, we would pass by the Heritage City of Penang. It was like a huge and very old Manila yet clean.

We reached the jetty, asked some people there in the station and we found our bus. We talked to the driver to drop us off for Kek Lok Si Temple. One thing I noticed and very glad that it is, people in Penang is by far nicer that most people I have been dealing for the past month in Singapore.
Maybe it's the small city mentality but then again, the difference is quite striking.

After almost an hour of trip, we were informed by the driver that it was our stop. Like an obedient kid, we dropped off and searched for the Temple. After few minutes of walking we then arrived at small passage where the slightly uphill walk to the Temple started. The path to the temple is full of shops selling souvenir items. We just continued walking, disregarding all the shops and the first thing we saw was a small pond full of turtles. It was a creepy experience to see all hundreds of turtles, all sticking their head and waiting for people to throw some bread. I really didn't like what I saw. The pond was dirty green due to the moss and the turtles were also of that color. Few more meters and we welcomed by the sight of complex of Buddist Temples.
Yay, it was a pretty sight.

Kek Lok Si, or Temple of Supreme Bliss, is one of the largest in South East Asia and arguably the best known temple in Penang. Being a total ignorant to Buddhism and Taoism, I was there just to enjoy the architecture, the sculpture and nothing else. Well, it was also fun to see people practicing their faith with offering of incense and all, and I also enjoyed the solemn ambiance.

The two star attractions of Kek Lok Si Temple are the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas and the giant bronze statue of Kuan Yin. Though the latter was being constructed with a giant open temple, with its planned roof like that of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Actually, there are several entrances into the massive complex of Kek Lok Si. To cover it completely, we started from the bottom and worked our way up.

After having enough of the tample complex of Kek Lok Si, we decided to eat some local food at the hawker near the entrance. Food in Penang were a lot like the food in Singapore - mostly Perenakan, a mix of Chinese, Malay and European but the food in Penang are less health conscious, maybe that's the reason why it tasted better for me. :)

We then waited for bus 204 for our next stop, the Penang Hill. We waited for several minutes before we decided to just take a cab to the tram station. We paid 8 Ringgit. The thing with cabs in Penang, they don't use meter. You have to haggle first before taking a cab.

Penang Hill is the oldest hill station in Malaysia. The ride was an uphill with I think more than 30 degrees slope. The ride to the top is divided into two, one would change trams at midpoint, the ride took 30 minutes to reach the top.
At the top, there were several interesting place to see, but since we are running out of energy due to lack of sleep, we just managed to explore the Hindu Temple and even we saw the Mosque, we decided not to explore it. From Penang Hill, we saw the entirety of Penang - the Penang Bridge that connects the Island of Penang to the Mainland Malaysia, the cityscape of Penang, with Komtar as the most recognizable building and the complex of Kek Lok Si. The Penang Hill trip was a good one plus the cool weather up there.

We decided to call it a day and decided to head back to our hotel. We decided to take the bus 204 back to the city this time. We waited for 30 minutes on the Bus stop but the bus never came. The thing was, the bus was waiting several meters away from the stop.
Since it was not visible from our point, maybe some locals was nice enough to inform the bus driver that there some tourists at the bus stop waiting for their ride. He walked to the stop and informed us that the bus is back there, waiting for passengers. That was a nice gesture, really.

It was another hour of bus trip back to the city. We had our Italian dinner first at the Square next to the hotel before we decided to check in. By the time, I was all out, I was not into anything but to hit the bed and grab my most needed sleep.

I needed enough energy for the next day's activity - Heritage Walk around Georgetown and Gurney Plaza.
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photo by: Aurora78