More Walk, Beach and National Park

Penang Travel Blog

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It was the last full day I had in Penang. But as far as I am concerned, I already saw what I came here for. This day was just a plus. We woke up early for breakfast of the same old chicken rice sold next to the hotel. I really love their chicken rice there. :)

After that, we headed to the stop for the free bus ride. We went back first to the Georgetown to finish and wrap up our walk around the colonial city. We dropped by the the stop near St. George Church. We walked towards the first stop, The Goddess of Mercy Temple. This is a chinese Buddhist temple, during the 1800s, it was among the most magnificent Chinese structures in northern Malaya, boasting of both Cantonese and Hokkien elements in its construction.
We passed by this temple the day before but since the place was congested and the sun was at it's peak, taking photos to this place is not as nice as this morning visit, where people were few and the sky was blue.

Next stop was Kapitan Keling Mosque. This early 19th century place of worship was named after the Indian Muslim merchant Caudeer Mohudeen, who was also the Kapitan Keling. It is the most prominent historic mosque in Penang. The Kapitan Keling Mosque is the place of worship of the Indian Muslim community who have lived and worked around the mosque for over two hundred years. Unlike modern mosques which are mainly frequented on Fridays, the Kapitan Keling Mosque is used by worshippers five times a day, seven days a week. Be prepared to take your shoes off.
Women must wear a heavy robe provided by the staff.

Not far from the mosque is a hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Built in 1833 by Tamil Indians who arrived at the island’s bustling port to seek their fortunes as stevedores, artisans and traders, the Sri Mahamariamman temple is located in the city’s “Little India” enclave. I am totally ignorant to the Hindu ways and seeing gopurams like this doesn't excite me anymore. I have seen so many temples like this is Singapore. Maybe when I see the gopurams in Madurai, India, I would love temples like this. After checking the historical Hindu temple, we continued to explore the sights and sound of the Little India area. Since this is still early morning yet the place was already sunny, it made me thirsty.

Then we decided to wrap up the walk around the heritage city by dropping to the last place of interest to us - the Clock Tower. The clock tower was presented to Penang by local millionaire Cheah Chen Eok in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It towers 60 feet in high - one foot for each year of Her Majesty's reign. The Queen had died by the time the clock tower was finally completed in 1920. We then walked towards the Jetty bus station for Bus 101 for our visit to their beach - Batu Ferringhi. There are other interesting buildings as we walked to towards the bus station - the Weld Quay Jetty Station and the Colonial Giants - Wisma Yeap Chor Ee and Wisma Kastam.

The twin Colonial Buildings stands directly opposite each other, two of George Town’s most prominent heritage landmarks seem to be facing off in a bid for prominence.
Indeed, both are equally grand and imposing especially if viewed from the ferry coming into the island. It is no wonder that traders used them as landmarks back in the days when Penang was South-East Asia’s most important trading post. Located at the corner of China Street Ghaut (facing Weld Quay), the Malayan Railway Building (or Wisma Kastam as it is known today) and Wisma Yeap Chor Ee are “colonial giants” in every sense of the word. Both buildings boast of uniquely distinct arcades (a structure composed of a series of arches supported by columns). Before Komtar (the state’s administrative and shopping tower) Wisma Kastam’s clock tower (which by the way is still ticking with precision) was the tallest building on the island.

Both Wisma Yeap Chor Ee and Wisma Kastam are expected to be turned into hotels but the iconic facade will always be a familiar sight in George Town.

Batu Ferringhi was I think the biggest disappointment for me for this trip. The bus trip for almost an hour just to see this beach with a small strip of white beach and full of people forcing you to try parasailing with their sweet talk of giving you discount yet in reality, they are charging you double. I only stayed there for few minutes, almost got myself try the parasailing but something was nagging. The guy talking to me was simply a professional to this kind of trade, ripping off tourist like me. This beach is overrated I think. Disappointed, we headed to the mall near the beach for our lunch. Good thing there was KFC with Penang twist. They are serving chicken rice instead of the normal steam rice. This is by far better than KFC in Singapore where they don't serve rice there.

After the lunch, we decided to get a massage and it was a good call. Instead of getting myself ripped off by the people on the beach, why not spent my few Malaysian Ringgit for a nice massage. With still have more than enough time to kill, we decided to ride on bus 101 and checked out the end of the trip which is the Penang National Park. We reached the park after 30 minutes from the beach. We approached the information desk, and the guy behind the counter was really nice. We were up for a low degree of physical activity and he suggested that we go for the easiest trail. They have several trails which brings to different places like Muka Head for the lighthouse, Teluk Ketapang is a small sandy cove just past the Muka Head lighthouse, Pantai Kerachut and Teluk Kampi, the farthest.
It was a sweet walk for the two of us. Just enough to see secluded beaches and hidden natural gardens.

We came back to the information deck of the park, checked out and headed to the canteen for a quick bite. An hour worth of hiking is tiring enough, yeh. After the, we walk towards the bus that will bring us back to the city. We took Bus 101 again and asked the driver to drop us to a mosque that we saw on our way to the park. The mosque looked so stunning yet we have not seen this mosque from the brochures that we had that time. I made a little research about this and and it's proper name is Masjid Terapung or the Floating Mosque. It was built after the boxing day tsunami of 2004 which destroyed a nearby mosque. There's an awe fator of its surroundings which lend an irreplaceable natural colour to the magnificent man-made structure.
This is one of the discoveries that I was just so glad that we dropped by this beautiful Mosque.

I was already tired from the whole day of walking and exploring places, we then headed back to Komtar. Since we still have enough time and money, spent most of my remaining Malaysian Ringgits buying shirts on sale in Koptar. After the shopping, we went looked for our dinner. I had Kwey Teow for dinner, two servings! :)

And lastly, I finished my Penang experience with a bowl of Ais Kachang. Theirs tasted like Halo-halo, it was so good and compare to the Ice Kachang in SG which is virtually boring.

All in all, my visit to this city was one of the most pleasant visits I had Malaysia. If not, the most pleasant.
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photo by: Aurora78