Eighty Hours in Penang (Day Four)Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Shortly after we saw the huge temple above the hill on the third day of our staying in Penang, we planed to find out more about the temple. On the fourth day, rather than walking around in UNESCO’s Georgetown, we decided to ride the Rapid Penang Bus Number 204 that would take us back to the traditional market at Ayer Itam, where we had seen the temple for the first time.
This is the story of our last day in Penang. Thanks for coming.
This is the story of our last day in Penang. Thanks for coming.
09:00 a.m. The Last Morning Walk
To reach the bus terminal at Weld Quay (Jetty) Bus Station from our hotel at Love Lane, we walked along the same routes we had been through every morning. If I had captured one street art of two kids riding a bike on the previous day, this time I captured another famous street art of Georgetown, a boy riding a motorcycle.
Our first destination that morning was Gartien, a cake store selling famous pineapple cake in Penang. It was located at Lorong Macalister, and could be reached with the free CAT (Central Area transit) bus, run by Rapid Penang.
We hoped on to the free bus from Jetty Terminal and hoped off at Jalan Transfer (one stop after KOMTAR grand bus station). Then we had to walk few meters along Lorong Macalister, which that morning, offered us nice scenery of typical shop houses of Penang.
11:40 a.m. Kek Lok Si Temple
After getting the pineapple cake, we walked to KOMTAR grand bus station, crossing the Jalan Penang through an overpass bridge. We paused for a while to capture the traffic below the bridge.
While walking in KOMTAR, we were a little bit uncomfortable with some people insisting us on buying cell phones that they carried. It seemed like they were some sort of thief trying to make money out of stolen cell phones.
So we rushed to the bus lane where we got on board to bus number 204. With RM 2,00 fare per person, the bus delivered us to Pasar Ayer Itam, where we got off for the temple above the hill.
Soon, we walked, again, through the long ascending corridor between stores selling shirts and souvenirs, before finally showed up at the Temple of Kek Lok Si.
There are several temples in Kek Lok Si. We hadn’t got the chance to enter those temples on the previous afternoon as they were nearly closed. That morning, we wanted to enter each temple in that place.
At first, we thought Kek Lok Si was a huge Chinese temple or let’s say Buddhist temple, considering the architecture. But then we saw some Indians ethnic people worshiping the deity figures in the temples.
I was attracted with colorful ribbons hanged on tree shaped sticks in front of one of the temples. The devotees came out from the temple with ribbons in their hands and put them on the sticks before left. Each ribbon represents a wish and could be bought for RM 1,00.
12:15 p.m. The Bronze Statue
We moved on to another temple, which was located on the higher ground. This next temple had a bronze statue of Kwan Im (in Sanskrit: Avalokitesvara) erected in its front yard. To get there, we had to ride an inclined lift that looked like a funicular.
Despite of the over bright sunlight, I captured the statue of Kwan Im which stood 30,2 meters high. I found some people holding joss sticks say their prayers in front of the statue.
Same with the Buddha statue I had seen on the top of a hill in Lasem, Central Java, this statue of Kwan Im was set to watch over the city below. Right across the statue, there was a viewing deck on where people could see the city of Georgetown down there.
Before going back to the lower ground with the inclined lift, I entered the temple built next to the bronze statue where I witnessed Indian and Chinese people get down on their knees, side by side, worshiping the same deity figure at the altar.
We looked for another inclined lift as soon as we reached the lower ground. Our next destination was the pagoda that we had seen while walking through the traditional market of Ayer Itam.
Turned out, there was no elevator to get there. We had to climb the stairs. Well, a lot of stairs actually.
All the exhaustion was finally paid off when we heard a beautiful chant coming out from a temple. I took off my shoes and stepped in to the temple. There was a spacious hall with polished ceramic floor, accommodating people to contemplate. I was interested in the three dimension engravings at the wall. I guess they were trying to tell us a story about Buddha.
I later learned that each floor of the pagoda housed a deity figure put in an altar. All the figures seemed to me like the embodiment of Buddha in different forms. The biggest Buddha was placed on the ground floor.
We keep climbing to see all the Buddha until we reached the top floor where we could see the entire Kek Lok Si Temple.
Before leaving, I went to a giant bell and poked it with the iron bar in front of it. The echo coming out could be heard from entire Kek Lok Si Temple. The devotees came to the bell to say a prayer or make a wish. As for me, I did it just for fun.
The sensation of creating a sound which could be heard all over the place was amazing. Don’t miss this bell whenever you come to this temple.
We walked back to the first temple we had come to that morning. There was a row of Buddha statues I would like to capture. Prayers came to this place, walked along the statues and put a coin in each palm of the Buddha.
We returned to the city with Rapid Penang Bus number 204 from Ayer Itam Market. As we got back to the hotel, we picked up our stuffs at the concierge and walked to the Weld Quay (Jetty) Terminal to catch the Rapid Penang Bus number 401E that would take us to the airport at Bayan Lepas.
We didn’t take a cab as the woman at the concierge said that taking a cab to the airport would cost us a bomb due to the distance and the traffic at such hour. It took about one and a half hour for us to reach the airport by bus.
Spending about eighty hours in Penang, I became understand why Malaysia was so proud of its cultural diversity that it claimed itself as a “Truly Asia,” and I was looking forward to coming back to this country.
Rapid Penang Bus 204 (KOMTAR – Ayer Itam) RM 2,00/person
Inclined Lift at Kek Lok Si Temple RM 5,00/person
Rapid Penang Bus 204 (Ayer Itam – Esplanade) RM 2,00/person
Rapid Penang Bus 401E (Jetty – Airport) RM 2,70/person