Eighty Hours in Penang (Day Three)Wednesday, September 02, 2015
My travel mate and I had learned that exploring Penang didn’t always mean wandering in the well preserved Georgetown. Other places that were on our scheme were the traditional fishermen village of Clan Jetties, and also Penang Hill, where we could see the entire island from the top of Bukit Bendera.
What follows is the journal of our third day staying the island of Penang.
09:15 a.m. Morning Walk
We had always thought that the fishermen village of Clan Jetties was located far outside Georgetown. We thought we had to take a bus to reach the place from our hotel at Love Lane. We even thought that we had to ride a ferry, crossing a strait to reach it.
Thanks to the woman at the concierge of the hotel. She convinced us that Clan Jetties could be reached by foot. Really?! We soon checked the google maps and realized that we were wrong all these times.
Soon after having breakfast at the hotel, we walked down the streets of Georgetown, and went straight through Lebuh Armenian to reach Pengkalan Weld. It was a bright morning, and I couldn’t resist taking some pictures along the way.
By the way, Georgetown was famous for its street art. We could easily found murals in every corner of the town. My friend insisted that we take pictures of all murals and other street arts in Georgetown. So wherever we walked, we had to stop at any murals we found.
09:40 a.m. The Last Kampong
It took about thirty minutes walk for us to reach Clan Jetties. With all the houses made of timber, I got the impression that it was like the last kampong remained in the modern Georgetown. Basically, these houses were built on stilts in water and bisected by a long boardwalk that would lead us to the sea.
There are six jetties out of seven that still remain today. Each jetty is named after a Chinese Clan. Those clans are Lim, Chew, Tan, Yeoh, Koay, Lee, and some other mix surnames. The most popular and tourist-friendly jetty belong to the clan of Chew.
I was amazed to find a homestay inside the jetty. I guessed it would be great for those who want to experience the daily life in Clan Jetties. And for those who want to bring something to their homes, this place is the best one for hunting for souvenirs, due to its competitive price.
Leaving the Chew Jetty, we walked a little bit southward to another jetty owned by another clan which was obviously, much less friendly for tourists. There were no gift and souvenir shops, or homestays, or even a welcoming sign. But on the other hand, this jetty was more authentic than the one owned the Chew Clan.
11:30 a.m. Going Up to the Hill
Our next destination was the Penang Hill. We walked northward to Weld Quay Bus Station to catch Rapid Penang bus number 204. With RM 2,00 fare per person, we reached the hill within one and a half hour.
For the first forty five minutes of riding the bus, I was excited as I could see the other part of Georgetown through the bus window. Then I fell asleep for few minutes before waking up while the bus passing by Pasar Ayer Itam, a traditional market located in a foot hill.
Rather than fascinated with the market, my friend and I were attracted by a big Buddhist temple above the hill. We planned to visit the temple after leaving the Penang Hill.
The bus’ final stop was exactly right in front of the entrance gate of Bukit Bendera, Penang Hill. Soon, we got off from the bus and had to deal with a long crowded line at the ticket counter. People were queuing for tickets to ride the funicular that would take us to the top of the hill.Graphically, the hill and its funicular could be described like this.
I guessed the funicular was the only fascinating thing in the hill. As we reached the top, we saw nothing but the view to the city of Georgetown down there.
03:20 p.m. The Highest Hindu Temple on the Island
As we had no clue where to go, we just walked along the road that led us to a stair. We climbed the stair and found a Hindu temple visited by many Indian ethnic people. The temple was named “Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan.” People came to this temple to worship a deity figure placed in the centre of the hall. I had to take off my shoes to enter it.
At first, I was reluctant to take pictures of the devotees. As I entered the main hall, I noticed that people were not attracted with me and my camera. So I decided to take some pictures in the hall, including a woman who was preoccupied with making aromatic candles.
We left the temple for the food court where we would have lunch. Not like any food courts we had seen in the city of Georgetown, this one put a clear sign of “No Pork” in the entrance, clarifying that all foods sold there were suitable for Muslims.
05:45 p.m. Kek Lok Si Temple
We left the Bukit Bendera for the temple above the hill that we had seen from the bus on our way before. Despite what was written on the schedule board, saying that the bus would arrive every fifteen minutes, we had to wait for the bus more than thirty minutes.
The bus was fully loaded. Fortunately, we stopped at Pasar Ayer Itam, not long after the departure. It was a busy traditional market, even in the late afternoon.
To reach the temple above the hill, we had to climb through a crowded long winding corridor that bisected shops selling shirts and souvenirs. It was a relief when we finally saw the end of the corridor and got the fresh air again.
First thing we found was a circle pond loaded with turtles. People could feed them with food sold by an “uncle” standing at the pond side.
As we entered the temple, a red sign was put at the entrance, saying that the temple is closed at 6:00 PM. That meant we only had twelve minutes left to explore this big temple. We decided to return on the following day. Before we left, I took some pictures inside.
We stopped the Rapid Penang Bus number 204 from Pasar Ayer Itam to return to the city. That night we were starving, probably because we had lost so many calories from climbing the stairs in Penang hill, and also the corridors to Kek Lok Si Temple.
After washing ourselves in the hotel at Love Lane, we walked to Jalan Penang, right across Continental Hotel to have Nasi Kandar for dinner. Before going back to the hotel, we stopped by at the street hawker to buy our most favorite dish in Malaysia: Lok Lok.
To end our third day in Penang, we packed our stuffs as we were going to leave the island for home in the following afternoon.
Rapid Penang Bus 204 (Weld Quay – Penang Hill) RM 2/person
Funicular to Bukit Bendera RM 30/person
Rapid Penang Bus 204 (Penang Hill – Ayer Itam) RM 1,4/person
Rapid Penang Bus 204 (Ayer Itam – Esplanade) RM 2/person
Dinner at Nasi Kandar – Sup Hameed RM 9/person