Today we were in Penang which is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It is probably most famous for the Georgetown portion of the island which we didn’t see – c’est dommage. We did, however, get to see yet another temple at Kek Lok Si. We’re beginning to get a little weary of the temples but they’re still fascinating to visit and see. This one, however, was quite a challenge. It’s impossible to describe the intensity of the heat and humidity here. Everyone has shirts or blouses drenched in perspiration and your energy level is zapped by the humidity. We’ve experienced several places throughout the world with high temperatures but nothing quite like this. To top it all, our excursion today was centered around a lot of climbing and tons of steps. Oh dear! First, our entrance into the port.
Penang is an island and the home of Malays, Chinese and Indians. Our tour guide was Indian and born in Penang. A very cheery chap indeed. Here are some photos of the Chinese/Buddhist temple as we started. Aside from the main temple which is the home to 10,000 buddhas, there is also a pagoda which we climbed to the top. First, the turtle pond.
We then entered the temple. Of course, as is the custom, you must remove your shoes to enter the temple. There was an American guest beside me who said- “I only remove my shoes for Jesus”! Are you kidding me? You’re taking pictures of the temple but unwillingly to remove your shoes? We have a lot of passengers who are really an annoyance and embarrassment. I removed my shoes and entered the temple. Like I said, it’s the temple of 10,000 buddhas and you see them everywhere.
You can see all of the buddhas on the walls surrounding the entire temple.
And then the gardens…. they are gorgeous, full of exotic flowers and plants. The official flower of Penang is the hibiscus and you see it everywhere in all it glory.
And then there’s the pagoda. We had the option to climb the tiny steps up several flights in the blazing heat to the top and we did it. It was definitely a challenge and I wasn’t sure about some of our senior passengers. Anyway, we did it.
Our next stop was the funicular to the top of Penang Hill. Now that was a real treat. The funicular takes you to the top of Penang Hill at over 800 meters – ok, it’s a lot of feet but I don’t know how many and I’m not going to calculate it for you. It’s really high. Although we had special fast track tickets, the waiting line was extremely long and I captured some of the people waiting for the funicular and some of the riders as well.
At the top was this magnificent view of the island and its surroundings – even on a hazy day. We had a couple of beers at the top and met a very pleasant couple from Kansas City.
That’s all for tonight. We’re back to Thailand tomorrow and visit Phuket. We also turn back the clocks and gain an hour tonight. Life is good. After Phuket, we’re at sea for two entire days and I believe everyone is looking forward to that. I’ll have pictures of the ship and some of the dining options we’re experiencing. I’ll give you a day at sea with plenty of descriptions. Stay tuned.