FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 18th Port – Penang, Malaysia – Day 43 —

March 28, 2016 by  

Tuesday, March 8th

23 Penang, Malaysia 2016

Kek Lok Si Temple

  • Today I had high hopes of creating a real adventure. They touted the UNESCO World Heritage downtown Colonial District as a “major attraction.” Chris says, “You are always searching for the pearl.” And that I am!
  • Since it was a short walk from the ship, we headed off on our own. As soon as we hit the cruise terminal we were overwhelmed by yet another onslaught of taxi drivers. All of which were attempting to get our attention by waving a laminated sheet (they all had the same one) with pictures asking us where we wanted them to take us. And their price of 50 ringgits (basically $12) an hour never wavered, even at the end of the line out on the street. No bargaining here. They’re clearly unionized!
  • Our short four block stroll along the waterfront promenade started with Fort Cornwallis, the largest standing fort in Malaysia, and ended at City Hall before we took a hard left and headed into the city center. More unbearable monsoon heat and humidity had sweat pouring from our faces after only 5 minutes.

86 Penang, Malaysia 2016

  • After an hour and a half of walking around looking for “the pearl” (which I never49 Penang, Malaysia 2016 found) and no longer able to stand the unbearable heat we found a taxi to take us to the sites. And guess how much? 200 ringgits for 4 to 5 hours! I told you there was a taxi union. Eric was his name and he was a quite nice gentleman with pretty good English skills. And this taxi had a meter so he was a “real taxi driver” which he highlighted and assured us that we were in the hands of a professional driver.
  • 1st stop – Kek Lok Si Temple – The ‘Temple of Supreme Bliss’ AKA the Temple of 10,000 Buddha’s, Malaysia’s largest Buddhist shrine stands a striking 98 feet high. The seven-tiered alabaster pagoda is the highlight of the complex. The design is said to be Burmese at the top, Chinese at the bottom and Thai in between. We took the cable car – bypassing “way too many stairs” as the ascending tourists grumbled to us – that whisked us to the highest level. It was presided over by an awesome 110-foot-high bronze statue of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy.
  • 2nd stop – The Reclining Buddha Thai Temple – No question about it, the Thai’s know how to do a colorful temple! With paintings and mosaics of mythical creatures and statues inside and out, not to mention, the giant gold plated reclining Buddha at 108 feet in length. Turns out it’s only one of three that’s this size in the world!

55 Penang, Malaysia 2016

  • 3rd stop – Just across the street from the Thai Temple was the Dharmikarama Temple. The only Burmese Buddhist temple outside Myanmar. Very large in scope and pristinely maintained, it included a lovely landscaped garden with a bridge over a small fish pond, and a tall bell tower. The statues in the temple are modeled after the different branches of Buddhism from several Buddhist countries.

75 Penang, Malaysia 2016

FUN-food – Eric took us to his favorite place to have lunch. Wok fried rice noodles with shrimp and red garlic chili sauce cooked on a cart in the street. And we didn’t get sick! Thank god we have iron clad stomachs.

Most Bizarre FUN-dessert – Cendol – layered in a bowl is unrecognizable jellied black fruit, corn, kidney beans, shaved ice, coconut milk sweetened with brown sugar and topped off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I kid you not! And I ate most of it.

70 Penang, Malaysia 2016

  • “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” Well apparently here you can. With a population of 64% Chinese, 20% Muslim, and 10% Indian; Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Taoists all live together in harmony!

FUN-cocktail – Real Martini – Bombay Sapphire, straight up, extra dry, extra olives.

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