Our second day in Penang could very well be titled; Views From on High. We left the asphalt jungle and literally got away from it all on the tops of two hills. Our first ascent was to see the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and our second lofty ascent was on a funicular up the side of Penang Hill. Both well worth the journey to the top.
Kek Lok Si Temple is one of the most well-known structures in Malaysia. This sprawling complex was first built in 1890 by an immigrant Chinese and took two decades to complete. The first notable thing you see is the turtle pond where possible hundreds of turtles reside. You can purchase some delicious leafy treats for them and feed them yourself by dropping the food into the hoard of hard shells.
Further up and more into the maze of the temple complex is a square with many buddhas standing as if on guard. They completely surround the square, and though they were not as numerous as the turtles, there was still a great number of them.
One of the draws of this temple is the 30 metre high pagoda. This tower looms over the temple complex and was meticulously painted and decorated.
The pagoda wasn’t the only tall object within Kek Lok Si Temple. The bronze statue of Kuan Yin stands at 36.5 meters. This statue looms near the top and makes you look way up, like she’s a bronze giant.
We ended our temple trip with a visit to the koi pond. There were as many fish in this pond as there were turtles in the turtle pond. I guess the caretakers were afraid that the population density of the pond was getting out of hand and felt the need to post the sign below. The spelling is wrong, but I get the point.
We made our way back down from Kek Lok Si Temple, walked for a little bit and grabbed a bus to Penang Hill. We opted not to hike up the hill (an easy decision) and took the funicular train to the top. This hill boasts some amazing views of Georgetown and it wasn’t lying. After enjoying the beautiful view, we figured a snack was in order. We found a little stall where a man was making a chickpea mixture, and for about a dollar, had a delicious treat.
We explored the top of Penang Hill for about an hour. It has a small hotel, a mosque, a hindu temple, a playground and a small food court. There were also guys offering buggy car tours around to the other side of the hill. We intially decided we wouldn’t do this but, after turning the guy down twice, we decided to go for it. The other side of the hill contained some modest, yet beautiful homes that have belonged to families for generations. The home that once belonged to the first governor of Penang was very quaint-looking (from the outside). The house also has one of the best views on the island. It would definitely be a peaceful place to settle down. Maybe I’ll retire there…maybe.
It was nice to get above it all in our two trips up high. Both places gave us great views and interesting things to see. The bonus of these journeys would be that we escaped the heat of the streets for a few hours.
Do you want to see more photos? Then I dare you to check out this link.