Penang was my first experience of Malaysia and hence provided my first impression of it. It is a very interesting place with an array of different environments. From the built up city views to the mountainous luscious landscapes – Penang is pretty diverse. I didn’t have too much time in Penang but I feel like I saw some of the most special places Penang has to offer, so I have decided to share them with you…
This Thai Buddhist Temple was stunning. The Dragons in which you are greeted with at just beyond the gate were so striking offering the look of a golden palace. Inside, there was an unexpected Buddha statue lying down – at 33 metres in length – it was VERY big and distinctive. Pretty cool to see as I have never seen anything quite like it, apparently it’s the 3rd largest of it’s kind. Head over the road, and you’ll get to..
Dhammikarama Burmese Temple
The Burmese Temple oozed peacefulness and tranquility. With many different features, including ponds and statues and a very tall Buddha statue this temple gave such a calming atmosphere. It was really pretty with so many colours and flowers everywhere – it’s a really interesting place to see. Taking your shoes off, which is compulsory on entry, really makes you feel down to earth and calm. This is definitely worth a visit full of colour, peace and originality.
We were unsure whether to head to the botanical gardens, we had a look from the bus and it did look very beautiful but we were too eager to get up Penang Hill that we regrettably gave it a miss (when I say we, I mean my boyfriend). However what we did see was quite a lot of monkey business going on at the gates 😉
Penang Hill – well… this was something I really didn’t want to do suffering with claustrophobia, I usually avoid funiculars at all costs! However, my boyfriend was NOT letting me get out of this one and I am glad I did do it – I couldn’t have visited Penang without going up Penang hill. We queued for a while, which was starting to get frustrating as there was so much more of the island we could have seen in that time, and it seemed to me like a good excuse to get out of going up….. but we pursued it and eventually got to the front of the line. I do have to note – you can opt for queue jump, but we were being stingy. The funicular looks lovely and modern but I was so scared to get in it. I have to say, despite my fears, it was fine most of the time, but CRIKEY at some points IT WAS SO STEEP! It really did flip my stomach upside down and especially when going through the tunnel – it is apparently the steepest tunnel in the world. I’m almost glad that I didn’t know this at the time.
At the top, it was so pretty and really did make it worth the overwhelming adrenaline that I experienced getting up. The panoramic views of Penang were incredible. There was so much greenery on the mountain opposing with the city views in the distance and then further on from that, the sea. There was a lovely little community feel at the top, with little gifts being sold, fairy lights glistening and an eatery. Unfortunately we felt a storm coming so we didn’t stay for too long but this is a place that you could linger for half a day or so with a little picnic. Back down in the funicular we went…it was much more pleasant going back down again! Just as we touched down back to sea level, the most ferocious storm hit the area and erupted with great bouts of lightening and tremors of thunder! Heaven help those people still on the hill! It would be wise to do this on a good day – however it seems the Malaysian weather is very unpredictable… one moment it can be hot and sunny, the next – the heavens open.
Kek Lok Si
Kek Lok Si was on our list as it is said to be the largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia. However, due to bad weather, we had to call our visit off. We did see it from the bus and it looked insane and jaw droppingly big and very powerful within the landscape surrounding it. If you have been lucky enough to visit this, please let me know how it was!
I don’t usually do ‘hop on, hop off buses’ as I feel they are a little bit of a rip off, however this was super good value and you can basically be dropped off anywhere on the island. We sat at the top, got front row seats with fabulous views and heard information from the speakers on all of the points of interest as we passed them. A real must if you visit Penang!
I loved being on a bus in Penang and watching from high up and looking down on to the roads ahead, it really was a sight I had never experienced before with everyone and his dog, and his baby and his brother on mopeds! It was such a culture difference compared to that of our strict health and safety laws in the UK – it was intriguing!
There was still so much left that we hadn’t experienced in Penang – but there’s always next time…