Thursday, November 24, 2011

Penang, a Tropical Island of Heritage

Never have I really done any visit to the places of interest of my own hometown taking public transport. Everyone is so used to taking their own vehicle. It's called "convenient" because one has the freedom to follow own schedule and pace. Most of all, I guess it is all about avoiding the hassle of squeezing with others.

However, thanks to the courtesy of Ministry of Tourism (MOTOUR) and Project Penang, a trip on a very comfortable Rapid Penang Coach to one of the many specially designed routes has given me an opportunity to experience my lovely little Penang in a very special way.

It is Route number 101 where the journey starts from Jetty Penang and ends at Teluk Bahang (and return). We started the trip at 9am, given 45min to make visit respectively, enjoyed a one hour very delicious lunch and reached Jetty around 6pm. Along the way we stopped by KwanYin Temple, Penang State Museum, and the bus terminal at KOMTAR.

KwanYin Temple is one of the renown temple in town. It's located along Pitt Street, next to Penang Chinese Town Hall. Being the oldest temple in Penang, it attracts many people throughout the year.Every 1st and 15th day of Chinese Lunar Month, people (mostly Taoist) will come for prayers and make their wishes. During then, all of the architecture including stone crafting and wall painting were done by masters from China. They are still well-kept until today (after more than two hundred years). I am always fascinated by the look of the sincere faces as they hold up high the jossticks in their hands when praying. It is as if I could see/hear their whispers wishing for good health, luck and abundance in their life endeavors.

Penang State Museum stores the stories of how this almost invisible land on world map was notice and how it has prospered since Sir Francis Light back in 1886. This old premise that host artifacts and witnesses of development is reaching it's limit and will soon be extended to another building in Macalister Road.

For those who wishes to jump on different buses to their target destinations, you can either look for what you need at the Jetty or KOMTAR because these are the only places where all the buses meet.

Next stop, the 33-meter Reclining Buddha (at Wat Chayamangalaram) and Standing Budda (at the Burmist Temple) in Pulau Tikus. I don't want to tell you how incredible it is to see such a big statue lying there peacefully listening to visitors. What I do want to tell is this temple is open daily from 6am-5pm and it is free entrance. And another thing I do want to tell you is drop a 50cents into the box and ask your question in your heart. You will be amazed how Buddha can actually answer you without miss.

After some serious thoughts seeing the power that faith could possibly provide, it's time for some fun - The Toy Museum. Situated in Tanjung Bunga, it comprises countless number of toys under one roof. Too bad the limited space that houses so many innocent dreams was less organized and the ventilation was not very pleasant otherwise it would be the best place for parents and kids to hangout together sharing one common language - TOY!

Before our journey ends, we came to the floating mosque as well as Tropical Spice Garden.

This place of worship were built not very long ago. Watching this solemn building standing high over the water, a tranquil and peaceful feeling arouse. It is important that people of different belief have the compassion and tolerance when it comes to the topic of human race and mankind. No division should come in between because the fundamental of a prosperous world is love and respect.

Everyone knows at least one thing for sure: Penang is popular for its existence since centuries ago, being the platform for east and west to meet for barter system in exchanging what they want with what they have. And the most popular of trade during then was SPICES! Today, some of the wonderful aroma ingredients for cooking as well as herbs for medicine can be found here. Tropical Spice Garden has become the place of study for scholars and this very common looking garden actually contains endless discoveries waiting to be realized! Under these shades, I can really feel how unselfishly the humility and generosity of mother earth providing us the ground to learn and grow!

Penang is a beautiful place.

I have always tell my friends, "if there is one reason I cannot leave this place it would be it's beauty". It has greens, sea, sunshine, rain, and most of all, a lot of mouth watering food.

Feel it with your heart when you set your foot on this island. You will agree with me and many foreigners who finally decided to spend their lives here after visiting.

Many thanks to the invitation to this trip. It has been a very valuable journey.