PENANG, DAY 2 – The Tune Hotel turned out to be a good hotel, despite its strange setup. the view over down town Penang was appealing. The location was excellent, the room was a decent size, with a lovely rain shower in the bathroom and a comfortable bed. In fact, for the second day in Penang I had a hard time waking myself up and dragging myself out of the very large, comfortable bed. I’m sure there was a part of me eager to continue to explore Penang, but I was also pretty exhausted. It goes without saying that my friend and I left out hotel at a later time than we had planned, although thankfully still with enough time to get everything done before flying back to KL in the evening.
We started this day by looking for the Burmese temple and unfortunately not finding it. We traipsed the length of the road it was on, peering down every side street but alas, it was not to be found, not without much more time than we had. We had to return to the hotel, to pack up the last of our things and check out. Then we walked to the Penang State Museum. It was a very hot, uncomfortable journey, especially carrying a backpack. We passed a few interesting buildings though. That was actually a theme for this weekend-passing by a lot of things, taking a quick look then walking onto the things we wished to do. In that way, we managed to see a decent amount of Penang without actually putting in any effort or time to see it, which is good. The Museum itself was in a very gorgeous building and contained a lot of information about Penang’s history and all the cultures that live there. It was very interesting and a good size- large enough to be informational, but not too large to get boring or confusing. Afterwards we headed on to Little India for lunch, going to a restaurant my friend had been to before and liked. I could definitely understand why she loved the place. The food was gorgeous. In the UK we get Indian food about once a month and I didn’t realize how much I miss it until I was eating it. I adore Indian food. This was Indian food both familiar and unfamiliar. The curry was delicious, but much the same as the ones we once got from our brilliant local Indian, but the naan bread was nothing like I’ve every tasted. It was so sweet and delicious. When the food came out I panicked at the large portion size, but I pretty much devoured all of it in the end. I’m definitely gonna be going to Little India in KL sometime, to source out food that good.
Feeling very sated, we walked to the Penang Jetty. It was very pretty and definitely unique. Afterwards we bought some violently colored ice lollies to eat at one of the small stores on the jetty. I bought a blueberry one, of course. I love all the fake blueberry goods here- blueberry fanta, blueberry cream biscuits, blueberry ice, even blueberry cream oreos. Actually, I love all the artifical, E number filled junk here. I hate how in the UK they try and make everything healthy. Sorry, but in my opinion some things are supposed to be bad for you. That’s why you eat them every now and then as a delicious, overly sweet, artificial treat! (Or not at all, if you want to be truly healthy.) My favourite is the taste of artificial orange, although artificial blueberry is becoming a close second favourite now. Well, nonetheless, my tongue now stained an attractive blue, it was time to go to the Kek Lok Si temple. Got to the bus terminal and there was some confusion over which bus to take, but thankfully we found someone to ask who directed us to the right bus. Of course, we then had to figure when to get off the bus. The whole journey was not overall relaxing, as I was fairly tense about keeping an eye out and making sure we didn’t miss our stop and end up in some random part of nowhere. Thankfully, we did manage to get off at the right stop (with the help of a very nice bus driver) and the entrance to the temple was also very obvious. We began the ascent to the temple, which was crowded, with markets either side selling all manner of random junk, and sellers eagerly calling out to try and sucker you in. It was nothing you don’t see anywhere else though- clothes, jewelery, touristy items- so my friend and I didn’t linger and kept on going up until we reached the temple.
The temple was beautiful. It was very busy and in a way, I was glad I did not go during the peak time during the Chinese New years. The crowds would have been unbearable then. As it was, we actually did get to see all the lanterns that were hung up- hundreds and hundreds of them. Just not lit up. It was still gorgeous. We went right to the top and sat there for a while, taking in the view of the town and what could be seen of the temple below us as we contemplated our plans for the rest of the day. We left the temple soon after that, going back down through the crowded markets to the town. We stopped at a Chinese Traditional Biscuit Place there and I bought these lovely Pandan Cake Biscuits. Pandan is another thing I am obsessed with here, Pandan Kaya too. I have no idea what either is but they taste heavenly as say, biscuits, cake or waffles! Then we had the challenge of finding a bus to get back. It was not very clear where to go at all, so we eventually asked someone who directed us to a stop we would have never have found ourselves. There was no sign of a bus though, nor any real way of knowing when it would come. Typical Malaysian transport, really.
I nibbled on a few of my new pandan cakes whilst waiting for the bus. They were odd but strangely addictive. It seems to be a Thing here to have cake wrapped in pastry, and this was pretty much based on that idea. The dry, bland taste of the pastry in contrast to the moist , sweet cake had its own appeal. The bus came after a long, anxious wait in the sticky heat and we boarded, heading straight back to Komtar where we would be catching a bus to go to the airport. We had a bit of time so we looked round the shops a little before catching the bus. There were some nice stores but I had no money so could not buy anything. A pity, as I saw some really nice shoes. (I reassure myself that they would likely not have come in my size, anyway.) And that was pretty much it for the weekend.
This trip to Penang was a whirlwind affair but it was great fun to see another part of Malaysia and to spend some time with my friend. I am so glad that I’ve seen some of the scenery that Malaysia has to offer now too- such as the forest and gorgeous stretches of white sand.