Saturday, 3 April 2010

Penang trip - 3 Apr 10

Yesterday night, my sis and I were discussing what time to wake up this morning. On one hand, we didnt want to wake up too early, but on the other hand, we were scared that there would be a long queue at Tai Dong Cafe. In the end, we decided to wake up at 6.45am.

There was no much traffic early in the morning and crossing the road was easier.

Jalan Burmah in the morning

We walked to Tai Tong Cafe 大东酒楼 for dim sum. (Address: 45 Lebuh Cintra, Opening hours: 6am – 12pm (Dim Sum), 12pm – 3pm (Seafood Zhu Cha), 6.30pm – 12am (Dim Sum))

When we reached Tai Tong, there were not many people. Other than Tai Tong Cafe, there are other restaurants which offers dim sum in the morning.

We ordered quite a lot of food ranging from har kao, siew mai, chee chong fun, pork rib, lo mai kai etc. All these including tea only cost RM45.80 ~ S$ 19 for 5 pax! Not all the food are fantastic, only the siew mai and chee chong fun are good.

Tai Tong Cafe

The dim sum we ordered

By the time we finished our breakfast, it's only 8.15am and we walked to Lorong Muda to see making of joss stick. (Address: 1 Lorong Muda (off Lorong Stewart), Opening hours: 8am – 10am)

Lorong Muda

We were lucky to catch Mr Lee in the process of making joss stick. Mr Lee is already 82 years old and he don't look like his age. He has been making joss stick for more than 65 years. Nobody taught him how to make joss stick and he learnt by sitting and watching workers make joss stick in a factory. It's a pity that this trade may eventually disappear as his sons are not interested in learning this trade from him.

Mr Lee

So many articles and brochures on Mr Lee
Mixture of sandalwood powder, sticky powder and sawdust
Bamboo stick

Mixing with water to form a dough

Making of joss stick

Joss sticks hang for drying

A beautifully decorated dragon joss stick only cost RM12

Kerosene pour over the top to enable the joss stick to ignite

Joss stick written personally by Mr Lee

So many boxes of joss stick made by Mr Lee

Items which my mum bought

Taking a photo with Mr Lee

It's already 9am and I have called Vincent to pick us up at Lorong Muda instead of Tai Dong Cafe where we agreed yesterday. My parents walked over to the nearby Goddess of Mercy Temple to pray as today is the birthday of Goddess of Mercy.

I thought that Vincent would be driving a MPV but now I realised that his 'bigger' car refers to a more spacious sedan car. 0_0" My father sat at the front and 4 of us sat at the rear seats.

Our first destination is Wat Chayamangkalaram and Dharmikarama Burmese Temple. (Address: Lorong Burma, Opening hours: 6am – 5.30pm) Wat Chayamangkalaram is a Thai temple while Dharmikarama Burmese Temple situated directly opposite is a Burmese temple. We visited Wat Chayamangkalaram first. The temple was built in 1845 on this 5 acres land donated by Queen Victoria to the Thai community.

Wat Chayamangalaram

Kinnon - mythological creature, half bird, half man

The Guardian Giants

The 33m long gold plated reclining Buddha which is said to be the 3rd longest in the world but that is not true. It is actually the 14th largest in the world. This position on the couch symbolizes the Mahaparinirvana (Enlighthenment or achieving Nirwana) of the Buddha which took place at Kushinagara (Uttar Pradesh, India). Behind the statue are countless niches with urns containing ashes of devotees.

Reclining Buddha
Sole of Buddha
Buddha sitting on cobra in a mediating position
Row of Buddha statue in different positions
A tall pagoda which houses urns of devotees

Four Face Buddha

After touring Wat Chayamangalaram, we crossed the road to Dhammikarama Burmese Temple.(Address: 24 Burma Lane, 10250 Pulau Tikus, Opening hours: 5am - 6pm)

Gate of Dharmikarama Burmese Temple
Corridor leading to the shrine
Nice painting
Main shrine
Huge standing Buddha

I didnt know that there are rows of pot for plinking coins here. Had I know earlier, I would have changed sufficient coins for donation.

Donating coins into the pot
Guardian statue

Within half an hour, we left the temples and head to Tropical Fruit Farm. On the way, we passed by Gurney Drive and Batu Ferringhi.

The houses on this street belongs to a family
Spot the traffic camera?
Gurney Drive
Gurney Plaza

Vincent told us that Jackie Chan bought a unit in this condominium

Island Plaza is one of the first modern shopping mall built in Penang. Vincent told us that Island Plaza was very popular in the past but when Gurney Plaza opens, the crowd faded.

Island Plaza
Under construction
There is only one unit on each floor in these 4 condos
Day view of Batu Ferringhi
The Ship restaurant

From my personal view, I wouldn't stay at Batu Ferringhi. It is a distance from Georgetown and what attracts visitors here is the beach. I don't find the beach here beautiful at all, Krabi is much better. Moreover, the hotels at Batu Ferringhi are not cheap and way beyond my budget.

Newly open Hard Rock Cafe
Such a huge pitcher plant
Telok Bahang Dam
Cyclists along the winding road
Durian trees

Durian stalls at the roadside

When I was planning this trip, I wasn't very keen to visit the fruit farm as I find that it's a bit expensive. It's my sis who wanted to visit hence I included it in our itinerary.

Tropical Fruit Farm has over 250 types of tropical and sub-tropical fruits over a 25 acres land area at 800ft (~240m) above sea level. (Address: Batu 18, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Opening hours: 9am - 6pm, Last Farm Tour at 5pm. The tour is about 45 mins to 1 hour, Admission fee: RM 25)

There is no direct bus from Georgetown to Tropical Fruit Farm. Moreover if taking public bus, the public bus will stop along the main road and there is a slope from the main road leading to the entrance of Tropical Fruit Farm.

Reaching Tropical Fruit Farm
Slope leading to the Fruit Farm entrance

Vincent parked his taxi at the front of the admission ticket counter and we purchased our tickets before boarding the farm van which would drive us further up to the orchard. Other than the 5 of us, there are 2 Caucasians in our group.

Farm van
Inside the van
Our guide

This fruit is called blood fruit because the juice of the fruit resemble blood.

Acelora fruit has high Vitamin C content but it taste sour

This is called Miracle fruit as the berries after eaten, cause sour food subsequently consume to turn sweet. The guide plucked some for us to try with acelora fruit. The acelora fruit indeed turn sweet. It's amazing.

Miracle fruit/ Africa Fruit

Dragonfruit and Dragonfruit flower

We have tried the following fruit below. It's milk fruit which we tried during our Phnom Penh trip.

Milk fruit/ Star apple

The leaves has 2 colour, green on top and brown below.
Banana and banana flower Another variety of banana

We tried this food in Phnom Penh too. I don't really like this fruit as it's not juicy at all.

Egg fruit

Jambu/ Water apple

Custard apple
Guava with pink flesh
Chiku tree

According to the guide, fig is one of the first fruit cultivated by human. The guide told us that the fig tree has no flower at all, but when I google and research, fig fruit is derived from flower. Accordinging to wikipedia, a fig fruit is derived from a specially adapted type of inflorescence (an arrangement of multiple flowers). In this case, it is an involuted, nearly closed receptacle with many small flowers arranged on the inner surface. Thus the actual flowers of the fig are unseen unless the fig is cut open. Fig leaves are huge and were used to cover human genitals in ancient times. The chinese name of fig is 无花果, literally translate is Fruit without flower.

Fig 无花果
Leaves of fig tree
Putasan - a bit similar to rambutan
Unripe mangosteen


Betel nuts

After half an hour tour around the orchard, we proceed to have fruit buffet. There are 15 types of fruits ranging from watermelon, pineapple, mango, starfruit to coconut, egg plant etc. Everyone is entitled to a glass of fruit juice each.

Fruit buffet

Queueing for fruit juiceMy glass of fruit juice - Papaya & pineapple

Enjoying the fruit buffet My dish of fruits

Penang Hill at the background

We left Tropical Fruit Farm and head to Snake Temple. Vincent drove the route back from where we came from Georgetown and not the other route directly to Snake Temple. He said that the route directly to Snake Temple is winding. I wondered if he purposely took the long route so that he can earn more? On the way, we passed by Butterfly Farm and Spice Garden but we didnt visit.

Butterfly farmTropical spice garden

Malaysia flag

Traffic jam

Indian restaurant

On the way, Vincent stopped by a Coffee and Tea souvenier shop. We didn't bought anything except YQ who bought two packets of coffee. Hmm... Vincent must have earn commission from them for the products we bought otherwise he wouldnt drove us here.

Facade of Coffee souvenier shop

Interior of the shop

Variety of coffee drinks for tasting

Smelling the coffee beans

Tea souvenier shop

Variety of teas

Honey is also sold here

Honet's comb

Vincent told us that his son is sick so he will asked his partner Mr Choo to take over after we reached the snake temple. Vincent mentioned that he will bypass Penang bridge for us to take photos.

On the way to Penang bridge

A tall minaret

The Penang bridge is 13.5km and is one of the longest in the world. Before the bridge was opened, the only mode of transport between Penang island and Peninsula Malaysia is ferry which plys between Georgetown and Butterworth.

Penang bridge

This condo has a link bridge which resembles Petronas Twin Tower

Queensway Mall - Largest Shopping Centre in Penang

New Penang Second Bridge under construction

Bayan Lepas Industrial Park

Initially, I wanted to try the curry mee near Kek Lok Si but Vincent recommend a nicer curry mee near the snake temple. When we were reaching, his partner Mr Choo called and told us that it is not open. In the end, we had Char Kway Teow at the coffeeshop opposite snake temple as the remaining stalls have closed.

Coffeeshop opposite Snake Temple Char Kway Teow

Snake Temple 蛇庙 is also known known as Temple of Azure Cloud (清云殿) honours a resident named Chor Soo Kong, who had healing powers. He was a Buddhist monk, who moved to Penang from China. Legend has it that Chor Soo Kong, who was also a healer, gave shelter to the snakes of jungle. After the completion of the temple, snakes appeared on their own accord. (Address: Located on a sliproad called Jalan Tokong Ular, main road is Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Bayan Lepas, Opening hours: 6am – 7pm) The bus stop is on the main road in front of Osram. Bus 401, 401E from Georgetown goes to the Snake Temple. Free admission.

Snake TemplePit vipers beside the altar

The eggs are for the snake

The phototaking with snake cost RM15 and I wasn't keen to take one but my sis is, so in the end, we took a photo with the snakes. 2 photos were given to us and the photographer also help us to take a shot using my camera.

Wanna take photograph with the snake

I'm really scared of the snake

We head to our last destination - Kek Lok Si before ending the day.

A stadiumTime for a paint

Air Itam

On the way up to Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si 极乐寺, is the largest Buddhist temple in South-East Asia. (Address: Ayer Itam, Opening hours: 9am – 6pm)

The majaestic temple and its monastery is divided into three sections:

a) Temple ground - The hill entrance, souvenir sellers, food and drinks, liberation pond

b) Mid Section - Temples and gardens, the pagoda, 4 heavenly kings

c) Hilltop - Statue of Kuan Yin, gardens and temples

Entrance to Kek Lok Si
One of the temple
My mum bought a tile for the temple roof on behalf of the familyMid hill section

Buddha at the backgroundAnother temple

Koi in many colours

I like the colour combination

Direction to mini-funicular train

A mini-funicular train connects the middle section to the summit of the hill featuring a giant 36.5m high statue of Kuan Yin.

Price of the ticket

Waiting for the train

Mini-funicular train

On the way up

Inside the mini-funicular train

After exiting the upper train station and souvenir shops, there is a Chinese Zodiac garden. These 12 zodiac are craved out from stone. We took photos with our respective zodiac.

Half body statue of Kwan Yin

Kissing my zodiac

My sis & her zodiac

My dad & his zodiac

My mom & her zodiac

YQ & his zodiac

Cute dog bench

The first statue was completed in 1977 at the cost of RM1.8 million. However heavy rain and a fire which broke out in 1993 damaged it. The current is the 2nd statue which was completed in 2002. The next stage of development is the construction of the octagon pavilion which is nearly completed when we visited.

Bronze statue of Kwan Yin

On the way down

A fish tank filled with fake fishes

We didnt visit Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas as we thought that we have to walk back to the entrance and climb the steps from there. By the time we walked back, we realised that the steps didnt link to Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas. We decided to give it a miss since my parents were tired and the hot weather also deterred us.

Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas

This famous assam laksa is located beside Air Itam Market, in between the bus station & Kek Lok Si. (Opening hours: 12pm to 10pm, Closed on Tue) It is reputed to be the best laksa in Penang. There are limited seats but turnaround of patrons is fast. This is not an A grade stall in term of cleanliness and the stall along the road, so other than the ingredients inside the laksa, the exhaust air from the vehicles passing also add flavour into the laksa.

Famous Air Itam laksa

Such a huge pot of gravy

Each bowl of laksa cost RM3. The fish stock is thicker than the one yesterday. My mom commented that this assam laksa has "nyoya flavour", haha... I wonder what is the "nyoya flavour" which she refers to. Initially we ordered one bowl to try and after eating a few spoon, we ordered another bowl.

Assam laksa

On the way back to Tune Hotel, I asked Mr Choo to stop at Joez Coconut shop. We tried to walk to the shop yesterday but it was really quite far from KOMTAR.

It's going to rain soon

A competitor across the road

Joez Coconut is located at 201 Jalan Dato Kramat. Opening hours: 11am – 7pm.

This is the stall

Coconut in the fridge

Each coconut cost RM3.70 and has a shelf life of about a week if kept refrigerated. What is so special about the coconut is that the juice inside turns into jelly through a "secret" process without adding any preservatives or chemical.The jelly taste a bit sweet and is refreshing on a hot sunny day.

Jelly inside the coconut

It was raining outside and we stayed in our room for an hour before heading out for dinner. We walked to Lorong Baru a.k.a New Lane. The most prominent building here is Sunway Hotel.

The orange building is Sunway Hotel

Hawkers along the street

There are many stalls lining along the street and some are selling the same food. We sat indoor at the last coffeshop at the right. Initially, we didnt want to order any drink. Then the owner came and tell us that we are sitting inside her coffeeshop and we need to order a drink, so my dad ordered a cup of coffee. All the food we tried are not nice at all, such a letdown. =(

Curry mee

Satay & BBQ chicken wings

Oyster omelette

Loh mee & Prawn noodle Popiah

It began to downpour while we were having our food and luckily, the rain stop when we finished our food. We walked back to the hotel and have an early rest.

>>DAy 3: - 4 Apr 10

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