It was my fifth day in Malaysia, and so far, I have been to two states (Kelantan and Kedah) and passed through one (Perak). From my friend’s home in Jitra (I’m currently in Kedah), my next stop would be the island of Pinang in the state of Pinang (also spelled as Penang). (hehe)
The island can be reached either through land;
(using the Penang bridge, a dual carriageway toll bridge connecting George Town on the island of Penang and Seberang Prai on the mainland of Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula. It officially on September 14, 1985, with a total length of the 13.5 km, as the longest bridge in Malaysia, and the fourth-longest in Southeast Asia.)
(Ferry services are operated by the state-owned Penang Ferry Service, which conduct trips between Butterworth and George Town. Note that toll fees is only paid when heading to the island, as there is no charge when you head back to Butterworth. Amazing!)
I used the most exciting mode getting there, through Ferry!
We reached George Town around lunch, and immediately asked where I could get a map. George Town, the capital of Penang, with its rich historical structures encased in the modernizing age, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’d notice similarities if you’ve been to Vigan City (here at home in the Philippines).
The harmonious co-existence of different faiths in Penang is shown through the different places-of-worship here. I have not taken photos of Hindu temples but here are some of the religious structures I have visited:
Han Jiang Teochew Temple
The Han Jiang Temple houses the altar to the Teochew (one of six main Chinese dialect groups in Malaysia) patron deity, the Taoist god of the north as well as ancestral tablets of deceased Teochews.
The oldest mosque in George Town was established with the help of the East India Company in 1801. The present complex is a result of several rounds of expansion during the early 1900s.
St. George’s Church
“The St George’s Church was built in 1816 using convict labour, when Colonel J.A. Bannerman was the Governor of Penang. The cost of building it was 60,000 Spanish dollars. This was a princely sum, considering the British paid only 10,000 Spanish dollars per annum to Kedah for Penang, while they bought Singapore a few years later for also 60,000 Spanish dollars” (St George’s Anglican Church)
At around 6 in the evening, I waved goodbye to Komtar Tower, Penang’s tallest building and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia located in the heart of George Town. Getting around the town through the free bus rides (yep, it’s free!) sure helped a lot. I was thinking of having a bike or something when, walking towards the ferry station, I saw an advertisement of bikes for rent. Shemes! should have seen that earlier.
I was at the ferry station at around 7:30 and after ten minutes, there were around 50 cars, 50 motorbikes, and around a hundred or more people in queue, waiting for the gate to open. A ferry docked on the harbor, and the cars and motorbikes zoomed by. It was amazing that such numbers fit inside.
We were getting ready to move, but alas, the ferry left! It turned out, it only catered to cars. It’s almost 8 and you could feel the anxiety, as about 20 or more people were added for the trip to Butterworth. Just as you’d think the wait would seem forever, another ferry arrived (This is also the part where you saw this unfocused picture :D). Yay!
Being in front of the ferry provided a gentle, calming breeze as it soothed my sun soaked face walking around the streets of Penang. I had not been to all the places Penang had to offer, but adventures for the next Penang trip surely sounded exciting.
At 20:24, we arrived at Butterworth. Then a bus to Alor Star (Kedah’s capital), and from Alor Star, back to Jitra.
- Penang (yourstillnotthinking.wordpress.com)
- If You’re Planning to Be in Penang…. (eatingasia.typepad.com)
- Penang Wesak Celebrations Day’s Meeting at Komtar, Penang (lspeng1951.wordpress.com)
- Queen Elizabeth cruise ship docked at Port Swettenham, George Town, Penang, Malaysia (lspeng1951.wordpress.com)
- Busy preparations for tomorrow’s Penang Wesak Celebration Day at Dewan Sri Pinang (lspeng1951.wordpress.com)
- Asia’s 10 greatest street food cities: Penang (chhunc.wordpress.com)
- 36 Hours: Penang, Malaysia (travel.nytimes.com)
- The concert and drama at the Penang Wesak Celebration Day (lspeng1951.wordpress.com)