Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Winter Escape 2012: Penang, Malaysia

It was a long and very pleasant bus ride to Penang from Melaka. For the first hour or two we passed by ordinary flat landscape covered with thousands and thousands of oil palm trees. The landscape gradually changed to the Main Range of Mountains, once again covered with miles and miles of oil palm trees. We meandered our way through a steep roadway and tunnels as the driver navigated the bus through this mountain scape. Apart from the oil palm trees and the brilliant sunshine, this area is similar to driving through the Alps or the Rockies of Canada.

Once settled in our accommodation at the sea-side resort in Batu Ferringhi we strolled along the beach absorbing the aroma of the salty, sea air. On our second night in Penang we celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary in the sea-side resort restaurant sampling sumptuous Malaysian dishes accompanied by wine; a memory that we treasure.

Fort Cornwallis
For the next couple of days, we explored the city of Georgetown in Penang; another tour of the British impact on Malaysia. We visited Fort Cornwallis, viewing the historic ruins with ample illustrations of how the British took over and ruled the country. Georgetown is adorned with many white British colonial style buildings; some of which are used as government offices while others have become museums.

Chew Jetty
On our next tour stop in Georgetown, we strolled down a living heritage community called the Chew Jetty. It started as a passageway which developed into a cluster of houses perched on stilts above the never ending shifting tides of the sea. Migrant families with the surname Chew would live together in this Jetty; today it is a thriving community that continues to renovate and modify their abodes on this Jetty. In another part of the city, we saw the reclining buddha and a very large standing buddha. These temples are decorated in gold and red and are stunningly striking as the rays of sun peek onto these buddhas.

On another day and out of curiosity we took the 15-minute ferry ride from Georgetown to Butterworth; the latter being an industrial centre where the many ships unload and upload their cargo. Nothing much to see or do in Butterworth. The views from the ferry of the Strait and beyond are dramatic. 

Our beach walks 

The remainder of our time in Penang was spent strolling or fast walking on the beach, swimming in the pool and relaxing in anticipation of our next and final stopover in Malaysia, the city of Kuala Lumpur.

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