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Thứ Ba, 28 tháng 2, 2012

Penang 2011 - Hills and Temple Tour

We booked another half day tour through Viator - this time it was an afternoon Hills and Temple Tour. We were picked up from our hotel at 2.30 p.m. in a car. As the agent had been overbooked, they decided to fit our group into our own car - a Proton Perdana for a private tour. We didn’t mind at all.

Basically the tour only covers the Kek Lok Shi Temple and the funicular ride up to Penang Hills. The temple was the first stop. After a 40 min car ride, we arrived at the foot of Penang Hills where the temple is located. The temple has gained in size over the years, and now they even have a gigantic statue of The Goddess of Mercy reachable by their own private funicular ride. We decided to stay only at the lower levels, as to me the most interested part of the temple was the main complex and the pagoda.

The gigantic statue of The Goddess of Mercy sits at the top of the temple complex, reachable by a short funicular ride.

We made our way to the top of the 8-storey Pagoda, and was rewarded with nice views of George Town.

The Temple is very popular with devotees looking to get their prayers answered.

After spending a couple of hours at Kek Lok Shi, we were ready for the next stop which is not far from the Temple. The guide had warned us earlier that it may be a long wait for the ride as it was a public holiday. We decided to try our luck - but before reaching the station we knew our chances were dim. There were simply too many people - and the wait was up to 3 hours long !

We did get to see the infamous "Kancil Car Park". This building was supposed to be built to ease the car park congestion at the foot of the hill, but they forgot to check the slope and headroom of the ramps ! As a result, only the smallest car - a Kancil (Malaysian made car about the size of an Austin Mini) can use the car park. Somebody somewhere should be in a lot of trouble for this big mess up.

Our nice guide decided to make up for our lost opportunity by taking us to a famous ice kacang shop - Kek Seng on Penang Road, very near the Komtar tower. It was an old kopitiam full of old world charm. The furniture looked like they had not been changed for over 50 years.

The Ice Kacang was quite nice - but in my opinion not better then our own Swee Kang Ice Kacang in Kuching. The durian ice cream was creamy and delicious.

It was quite nice being driven around in our own transport - giving us the feeling of freedom and flexibility usually not available in a packaged tour. After the ice kacang - the guide was kind enough to drop us off at Gurney Plaza for some shopping.
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