Penang: Kek Lok Si Temple and Penang Hill

Kek Lok si

Kek Lok Si or known as the Temple of Supreme Bliss, located at Air Itam hilltop is a beautiful Buddhist temple in a rural setting. Founded in 1890s by an immigrant Chinese Buddhist, this temple is said to be the largest in Southeast Asia. This temple draws throngs of visitors during the Chinese New Year. I took the easy way by hiring a cab about RM60 to the Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill.

The giant statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The 30.2m bronze statue is one of the highlight. I was told the pavilion was recently built to shelter the statue.

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Penang: The Blue Mansion

Aside from the Pinang Peranakan Mansion at Church Street, The Blue Mansion or known as Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is a must visit when you are in Penang. Cheong Fatt Tze was a prominent Chinese figure in the newly established Penang Straits Settlement in the 19th century. The Mansion’s construction began before the end of the 19th Century, and it was said that Cheong Fatt Tze had hoped to house nine generations of his descendants. The mansion was built by master craftsmen brought in especially from China and building materials were imported from as far away as Scotland, who used their skills to fashion the mansion with 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 windows. The plot of land was chosen after heavy consultation with the era’s preeminent feng shui masters.

The distinctive blue colour mansion is easy to spot along Leith Street and was named one of the ‘ 10 Greatest Mansions in the World’ by Lonely Planet. The blue coat is the result of mixing lime with natural blue dye made from the Indigo plant.

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Penang: Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pinang Peranakan MuseumThe Peranakan is a prominent community in the Straits Settlement particularly in Penang, Melaka and Singapore.They had created a unique lifestyle and customs which had not only left behind a rich legacy of antiques but its cultural influences like cuisine and language which are still evident in Penang today. Thus, Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a must visit to have a glimpse of their opulent lifestyle and of their many customs and traditions. After my visit to the Chew Jetty, I make my way to Lebuh Gereja while enduring the heat. I was greeted with the flourescent green visage entrance, truly an eclectic sight indeed.

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Penang: The Chew Jetty Kongsi

Chew Jetty

A walk to the Chew Jetty brings you back to the earlier Chinese settlements in Penang who built these village on stilts. There are 6 clan jetties of Pengkalan Weld that withstood the test of time and a strong testament of living heritage for Penang and the world to mesmerise. Each jetty is named after a Chinese clan but the Chew Jetty is the most tourist-friendly with the most stilt-houses and the longest walkway.

A clan is a group of close-knit families; in this case they are all of Chinese origin. A clan jetty is a community village, consisting of houses built on stilts over the water.

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Penang: The Camera Museum

The Camera Museum

Did you know that the word photography is derived from the Greek words photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”). The word was first used by the scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. It is a method of recording images by the action of light, or related radiation, on a sensitive material. For photography enthusiasts and camera collectors, you would definitely love this! The Camera Museum is the 1st in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Located right in the heart of its heritage area in a refurbished 2-storey pre-war shophouse on Lebuh Muntri, you will be welcomed by a gigantic replica of the 19th century studio camera.

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Penang: Georgetown Street Art

Penang International Airport

I took off to Penang via SilkAir in the morning, an hour flight from Singapore. Malaysia has a total of 4 UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site; Historical city of Georgetown and Melaka, Mulu National Park in Sarawak and Kinabalu National Park in Sabah. Penang goes all the way back to 1700s when Captain Francis Light took possession of the island on behalf of the East India Trading Company that the state truly began to flourish and soon afterwards he established Georgetown. Let me take you to the Pearl of the Orient – a fitting title bestowed to this fair island.

SilkAir, the full service regional wing of Singapore Airlines fly to Penang everyday.

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