Friday, July 5, 2024

Penang, Malaysia: Discover Sightseeing Destinations

I've visited Penang seven or eight times now, hopping between hotels in Butterworth like Ixora Hotel, Light Hotel, Pearl View Hotel, Sunway Hotel, and Aroma Hotel, as well as staying in Penang itself at Flamingo Hotel, Rasa Sayang, Equatorial Hotel, and E & O Hotel. When it comes to sightseeing, Penang, famously known as "The Pearl of the Orient," certainly lives up to its reputation.(NORWAY & PERTH)

But regardless of my purpose for visiting Butterworth or Penang Island (PENANG THAIPUSAM), there's one activity I never miss: taking the Ferry Ride. Whether I'm crossing into Penang from Butterworth or returning, I've done it about 7 times already, and each time brings a renewed sense of exhilaration. There's a unique serenity to being out on the water, feeling the gentle breeze against my face - it's like a refreshing reset for my breath, mind, body, and soul (PULAU KETAM: SERENE ESCAPE). 

And when it comes to sightseeing, I've had my share of experiences, and let me begin now.

Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple, ISKCON (Seberang Jaya)

I vividly recall the opening of the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple, or ISKCON, in Penang. Staying at The Light Hotel, though the view wasn't crystal clear, the distant prayers and music sparked my curiosity. So, on my next trip, I visited the temple. Upon arrival, the grandeur of Malaysia's grandest Krishna Temple greeted me, with its three-storey octagonal structure exuding a serene purity that left me awestruck. Yet, it was the genuine warmth of the volunteers, their smiles and offered meals, reflecting the spirit of community, that truly touched me. After prayers, exploring the ornate pavilions and cultural center, it reminded me of the power of selfless service and faith to unite.

Arulmigu Karumariamman Temple (Seberang Jaya) 
Within a short distance from the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple, the Arulmigu Karumariamman Temple stands. Often visited for family prayers, I sense the divine presence in my soul. This South Indian Hindu temple is renowned for its grandeur, boasting Malaysia's tallest rajagopuram towering at 72 feet (22 m) and a remarkable entrance that holds the country's record for the largest. Despite my numerous visits, I've yet to explore the nearby Penang Bird Park. What a missed opportunity. Perhaps next time.

St. Anne’s Church (Bukit Mertajam) 

Now a Minor Basilica, St. Anne’s Church has been on my wish list for ages. Finally, on this quiet weekday, I made my way there. As I walked in, I felt a sense of calmness and divine presence, despite being Hindu. It seems with God, there's no discrimination; all are welcome. Established in 1833, it draws countless pilgrims for the St. Anne’s Novena and Feast. I walked around the church compound and visited the beautiful statues representing the stations of the Cross. However, I didn't climb the small hill behind the old church to visit St. Mary's grotto and the stairs to the old chapel.

Penang War Museum (Batu Maung) 
The Penang War Museum in Batu Maung is a crucial piece of history, taking visitors on a journey back to wartime. Despite the hot weather, spending two hours exploring its depths was well worth it. From walking through underground tunnels to climbing narrow staircases, each step felt like stepping into the past. 

Built in the 1930s as a British military fortress against potential Japanese invasion by sea, the museum preserves its wartime story with detailed exhibits. While it might make some people uneasy, for history buffs, it's an eye-opening experience. My visit left a lasting impression, highlighting the importance of learning from the past. If you want to understand wartime history better, the Penang War Museum is a must-visit.

Penang Toy Museum (Teluk Bahang) 
The Penang Toy Museum is a joyful place filled with memories of childhood. Mr. Loh Lean Cheng has spent almost four decades collecting toys for this museum, which holds over 140,000 exhibits. It's been recognized twice in the Malaysia Book of Records as one of the biggest toy museums in the country. When I walked in, I could feel the excitement in the air, especially from the kids around me. Their eyes were shining with wonder. As someone who loves Barbie dolls, seeing them brought back so many happy memories.

Tropical Spice Garden (Teluk Bahang) 
Entering Tropical Spice Garden is a wonderfully scented place, full of colorful plants. It was so exciting to see all the different kinds of plants and smell the spices. I even got to taste a yummy stevia lemongrass drink while I walked around. The garden is really big, covering 200 hectares, and there's something interesting to see at every corner. I learned a lot about local spices and how different plants can help people feel better. Saying goodbye was hard, but I'll always remember the amazing time I had there.

Titi Kerawang Waterfall (Teluk Bahang) 
The tranquility of Titi Kerawang Waterfall is truly a nature wonder. As I arrived, I was greeted by a chilly breeze and the fresh scent of the air, which instantly relaxed me. Following the trail alongside the bridge was challenging, with its slippery and uneven path requiring careful steps. However, as soon as I caught sight of the cascading waters, accompanied by the soothing sounds of nature, I paused to take it all in. Though I didn't venture too close, the beauty of the waterfall captivated me from afar. Titi Kerawang Waterfall serves as a powerful reminder of nature's power and beauty, highlighting the importance of preserving these natural treasures for future generations.

Stay tuned for more insights into sightseeing spots in Penang in the upcoming update. Keep an eye out for it!

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