Sunday, April 15, 2012

Penang, Malaysia

Hello to friend or foe reading this Blog,

Another blog post detailing my travels around this beautiful planet; this chapter reveals all and nothing of what happened when I visited the Island of Penang for the first time. Accommodated by Air Asia; Asia's low cost airline and now with a thirst to see more of Malaysia I ventured with the beautiful Miss Cindy Ng Mei Yuin to this simply wonderful part of Malaysia.

Cindy had worked for DHL and for CEVA Logistics in Penang and had lived here there for about 10 years, she had been so keen to show me this part of Malaysia since we first met; more than willing to indulge her we arranged to stay for a long weekend with an ex-colleague of hers called Rajesh. Rajesh is similar in height to Cindy and of Tamil descent but a Malaysian through and through; she is married to a very photo shy (but cool) Irish guy called Chris. Chris and Rajesh met in Penang about 15 years ago when Chris was sent by his Irish based company to help set up a new business unit in Penang. Rajesh met Chris by having a white-man hungry friend who was chasing Chris but Chris found Rajesh first and so far like a fairytale they have lived happily ever after. Chris is now MD for this company and through the fruits of capitalism has a beautiful three story house near Batu Ferringhi (Foreigners Rock) the North of Penang. Through the long standing friendship of Cindy and Rajesh we managed to hitch a ride so to speak in Chris & Rajesh's beautiful place for the weekend..

An old Land Rover with the over exposed Malacca Strait in the background

Upon meeting Rajesh it was clear why her and Cindy were such close friends, she is a wonderful person but upon meeting Chris I was unsure. He was very held back at first and trying not to stereotype typically not Irish or the Irish I was used to anyway. Being from Sunderland and by nature having a strong regional accent and Chris being from Ireland we both have a humorous subconscious "telephone voice" we put on when meeting a stranger for the first time. Chris and Rajesh took us to a bar somewhere in Upper Penang Road and after a few beers my phone voice wore off as did his and any holding back he was doing, conscious or subconscious was gone and he fit right into my textbook definition of an Irish person which is a one word definition; Awesome.

After a very late night on the Friday, we slept till early afternoon on Saturday and took a leisurely stroll along Batu Ferringhi beach, once of the impact spots of the 2004 Tsunami. We chilled at the Bora Bora beach bar smoking sheesha and drinking beer until the Sun set then took a stroll in the rain to a nearby Punjab BBQ restaurant and ate to our hearts content, the food was outrageously good.

Batu Ferringhi just before Sunset with the Penang mainland in the background

Waking up on Sunday morning I had an urge to go out with the DSLR and to do the tourist thing of taking photos. I'm adventurous with my Camera after paying nearly 1000 GBP for it I feel obliged to be but unfortunately being adventurous doesn't mean being good.

Penang is rich in culture; Indian, Malay, Chinese and Thai sprinkled with a bit of British from the Colonial days. With the Asian cultures comes beautiful temples, the Reclining Buddha temple is an assault on the eyes:

The Reclining Buddha in Wat Chayamangkalaram Thai Temple - Penang

The Wall of The Reclining Buddha Temple - Covered in mini gold plated Buddha's donated by people

Me & Cindy outside the The Reclining Buddha Temple

Across the road from this beautiful Thai temple is a Burmese Temple with equally beautiful and splendid scenery, a plethora of breathtaking colours and culture for you to feast your eyes upon:

Buddha Looking Down Upon You

Two monks giving blessing

The largest Buddha I've ever seen

Probably the most famous of all the Temples in Penang is the Kek Lok Si Temple which is Penang Hokkien for Temple of Supreme Bliss, it's located in Air Itam and is the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia. It's simply massive and full of photographers joy.

A Chinese lantern in the Kek Lok Si Temple

A line of Buddha's 

Chinese Text across the wall of the Kek Lok Si Temple

On the last day of my first trip to Penang we checked our Georgetown and Gurney drive:

Penang Parking Meter near Georgetown

View from the end of Gurney Drive with Penang Mainland in the background

The trip was a total tourist trip; I feel a bit sorry for Cindy as I just wanted to constantly take photos. The other thing great about Penang is the food! It has the best food I've eaten so far in Malaysia; it is food heaven! Some shots to either turn your stomach or get you salivating..

Assam Laksa
Mixed Fruit Rojak

Char Kway Teow (a bit out of focus - was messing with the Macro lens - sorry!)

For my facebook friends; all the pictures from my first and second trip to Penang are here: Click Here

Thanks for reading all, speak shortly.