What to see on Penang
Penang is a resort island opposite Malacca, the most “Chinese” in all of Malaysia. The population here is mixed, but the Chinese are most. Religions are represented by everything: Islam, Buddhism (each national community has its own temples), Hinduism, and Christianity.
Penang tourism is the main source of income, most of the population is engaged in the service sector, so tourists are loved and appreciated here. The island has many beautiful beaches, interesting diving, and the local food is officially recognized as the best in Asia.
The huge temple complex Kek Lok Si Temple, built in 1890-1930. Under the rector Beu Lin with the money of wealthy Chinese merchants, Penang Island is considered the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. Its main attraction is the Thousand Buddhas Pagoda, completed in 1930. Its height is 30 m. It combines the traditions of Chinese, Burmese and Thai architecture and is sometimes also called the Pagoda of Rama VI – the king of Thailand, Rama VI, took part in her bookmark, and then one of the following kings of Thailand presented a huge gilded Buddha statue for the temple. The second attraction is a huge statue of the goddess of mercy Guanin – also a 30-meter-high, established in 2002. It is made of bronze in place of the previous plaster. Around her are 100 two-meter statues of the goddess.
The temple complex is built with the latest technology. There are, for example, elevators to its upper levels, and during the holidays – especially during the celebration of the Chinese New Year – the whole complex is very beautifully illuminated.
Burmese Buddhist Temple Complex
The Buddhist temple complex Dhammikarama Burmese Temple was built by the Burmese. A Burmese community has always existed on Penang, and they have had their own temple since the beginning of the 19th century. Its main shrine is the stupa, consecrated in 1805, which is part of the new stupa, already in 1838.
The newest building of the complex is the Golden Pagoda of 2011. The temples are decorated with beautiful carvings and a huge number of Buddha statues. It has its own mini-museum with images of the most important Buddhist shrines in the world and a whole gallery of paintings on subjects from the life of Buddha.
The complex has some fun activities for tourists. For example, a huge globe – if you touch any country, you can definitely get into it. Europe is at the very top, and it is almost not reached, but the countries of Southeast Asia are quite within reach. There is a prayer bell that you can hit, there is a wheel with predictions of happiness, which you need to get into with a coin and much more.
Thai Buddhist temple complex
The third Buddhist temple complex in the city, this time built by people from Thailand, is Wat Wat Chaiyamangalaram. Here, the most vibrant and colorful dragons, as well as a unique attraction – a huge statue of the reclining Buddha. She is 33 meters long. The statue makes a rather funny impression, because it is not made in the traditional style, but rather in the style of the Disney cartoons. However, there are enough traditional statues, painted wood carvings, and architectural elements.
There is a wall with photos of the most famous people who donated to the temple: this is the royal couple of Thailand, the Sultan of Malaysia and others. If in Russia in temples they can buy a “registered brick”, then here as a donation you can buy a piece of foil to cover another Buddha statue and stick it on a statue yourself.
Penang Botanical Gardens was created in 1884 by the English botanist Charles Curtis – for the sake of this garden, he settled on Penang and became the first director. However, the garden was not created from scratch. Plantations of precious spices, cloves and nutmeg existed on Penang earlier.
The Botanical Garden was badly damaged during the Second World War, and it had to be restored. Now the garden occupies 29 hectares. Penang palms grow here, which gave the name to the island, bamboo groves, and there are collections of orchids, cacti, begonias. Long-tailed macaques and langurs live here (these are the closest relatives of the monkeys). They are not afraid of people and may well pose in front of the camera.
The most popular place in the garden used to be a waterfall, which once supplied water to the whole city, and now plays a large place in urban water supply. Its height is 122 meters. But now he is in private territory and there is no passage to it; however, another waterfall is available, not so high, but also colorful.
The main mountain of the island, its height is 833 m, and it is located just above the Botanical Garden. You can climb there on foot – the length of the path is about 5 km, but you can climb the funicular. The walking road is trodden and convenient, but not always well marked. But on the way there will be exotic vegetation.