15 August 2010, Sunday –After we attended the 8AM Catholic Mass in St. Anne for the second time and indulged in grilled liempo once more in a Chinese restaurant in Bukit Mertajam, my colleagues went home to our temporary villas via our shuttle service bus while I decided to create my own Sunday adventure by exploring some fascinating spots in Penang Island.
I hopped on the Rapid Transit bus line from Kailan to Jetty in Butterworth and enjoyed the joyride for an hour; I also took a 15-minute ferry ride to Penang Island and another bus ride to George Town that brought me to Lorong Burma or Burma Road.
One of the reasons why I visited Penang Island alone was to be inspired by the diversity of cultures and religions. As my first take, I was so fascinated by the 2 Buddhist temples from 2 different Asian countries located in 1 street.
First stop : Thai Buddhist temple called Wat Chayamangkalaram temple.
Elaborately structured like the other temples I’ve seen, this was built in 1845 by a monk who came from Thailand.
Stunning entrance to the temple…
Lotus candles illuminate the sacred ground…
One of my favorite quotes by Buddha :
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
I like the lotus flower detailed even on the temple’s floor.
Wat Chayamangkalaram temple houses a 33-meter-gold plated image of reclining Buddha.
I’ve read that this image depicts the tranquil state of Buddha as he perceived his death. The serenity that beams on his face reminded me of his enlightenment.
Even his feet reflects humility.
At the back of the statue of reclining Buddha are several other images of him in various positions. On its background are niches with urns of departed devotees.
Second stop : Dhammikarama, a Burmese Buddhist temple located just across the Wat Chayamangkalaram temple.
Sima Shrine Hall inside this Burmese Buddhist temple has one of the world’s tallest standing Buddha.
My reflection on its enormous size is the thought that regardless of religious beliefs, there is always a higher being who looks upon us.
More statues of the Enlightend One…
After visiting those 2 temples, I got in the public bus again, went to Prangin Mall in Komtar; inquired about some travel tour packages and compared rates. Since I thought of bringing my wife and kid to Penang for a brief vacation in perhaps 2 months from now, I began to plan and scout for itineraries to maximize their visit. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Because I marveled too much at those temples, I only felt I needed to load my tummy when I saw my kid’s favorite fastfood; what else but McDonald’s.
Big Mac meal + Strawberry Cornetto McFlurry are such a joy!
I just miss enjoying McDo meals with Gabby.
After that hearty late lunch, I hit the roads again and made a quick stop at one of George Town’s famous landmarks.
Queen Victoria’s Clock Tower …
It was already 4PM when I got in the ferry again back to Jetty, Butterworth. I was almost breathless when I ran a few meters just to make it to the 15-minute sea ride; my shoe laces got untied.
Experiencing Penang is such a blessing; I look forward to more wonderful and meaningful days despite the sacrifice of being distant from my family.
“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” ~Buddha.
PS : There are no entrance fees to these temples and they allow visitors to take photos. Just remember to remove foot wears before entering. While public bus rides via Rapid in Penang cost around RM 1.40 to RM 2.70 (PhP 19.60 to 37.80); roundtrip ferry transfers in Jetty, Butterworth is priced at RM 1.20 (PhP 16.80). There are also FREE bus rides around George Town; be sure to catch those from Jetty when you visit Penang.