Report 4 - Malaysia Bukit Pagar

Report 4

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Island Sightseeing & Local Bus Excursions

Penang Hill:

Took minibus 80 from Komtar (80 sen), could have also taken minibus 21 or TL 101 (1rm). Got off at the bus stop just before the traffic circle in Air Itam. Then walked forward through the traffic circle and up the gentle hill for about 4 blocks to the Penang hill rail station, easy walking, good sidewalks most of the way. You can also take the bus a little further to the main bus stop in town, then take the TL #8 bus to the station, but it only runs every 1/2 hour and costs 1.50rm for the short distance. If walking up the hill you'll see a large/pretty Chinese temple on the left. The funicular train seems to leave about every 1/2 hour, return ticket to the top is 4rm for adults. Recommend riding in the last car facing backwards on the way up, and in the 1st car facing forward on the way down for the best views. Trip to the top took about 30 minutes including a stop half way up to change trains. I walked to the back of the old Bellevue hotel, had a coke (4rm) and sat and admired the view from there. The hotel was selling trail maps for 2rm and Penang Hill brochures for 6rm. Did not see any anywhere else, free or otherwise. Then I walked back down the hill and through the traffic circle to the bus stop about 1/2 block past the circle and took minibus 21 back to Komtar. (any bus that comes by this bus stop is likely going to Komtar).

Kek Lok Si temple:

It's just on the outskirts of Air Itam. Took the TL 101 bus from Komtar (1rm) which runs fairly often, and got off at the main bus stop on main street in Air Itam. (There are a couple small bakeries near the bus stop if you want a treat). Then I walked ahead to the next corner, turned right and walked about 2 blocks to the T intersection at the end of that one-way street, then turned left and followed the narrow path lined with vendor stalls all the way up to the temple. Some climbing of stairs involved but not too bad. I just went to the main landing and took pics from there, too lazy to do more climbing as it was very hot/humid day. Then I shopped in some stalls on the way back down (most of the stall vendors are quite aggressive). Walked back to the bus stop on main street and took TL 101 bus back to Komtar goes via Farlim, a modern bedroom community. You will also see the pretty state mosque up close on the way there and back.

 

Botanical Garden:

Only bus that goes there is TL #7 bus from Komtar and it runs hourly only, so be sure to keep an eye on your watch for your return departure time. Bus goes via McAlister, Jl Utawa & Western Road, nice large homes and properties along the way. Recommend you visit the garden in the early morning or early evening, too hot during the day. Gardens very nice but mostly trees, not many flowers.

Teluk Bahang:

West of BF at the end of the Hin 93 & TL 202 bus routes. Old batik factory that was south of here burned down, the new one is across the street from the high-end Mutiara Hotel where there's a major east-bound bus stop, the batik shop has high quality items at very high prices. (I did all my batik shopping at the BF night market, much better prices.) Be sure to catch the Monday night flea market in Teluk Bahang where locals buy their groceries including produce & fish etc, but they also sell clothing, watches and lots of other stuff. There's excellent/cheap hawker food carts here so come in time for supper. Very few tourists here (hope it stays that way).

 

Recommend you take the bus and arrive late afternoon, go to the end of the route just in front of the End of the World Seafood Restaurant, get off there & have a refreshment or two. You will note that their menus don't have prices. The place is rather seedy looking but has a great setting at the fishing boat piers. Then walk 3 - 4 block back along the main road to the market site which is before the traffic circle by a block or two, have something to eat from the food carts, do some shopping, then leave when in starts to get dark as many of the stalls don't have lights. You may have to walk to the Mutiara to catch a bus from the stop in front of that hotel. Don't know if there is one closer to the market site.

Batu Maung bus excursion:

Took TL bus # 303 bus from Komtar which goes all the way to Batu Maung, trip took one hour, stayed on the bus until the end of the route which is in the middle of nowhere across the fence from one of the runways at the airport (you may want to get off in town before that). I stayed on the bus, paid another fare, & took it back to Komtar. The route goes through the modern suburbs of Jelutong and Gelugor, past the university with
it's beautiful mosque, through Bayan Baru and Sunshine Square, and past the snake temple and airport. Also saw 2 large/pretty cemeteries on the way, one Chinese, the other Moslem with its unusual headstones that look like small cement minarets, and some 'brown' malaysian kampungs (compounds). It was a great trip!

Gertak Sanggul fishing village bus excursion:

This village is on the far southwest corner of the island west of the airport. Only yellow bus # 67 seems to go there from Komtar and it doesn't go very often (I waited over an hour for the bus that day), bus driver was grumpy, had to convince him that I really wanted to go there, suspect very few tourists do! The trip took 1:15 mins and cost me only rm2! We went through Bukit Jambul, Relau and then Teluk Kumbar where the road closely follows the coast, a very scenic drive. I didn't trust the grumpy driver to pick me up again in town someplace, so I stayed on the bus at the end of the route, paid another 2rm and went right back to the city on the same bus. All in all, it was a great scenic/cultural trip

Circle local bus excursion to Balik Pulau & Teluk Bahang:

Took bus from BF to Komtar, then yellow bus # 85 inland through Air Itam to Balik Pulau, then took yellow bus #76 from there to Teluk Bahang, then one of the regular buses from there back to BF, total time 3 hours. Another great sightseeing route, mountain scenery, forests, cool/fresh air.

Free city shuttle bus tour:

If you don't have time to walk the heritage trails, you can at least take a free shuttle bus tour which gives you a bird's eye view of the downtown area. It's also a good idea to take this tour before you do walk the trials to orient yourself. The easiest way to do the entire 2 routes at once would be to catch the free shuttle bus at stop #1 (the start of the red route) at the Weld near the Jeti & ride it to the end of the route in front of
Komtar, stay on the bus & continue on the green route to the end at stop #20 back at the Weld. (Most local buses stop at the Jeti.) If you take the free shuttle bus in front of Komtar at stop #10, you'll have to get off at the Jeti stop #1 & board another bus to finish the route & go back to Komtar.

City Walking Tours:

Heritage Trails 1 & 2:
Best done on foot & in the morning (cooler), takes about 1.5 hours each, you really need the 2 trail brochures to find your way around. I got mine from Mai Loon, not sure where else they're available, suspect brochure racks in hotel lobbies would have them? The free shuttle bus can be used to get close to the starting points but you will also need a shuttle bus schedule to do this or the map/schedule from the monthly Penang tourist newspaper which isn't quite as detailed..


7 Streets Precinct:

This is a small triangular area just south of Komtar between JL Magazine & Lb Cecil, west boundary = Jl Gurdwara. I went on a Sunday morning, good time to go, very little traffic. Leisurely walked the entire area in about 1 hour, took almost a roll of pics. I first walked down JL Gurdwara to the end of the area LB Cecil, saw the pretty Sikh temple on the way, then walked up & down all the 7 streets back to Jl Magazine, taking pictures of the many shop houses and terrace houses in various states of repair & disrepair in the area.
Very interesting area, highly recommend it!

Gurney Drive/Burmah Road - mansion & temples trail:

I walked the entire length of Gurney Drive along the waterfront starting at Gurney Plaza, then continued onto Jl Sultan Ahmad Shah, then turned right on Jl Larut to Burmah Road, then turned right on Burmah Road and walked back on Burmah Road to Jl Cantonment in Pulau Tikus, the end of my walking trail. This was done in the daytime when Gurney Drive is very quiet and it took me about 2 hours to leisurely walk the entire route, excluding a stop for lunch along the way. On Gurney Drive and Jl S A Shah I saw many beautiful mansions and villas in various states of repair or disrepair. Towards the end of my trail on Burmah Road I took a short detour left on Jl Perak to see a pretty temple (Buddhist I think) across the street from the Agora Hotel, then walked back to Burmah Road and turned right on Larong Burma to see the 2 beautiful temples that are across the streets from one another about 1 block down - the fantastic Buddhist temple with the upright
Buddha ( my favorite), and the popular reclining Buddha one across the street. These 2 temples are not to be missed!


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