A morning visit to the Penang Museum to absorb some more information about the history of Penang and its diverse cultural mix. These photos include some Nyonya clothes and an opium bed, just in case you’ve ever wondered what furniture to use while smoking.

On in the heat to the Pinang Peranakan Museum (aka The Green Mansion). A very rich merchant family owned this 19th century house which, as it happens, turns out to be a good venue for wedding photographs.

Little India was going off around lunch time on this first day of the weekend. The Thali trays were coming fast and furiously out of the kitchen of Woodlands Vegetarian restaurant as sari-clad ladies who lunch caught up for conversation over food. One is definitely spoiled for choice in Penang with Indian, Chinese and Malay specialities easily available throughout the day and night.

We took a bus to the base of Penang Hill this morning and then the funicular to the top.

Penang - bus ride to Penang Hill funicular

I took some shots in the garden of David Brown’s restaurant where we had cools drinks and something to energise us for the next leg of this trip.

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Instead of getting a return ticket on the funicular, we opted to walk 5 kilometres down the “Jeep Track”, a narrow, winding and steep sealed road. We were rewarded with the sight of a family of Dusky Leaf Monkeys (spectacled langurs) high up in the trees. One for the memory bank as it was too dark for a shot.

Other more common monkeys were plentiful on the way down, grooming and grazing on the side of the road, or just watching the world go by.

We ended the trek at the Botanic Gardens and took a quick trip around in a small tram as the thought of walking had, for some reason, lost its sheen in the heat.

This morning, we took a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site, The Blue Mansion, an impressive house built by the wealthy and influential Cheong Fatt Tze in the late 19th century. The house was built on Feng Shui principles and is predominantly designed with Chinese features, with the exception of stained glass windows designed by the Scotsman, Rennie Mackintosh and tiles imported from Stoke-on-Trent in England.

And a few more photographs for luck including an iced pearl tea to keep one going in the heat.

Penang Street art 1 - family photoPenang - Pearl TeaPenang - street frontage 1Penang - bicycle repair shop

This morning’s street art hunt was a hot one. As I write thunder is making its presence felt, so we’re hoping for a drop in temperature of a degree or two this evening.

Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s mural art is the most distinctive of the street art in and around Georgetown on Penang Island. The Boatman in the photos below is by Julia Volchkova. 

From the 101 Lost Kittens Project, some feline art action.

The steel cartoon art is seemingly everywhere you turn. Today’s samples include a nod to Jimmy Choo who apparently started his interest in shoes in his early years in Penang. Works by Baba Chuah, Tang Mun Kian and Reggie Lee.

 

A morning flight from Kuching, a hotel check-in and time for lunch already. No better start to our Penang visit than to wander down the road to Hameediyah Restaurant in search of roti. We each had one roti canai (stuffed with chicken, onions and spices) with a side serve of red onions and sauce. Two iced teas to top it off and we walked out of there A$5.00 poorer.

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Over the next few days, each of the Penang posts will feature some of the amazing street art that’s in Georgetown (and food – don’t forget the food!)

Fifty-two steel rod sculptures hug walls around the town. They depict the characters, history and humour of Penang and were in a project led by Tang Mun Kiang and a group of cartoon artists, namely, Baba Chuah, Reggie Lee and Lefty.

Twelve artworks make up a series of murals in the 101 Lost Kittens Project created by a team of artists calling themselves Artists for Stray Animals.

Today’s post features Gedung Rumput – Bad Hay Day; Retail Paradise, and Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat.

We haven’t yet seen any of the murals by Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic. Watch this (wall) space.

 

 

Our first walk around was relatively short given the considerable heat and humidity. Here’s a taste of what’s to come.

You need to look up to catch the shopfront features.

 

Penang 9 - Shopfronts

The view from Chew Jetty where mid-19th century houses still house families and their businesses. The UNESCO World Heritage site is open to visitors from 9am – 9pm daily.

Penang 5 - view from Chew Jetty

 

 

Semenggoh Nature Reserve was the first stop this morning. The reserve opens for two sessions a day so that people can watch some of the forest residents come in for a feed.  It’s not news that these animals are endangered. And it’s not surprising, given the amount of old forest land that is now cultivated with palm oil trees.  Orangu-tans and palm oil do not mix.

Palm oil trees

We drove out to Gunung Gading National Park, on the off-chance that the parasitic Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae was still showing off its large flower on the floor of the forest. The helpful Ranger said we were about 3 days late for the flower’s peak condition, but he gave us directions to find one specimen that was still holding on, before it fully deteriorated. They flower for 4-5 days. We were there on Day 8 and fortunate to catch it in this state.

This is the landing point to Bako National Park in Sarawak. From Kuching, it’s an hour by road and thirty minutes up the river. Even in the early morning, the humidity was high and the sun strong.
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Can’t post all of the photos I took, but you have another fifteen to scroll through to get a taste of the park and its inhabitants, large and small. It was well worth the hard yards in the heat.

First, the tiniest creatures we came across – mini crabs with one claw larger than the rest of their body, a mudskipper in the mangrove mud and termites on the move and a hermit crab in a borrowed shell.

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Many of the palm trees have strong defence mechanisms.

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Bearded pigs dig their way around the island with their very large snouts. 

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Bako is one of the few places that proboscis monkeys are found. We came across this fellow high above us on the path. My apologies for his immodesty in the second photo.

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The park also has macaque monkeys who can be quite aggressive if you are carrying food on your walk.

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At the end of the visit, I was treated to some alone time with a group of silver langurs before other people discovered them close to the beach.

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