After a breakfast of kaya on toast and very strong coffee at the guesthouse, I set out without much of a destination – just wanted to explore the city a bit. The overnight rain, slightly overcast sky, and breeze made for a pleasant morning, but by midday it was sunny and HOT. I poked around various markets and checked out some of the street art, stopping in at tourist shops, pharmacies (ostensibly to look for aloe vera), and galleries when I needed to get out of the sun. Had some stir fried rice cake from a bicycle cart near the Penang bazaar, after a Swiss guy sitting nearby endorsed it. Later, I enjoyed an orange lassi at a coffee shop on Armenian street. One of the first not-too-sweet drinks I’ve had in Malaysia!
At breakfast, a guy had recommended visiting Kek Lok Si temple, and the nearby Penang hill held the allure of cooler temperatures and good views. Some helpful women at a bus stop filled me in on an easy transfer (at Komtar) so I wouldn’t have to walk to a different bus stop in the hot sun. While at Komtar, I found a food court w/ carts (and a/c!) and had some tasty char koay teow – noodles with shrimp.
Kek Lok Si temple was worth visiting, and I’m glad I went there first, since it closes around 6 (with the last ride down at 5:25).
From there, I walked to the base of Penang Hill, and was happy to find negligible lines for the funicular. The waiting area was cooled, and lonely planet was right about the top also being several degrees cooler than the city below. My uber driver may have oversold the experience of being up there at sunset, though it was nice. At a bar/restaurant, there was a live musician singing, “I’m on the top of the world, looking down on creation” which dad used to sing to me when I was little, so I decided it was a sign to stop in and enjoy a lemonade while watching the city lights come on.
Apparently everyone decided around the same time that it was time to head down, and there was a LONG wait to get back down. Fortunately, the bus I wanted was waiting right at the base, so I was able to jump right on.
Back in town, I walked through little India and back toward my guest house. I wound up having an excellent dinner of noodles, followed by pancakes from a couple of street carts just down the road from my guest house. Best food yet.