Monday, March 15, 2010

Butterworth Penang - Considerable Degree of Difficulty in Visiting the Temple of the 9 Emperor Gods & St. Anne's Shrine

Tow Boo Kong Temple, Butterworth

Butterworth, Penang - After an uneventful arrival in KL, I decided to proceed to Penang, some 210 kilometers northwest of KL. I had an Air Asia flight the next day, but the airline company moved it to a much much later time from 4PM to 10:50PM. What is risky is, from Butterworth - the main town in Peninsular Malaysia before crossing the seas to get to Penang - the last ferry ride is just after midnight! From the airport, it will take some time for the bus transfer from airport to ferry. From the looks of it, I'd get left behind!

So instead of facing that very possible problem, I decided to take the morning bus - which stretched from 4 to 6 1/2 hours! Malaysian buses are notorious for giving false durations. This happened last December when I went to Terengganu. The expected 6 hour travel turned into a harrowing 10 1/2 hours!

I got into Butterworth's bus terminal just before lunch so I decided to see some sights in Butterworth before crossing the Penang straits. Here's the catch: both sights are difficult places to visit; no easily accessible public transport!

Guess what: Though it gave me a really hard time, I survived and saw the Temple of the 9 Emperor Gods, aka Towbowkong Temple (pictured above), located along Jalan Raja Uda. From there, I went back to the bus terminal and took another bus (#701) to the town of Bukit Mertajam, then transfered to a local bus (#15) to see St. Anne's Shrine - one of the few Catholic sites in Malaysia and a noted pilgrimage site that boasts of beautiful stations of the cross, a heavy-foliaged hill climb and a Portuguese-inspired white-washed chapel! All these with my knapsack and my 7kg luggage in tow (straight from KL).

Though I had a few winks from the long bus ride, I am feeling my lids droop as I write this.

But I am more than happy.

Next to conquer: Georgetown!

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Ferry Ride from Butterworth to Georgetown, Penang

This is the Eye in the Sky!

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