The Philippines is no stranger to water world communities or people living on stilt houses by the sea. Like the Badjao’s of Mindanao or the community of Rio Hondo in Tawi-tawi, the UNESCO-listed George Town interestingly have their own version in Clan Jetties. But unlike our communities here, these jetties are owned by different Chinese “clans” or families which often can-do merchants or rich families. There are currently seven Clan Jetties. I visited a couple including the tourist-friendly Chew Jetty. This was still part of the KKDay Historical George Town tour but I managed to return to the area for my own exploration of this intriguing seaside community.
Still in Pulau Tikus, where the Colonial Penang Museum is found, there are two significant Buddhist temples just across each other along Lorong Burma. There’s the Dhammikarama Burmese Temple and the Wat Chayamangkalaram Buddhist temple. Both vibrant and highly elaborate yet features unique characters due to their origins. The former being Burmese and the other is Thai. It shows the diversity of people who migrated in Penang during the colonial times. Still part of the KKDay Historical George Town tour, I went out of my service car to curiously explore both of these temples.
I had little sleep in transit from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. While waiting for my check-in time at my hotel, it was a good decision to go out for a cursory heritage tour of Penang with KKDay. It’s a good way to orient myself with the city of Goerge town being a first timer here. One of our early stops was the Colonial Penang Museum. It wasn’t listed on the itinerary so I wasn’t expecting much. But lo, my eyes were kept peeled from fascination with over a thousand pieces of items painting a rich history of Penang’s British colonial era. An ideal starting point that gives insight on Penang heritage.
We took a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur to visit the capital of neighboring Perak state, Ipoh. Known as the “town built by tin”, Ipoh rapidly grew in prominence as a booming tin mining industry in the 1880s. By 1895, Ipoh became the second largest town in the Federal Malay State. But as soon as the tin deposits started to deplete and tin prices declined, Ipoh’s economy went stagnant by 1970s. For a while it was a town momentarily forgotten. Recently, Ipoh began its resurgence. Livening up the British colonial architecture of the old town, highlighting the historical and natural wonders and the hard free flowing water which the town claims makes the food tastier.
I was so excited in my first visit to Penang. I’ve heard so many good things about this island state, particularly Georgetown. Much like Malacca, it’s a known food haven for gourmands and a place to stir up your creative juices with numerous street art in the city. I came early morning with little sleep since I had an early flight in the morning from Kuala Lumpur. Before coming here, I made sure I had arrangements for a Historic Georgetown tour via KKday. My hotel check-in time was after lunch so I decided to kill time with a morning tour after leaving my baggage at the hotel.
Why would I want to visit a pewter museum? And what’s a pewter again? Those who are not really familiar what a ‘pewter’ is may find this of no interest. But really, give it a chance, as a visit to a pewter museum factory gives an insightful journey to one of Malaysia’s industrial heritage. Pewters are malleable metal allow handcrafted into everyday objects we use, aware or not. Royal Selangor in Malaysia is one of the key companies spearheading quality pewtersmithing and distributing this finely crafted objects around the world. The museum highlights the science and the journey of pewtersmithing development.
The Batu Caves is one of the most popular attractions to visit when in Kuala Lumpur. It is only 11km away from the city center and easily accessible by commuter train from KL Sentral. It requires only half a day to get a good exploration of this popular Hindu temple out of India. And if you have been here before like I do, it would be interesting to see the recent psychedelic makeover done on this heritage site just a few months ago.