Kek Lok Si is the most beautiful and big temple in Penang, therefore, a visit is mandatory.
The temple is a bit far from Georgetown, where I stayed, but there are buses going nearby. The bus is very cheap and takes about 30 minutes to get to the temple.
From Georgetown to Kek Lok Si by bus
I walked from my hostel to the bus station in Chulia Street, which is very central, and waited for bus number 203. There isn’t any proper bus station but there were other people waiting there so that’s where I have stayed. There is no place to sit and the sun is starting to get unbearable. I waited and waited, and waited. I waited so long that asked two times other bus drivers if I should wait in that bus station for the bus to Kek Lok Si. They said I should wait a bit more and so I did. All the people that were at that bus station were departing less me. In total, I waited more than 1 hour for the right bus and almost gave up on it. It showed up at the last chance.
I was already waiting for more than 30 minutes when another two foreigners join the station. They are Spanish and I can understand that they are willing to go to the same place as me: Kek Lok Si. They waited way less than me, but as I was already waiting for over 1 hour, I had the idea of calling a Grab car and share the ride with this Spanish couple. I approached them as I noticed that they were also getting very impatient. I told them I was waiting for that long and asked if they were willing to share a car to the temple. They were also clearly tired of waiting so they said yes. I finally call a Grab car and 1 minute after I do so, the bus finally shows up. We decided to cancel the booking and hop on the Goddamn bus.
I can understand most part of what they say and we actually kept talking Spanish the whole day. Yes, we ended up spending the most part of the day together and they were my oldest companions ever during my travels. They were a couple over 60 years old. We spent the bus journey until Kek Lok Si talking and knowing each other better. We visited Kek Lok Si together and the area around too. I was very impressed with their energy at their age!
Kek Lok Si temple
Kek Lok Si temple is beautiful and big. You can expect to spend all morning here. It is very crowded but we didn’t actually saw a handful of other western tourists there. The temple also offers great views as it stands tall on a hill. Around the temple, it seems like they are building more things. We also visited the Temple Of Clear View or Temple of Supreme Bliss that stand even higher than Kek Lok Si. They look new and have even a wider view of the surroundings. To get there we bought a funicular ticket and I’m not sure if because it was raining that the waiting line was huge. We bought a one-way ticket so we had to walk the way back, but the walk is quiet as it seems like the other visitors didn’t have the same idea.
Penang botanical gardens
The Spanish couple wanted to visit Penang botanical gardens and I actually didn’t plan anything else to visit that day, so we ended up going together this time by car. They didn’t know about the Grab app so I was definitely useful haha
There is an entrance fee to Penang Botanical gardens. I haven’t read anything about it so I simply followed them and believed when they said it was beautiful. And it is! At the very entrance, there is a group of macaques that are playing super noisily as usual. They are gathering people’s attention that approaches them, and as soon as they have a chance they steal their plastic bags with food and water. Nop, these weren’t the monkeys that changed my mind and convinced me to like them. I didn’t get close to them.
We proceed our walk in Penang botanical garden and follow a very beautiful and green boardwalk in between beautiful trees, plants, and butterflies. This garden is very charming and I liked to visit it. But the best part of the journey was when we spotted some monkeys that I have never seen before. They are not like regular monkeys. They look cute, pacific, and don’t even step on the floor or get close to people. We watched them playing silently on the tree and it was a delightful moment. They were so cute!
Proceeding our journey among beautiful trees we face again another group of regular monkeys. They are all over the place. Once they see us they look aggressive and even chase us for a while. I ended up thinking that the Botanical garden might not be the best option as a chilling place to sit and relax.
From Penang botanical garden to Georgetown
To get back to Georgetown there was a bus just outside Penang botanical garden. We headed to the bus stop and waited for the bus to depart which actually didn’t take that long. My Spanish friends left at another bus station and we said goodbyes. I had sure that these will probably be my oldest travel partners and a source of inspiration. I wouldn’t mind being like them at their age.