Butterfly Farm, Fruit Farm and Kek Lok Si Temple
As we all were sun burned and had quite red skin, we decided to skip the beach and go to explore the island at that day. From our hotel’s reception table we ordered a minivan, our specific request was that the bus driver should not be the one we had yesterday.
In an hour we had all set, the minivan with new driver waited for us. First we drove to the Penang Butterfly Farm. The entrance cost 12.50 ringgits for adults and 6.25 for a child; additional one ringgit was a ticket for a camera. Here we saw a lot of colorful butterflies. The farm is a home for several thousands of butterflies representing over 120 species. We also saw here beetles, small lizards and spiders.
We continued our day in Tropical Fruit Farm. The farm in Teluk Bahang raises over 140 types of tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees, native and hybrids. Here our driver suggested taking a guided tour, which cost 20 ringgits per person. At first we not sure, but then followed the advise. And I would say this was a good decision. Our guide was little dark guy. The tour was very educational and it included fruit sampler tasting.
The tour started with driving in the cargo area of the pickup truck to the small hill. The whole farm was in quite high in the mountains. In the farm we saw many different trees - mango, mangustin, different apples, Muscat nut and many-many others. The tour guide educated us in the world of different fruits. At one point of time a Japanese group joined us, they were very good listeners. One fruit we tasted was magic, it was small and red and with the big stone inside. This magic fruit made a good taste to all other things. For example even smoke was sweet. The guide also gave us to taste the fruit of Muscat nut, which did not taste good, but tasting it after magic fruit, it tasted just delicious.
After the tour we tasted different fruits. As the day was hot, all different juicy fruits tasted so good. We also tried durian, the fruit with the odd smell. We have heard a lot about that fruit, the guide introduced it: “It tastes like having ice cream in the toilet, is smells awful, but tastes good.” Even in the hotels, there was everywhere a sign - “Do not bring durian inside!”. But now the guide opened our piece, and the smell was quite offensive! The taste was treacle and nobody from our company enjoyed it, but I presume the taste can be delicious for some people.
Next we visited the Kek Lok Si Temple, this was huge and impressive. Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia; it stands on a hilltop at Air Itam, quite close to Penang Hill. We learned that it has taken more than 20 years to build it. In order to reach the entrance you need to walk through the souvenir stalls, past a turtle pond and fish ponds until to Ban Po Thar, a seven tiers and 30 meters high tower. The design of that tower has said to be Chinese at the bottom, Burmese at the top and Thai in between. The temple is really impressive, although crowded with tourists and worshippers. We discussed that it was good that we left Kek Lok Si as a last Temple to visit, as the others were small compare to that. The temple has a very good souvenir shop. I believe that everybody in our company bought a small Buddha, but there also a lot of other interesting souvenirs available. After those attractions we were already quite hungry and therefore we asked the driver to take us to the Gurney Drive, locals call it Hawkers corners. We have heard that there you can have authentic meal for small money. We walked there around a littlebit, but those foodstands did not look attractive to us. Then we decided to take a taxi and drove to Batu Ferringhi, here it was easy to find a restaurant for our taste.