Friday, February 3, 2017

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour Part II

I got off the bus at the Penang Hill stop. I knew I wanted to see what this former British hill station looked like. As I headed into the ticket office, I saw crowds of people standing in line. I'd been told I could get a "Fast Lane" ticket if I was willing to pay, and I realized I was! That line had only about a dozen people compared to more than a hundred in the other. Once I had my ticket, I went through the special door and a train came very quickly. We got on first and then the others were allowed to board. Each compartment had benches seating about 8 and standing room for another 10 or so. The train is a funicular installed by the British in 1923 and last upgraded in 2011. I think they said the grade was 27%. There was one tunnel near the top. This photo shows the scenery out the window, with a glimpse on the left of the walking path with many steps.

On the way up I saw these bungalows, very similar to many we are used to seeing in Mussoorie.

At the top there was a huge food hall (with restrooms, yay!) and many tourist-oriented things. I walked on through and saw this beautiful wall with flowers blooming. 

I walked around a bit, getting a sense of the place. This is one view I saw from the road.

It would have been interesting to explore further, to see if I could find any of the places that were used in filming the BBC series "Indian Summers." It was filmed here because the buildings and area were less changed from the time of the British Raj than similar places in India.

I climbed the steps to Gun Hill, where the cannon still sits. It would have been fired daily at noon to give people the correct time.

At the top of the hill was an open area with a playground. There was a mosque on one side and this Hindu temple on the other.

Another shot of some flowers. Everything was very well cared for; it is obviously a good revenue source from tourists and Malaysians alike.

As I headed back to the station, there was a viewing platform to see the city below. Unfortunately, it was very hazy, but you still can get a sense of the views of Georgetown from here.

I only had to wait a short time before a train was heading down. When I came into the line, the woman working motioned me forward and took me into an air-conditioned room to wait. I think my walking sticks classified me with the others in there, one in a wheel chair. But I didn't mind. As I came out of the station I saw one of the Hop-on buses in its parking spot. I hurried across the pavement, hoping I could get on and not have to wait 30-60 minutes for the next bus. I did make it, the driver greeted me, I sat down and he took off. I was grateful.

There were so many sights along the way and it was hard to get good photos. I did notice this doctor's sign, however.

One of the places we stopped was the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It has a very tall pagoda and a huge statue, plus monastery and more buildings. I decided not to get off and tour it.

One of the many Hindu temples we saw was the one below. I was fortunate to get a good shot of Krishna and Radha and the gopis (milkmaids), which were on the roof facing the road.

We ate dinner that evening at the Danish Briyani House, of which we had seen several in the beach area and in town. One is just down the street from us. We had very good Indian food, chicken biriani, palak paneer, and tandoori rotis. Yum!

We head back to Chiang Mai on Saturday.

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