Monday, February 26, 2018

A Visit to Penang Hill

Monday morning after a great breakfast we headed out to catch the local bus to Penang Hill. It is the area where the British established a hill station when they were colonizing Malaya. The oldest building is from 1803. From the early 1900s there were several attempts to establish a tramway to the top of the hill, with success in 1924. The funicular was completely overhauled in 2010 and is very modern and feels safe, even with the steep angle going up. I went up last year when I did the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour, but didn't really see very much. Today we decided to walk the Summit Road, which did a loop coming back on the Upper Tunnel Road. There were paths cutting down from Summit in four places, but two of them were blocked off because of landslides. In the end, we did the complete circuit, going down Byway D and back up on Byway A, which took us right to the station area. It turned out to be a longer walk than I expected. In many ways, it was reminiscent of walking the Chukker in Landour, but with lots of tropical vegetation. Fortunately, much of the way was shady.

We walked about three blocks to a major bus stop where we caught the 204 bus that goes right to the Penang Hill ticket area. As we waited, I noticed this Coke machine nearby. It's good that I didn't want one!

There are two types of tram tickets -- Normal and Fast Lane. We went ahead and got the Fast Lane tickets, and were glad we did. We had to wait a while to board, but got in and got seats before the "Normal" ticket holders were allowed in. Here is a view looking up from the station. There is one spot where the track splits into two so that there can be two trains going all the time. The track is about 2 kilometers long and it takes about 10 minutes.

As we began walking along the road, these lovely flowers were blooming. We saw lots of flowers all along the way.

I'm not sure how well you can tell from looking at this photo, but this private road heading off to the left has been washed away. It ends suddenly. Along the Summit Road there were frequent benches and shelters for picnicking or just resting.

When we got to Byway D, we headed down the hill. Again, we could have been in Landour.

The Upper Tunnel Road was nearly deserted (there were frequent golf carts and cars on the upper road). It wasn't very wide, but it was nicely finished.

We saw a lot of landslides. The ground is very sandy, so it erodes easily. I think the plastic cover is to prevent further erosion in the next rains. I'm not sure how much pushta-rebuilding goes on; we didn't see much evidence of any. (Pushtas are the retaining walls that are constantly being rebuilt in Mussoorie.)

Unfortunately, the view of Georgetown was quite hazy. This is the best photo I got. The land in the distance is the mainland of Malaysia. There are two bridges connecting this island to it.

And a few more lovely flowers.

When we arrived back down, we were happy to see a 204 bus at the stand so we got right on. Unfortunately, it didn't go back the same way it came (one-way streets interfered) and we thought we'd just stay on until it came back around. But when we got to the large bus stop at the jetty for the ferry, everyone had to get off. We were able to get on the 201, which went right past our hotel, after Dan went to buy a drink to get the change needed for the bus fare. A wonderful day, but exhausting!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please send me your thoughts about my posts.