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Alvinology goes to Blogfest Asia 2010 @ Penang, Malaysia – Day 1 of 3

Alvinology goes to Blogfest Asia 2010 @ Penang, Malaysia – Day 1 of 3

Last Friday noon at around 1pm, I arrived at Penang together with my colleague, Siew Kian to attend the second Blogfest Asia which will be held there from 1 to 3 Oct. We were promptly greeted at Penang International Airport by Forrest Choo, a Malaysian blogger who had volunteered his time to ferry foreign bloggers like Siew Kian and I to and from the airport.

Forrest drove Siew Kian and I to our allocated hotels, Hotel Royal and Hotel Malaysia respectively. We figured we will have a little time to do some exploring from then till the official welcome dinner at 7.3opm, hosted by Tourism Malaysia. Hence Siew Kian took a cab over to my hotel where we met up for lunch at a nearby coffeeshop serving Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶) and Niang Dou Fu (酿豆腐), before heading off to do some sight-seeing.

As we did not have much time, we decided to head to the Fort Cornwallis area where many attractions seems to be located, according to a free Penang tourist map we picked up at the airport.

Our first stop was Fort Cornwallis, an ancient fort built when Captain Francis Light first landed in Penang. Captain Francis Light btw, is the founder of Penang as a British colony in 1786. The fort was built to stand guard over the island’s cape. Throughout history, the fort was never engaged in any battles.

Touch down at Penang International Airport

Touch down at Penang International Airport

One of the super nice Penang volunteer, Forest, who ferried us around during our stay

One of the super nice Penang volunteer, Forest, who ferried us around during our stay

Hotel Malaysia's lobby - where I stayed

Hotel Malaysia’s lobby – where I stayed

My hotel room

My hotel room

Row of trishaws outside Hotel Malaysia

Row of trishaws outside Hotel Malaysia

Siew Kian and I had lunch here on our first day in Penang

Siew Kian and I had lunch here on our first day in Penang

I ordered Bah Kut Teh for lunch

I ordered Bak Kut Teh for lunch

Other than spare pork ribs, there are lots of other ingredient

Other than spare pork ribs, there are lots of other ingredient

Yong Dou Foo soup to share

Niang Dou Fu soup to share

A park we pass on our way to Fort Cornwallis

A park we pass on our way to Fort Cornwallis

I assume this is a school crest?

I assume this is a school crest?

Fort Cornwallis entrance - admission fee is RM$2

Fort Cornwallis entrance – admission fee is RM$2

First stop - Fort Cornwallis

First stop – Fort Cornwallis

Me beside a statue of Captain Francis Light

Me beside a statue of Captain Francis Light

Ancient cannons

Ancient cannons

Ammo bunker

Ammo bunker

Front view of the ammo bunker

Front view of the ammo bunker

Inside the bunker

Inside the bunker

View from the bunker window

View from the bunker window

One of the many ancient cannons at Fort Cornwallis

One of the many ancient cannons at Fort Cornwallis

Posing with cannon at Fort Cornwallis

Posing with cannon at Fort Cornwallis

Infertile women used to lay flowers beneath this cannon for fertility

Infertile women used to lay flowers beneath this cannon for fertility

Inscriptions on the cannon

Inscriptions on the cannon

Some historical artefacts found in Fort Cornwallis

Some historical artefacts found in Fort Cornwallis

Alvinology goes to jail in Fort Cornwallis

Alvinology goes to jail in Fort Cornwallis

From Fort Cornwallis, we walked to the nearby Esplanade area where Penang City Hall and Town Hall are located. The former was built in 1903 and is the headquarters of the Penang Island Municipal Council. The latter was the previous social venue for Penang’s elitee back in the 1880’s. Both buildings are not open to public, hence we were only able to marvel at their colonial elegance from the outside.

Penang's Esplanade

Penang’s Esplanade

The City Hall

The City Hall

Penang Town Hall

Penang Town Hall

Me outside the Town Hall

Me outside the Town Hall

From the Esplanade, we then walked to the Goddess of Mercy Temple, dedicated to the Chinese deity for compassion, Guan Yin (观音). The first foundation for this historical temple was laid in 1728 by Chinese settlers in Penang and completed in 1800. Devotees still stream to the temple in this modern day and age.

Outside the Goddess of Mercy Temple

Outside the Goddess of Mercy Temple

Me, outside the temple

Me, outside the temple

Colourful candles burning

Colourful candles burning

Devotee praying

Devotee praying

"Meals on Wheels" - free food given out outside the Goddess of Mercy temple, besides an Indian shrine

“Meals on Wheels” – free food given out outside the Goddess of Mercy temple, besides an Indian shrine

Two furnace to burn offerings

Two furnace to burn offerings

Inside the temple

Inside the temple

Glistering bright red lanterns

Glistering bright red lanterns

Tighter shot of the lanterns

Tighter shot of the lanterns

Wall tablets

Wall tablets

Beside the Goddess of Mercy Temple, there was a small Indian shrine, housing the Hindu deity, Ganesha (the god with the elephant head). A priest was scrubbing the shrine when we passed by.

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I find it interesting that it is not only in Singapore where different religious institutions can co-exist side-by-side. This happens in multi-racial Malaysia too.

There is a small Indian shrine beside the Goddess of Mercy Temple

There is a small Indian shrine beside the Goddess of Mercy Temple

The priest cleaning up the shrine housing a figurine of Ganesh

The priest cleaning up the shrine housing a figurine of Ganesh

Flowers for prayers and offerings

Flowers for prayers and offerings

We then made our way to the Mahamariamman Temple nearby, located in Penang’s Little India. Built in 1883, it is the oldest Hindu temple in George Town. A distinctive feature of the temple is said to be its Gopuram with 38 exquisitely carved Hindu deities.

Passed by a building selling contemporary artworks

Passed by a building selling contemporary artworks

Art pieces for sale

Art pieces for sale

The front of Mahamariamman Temple

The front of Mahamariamman Temple

The back of the temple

The back of the temple

Two stone lions outside the temple

Two stone lions outside the temple

The inner wall of the temple

The inner wall of the temple

Colourful Indian deities

Colourful Indian deities

Ganesh - the Indian deity with the elephant head

Ganesha – the Indian deity with the elephant head

Next, we decided to head back to Hotel Malaysia to catch the free shuttle bus provided to ferry us to the welcome dinner venue.

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It was a relatively long walk, but the sights along the way were pretty fascinating. A walk thorugh the streets of Penang is like walking back in time when Singapore was still a British colony. I got trigger-happy with my camera and began snapping one too many shots.

As it was approaching dinner time, a lot of roadside food vendors began to make their appearance. I was drawn to order a banana lassi drink from one of these stalls.

An old Teochew Temple

An old Teochew Temple

Chinese medical hall

Chinese medical hall

Shop selling traditional rattan crafts

Shop selling traditional rattan crafts

An old metal shutter

An old metal shutter

Another retro Chinese medical hall

Another retro Chinese medical hall

Retro Shanghai dry cleaning shop

Retro Shanghai dry cleaning shop

A street lined with stores peddling various hardwares

A street lined with stores peddling various hardwares

Old school carpentry shop

Old school carpentry shop

Antique shop

Antique shop

Penang has lots of retro shophouses facade like this

Penang has lots of retro shophouses facade like this

A colourful building

A colourful building

A Hong Kong bar

A Hong Kong bar

Old Trafford Burger woh.... there's even Manchester United logos all over

Old Trafford Burger woh…. there’s even Manchester United logos all over

Roadside Lok Lok food stall

Roadside Lok Lok food stall

I ordered a banana lassi from this roadside store

I ordered a banana lassi from this roadside store

Roadside stall selling little snacks

Roadside stall selling little snacks

My banana lassi

My banana lassi

Along the way back, we happen to pass by the Penang Hainan Temple. Found in 1866, the temple is dedicated to the patron saint of seafarers, the goodess, Mar Chor (妈祖). The present colourful building was built in 1895 and restored in 1995.

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Next, we chanced upon the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion or the “Blue Mansion”, the former home of tycoon, Cheng Fatt Tze (張弼士). It is a famous location to film movie and television series because of its beautiful architecture.

We also passed by the Benggali Mosque, founded in 1803. It was built on land granted by the East India Company.

Hainan Temple

Hainan Temple

Me, outside the temple

Me, outside the temple

Rows of little red lanterns

Rows of little red lanterns

Elaborate carving on the wall and pillars

Elaborate carving on the wall and pillars

Another bottom up view picture of this colourful temple

A bottom up view picture of this colourful temple

The underneath of the roofing has got graphics too

The underneath of the roofing has graphics too

There's a school beside the temple

There’s a school beside the temple

Another small, ancient looking temple near Hotel Malaysia

Another small, ancient looking temple near Hotel Malaysia

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

The Mansion was closed, so I could only get a picture from the outside

The Mansion was closed, so I could only get a picture from the outside

Benggali Mosque

Benggali Mosque

Outside the Benggali Mosque

Outside the Benggali Mosque

A peek into the mosque, through the open windows

A peek into the mosque, through the open windows

Exhausted after visiting practically all the iconic places of worships in the Penang core tourist zone, we headed back to Hotel Malaysia, about just in time to catch the shuttle bus to QEII at Pengkalan Weld, where the official Blogfest Asia 2010 welcome dinner was hosted.

We bumped into fellow Singaporean blogger, Silver Ang, at the dinner. Silver had came to Penang a day earlier than us and had went for the official half day tour which Siew Kian and I had missed in the morning due to our arrival timing.

Bubbly and pretty Silver was a people-magnet. A lot of bloggers and journalists popped by to greet us because of her. Thanks to Silver, I got interviewed along with her by a journalist from Sin Chew Daily (星洲日报) which got us featured in the Sunday newspaper.

Church Street Pier where QEII is located

Church Street Pier where QEII is located

QEII - where we were hosted for dinner and free flow beer

QEII – where we were hosted for dinner and free flow beer

Bloggers registration

Bloggers registration

Queuing up for registration

Queuing up for registration

QEII was packed full of bloggers

QEII was packed full of bloggers

The Singapore contingent

The Singapore contingent

A model ship outside QEII

A model ship outside QEII

After a night of mingling and name card exchanging, it was time to head back to the hotel to rest. I was still a little hungry when I got back, hence I ordered a burger from a roadside stall opposite my hotel for supper.

Lots of roadside stalls sprouted at night when I got back to my hotel area

Lots of roadside stalls sprouted at night when I got back to my hotel area

I ordered a burger from this stall

I ordered a burger from this stall

My beef with egg burger

My beef with egg burger

This concludes day one. 🙂 Stay tuned for my updates on the Blogfest Asia conference on the second and third day.

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About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

3 Comments

  1. MrLonely

    hi… nice post… saw you had go many places in Penang.
    well, i had followed some of your guide during your seminar..
    besides, i hope you can guide me more on how to improve my blogs..
    http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com
    thanks for helping..
    really appreciate it..

    Reply
  2. Goh Yong Wei

    ah, I’ve posed with that very same canon some months back!

    Reply

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