Penang Hill: Sunrise and Nature Walk

Penang HIll sunrise view at the Sky Deck

I wanted to end my last day in Penang with something breathtaking and worthwhile. I didn’t get my desired sunset at Kek Lok Si temple so I made sure to wake up early for the sunrise this time at Penang Hill. Hoping the odds for good light would be better. Also known as Bukit Bendera, the distinguishing peaks seen from the city of George Town is easily accessible. With only around 6km from the city center to its jump-off at Air Itam, it’s one of the favorite cool escapes for the locals and tourists alike.

(more…)

Kek Lok Si Temple: Impressive Temple of Supreme Bliss

The Ban Pho Thar pagod at Kek Lok Si Temple

I was looking for a place to take night photos in Penang when an image of a beautifully lit Kek Lok Si Temple popped up on my searches. The fantasy-land like lights of the temple would offer plenty of photo opportunities especially after sunset. Reading more, I learned that there’s a lot of superlatives going for this temple. Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. It has the tallest Buddhist pagoda, tallest granite pillars and the tallest statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. My interest deepened that I made sure to hop a bus at KOMTAR to Air Itam one afternoon in Penang.

(more…)

3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival: A Gathering of Regional Talents and Array of Styles

Saxx in the city performs
Saxx in the city performs

The 3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival held last September 27-28, 2019 finally concluded. It was not without challenges as the haze coming from Indonesia forced the organisers to move the event to an indoor venue. It may have lost its “waterfront” feel but the coming together of jazz artist from different parts of the world and sharing their expression of this eclectic genre of music remains. The heart of jazz still brims loudly at the humble MBKS Community Hall. Ironwulf.net was fortunate enough to witness this revelry and what could be a milestone for the annual event as the Philippines participate in this annual musical gathering in this lively city in Borneo.

(more…)

Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival celebrates its 3rd year

Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019
Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival 2019

I grew up with jazz music as one of my soundtracks of my youth. I can clearly remember beach trips with family with smooth jazz setting the mood in the air while lounging by the sand and sharing stories with siblings and parents. Kenny G, Swing Out Sisters, Style Council where blaring through cassette tape players then. Then came modern jazz artist that accompanied travels like Norah Jones, Michael Bubble and some Everything But the Girl. I may not listen to them as often lately but memories associated with them are always pleasant and strong. Music somehow makes our lives more sweeter. Memories of road trips more vivid with songs. And with much excitement I’ll be visiting Kuching, Malaysia next week for the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. Now on its third year this 2019, this festival brings together a round of talented jazz art from Asia and beyond on a 2 day musical festival this 27-28th of September, 2019. It would be a good opportunity to get familiar with other talents from our neighbouring countries.

(more…)

Charm of Old George Town and Street Art Spice

A couple of Zacharevic's murals in George Town
A couple of Zacharevic’s murals in George Town

The gorgeous colonial city of George Town consists of more than 12,000 old buildings and structures of varying Asian and European influences. From Charming shophouses, jetties and temples, colourful Indian temples, Muslim Mosque and British colonial government offices earning its place under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2008. It’s a real delight to stroll around the city and feel being transported back in the old world of Penang. In 2012, Penang municipality decided to breath life into this old walls by incorporating street art into public spaces. While I love street art, done wrong can make the place messy. But seems like George Town found just the right artist for the job.

(more…)

Chew Jetty of George Town’s Clan Jetties

Sundown view at Clan Jetties
Sundown view at Clan Jetties

The Philippines is no stranger to water world communities or people living on stilt houses by the sea. Like the Badjao’s of Mindanao or the community of Rio Hondo in Tawi-tawi, the UNESCO-listed George Town interestingly have their own version in Clan Jetties. But unlike our communities here, these jetties are owned by different Chinese “clans” or families which often can-do merchants or rich families. There are currently seven Clan Jetties. I visited a couple including the tourist-friendly Chew Jetty. This was still part of the KKDay Historical George Town tour but I managed to return to the area for my own exploration of this intriguing seaside community.

(more…)

The Colonial Penang Museum: Insights Into British and Penang Opulence

The Colonial Penang Museum
The Colonial Penang Museum

I had little sleep in transit from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. While waiting for my check-in time at my hotel, it was a good decision to go out for a cursory heritage tour of Penang with KKDay. It’s a good way to orient myself with the city of Goerge town being a first timer here. One of our early stops was the Colonial Penang Museum. It wasn’t listed on the itinerary so I wasn’t expecting much. But lo, my eyes were kept peeled from fascination with over a thousand pieces of items painting a rich history of Penang’s British colonial era. An ideal starting point that gives insight on Penang heritage.

(more…)