We hiked through the rainforest to a meromictic lake (one of only 19 in the world). It is interesting as it has both sea water and fresh river water, which does not mix but instead forms layers. Near this lake was the beach where many sea turtles come to lay their eggs and rest at night. We found a piece of a sea turtle shell. We did not see any turtles because they come to shore at night. We did see monkeys jumping through the trees during our hike, however, as well as some interesting birds and butterflies.
We went on a fishing trip and caught several fish. Our guide took us to Monkey Beach (aptly named as there were many monkeys running wild all over the place!) where he cooked our fish and some other Malaysian foods (Thomas' new favorite-satay-pieces of marinated, grilled chicken or beef on a stick) over a wood grill. We went for a bumpy jungle ride on a four-wheeler while we were there, too.
We went to George Town, a World Heritage site. We saw a Colonial Fort, some beautiful old Colonial buildings, all from when the British colonized Malaysia. We ate some yummy food in Little India. Mostly we admired how the Malaysians accept one another and live peacefully with so many different cultures and religions. There are mainly Chinese and Indian Malaysians living here. There are Christian churches, Muslim Mosques, Buddhist Temples and Hindu Temples. We got to see several of each during our trip.
Our favorite temple we saw was the Snake Temple. This temple has pit vipers living in it! They are free to roam around wherever they like. During the day, thank goodness, they mainly sleep. There were sleeping snakes everywhere we looked. Our sons wanted to pet the vipers and get their pictures taken with them. They had one available for holding. They take the venom out of a few for tourists to play with. At least that is what they told us. They also had Burmese pythons there to rub for good luck. They even had a snake room with all sorts of snakes behind glass walls for us to observe. Several King Cobras decided to spit at us from behind the glass.
We rode up Penang Hill (2000 meters above sea level) on a funicular train, built by the British in the early 1900's to go up the mountain to escape the heat. On top of the hill is a mosque, a Hindu temple, some old colonial buildings, a carnivorous plant garden, a bird sanctuary and a hotel. We also visited a butterfly farm another day.
Another favorite on this trip was trying out a "fish massage". You put your feet in a pool of water filled with little fish who proceed to suck on your feet! Quite a giggle fest! Nicholas just could not do it. Jonathan laughed out loud for a full 15 minutes. :) Thomas, Mike and I managed to keep our feet in most of the time and get the full effect.
One of our favorite parts about visiting Malaysia was trying all the food! We went to a type of "food court" for dinner each night. It was outside, but had vendor stalls set up around the eating tables. We could each choose whatever type of food we wanted (Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Western..). Everyone was happy! Yumm...
Here are a few pictures....
Local legend states that women who are having trouble bearing children are to put flowers inside the cannon.
George Town City and Town Hall Buildings
This temple was part of the set for some of the filming for the movie, "Anna and the King".
Urns for the ancestors.
The Butterfly Farm
Hiking in the Rainforest.
The meromictic lake in the Penang National Park.
Oh, it just tickled so badly!!
Yummy! Thomas eating the Malaysian Satay, pizza for Jonathan, Indian for Kristie and fish for Mike!
Some short video clips of our time in the Snake Temple.
The ride up Penang Hill was beautiful and lots to do at the top.
The Hindu Temple on top of Penang Hill
This Blue Macaw said "Hello" and did some great head bobbing with us! Smart bird.