24.12.2012 - 24.12.2012 30 °C
Last nights sleep was a bit off and on as Chelsea kept having painful stomach cramps and kept waking up which carried on all day today. We got up and had breakfast and the pains got worse so we went back to the room and relaxed for a few hours. This afternoon we decided to go to Kek Lok Si temple, which is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.
We got on the local bus again which took us to the bottom of the hill the temple is on. To get to the temple you have to walk up some steps which wind through an indoor market area. People were selling clothes, Buddha souvieners and lots of turtle gifts and even real turtle shells which alarmed us as they looked like Snaggle (our pet turtle). When we got to the top we realised why, there was a big pool with a bridge and pagoda in the middle with hundreds of turles swimming around. We felt a little sorry for them all as there were hundreds and the pool wasn't that big and was really dirty. The were climbing all over one another trying to get to the sides where people were throwing in food for them.
As you carry on climbing the steps you then come to the temple. It is really large and beautifully decorated and landcaped and when you first enter there is a pagoda with a big model Buddha. There are several different areas and in the walkways there were quite a lot of people begging. In the first one we went into the wallks were lined with hundreds of Buddhas and inside there was a huge golden sitting Buddha. In the main temple area there are several huge urns where people put the insence sticks they have used to worship and behind it was a table filled with different sized glass vases with candles you can burn and light. Also you could buy these brightly coloured wish ribbons that had messages on them and they tie them to a pole outside the main temple. The pole was bursting with them. The whole building is beautiful, all the walls, ceiling and even the floor tiles are ornately decorated. To go inside any of the worshiping areas you are asked to take your shoes off.
We then went to see the really tall 7 storey handcrafted pagoda which you can go up for 2 Ringitt. Around this area it is a lot calmer, the temple has soft music playing and there were less people. The area is landcaped with grass, plants and flowers and all around the pagoda there are small turtle sculptures. We went up to the top of the pagoda and the views of the temple from the top are lovely, you can see all the way back to George Town, but inside the pagoda itself it in not as ornate.
We then went to view the final area which is a 30m bronze Kuan Yin statue. To get to this they have built an inclined lift which you can take for 2 Ringitt. It is the only way to get to it from the temple, otherwise you have to walk all the way back down from the temple and follow the road back up. It is extremely tall and sits under a stone carved pagoda. Around the statue there were hundreds of lanterns.
The whole temple is very impresive and extremely beautiful and as it is up on a hillside the views frrom the top are great. However the temple was a lot more touristy than some of the other temples we have visited and there were a lot of gift shops and a lot of people being diresepctful within the temple, smoking and climbing on statues etc which we didn't like.
We then walked back down the the small town at the bottom of the hill and waited for the bus. It came straight away and we put our arm out but the bus carried on while the driver pointed. We folllowed the bus and ran after it and it had kindly waiting for us. Apparently we weren't at a bus stop, we were just at the side of the road and he can only stop at the designated stops. We have no idea how people know where to wait as there are no bus stop signs or any indication at all where the bus stops, we just thought people were getting off a random points whenever they wanted.
As soon as we arrived home we had a surpise call from Chelsea's parents which was nice and showered ready to go back out. Chelsea accidentially left her shampoo in the bathroom and to her horror its been stolen.
For tea we decided to go for Indian food as Chelsea wanted something plain like rice or bread for her poorly tummy. We walked round to Little India and went into the first place that looked busy. The menu wasn't in english and the waiter didn't want to explain to us what they were selling so he just took us to the counter and we pointed to the things we wanted. Chelsea had rice with a potato curry and a chapati and Liam had some spicy chicken curry with rice and a chapati. They both came with sauces but we have no idea what was in them. Liam said it was the best Indian food he had ever had. On our way out a random Indian customer wished us Merry Christmas which made us smile.
We then sauntered back to the guest house and sat outside with a drink (beer for Liam, tea for Chelsea). Tomorrow is Christmas and for Christmas dinner we plan to have a picnic.... we could really eat some turkey, roast potatoes and gravy though. Anyone fancy posting us some?