Thailand: Krabi to Penang & Kek Lok Si Temple

I decided to have a day off in Krabi while the others raced all over the place getting cooked on beaches in 35 degree heat.  I’m not a beach person anyway so that was OK.

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But I did venture out on to the streets and wandered around enjoying myself  for nearly three hours.  This was an attractive promenade by the beach.

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Long-tail boats line up waiting for tourists to go for a noisy ride.  Some were fishing boats.

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With a backdrop of those karst ‘mountains’, the streets of Krabi were tree-lined with wide footpaths.  The trees provided some very welcome shade in the stifling heat.

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The Thais are a very patriotic people.  The King is being honoured in this tribute.

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This fine, well stuffed pizza was enjoyed by some of the group.  I usually chose Thai food.It had been good to have a quiet day before we began travelling on our way again, this time a long day in a coach to drive from Krabi in Thailand to Penang in Malaysia.

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We stopped at one of the many 7 ELEVEN stores that abound in these parts. They are a great source of snacks and ice-creams and a place to stretch tired, bus cramped legs.

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The doorway to the 7 Eleven was littered with footwear. The locals generally take their footwear off before entering many businesses.  It was obviously a sign we should do the same.  Slip-on, slip-off footwear is definitely the go here.

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After filling up at the servo, we drove on for what seemed like endless miles more, until we crossed the Malaysian border and finally arrived, a very weary group, in Penang.

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Next morning we were taken on a city tour of Penang.

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It was quite smoggy and there was a lot of dust and smoke in the air as well.

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Our first stop was at Kek Lok Si, the Temple of Supreme Bliss.  It is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia and consists of a maze of manicured gardens and courtyards.The site chosen for the Temple is called “Crane Mountain”, a spiritual location in the hills above Penang . Construction began in 1890 and it was opened in 1910.

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Not all of the Temple complex is that old. The crowning glory is this gigantic statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. This 30.2m (99 ft) bronze statue was completed in 2002. It replaced the previous plaster statue which was damaged by fire a few years earlier. The bronze statue is surrounded by a 60.9 m (200 ft) three-tiered pavilion which is supported by 16 very ornately carved columns. This is the tallest statue of Guanyin in the world.

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This very gentle looking Guanyin looks out over the city of Penang.

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A nearby ‘demon’ statue is said to ward off evil spirits.

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The Temple complex is made up of many very attractive pavilions like this.

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Incense sticks burn in front of the entrance.

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These pineapple-shaped jars contain beeswax and are burnt as an offering.

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…a different view.

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All surfaces of the pavilions are highly decorated.

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This pavilion is presided over by a many armed deity. There are many different deities across this vast temple complex, reflecting the diversity of the ethnic origins of the Buddhist devotees who worship here. Worship also takes many forms: counting prayer beads, burning incense, proffering cash offerings or just bowing and clapping to let the deity know of your presence in the temple. All are interesting to observe.

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A close-up of this many-armed deity.

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Fruit is often presented as an offering.  The brass container is an incense burner.

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Gaudy plastic flowers “decorated” this quiet corner.

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I’m always on the lookout for slightly different door handles. I liked this one.

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Prayer ribbons could be bought from vendors. Each ribbon carries with it a thoughtful or pleading message and is tied, along with countless others, to a tree.

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Beautiful Chinese style lanterns like this one added yet more colour.

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Back out into the gardens, there were more interesting sculptures.  Some of them, like this monkey, represented the symbols of the birth years.  2016 is actually the year of the Monkey so I thought I belonged to this guy. But this is all based on the Chinese calendar, so, as I was born before the 8th of February, I belong to the previous year’s birth sign which was the Sheep, Goat or Ram.

As I mentioned earlier,  Kek Lok Si , the Temple of Supreme Bliss is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, so there was still lots more to see here. More anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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