Saturday, December 28, 2013

Penang Hill (Penang)

So the board on Penang Hill proclaims: 

Located Air Itam, Penang Hill had nothing much to offer except... crowds. Once you get away from the crowd, that's where the fun begins. Go there early or you will have to end up jostling with the crowd to get into the funicular. Prices for foreigners are at RM 30 which is fairly pricey.

The funicular went quickly up the steep slope. Lush greenery surrounds you.

Upon reaching the top, which is cooler than at the foot of the hill, it's about taking a few pictures of the city from above and then boredom kicks in. There are a few enclosed areas which I presume contained animals but we weren't interested in those. Buggies were waiting to bring people around the hill- you will get to see some bungalows along the way. But being the cheapo people we were, we decided to walk- and we enjoyed the views on the walk! There were very few people who ventured past the crowded area near the animal enclosures. 

Our sole purpose was to look at the English bungalows. The signs by the roadside were misleading- unless you jog up the hill, there's no way you can get there in 15 minutes, as stated on the board. Complaints were aplenty until we saw a sign at the Monkey Cup place that said free ride down if we paid for the entrance fee (RM 10). We decided to pay for the entrance fee since the thought of having a ride down the hill was just too enticing.

The tour at the Monkey Cup Garden far exceeded our expectations. I understand that the owner is a pitcher plant enthusiast. A tour guide brought us around the garden, introducing us to the different varieties of pitcher plants. Now, why monkey cup? Because monkeys have been observed to drink water from these plants!

Besides pitcher plants, we were also shown scorpions, millipedes and centipedes- totally irrelevant but doesn't make the tour any less interesting. The guide was also trying to convince us to put the scorpion on our hands and none of us agreed because we didn't want to get a scorpion sting. To demonstrate how harmless the scorpion was, the guide put it into his shirt... and couldn't get it out after that because it went to his back.

A very educational experience at the Monkey Cup Garden, and then getting down the hill to the funicular on a pick-up truck. A family-friendly experience. 


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