Our Journeys

A Visit to the Taiping Buddhist Sanctuary that Never Was (aka Planning vs Winging It?)

by Sharm on April 28, 2015 , No comments

Gosh! It has been forever since we last updated this blog. I guess our intention to get an update up once a week has fallen by the wayside a little – will have to figure out how to get back on track – what with Hani and I heading off (in separate directions) for our respective overseas travel trips during the Labour Day weekend.

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I had headed to Taiping during the Chinese New Year festivities (19 – 20 February). My parents had insisted and my brother is always enthusiastic about a trip up North. Me? I was less enthusiastic – semi dreading the heavy traffic on the North-South Highway during the festival season. Every time there is a celebration in Malaysia, Malaysians just want to get out on the road and drive somewhere – this actually makes traffic in Kuala Lumpur really ideal so I would rather stay in the city then drive somewhere.

taiping hills

The hills which surround Taiping

On the second day of Chinese New Year – after the obligatory rounds of visiting, my mum decided that this year we would do something different in Taiping.

The Plan

The plan was:

Excellent. We have a plan.

The Execution of the Plan

How did we fare execution wise?

  • Breakfast – we got out of the house a little past the present time and headed to the local curry house. Apam, idli and tosai were on the menu. Stomachs full, we headed off.
    taiping streets tosai

    L – R: Taiping town (unusually quiet); tosai for breakfast

  • Visit to the Buddhist sanctuary –We drove up to the Greeneries Remembrance Park. The office was shut (it being the second day of Chinese New Year and all) so we stood around a while aimlessly… Accosting one of the workers, we found out that there would normally be 4 wheel drive shuttle services to the sanctuary. Yay! There was no way I was going to trudge up that hill in that heat. Unfortunately, it being the second day of Chinese New Year, the volunteers had taken the day off. (Note: Only 4 wheel drives can drive up to the sanctuary because of the steep hills). Heading back to Taiping, we stopped by Antong Cafe which showcases coffee making the Malaysian way.
    Greeneries Remembrance Park

    L – R: Greeneries Remembrance Park; helpful staff; aun tong (now antong) coffee

  • Lunch at Matang – The drive to Matang seemed to take forever as we drove past Ngah Ibrahim’s house and the tree where the murderer’s of JWW Birch were hung. Ending up at a very busy Light House Seafood Restaurant we finally dug into the seafood porridge – it’s specialty.
    Light House Seafood Restaurant Matang

    At Light House Seafood Restaurant

  • Collapse into a stupor – with a full stomach and with the hot afternoon sun… zzzz…

If At First You Do Not Succeed…

‘Thwarted’ in our walk up to the sanctuary, we decided to attempt this the next day. So we made another trip down to the Greeneries Remembrance Park. Waited around for a bit and up rolls a 4 wheel drive. Yay! However, it was not to be as there was meditation conference and they were not taking visitors up. Thwarted again. We will just have to attempt this on our next trip to Taiping.

Lessons Learnt

  • Planning vs Winging It?

My family has never been big on vacation planning – something which I have somewhat followed. Case in point – when I finished booking my flights and accommodation to Tokyo, I immediately thought, ‘Yay! Done!’.  I am sure a lot of people would disagree with this level of preparedness.

Planning vs winging it. Both have their plus points and it does depend on your travelling style. If you really want to visit a particular place you do need to plan for it – if not the likelihood of it being closed / full / inaccessible does increase.

However, I do think that winging it also lends a lot of flavor to a vacation – wandering around without a truly defined timetable leads you to finding those hidden corners and soaking in the local scene.

  • Food Does Make Everything Okay

With some good food in our tummies before and after the intended visit to the sanctuary, we, as Malaysians, called the day a success*.

*Note: This may only be applicable to Malaysians.

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xx Sharm

Footnotes:

Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary

SharmA Visit to the Taiping Buddhist Sanctuary that Never Was (aka Planning vs Winging It?)

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