This was the 2nd time Than Hsiang Taiji Group had organised a 1-Day Tour. This year we were going to Lumut, Sitiawan and Taiping in Perak.
On the morning of 17 July 2016, 40 of us comprised of Taiji members, families and Dharma friends gathered at the Than Hsiang car park next to the Sikh Temple. At 6.10 am our tour bus departed from Than Hsiang Temple to our 1st destination, Pantai Remis (班台) for breakfast. Pantai Remis is a coastal town in Manjung District, Perak, Malaysia. It is situated in between Simpang (near Taiping) and Sitiawan. The journey took about 2 hours. In between, we had a few minutes’ stop at the Bukit Merah resting area before we exited the expressway and entered the southbound Federal Highway. We reached Pantai Remis around 8.30 am and had our breakfast at the local coffee shops in a place called Hong Yun (鸿运). We had to split into several groups so that the few eating places could accommodate us. The hawker foods here are comparable to those of Penang. They are quite cheap. Some of us even bought some prawn crackers, the supposedly famous local snack. After spending about an hour for breakfast, we continued our journey to Lumut (红土坎).
Lumut is a small fishing town in Perak which has developed into a tourist spot where it is the gateway to Pangkor Island. It is also the home base of our Royal Malaysian Navy. We had a short sightseeing at the Jetty Terminal and passed by the Lumut Waterfront. We spent about half an hour in Lumut.
After Lumut, we came to the main attraction, Tua Pek Kong Temple (品仙祠大伯公和观音堂) located at the coast of Pasir Panjang, Sitiawan (实兆远). It is more than 100 years old; the major attraction is the 98 statues of deities and animals from the Chinese lunar calendar which are made from granite stones. One and a half hours were spent at the temple. After the round of the temple, some of us had our snacks at the temple food court, trying out Sitiawan’s famous Fu Zhou (Hock Chew) Red Yeast Rice Wine Misua (福州红酒面线) and Gong Piah (福州光饼). After the tour of Tua Pek Kong Temple, our next itinerary was to try out local snacks while having lunch at the Sitiawan town. However we were disappointed because the location where our tour bus stopped had not many eatery shops. Some of us regretted for skipping the famous “misua” earlier at the temple. After one hour’s lunch at the local coffee shop, the tour took us to Hai Seng Hin Enterprise Sdn Bhd (海成兴企业有限公司) to buy some local products and snacks.
After the buying spree at the local products shop, around 2.15 pm, our tour group turned round and travelled northwards to Taiping (太平). About 3.30 pm, we reached Trong Leisure Farm (自农休闲农庄) for a visit to its Duck Farm. An entrance fee of RM5 per visitor will be collected at the Duck Farm and a tractor (Trong tuk-tuk car) will take them to the ponds exhibiting the various growing stages of a duck. It also takes visitors further into the farm and allows them to get off to feed the ducks at close range. The ducks at the farm are “Peking-Duck” breed. The little ‘education corner’ provides further information about ducks in general.
One hour was spent at the farm before we proceeded to Taiping to visit the Antongcafe factory (安东咖啡厂), Malaysia’s most historical coffee mill. We reached the factory at 5.00 pm and it was raining. The factory would close at 5.00 pm but our tour guide made an arrangement with the factory so that we could visit after office hours. Visitors to Antongcafe will get to try the different taste of coffee with biscuits dipped into it. Interestingly, the office of Antongcafe is the house that the father of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (孙中山先生) stayed whenever he visited Taiping. His second wife, a Hong Kong-born lady by the name of Chen Cuifen, lived here for 17 years. The administrative office looks like an antique house.
After the tour of the coffee factory, we proceeded to Taiping market to purchase the famous ‘Miku’. There were a lot of people at the market because the following day was the 15th day of Chinese 6th moon. The market was selling a variety of “Miku”, buns and “kueh”, flowers and other groceries. We left the market about 6.30 pm when the rain was still falling.
Once we left Taiping and travelled towards the north, the rain became lighter. When we reached our dinner destination at Look Yuen Restaurant (乐园饭店) in Bukit Tengah, Bukit Mertajam at 8.00 pm, the rain had stopped. It was a sumptuous and delicious dinner with 8 dishes. After dinner, we travelled directly to Penang and reached Than Hsiang Temple at 9.20 pm. It was an enjoyable and unforgettable trip for all our members, families and friends.
This was the 2nd out-of-the-state outing activity for our Taiji Group. I would like to thank all Taiji Group members, families and friends for your participation, cooperation and good discipline during the trip. Also, thanks to our organising committees, Bro. Beng Sun and Sis. Kean Peng for their selfless contribution to coordinate and liaise with the tour company and members to make this trip a success. Also thanks for the blessings and well wishes from Ven. Zhen Xin, our Master Tang and our non-going members. However there was a little regret that one of our tour members, Sis. Ling Yueh fell sick to food poisoning after the tour of Sitiawan and she had to rest on the bus most of the time and skipped dinner. We all wished her to get well soon.
Our Taiji Group also offered lotus flowers, “Miku” and biscuits (bought from Taiping) to Buddha and the Sangha members of Than Hsiang Temple.
Thank you and Gan En.