Friday, October 07, 2016

Chew Jetty (姓周桥) - One of Six Heritage Clan Jetties @ Penang [Malaysia]

The clan jetties in Penang were mostly built in the late 1800s although their fame didn't quite kick until maybe a few years ago; i remember watching a segment of it on a TV travel show and was wondering why i didn't recall visiting the jetties in my previous journeys! 

Hence, i specifically indicated it as part of my itinerary. In reality, i would love to check out all six of them but with just 2 nights in Penang, i just couldn't afford the time.

A Chinese-style pavilion greeted us when we entered and it was only when we neared it that i realised it was the front of a temple! 

The architecture was unique in the sense that there was only one dragon adorning the roof and the lonesome being was placed right ahead of the temple; as if the fearsome protector was guarding the religious abode. 

Street art showing a grandmother playing with her grandson - i felt that street art mural should rightfully reflect the life of its surrounding and this was appropriate for one reason; families still reside in the jetties! 

Key things to note before you begin your exploration: stick to the main passageway, no trespassing into the houses as many were homes and do keep your volume down.

Let's start - don't expect modern infrastructure as the century-old jetty was, in literal sense, heritage houses on stilts with planks of wood acting as the floor we stepped on.

Although it might be compared to a slum in third world countries, I have never been to a slum and would have expected much worse conditions; dirty passageways, an overbearing stench and i doubt there would be any commercial entities catering to tourists like i was. 

Dogs spotted which usually means i have to be more careful of the surroundings in case there are "bombs" around. To be fair, mongrels are usually very smart and these two could have already been toilet trained. 

So why were they called clan jetties? Answer: they were each controlled by a specific surname and this was popular in the past when many people came from China and those of the same surname would usually congregate together, resulting in territorial ethnic enclaves.

Obviously there were residents who didn't welcome the intrusion into their private spaces. Put it this way, i wouldn't like strangers peeking into my house too! 

There was still a stench especially at low tide even though it wasn't strong enough to put me off. Hm.... i am just wondering where the sewage pipes are. 

Ahhhh the grouchy dog toy that my niece and nephew like! I didn't bother checking out the price as I had already bought it via Taobao and there's a 50% chance i didn't get a quite deal with my purchase! 

Lanes that branched out to more residential houses; the total number of units at Chew Jetty was said to be 75.

With wide open doors, i don't think the owner would have minded me taking a shot showcasing traditional Chinese decor; lanterns hanging by the sides of the door, a main altar in the hall, couplets pasted on top and beside the door and a smaller altar outside to pay homage to the jade emperor. 

It's only when i noticed the two Caucasians at the balcony (with not much safety barrier) that i suspected this home might not be for residents. 

My primary worry for them - what will happen if either one of them trips and falls onto the seabed? I would have laughed as i am a mere bystander. 

Tagged as a vacation home in English, it was indicated as 周桥民宿 in Chinese, a minsu which is a homestay concept popular in Taiwan! You may check out the website here. Rate of an air-conditioned twin-sharing room cost about RM 168 with free WiFi, satellite TV and light breakfast! 

Panoramic view.

Lim Jetty ahead - the nearest to the ferry terminal which served as the only economical mode of transport for Penangites to get to the main island before the bridges were built.

Living close to the sea at a time when technology wasn't that advanced means a lot of pastimes then were spent in / on / at the water! Dragonboat was apparently a big thing at Chew Jetty and the team had represented the State in international dragonboat competitions! 

Fishing could be another pastime even though i got the feeling the nets shown above were used more for livelihood. 

Souvenirs for friends, colleagues and family members and get a free georgetown exploratory map! I am more interested in the map but honestly, you can find a relatively large selection of inexpensive souvenirs at Chew Jetty. p.s. may not be relevant to the place's heritage though. 

The real jetty where boats were moored.

As the platform extended a bit out into the sea with unblocked view of the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia, the son of a friend couldn't resist the photo-taking opportunity! 

A panorama of the Lim Jetty with a closeup of a quaint little temple there.  

Beauty of a wooden beam that had gone through the time of world war and weather elements. I am assuming here as i have no idea how long this had been at the location. I am just hoping it wouldn't break apart when i am still at the platform! 

Taken from the platform - the end of Chew Jetty housed another temple! 

A few photographs of the temple for your viewing pleasure - known as 感天宫, the history of the temple was surprisingly quite short as it only started in the 1990s.

Penang bridge in front of us!

Would you have dared to jump into the water? I wouldn't (i have a basic fear for water with low visibility; god knows what lurked underneath) although for the two gentlemen in the water, it's likely a no-choice scenario as something appeared to be wrong with the boat.

At the platform again - time was 5.30pm and the sun was on its journey to slumber land. My purpose for showing this photo was more to highlight the KOMTAR tower directly under the setting sun! 

View from the platform again where many visitors were hanging out. From start to end, the distance was only about 182 meters and there's a parallel path that's shorter at 122 meters. 

Lone ranger - she looked worried and i sure hope things have eventually worked out for her. Sometimes, when one is too stressed at work / home, it's good to take some time off and travel to a place far from home / work! 

Scene reenacted from the movie poster "You Are the Apple of My Eye (那些年,我们一起追的女孩)"; albeit with a much better backdrop! 

It was a heartwarming scene of a group of friends who were simply relaxing in each other's company. If you are one of those in the picture and want the original picture, please feel free to contact me! 

There's a speed boat service that would drive you out to the sea where you can take better and i guess way more spectacular photos. Options of 30 minutes or 10 minutes! 

On my way out - despite in close proximity to water, there's a risk of fire given that most of structures were made of wood. Hence, i did note there were quite a number of hose reels and fire extinguishers! You might have spotted a few of them in the photos published so far. 

Traditional skin care water powder - i don't know what ingredients were use but there are some similarities to the pearl powder my mum ever bought from China. 

The two Caucasians were still at the balcony! With so many pairs of eyes staring, i know for sure i would prefer to hide in the room.....

Big bowl ramen - the only thought that came through was why it was ramen and not so local delights as Penang was renowned to be a food paradise! 

"Big Bowl" only registered in my brain when i finally realised how humongous the bowls were; darn, i could wash my face using the same bowl! Sadly, i didn't manage to try this. 

Another house.

More random photographs as i am running out of words. Notice the unique lantern pattern on the metal grilles in second photograph.

Red light shining on the mini altar outside the house - the blood red hue at night is guarantee to look eerie! 

Traditional ice rods with flavours like nutmeg, sour plum etc; Singapore has something identical but the rods were factory made and each cost only 20 cents when i was a child. 

Colourful signboard showing the directions of notable attractions in Chew Jetty; not that it was needed since you can't get lost with such straightforward pathways. 

I must remind myself again and again that a fan is very much a necessity when one travels in and around Southeast Asia!

Eh! Thought no bicycles and motorbikes are allowed in Chew Jetty!? I believe special concessions might be granted for residents. 

Guess how long i took to check out Chew Jetty? Less than 30 minutes! 

I didn't even notice this when i entered earlier; a structure built around the tree, i am betting that someone must have won some money after praying to the tree and decided to enshrine it! 


Location Map

As above

Operating Hours
9am to 9pm. Please avoid other hours.

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