GEORGE TOWN - Those looking for a short break can now head to the must-visit tourist spots in Ayer Itam - Kek Lok Si Temple and Penang Hill.
After visiting the majestic pagoda and Kuan Yin statue, one can sample a bowl of the famous Ayer Itam assam laksa before continuing on to Penang Hill.
Kek Lok Si Temple trustee Datuk Seri Steven Ooi said the iconic landmark is now open to the public from 8.30am to 5.30pm starting today.
He said visitors must wear face masks, register themselves by scanning the QR code for PGCare and have their temperature checked before entering the premises.
"Kek Lok Si is a major landmark in Malaysia that has been widely promoted to the world.
"With tourism being a key industry in Penang, we believe the opening of Kek Lok Si can help the tourism sector and spur the domestic economy.
"It can also sets off a chain reaction down the line, benefiting the traders and hawkers in the surrounding areas.
"For example, after visiting our place, holidaymakers can enjoy a bowl of laksa and buy local products like Tambun biscuits nearby. This will help the traders," he said.
Besides the 33.67m-tall Kuan Yin statue and pavilion, the lower temple and the pagoda, Ooi said there were other attractions spread across Kek Lok Si.
There is also a tortoise pond, a fish pond, a landscaped garden, a pavilion, gazebos and mini bridges. There are also some souvenir shops and hundreds of parking lots.
"It's economical to visit Kek Lok Si as no entry fee is imposed.
"It is a big place with many places to visit within the area, so the issue of many people gathering at a particular spot will not arise," he said.
Meanwhile, the Penang Hill Funicular Service re-opened its door to visitors on Wednesday.
Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) said the first trip from the Lower Station would start at 6.30am and the last trip from the Upper Station would be at 11pm.
In a statement, it said visitors were advised to adhere to the standard operating procedure set by the authorities and PHC.
"It's compulsory for visitors to bring and wear their own face masks, check in through PGCare, undergo body temperature screening, use hand sanitisers and keep 1m apart," it added.
It said the Astaka (food court) would re-open on Monday and updates could be found at https://www.facebook.com/mypenanghill.
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