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Malaysia pt. 2

Penang

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On a sweltering Monday morning we took a coach from Kuala Lumpur to Penang Island. It was a four hour coach ride and we even had lunch included in the price. We had requested a vegetarian lunch for Kiwi only to be offered a "chicken sausage" to which was refused and then a chicken and egg sandwich arrived (one was chicken that looked like ham and the other egg) They got it 50% right, sigh.

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Alas! We arrived at the bus station in Penang and hailed a taxi to take us to George Town. George Town was a welcomed surprise - lovely old colonial buildings lined the pavements and the sun glaring down on the buildings made you feel as if you had stepped back to a world gone by,

We were dropped off by the taxi man (Texting for 20 of the 25 minute journey) Nerves a little on edge we soon found our feet and located our hostel further along the road. The Frame Guest House - http://www.theframeguesthouse.com/ We had a lovely welcome on arrival and were shown to our private room, basic facilities and a shared bathroom but all you could desire for a few nights. We ventured straight out to into the town and realised we were in the backpackers area of George Town, it had a great atmosphere and plenty of hustle and bustle around. We headed down "Love Lane" and found a quaint jazz bar opposite the cat cafe for refreshments. Afterwards we went back to the hostel for a nap and a refreshing cold shower. In the evening we went for pizza and beer at a reggae bar then an early night after a long day of travel.

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The room we had turned out to be near the stairs and therefore rather noisy with heavy footed travellers pounding past all night. After an interrupted night’s sleep we arose early and went to break our fast on a toast and coffee that the hostel offered. We walked down to the harbour front through the shaded pavements of the old colonial buildings and caught the free ferry over to a town called Butterworth, from which we located the train station and purchased our tickets for onward travel to Thailand the coming Friday. Once back across to Penang we got the bus to the nearby beach Batu Ferringi, (Costing £0.37 for a 45 minute drive)
The beach had an overwhelming feeling of abandonment with few people around, although still beautiful. It was hit in the 2004 Tsunami and seemed like it was still recovering, we stayed for a couple of hours and swam in the bath like waters of the sea then left this haunting place and back into George Town. The evening was much of the same and we both had a Pad Thai costing only £1 each.

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With a better night’s sleep under our belt (we got given free ear plugs at the hostel and Kiwi wore them for the first time – what a treat!) we got up early to beat the crowds at Penang Hill. After the bus ride there we then had to take an almost vertical tram 700ft up. However terrifying the view was worth it – we could see the whole of Penang Island just as the clouds were breaking and even the bridge over to mainland Malaysia. It proved better to have gotten up so early as on the way down the tram queue was packed out. During the bus ride back we decided to get off and visit the Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the largest in Malaysia. The street where the bus dropped us was full of traders selling their wears and we had to weave in and out in the baking heat to find our way to the temple.
Kek Lok Si Temple with its impressive structures and brightly coloured buildings loomed over us. To get to it one had to go through a long cobbled maze, winding up and round with shop keepers at every turn selling anything from water to Spanish flamenco outfits. There was a small bridge with turtles swimming all around on the way up, but again up and around along the never ending path with hand written signs leading the way.
Once we reached the top we were so hot and bothered it was an effort to take it in. We joined the scores of tourists taking photographs and appreciating its beauty. Incandescent Buddha statues shone brilliantly with the illuminating scent of incense from passers by offering prayer. We found a peaceful garden further up and sat in the shade, decorated with stone turtles across the lawn and the sound of water trickling from a nearby trough was thoroughly relaxing.
Back down into the street and realising what a juxtaposition the two places were in such close proximity, we caught the bus back into George Town to chill at the hostel and opted for another cold shower.
In the evening we headed out for dinner, not knowing what we were quite in the mood for we kept walking on. Down Love Lane, around the corner and down the wonderful street full of the lovely colonial buildings and to the end… then we saw it. Bright lights glistening behind trees just off to the right, Red Garden Food Paradise! It was like a secret world unbeknownst to passers-by. Once inside we found it busy with locals, travellers and holiday makers with a vast array of food on offer. Kiwi opted for a pad thai and Jack had a Thai Green Curry (a flapper, as he would say) The food was absolutely delicious and a fraction of the price in the busier back packer area. Just as we had finished eating the heavens opened once more and a storm was in full flow, no point trying to fight it so we ordered another beer and enjoyed the entertainment – a small stage with four singers taking it in turns to perform, along with the head guy on keyboard adorned in a cowboy hat.
An enjoyable evening!

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On arrival at the hostel we were given a map of the area which pointed out local sights. The next morning we set off to walk around George Town and follow the street art tour. Impressive paintings and drawings were found all over George Town, some the span of a whole building, others hidden away behind a shop door and even inside some buildings.
We walked down to the pier and around a beautiful sunlit park and across to George Town’s impressive town hall – a great white building that stood out among its neighbours. Afterwards we visited George Town’s camera museum. Jack found it very informative and they had one whole room as a pin hole camera projecting the image of two men at work out on the street. In the evening we went to the Red Garden Food Paradise again and enjoyed much of the same as the previous night, with the exception of stopping beforehand to do laundry (exciting!)

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Next stop... Thailand!

J & K xx

Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 21:57 Archived in Malaysia Tagged landscapes beaches temples honeymoon malaysia penang travelling georgetown travelling_honeymoon penang_hill Comments (2)

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