Good food, safe and scenic

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Apr 18, 2006

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Friday, March 17, 2006

Have checked into the continental Penang after a bit of a fruitless search for a good hostel. We arrived in Penang and caught a local bus to the center, which I thought was fun but Trudie hated. All the locals and us were squeezed into this minibus, we had our packs of course. It must have been 35-38'C plus in the bus! It was about a half hour journey to the KOMTAR (I don't know what that stands for but is the bus terminal and a large mall). The bus from KL to Penang was great, it was a 'Sleeper or VIP' that has only 24 seats and is really lux. It was RM27 each (NZ$12) for the 5 hour journey. We could have gone for the flasher!! option with TV screens and food but it wa RM10 more so we gave it a miss - maybe for a longer journey! Anyway, we're in a tiny internet cafe on the main road just down from our cool hotel (with a pool and a beautiful view of the sea.) Back to the hostel/hotel situation we checked out a couple at RM78 and RM98 and they were shit. Literally, round the bowl in the bathroom - I mean not too bad but not flash. They were tidy enough but not great comparitive. The continental is 10 times better and we got a superior room for RM98, we're staying two nights :) The lesser rooms started at RM60, so I don't know why anyone would stay in the other hostels?

Trudie picked up a top down the road for RM30 and I looked at a couple, problem is they're more Malaysia than London or anywhere that isn't routinely over 30'C - I gave them a miss. People here seem nice, there is a RAF base - that's Malaysian RAF and I have been told this helps to keep the peace. American GI's also take R&R here.

Well - better go!

Slept in today - well till 9:30AM. Went down for our included breakfast - which was average. Took a wander in the direction of the Wat Chayamangkalaram and the adjacent Burmese temple. Though we ended up taking a taxi as the trip was slightly longer than we expected and quite exhausting in the heat. The Thai Wat had a Large reclining Buddha, apparently the 3rd biggest in the world at the Thai temple. The temples were both good, especially the Thai temple. There were hundreds of urns with ashes of deceased Buddhists, I assume. The whole temple, and the Burmese one also, were intricate in design and a real feast for the eyes.

Caught a taxi to the Ferry station and picked up some tickets to Langkawi island. Langkawi sounds good, beaches and it's just on the off-season! Schools are just going back and it isn't tourist season, maybe it's too hot for tourists... We leave tomorrow morning and will stay (on the beach) there for 3 days. Next wandered into Little India and bought some awesome food from an Indian hawker stall. Samosa's, onion bhaji and some other great treats! Only RM2.50 (NZ$0.75) for both of us - our cheapest and probably best meal yet. Picked up some mango (RM0.50) also. Next to the KOMTAR for a few hours shopping. Trudie picked up a top that she seems quite happy with. I grabbed a couple blank CDs and checked out the pirated software and DVDs, cheap (RM5 for CDs and RM9 for DVDs) but I didn't buy any. We're on our way back to the hotel to relax before going out to dinner tonight.

I will get some photos up before too long!

* Baba Guesthouse, Penang
* Hotel 1926, Penang
* 100 Cintra Street, Penang
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