Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
169Trip End ??? ??, 2007
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The second place I visited was Fort Cornwallis. A certain Captain Light from Suffolk was first to use Penang Island as a port and quickly turned the low populated island into a thriving port
I left Penang at about 12am - that meant getting back on the ferry and arriving on the mainland at Butterworth again. I wanted a bus to Taiping where I would spend the night and check out the Taiping Zoo Night Safari. I had to wait 3 hours for a bus to leave in that direction but the journey itself only took an hour.
Taiping is a grubby little town and I didn't see another westerner the whole time I was there. I found the Peking Hotel which had an ok write up in the Lonely Planet and checked in. The room was very basic and I had the feeling this whole stay in Taiping might have been a mistake.
I waited till 8pm when the zoo opens for the second time in the day and walked to it. I'd arrived too late to see it during normal daytime opening hours and had a little trouble finding it in the dark. It was a long old walk to the zoo - probably about 45 mins and just felt plain weird walking out there - no houses, no shops just roads through parkland and cars going by every now and then
I was relieved when I finally saw it and headed for the cashier. I asked her how many punters were in tonight and she said about 30 which was encouraging at least! If she'd have said 3 I might have walked back home again. It turned out the 30 were all Malaysians and they had all boarded a shuttle train which would whizz them around the zoo and give commentary in Malaysian. That left me on my own to walk round a zoo in the dark not sure whether I'd visited all the bits, or what exactly I was looking for!
To its credit I did enjoy what I saw - lots of nocturnal animals being fed and just doing their own thing in the evening. Taiping Zoo has many nocturnal species and that's why they had the idea to open at night. If I saw a light on, I would head for it, and then squint at the sign to read what was in the cage! Highlights were the Malaysian Flying Foxes (Large Fruit Bats), Leopard Cats, African Lions feeding, Chimpanzees, and Malaysian Bears.
I left the zoo feeling like I'd done something a bit different and walked the 45 minutes to the hotel. My pictures were really bad so I'll just upload one or two to give you the idea of it!