3 Nights in Penang

Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
Trip End Jan 25, 2009

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

I'm currently staying at Baba's Guesthouse, which by public transport, is about 1 hour out of Georgetown, Penang. The area is called 'Batu Farringhi' and has a beautiful stretch of beach, lots of cheap guesthouses, and numerous restaurants littered along the beach strip. It's a relaxing area and a lot quieter than the hectic pace of Georgetown where I'm currently writing this.

The journey to Penang took 6 hours from Tanah Rata. The bus driver decided to have an extended 1 hour lunch break in Ipoh which added to the journey. The journey from Tanah Rata to Ipoh, a short distance in terms of kms, took up half the 6 hours. I left Tanah Rata at 9am and arrived at my guesthouse at 5pm... a long day of travel. It was great to finally arrive at such a great destination with a relaxing beach frontage and pleasant atmosphere.

Baba's guesthouse is nothing to rave about but I'm enjoying having my own room about 5 minutes walk from the beach with air con and ensuite for a mere $20 a night... beats the cubby hole I endured earlier this week. I'm kind of glad I decided to stay at Batu Farringhi because I probably wouldn't have got to see this stretch of sand if I hadn't.

On the second day here I decided to be a tourist and go to the top of Penang Hill, about 1.5km above sea level. The funicular to the top was crowded but was a bargain at $1 return. The view at the top was masked by cloud but nevertheless gave me a good overview of the area. Definitely not a good as view as Mt Fabre in Singapore. Georgetown is everything I thought it would be... lots of Chinese, truckshaws (I think that's what they're called) and 2 story houses with windows covered with wooden shutters.

I met Valerie whilst up Penang Hill, who was out with her kids. Valerie, a teacher who works at an International School here has lived here for 7.5 years. Talk about commitment... I couldn't do it. I'm finding the going here in Asia is quite different to that of Australia, especially with the hot and humid climate, the dusty streets, and rough public transport. Valerie gladly offered me a trip to the biggest temple in Malaysia, Kek Lok Si Temple. An awesome sight, I was glad to make the effort to see this. Following my visit to the temple, I strolled down to the lower area where bargains were very tempting (i.e. 3 shirts for $3... the cheapest I've come across so far).

The last couple of nights have been spent relaxing along the stretch of beach with nice, cheap food and Tiger beer. The Long Restaurant serves up an abundance of sea food for rock bottom prices. It sure is a bargain travelling through this region. I've enjoyed Penang and will probably re-visit this area in the future, but I'm equally looking forward to the next couple of weeks including 3 nights in Langkowi, my b'day in Phuket, followed by a week or so at Ko Samui etc. Sounds pretty good to me, especially with the thought of not having to join my colleagues in returning to work next week:)

Tomorrow I board a 2 and a half hour ferry to Langkowi where I will be spending another 3 nights. I've been told that Langkowi is even better than Penang.
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