Penang

Trip Start Oct 06, 2008
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39
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Trip End Jan 28, 2010


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Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Thursday, January 15, 2009

 

 Georgetown is decent sized town, located in north west Malaysia, on the island of Penang, in the straits of Melaka. The architecture is very similar to that of the town of Melaka due to it’s colonial heritage, but the majority Chinese population gives it a much different feel. Most travelers we had talked to said it was nothing special and could easily be missed. We really liked it...


Arriving in a town and already having low expectations is never helped by staying in crappy accommodation. On our first night in Georgetown however, this is exactly what we did. This was not through choice but rather due to floods of people on Thai visa runs. Finding anywhere to stay proved to be tricky. Early the next morning we hired a scooter and its first task was to help us canvas the area looking for openings at the nicer hostels. With 125cc of raw power we quickly found a mint new place to stay.

 The second task for our two wheeled friend was to get us to the Thai consulate to organise a visa. One way streets, several wrong turns and a map that wasn’t 100% accurate didn’t stop us from arriving just as the doors opened. We had to head almost straight back into town to get our passports photocopied but still managed to get everything sorted for the same day service. Nice one. Pity they couldn’t do it same day back in Kota Bharu where we wanted to leave, rather than here where we planned to stay...

Our little bike had already paid for itself by avoiding the fees most people in town charge to sort visas out but it still had plenty more to give. Without a hint of a rain cloud in sight we set off on a tour of the island - ninety six kilometers around. We stopped at almost all of the sights on our tourist map but visited none, as we were scared away by the tourist prices. The ride itself was so nice though that it didn’t matter in the slightest. The only minor exception was buying a huge fruit salad from a fruit farm high up in the hills in the middle of the island. It made for a very refreshing lunch and with a spectacular view the tourist price seemed reasonable enough. By the time we got back to Georgetown we were thoroughly convinced that all of the bad things we had heard about Penang must have come from people that never hired a scooter...

With a few hours to spare before picking up our passports we accidentally stumbled across a huge temple and spent all the available time there. It may be because of Chinese New Year or it may be normal, but either way the whole place was covered in yellow and red lanterns. Strings of christmas tree lights were wrapped around everything too and, despite the power bill, it must look fantastic at night time. It also had a massive pagoda that we paid to climb due to the sales pitch of the monk collecting the money - “It’s very nice”.

 Back at our new hostel, with our passports and visa in hand, we were not surprised at all to see a familiar smiling face walking down the road towards us. It was Veronica, the female half of a couple we met in Pulau Weh, Bukit Lawang and Tuk Tuk in Indonesia and now Georgetown in Malaysia. We have often bumped into people multiple times on our travels but this was the first time we had done so over two countries. It’s a small world after all, apparently...

 Two more nights and one more day saw us come to the end of a thoroughly nice time in Georgetown. A ferry was our next mode of transport and it would take us to what may be our last stop in Malaysia.

 Next stop Langkawi...
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