Malaysia - Truly Asia

Penang Travel Blog

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Colonial Headquarters
Air Asia may be cheap, but they're service is pretty shocking. My first two flights with Air Asia was Phnom Penh - Kuala Lumpur, then Kuala Lumpur to Penang. The first flight was delayed for 15 minutes, no biggie but my second flight ended up being delayed for 2 hours!

I didn't arrive in Penang till a bit after midnight, and god I was tired. Not only that after midnight taxi fares had an extra 50% surcharge, so from the Penang airport to Georgetown I ended up paying 57RM (approx $25AUS).
Lunch at a Chinese restaurant
Luckily the taxi ticket sales person was generous enough to accept my AUS dollars, because on the counter it clearly stated, Malaysian Ringgit only.

The taxi trip took approx 20 minutes, so by the time I arrived it was pretty much almost 1am. The taxi driver did a quick lap trying to find Harwich Backpackers Lodge, but it seemed to have closed down. So the generous taxi driver helped me check out a few places, but they were ALL full house.
He dropped me off at the end of Love Lane, and I did another lap. Along the way, I was approached by some not so pretty freelancers, and declined their offers. I checked out a few hotels and guesthouses but they weren't very clean, however I stumbled on E&A Budget Hotel Sdn. Bhd, on Lubuh Chulia. The going rate was 25RM, but I managed to bargain it down to 22RM (I know it's not much LOL).
Mosque


As I woke up and head out to do some site seeing, I was informed that it was a public holiday, and most places were closed!!!! Arghh what timing!

I took a trishaw trip around the small colonial town for an hour, costing me 25RM. I visited a number of the historical buildings including some Chinese and Indian temples, town halls and so fourth. My trishaw driver was a Japanese old man who came down to Malaysia to make money to send back to his parents in Japan. He was very educated in his surroundings and informed me of who the inhabitants were, what buildings we were visiting and whether the restaurants were good places or bad places to eat and whether they were expensive or cheap!

After the 1 hour tour of the city, I jumped on a bus to head up to Penang Hill to visit Kek Lak Si Temple.
Inside a Hindu Shrine
On the bus I met with 2 English girls Sarah and um... shoots can't remember her name (:S eep sorry). We weren't 100% sure where to jump off, but the short trip ended up being an exhausting, horrifying trip as the bus was loaded up with no space to move and there was no form of air-con or fan at all. It took a bit over an hour to arrive.

Upon arrival at 12:30pm, we were informed that we were not able to jump on the train up Penang Hill until 5:30, as it was all booked out!... So the girls went their own ways and I set off on a 3km hike to the temple of Kek Lak Si, situated on a hill nearby.

The hike was an awesome exhausting experience, however the major downfall was the fact that the temple it self was a commercialized pot of gold. The temple complex consists of various levels and terraces and upon each level at each entry and each exit, was massive gift shops.
Kok Lok Si Temple
What's more is that in certain area's it required an entry fee, and to reach the very top of the temple complex you had to pay a fee to use their escalator - two ways (the only way up and down that was feasible). So generally speaking the atmosphere of the temple wasn't really a temple as hoards and hoards of travelers and locals alike entered the massive temple theme park.

I left the temple complex after an 2 hours (yes that’s how big it is!!!) and headed back to the base of Penang Hill, I waited about another 45mins until it was my turn to jump on the train that escalated the side of the mountain.

My first experience of Malaysian mayhem was while lining up for the train. The Malaysians, especially the Chinese Malaysians were very aggressive with continual pushing and shoving like as if they were being chased by a wild tiger or something.
Up on Penang Hill
(No offence to the Malaysians, but this is my hands-on experience).

The ride up cost 3.60RM I think it was and it took about 30 minutes to get up. The hill isn't exactly a hill as it was 740m or so above sea level. But by god the view was spectacular; I managed to stay for the night views when the city below us lit up with an array of lights, set in front of a mountain backdrop.

On top of the mountain was also a Mosque and a Hindu temple where many worshippers were chanting and praying. Along the sides of the mountain were trek paths, which I did not get the chance to try as my stay in Penang was a very short stay.

Upon waiting for a train back down the mountain, the lines got aggressively long, as it started to rain. At one point I couldn't stand it so I just pushed and shoved my way through between some Chinese Malaysian Woman, as they tried to get in front of me! GRRRRRRR...
Anyways tomorrow morning I will be flying to Kuala Lumpur, So long...
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Colonial Headquarters
Colonial Headquarters
Lunch at a Chinese restaurant
Lunch at a Chinese restaurant
Mosque
Mosque
Inside a Hindu Shrine
Inside a Hindu Shrine
Kok Lok Si Temple
Kok Lok Si Temple
Up on Penang Hill
Up on Penang Hill
Penang
photo by: Aurora78