Date I was there: 20-22 June 2010
After a lie-in and some noodle soup, I set off from Kuala Lumpur to Penang with my travel buddy and my hosts’ relatives. Four hours and one ice cream stop later, we arrived, only to receive the unwelcome news that the hotel we hoped to check in to was full. Thankfully, and very kindly, our new friends said we could stay with them and promptly took us out for a tour of George Town. We wandered along the waterfront, sampling the local food as we went: fish satay, roti tisu (a type of crepe/poppadom-esque bread covered in milk and sugar and that was 3-plates long), chicken tandoori and a sweat tea. Penang is famous for its food and it didn’t take us long to realise why. After meandering through a mall and picking up some chocolate milk, our first day in the town drew to a close.
The sound of rain the next morning kept lulling me back to sleep but I finally managed to stay awake for long enough to roll out of bed and go get stamps for our old-school postcards- remember those? So long as we were out of bed, we thought we probably should do something and so ended up at a snake temple. There was a 10m cow-eating python, a big tortoise that didn’t look particularly happy and a man kissing a poisonous cobra.
After a lunch of honey chicken and rice, we were taken to a food market which was full of fruits and vegetables I had never seen before. We picked up some shellfish, fish and vegetables for what turned out to be a delicious dinner. We were being spoiled.
That evening we were taken to the local Hard Rock Hotel for a look around. It may not sound much like a tourist attraction but the impressive pool and memorabilia was. Afterwards it was time to hit the Batu Ferringhi night market and then meet up with the travel buddies we had now seen in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and before in Malaysia while we were in Kuala Lumpur. This would be our last reunion and we spent it walking on the beach and getting a drink from Sunset Bistro, with its Caribbean vibe, before saying a final farewell.
We spent our last day in Penang visiting the beautiful Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the biggest Chinese temples in the area. We did have to walk up quite a few stairs but we got some good views of the island and lots of photos. After a snack of caramelised banana chips and then lunch, it was time to say goodbye and hop on another Aeroline bus back to Kuala Lumpur. The bus interior looked more like quite a nice aeroplane, with TV screens in the back of all the chairs. Admittedly, again, the movie quality wasn’t great and as I was watching Harry Potter the shadow of a man crossed the screen, clearly off to the bathroom.