Malaysia Part Two: a journey to Penang

20-22 June 2010

After a lie-in followed by some noodle soup, I set off from Kuala Lumpur to Penang with the Gap Year Buddy. Our host family had relatives in Penang and their nephew was taking us back there with him, after his visit to KL. 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 thin crepe/poppadom-esque bread covered in milk and sugar, which was 3-plates long), chicken tandoori and a sweat tea. Penang is famous for its food and we planned to take full advantage of this. After walking 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 the postcards I wanted to send home. So long as we were out of bed, we thought we probably should do something and so ended up at a local snake temple. There was a 10m cow-eating python (in a sadly small cage), 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 by one of our hosts, 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 another one of our hosts took us to the local Hard Rock Hotel for a little peak. It may not sound much like a tourist attraction but the impressive  pool and memorabilia was. Afterwards we hit the nearby Batu Ferringhi night market and then once again met up with the friends with had seen Kuala Lumpur (and Australia and Singapore, having met in New Zealand). 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 to get to the highest point in the temple complex but once up there we got some lovely views of the island and lots of photos.

After a snack of caramelised banana chips and then lunch, it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and hop on another Aeroline bus back to Kuala Lumpur and our original hosts. 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.

Read about the rest of my trip:

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