A Travellerspoint blog

2017 OCTOBER - MALAYSIA, PENANG

A FEW DAYS IN LUXURY IN PENANG

sunny

THIS BLOG IS BEING WRITTEN FROM MEMORY SO NOT MUCH DETAIL.
I AM CATCHING UP ON MISSED BLOGS WHILE RELAXING ON TIOMAN ISLAND

DAY 251 SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2017

PEDANG BASAR, THAILAND TO BUTTERWORTH, MALAYSIA TO PENANG

Our sleeper train arrived at the border station about an hour late, but that did not matter as it was still morning and we had all day to get to our destination of Penang. The Thai train does not cross the border, we needed to get out at the Pedang Basar train station, go through Thai exit immigration, then go through Malaysian entry immigration, then continue our journey south to Butterworth from a train at the same station. This was an easy task involving about an hour of lining up waiting for our stamp out of Thailand. Timing was on our side because as soon as we were stamped into Malaysia we could board the train to Butterworth that left minutes later.

The ride to Butterworth was 11.40 myr = aud $3.52 each , and took about 2 hours in a comfortable, clean, air con train that was completely devoid of any kind of food or drink vendors.

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Before leaving the Butterworth station, I purchased our train tickets to Kuala Lumpur for a few days’ time as there were notices that today’s tickets to KL were already sold out. Purchasing in advance assures we travel the day we plan.

The train station at Butterworth was very close to the ferry that would carry us over to Penang, the only problem was that you must cross the train tracks, which meant lots of steps up and over the tracks, then down the other side. This task looked to be impossible for us with our luggage and we were relieved to be told by a nice gentleman in uniform that there was a free shuttle from just outside the train station to the ferry station. This free shuttle was supposed to be for the old and infirm, but another uniformed man who was at the shuttle stop seemed happy enough for us to line up for it with all our luggage.

The shuttle took us to the walk on ticket booth, where we purchased tickets for 1.20myr = aud 37c each and waited for the ferry to arrive. This was much better than even attempting to carry our luggage up and down steps. We made a mental note to get the free shuttle on the way back too. The ferry crossing took about 20 minutes.

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I had read about taxi sharks in Penang refusing to use their meters, so you have to bargain a price before you get in the taxi. Our hotel was only about 5km away so when the driver advised it was 20 myr I said what about 15 myr = aud $4.63 and he relented, giving me a look like we were ripping him off, which of course we were not!

While checking into the hotel I asked the reception what the price of the taxi should be, and he said no more than 15 myr, so I felt ok with the price we paid.

Hotel Royal Penang, our home for the next 3 nights. Malaysia is a little more expensive than Thailand and we have decided to stay somewhere a little bit nice. 140myr = aud $43.20 per night, for a room on the 15th floor with an amazing view.

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Next door to the hotel was a Giant supermarket that sold real bread – ie baguette, not sweet Asian bread. So for dinner we bought some bread & butter and a roast chicken, which we ate in our lovely room.

DAY 252 SUNDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2017

PENANG

The sky is still cloudy and grey but it’s hot outside. We went for a walk along the waterfront, checked out a few flash hotels where we could never afford to stay. And wandered through old Georgetown.

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Penang is famous for it CKT noodle dish which was a little disappointing when we had it last time we were here. This time we tried it again from a street vendor and it was ok (I think my Eric’s Noodle shop at home does a better job), but here it was only 5myr = aud $1.54 , and as we sat in the street we think it was the same street vendor we ate from last time.

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At a nearby 711 we also managed to find some Tiger Radler beer which was on special @ 7.10myr = aud $2.19 for 2 cans. We had a can with our street dinner and took one home for tomorrow.

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We walked around a little, then found our way back to the hotel.

DAY 253 MONDAY 16TH OCTOBER 2017

PENANG

Walked back into Georgetown to hire a motor bike as at 35myr = aud $10.80 , it was cheaper than getting taxi’s to the 2 places we wanted to visit today.

First up was a drive out to Penang Hill to ride the funicular up to the top for a bird’s eye view of Penang. Yes, us and 100’s of other tourists. It seems Penang only has a limited number of sights or things to do and this was the number one thing on everyone’s list. I stood in line to buy tickets 15myr = aud $4.63 each, one way, for about 35 minutes, and if I thought that was bad the line up to actually get on the funicular was about 1 ½ hours, in the heat!

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Finally it was our turn and the trip up took all of 5 minutes? But yes the view was good.

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There were a couple of very expensive restaurants up the top, but we also found a food court where most of the local people were eating. Here Lyn & I just shared a small meal as we had plans later that we didn’t want to spoil our appetites for. Chicken rice 6myr = aud $1.85
There was a temple, mosque and a few other gardens and things to see at the top, but mainly it was the view. Ah and there was a stage set up where for 15myr = aud $4.63 you could get your photo taken holding a snake. As I never like to let the opportunity of holding a snake go by, I managed to coax Lyn in joining me. As you can see by the photos she was not very impressed.

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We had bought just a one-way ticket on the funicular as we had intensions of walking down the path, but as it turns out we ran out of time as we had to be at our next destination before 5.30. So, we rode the rail back down, jumped back on the bike to our next destination.

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Our second destination for today was Suffolk House for afternoon high tea! Thought we would have a posh afternoon and out of all the places I found online, Suffolk House, which was once an English Governors house claimed to be the best place in Penang for high tea.

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I must say I was a little disappointed when we were served the tea in daggy old white café cups. Where was the English bone china to match the surroundings? The room was nice, although the pipped music turned a little rock n roll every couple of songs. The food was ok, I say ok as this is Asia, if I was served these rock biscuits in England or Europe as scones I would ask for a refund. But this is Asia, so I was a bit more lenient. The tea was nice, and our 2 cup pot was refilled numerous times, but the same bag was used. The food was enough as we took the tiny cakes away to be eaten later. Price we paid for 2 of us 95.40myr = aud $29.44 and I would score it a 4/10.
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We had a bit of a ride around before taking the bike back. We had used 2myr = aud 62c in fuel, so it was a bargain.

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Dinner was the remainder of chicken and bread & butter in our room with the fabulous view.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 23:30 Archived in Malaysia Tagged hill penang

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