A) Penang (ENG)

10/05/2018 – 11/05/2018

 

Penang state is located in the north-west of Malaysia (Wikipedia link). There is an island part (called Pulau Penang – Penang island), residential, where Georgetown, its capital lies and the mainland part, which is more industrial (Wikipedia link).

Until 1786, the state belonged to its neighbour Kedah state, but the Sultan sold it to the English East India Company.

There was a massive immigration from south-east China between the 19th and the 20th centuries and the Chinese community holds now the population majority.

From its immigration history and its several communities (Click here to learn about it), Malaysia is a country where most people speak at least three languages:

  • Hindu / Mandarin (traditional Chinese) and/or Cantonese (Chinese spoken in Hong-Kong)
  • Malay and dialects (there are four main dialects)
  • English

From Belgians point of view, we can only be ashamed upon seeing all those communities, religions, traditions and languages living together without any problem!

Buddhist temples, Hindu temples and Mosques share the same streets and the secret behind this peaceful coexistence seems to  lie within the knowledge of the communities language, knowledge of English and mutual respect of religions and traditions …

 

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When we arrived in Penang, elections were on the way. Voting is not mandatory here and the previons party in power was there for about 60 years! To show you voted, authorities dipped your finger into black ink that lasted for days

 


Transport from Krabi (Thailand)

As we wrote in a previous post about Krabi (You can check it out here), we booked an air-conditioned Minivan in one of the many travel agencies for 800 THB/pp (20€), including pick up at our hotel around 6:40-7AM (actually 6:30AM) and expected arrival in Georgetown Komtar bus station around 4PM. We got a few problems in Hat Yai, as we said in our post about Krabi, but we managed to get to Penang anyway :p

 


Transports in town

  • Ferries
  • Bridges
  • Penang international Airport
  • Local Bus 2 MYR/pp (0,5€), nice, they can get you anywhere
  • Taxi
  • Tram (Penang Hill)

 


Food

Malaysian food is a mix between indian and chinese food, which makes it varied.

Restaurants and street food are all over town. Basic food, like noodles and rice are quite cheap (5-6 MYR/pp (~1€)), with drinks for 1,5-2 MYR/pp (<0,5€).

Exemples of common street food

Bouffe (1)
Fried Kway Teow mee – Large noodles, fried with vegetables and eggs (Queenie’s favorite)
Bouffe (8)
Another version of Fried Kway Teow mee, with spicy sauce aside
Bouffe (5)
Rice, minced mango, pork, cucumbers, onions and fried shrimps
Bouffe (9)
Spicy chicken with soy sauce – So hot!!
Bouffe (11)
Wantan Mee – Egg noodles in soy sauce (My favorite)
Bouffe (7)
Ice cream : Vanilla-Chocolate, bananas and peanuts

 


Accomodation

Compared with Thailand, accomodation are more expensive (twice the price for the same quality). A private room with shared bathroom will cost you about 60 to 120 MYR (12-24€), even in basic guesthouses! The cheapest accomodations seem to be located within « Little India » district.

We spend two days at the « Goodnight Café & Homestay » Guesthouse, for 60 MYR/night (12€).

 


Laundry

We could not find any street washing machines, but some guesthouses have washing machines. It would seem that ours was free of charge.

 


Activities

  • Street art (they are pinpointed on maps.me)
  • English fort of Cornwallis. Quite disappointing and expensive (20 MYR/pp – 4€), considering there is not that much left of the fort besides a few cannons and one ammunition depot.
  • Penang Hill. You have two options to get to the top:
    • On foot – Free 😀 ; 2h30-3h on the way up, 1h-1h30 on the way down (Bring headlamps if you plan on going down after dusk)
    • Tramway. 30 MYR/pp (6€) for the way up and 15 MYR/pp (3€) for the way down (PS: Expect waiting hours, as there are queues…)
  • Kek Lok Si Temple (Chinese Pagoda). We unfortunately did not have time to go there
  • Beaches on the western coast

 


Picture of Georgetown

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Chinese temple
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Street Art

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Clock Tower , close to Cornwallis Fort

 

Cornwallis Fort

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One of the 17 cannons of the Fort and its Lighthouse on the back. It became Penang’s Harbor Lighthouse, afterrenovation in 1914 and 1925

FYI, 17 cannons were captured from pirates by English army in 1808. In 1871, there were 29 in total and the famous « Sri Rambai » was among them (see later).

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Ammunition depot, built in 1814
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The famous cannon « Sri Rambai »

Traditionally, people believed that cannon had properties aiding conception. More information on the Wikipedia Link here.

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Penang Hill

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First steps and traway line

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View from above at night

 


Next step

We will take a bus to Tenah Rata, in the Cameron Highlands, famous for its tea plantations of black Malaysian tea (produced by the BOH company). Bus ticket is sold at 40 MYR/pp (8€) and there two bus/day, the first at 8AM, the other at 1PM. Depending on the traffic jam, expect at least 4 hours to get there. We were not lucky and it took us 7 hours…

 

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