So I got some time-off from work and with a whiff, decided to get on the move and away, maybe go see some friends and at the same time go sight seeing as well. To what seemed destined, there was an offer for the flight ticket and with a few clicks, my trip was booked and confirmed. Few weeks later, I started packing light, very light, shorts, shirts, towel, camera, batteries, charger, and was waiting for departure.
Penang is a state which is geographically divided by the sea, so part of the state called Seberang Perai, is in the Malaysian peninsular mainland, while the other half of it is on an island called Pulau Pinang (Penang Island). Confusing it may seem, Seberang Serai, and Penang Island, is under the political state of Penang, and that’s the way it is.
Georgetown, is a city, located in north-east corner of Penang Island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it a very interesting place to view architecture and cultural townscape.
among the streets.
The opportunity to get around Georgetown and did some sight-seeing is inspiring. There’s public transportation for moving around where we can get around the island and bus is the cheapest way to do it. With the main hub at KOMTAR, kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, getting around the city is not that difficult. Taxis are available, but not for the budget concern traveller. Walking, is pretty easy within georgetown, as the roads are marked and signage is clear everywhere. I got to use a friend’s motorbike while I was there and had the experience riding on the streets. Contrary to the rumours that I’ve heard before, Penang drivers are not that terrible as said, most that I’ve seen or encounter are courteous and they do follow the rules and regulations while driving. Traffic congestion is terrible at most of the time and worse at peak hours.
Penang is popular among the many thing due to its’ food. They got nasi kandar, char kuey teow, rojak pasembor, just to name a few. Finding good food to eat here is never a problem.
A glass of teh tarik, and the ice was placed at the side.. I was baffled for a moment.
Recommended me this toast with half boiled eggs.
It is among the best toast of bread, mixed with eggs that I’ve ever had. The aroma and fluffiness of the homemade bread made this breakfast unique. The toast, which is spread with butter is eaten after dipped in the eggs.
The burger was huge, maybe for someone that’s twice my size. It would have been better if the patty was homemade.
Another prominent and well-known landmark, actually quite near from the city centre if you are riding a motorcycle, weaving through the congested traffic. I could not imagine how long it would have take if I was driving by car.
I arrived early that morning, around 9 and there was only few people waiting in line to get up the train. So got the ticket for RM8 and went up soon without tussling. Up the peak, there’s an owl museum which required another ticket to enter, a cafeteria, souvenir shop, even a police station up at the hill-top. There was also a small hindu temple and a mosque.
Nothing much at the peak area, but for the sights overlooking the city, It would have been nice had it not for the cloudy skies, so if planning for some sight-seeing, it’s better to plan the proper time when going up so as not to waste the trip. More info.
Penang Hill a.k.a Bukit Bendera (which translates to flag hill).. Yet another peculiar doing of naming a place with basically two different names.
I didn’t spend too much time up there, went down after taking some pictures. Reaching the foot hill station, I was surprised that there was a crowd on the platform, waiting eagerly to board the train, which will be heading up again. how glad I was for coming an hour early. There’s only one rail track going up and down so the train will at some point side track for a short while to give way to each other when passing.
For a palace as unique and interesting as Penang, street photography is a must for me. Even though impromptu as it actually was, I came prepared. Lots of interesting people and new scenario for me to not ignore. Besides, travelling wouldn’t be travelling if there’s no photos to tell about.
I had no idea what he was doing or why, when I asked him, I didn’t understand what he was saying…
Taken at Campbel street market, they were just closing up that time, around 10 a.m. The surrounding streets around was not less interesting as well… Being there, I wish I had a few weeks to walk about all the lanes, alleys and corner photographing. A photographer’s heaven.
Straits Quay at night.
Night time. I head for Straits Quay. It’s a grand, marina themed retail outlet, aesthetically pleasing and happening. Looking expensive and classy, I can’t resist hanging about for a few hours and enjoying the surrounding sea and lights. There was a live band, playing a few numbers so it was the more interesting.
So after a light meal and walking about, visiting the stores at the retail area I got myself some gear for my travel kit, found a shop selling, outdoor sport goods, ranging from hiking backpacks to tools. Quality stuff. The owner is very friendly and helpful.
Next stop, Alor Star, Kedah.
I took the bus to Alor Star, at the bus station in Butterworth, Penang. The RM9.80 ticket took about 2 hours ride heading north. Alor Star is not a big city, with not many attractions, but, I was going there to visit a friend. The bus station, Sahab Perdana, is located quite far from the town centre, about 5 km further up the road located at the edge of the city, so as normal as it is, filled with touting taxi driver who would take the opportunity to squeeze some extra money from tourist or visitors which is what happened to me.
Just visiting, Paddy Museum
One of the attraction there is the Paddy Museum. located 8 km from the bus terminal, The fastest option of getting there and back seems to be by taxi, unless you have someone to drive you around. I was charged RM35 for the return journey from the museum and museum entry fee is RM5.
This museum has all the information about paddy and its history, you get to see all the variants from all over the world. Some was big and some were slim. I was surprised at the variety available.
For a museum, the space inside was quite big. It seemed kind of empty. Then again, the museum got two-floor of exhibit area.
The top floor, or tower, there’s a 360 view of the surrounding landscape, computer projection of course.
Behind the museum, there’s the science exhibition centre, Entrance is free and there are many toys and fun school science stuff to be seen. Suitable for kids actually but nevertheless it amused me as well.
South to Kuala Lumpur.
Down south back to Kuala Lumpur, the bus ticket RM39. It was a double-deck bus, spacious and with only 2 passenger including me on that 6 hour journey, I felt like a VIP. Arrived at Bukit Bintang at about midnight but the street was still busy and traffic was horribly congested due to the weekends, walked into a motel and immediately got a room. Tourist were frolicking around everywhere, It was unexpectedly very lively that night.
After few hours walking and tiring myself out, Took the bus to KL international airport and wait overnight at the airport. While doing so, I took this low shutter speed picture by resting the camera on the railings without the help of tripod. There’s no limit to creativity.
Not planning is sometimes fun.
Going into a trip unplanned is sometimes fun but it’s also a bit risky, even though it’s just domestically. Things may be not as easy and smooth as we planned and the effect might be in terms of financial sacrifices. I was backed up by a couple of friends at my destination so it was not that much of a gamble. This time I did it without planning but this will likely be the last.