11.01.2017 - 17.01.2017 33 °C
Penang is a great place to visit for a short time. We were told to visit Penang because it is very popular with tourists. We are after all different kinds of experiences on this journey of ours. Yes, we want to experiance the 'real culture' in places, but the tourist spots aren't one to be missed. Besides, there is always fun stuff to do in these places, so we booked to stay for 8 nights (flights were cheapest for those dates too😏 Always helps.
Well, it wasn't exactly what we were expecting. We were thinking of lots of beaches, attractions, sights and so on. We stayed in a place called George Town which is know to be the typical tourist destination in Penang. We arrived very early morning and could see that one of the main reasons this place (Love Lane, George Town) was so popular was the night life and amount of hostels. Don't get me wrong, the place was not crazy or anything. It was a pretty short street, but the atmosphere looked pretty awesome. As it was 1am and we had been travelling the full day, we decided to get to sleep, ready to give it our all the next morning.
So, we got up pretty early, got our brekkie at the hostel which was again, included with our booking. (Decided that this is a brilliant way to save the 💰 By the way) It was decent, we got toast with some different spreads and watermelon each day. Can't complain for nothing. Anyway, we scoffed it down, grabbed a map from the hostel and took to George Town to explore. We noticed some spots on the map where we could see some street art and so we ended up going on a little mission to see it all. There was some pretty awesome stuff. Neil obviously got involved 🙄
Our hostel was at a cross junction and so each day, we would walk in different directions. One day, we headed towards the coast to find the beach. We came to a market/village type place which was built on a small wooden Jetty (a small pier where boats can dock). I don't know how it was still standing to be honest. We had stumbled upon one of 6 remaining clan jetties. A clan is a group of close-knit families; in this case, they are all of Chinese origin. A clan Jetty is a community village consisting of houses built on stilts, over the water. When the jetties were built in mid 19th century everybody who lived on the same jetty, had the same last name because they had all come from the same fishing village in Fuji. When they arrived, they did not have money to buy land and so decided to build the jetties. To this day, none of the families pay tax as they are not living on land.
The men go out to fish to feed their families and the women would stay in the shops to sell all sorts of things such as tourist souvenirs, henna tattoos, smoothies and so on. One thing I spotted was Egg Jelly! I mean, just, why?
On our 2nd or 3rd night in Penang, it was ladies night, which basically means that girls get cheap/free drinks in certain places. Paul had also been looking online for good places to visit. He found a place which was basically a convenience store which sold really cheap booze and had pull up chairs outside. Apparently, many locals and travellers would go there each night and everybody gets talking to everybody, so we went. We had a really good night. We started the night there, went to the main strip and then ended the night there. I actually met a guy there who happened to know one of my friends from back home (small world). It was a really good night and cost us next to nothing, and I think we ate at some point too. 🤔
One of the other days in Penang, we decided to visit the national park. A couple who had been staying in our hostel recommended it and mentioned that we could get the bus there and back easily. Well, whilst it was really good, it was tougher than we had expected. The heat made it a million times harder. The path wasn't really much of a path. We walked along logs, climbed and crawled through it. The wildlife made it even more interesting. Monitor lizards which were a good meter long were able to make Paul make a noise I have never heard him make before 😂🐊 seriously though, we were both pretty freaked out about snakes 🐍😢. Before going in to the park, you also had to write details down, such as your passport number. The reason was made clear about 10 minutes in. 😲 Anyway, at the end, we came out to Monkey Beach where we saw zero monkey's, but it was a really nice beach, excluding the biggest jellyfish I have ever seen.
As you can see, Neil graced us with his presence. We chilled out at the beach for a little while and then got a boat back to where we had begun. Neither of us had the energy to trek back. Plus the boat trip was pretty cool. We were taken to a very long, wooden pier to walk down to reach the entrance. It was not what I would consider in line with the health and safety regulations back home and some people were refusing to walk it. But for anybody who has never been to Asia, I would say that this is something that you need to get used to if you plan to visit.
So we did really enjoy Penang for 3/4 days, but after that, we kind of found that we spent lots of time, wasting time. We went for a lot of walks. In the different directions and spent lots of time chilling at our hostel. Luckily, it was a decent one.
Again, we tried some more local foods and drinks. Paul had a green drink called Ambra on one of the days. When I asked how it tasted, he said... 'Like a tree' 🙈 We also tried some fruits that we haven't had before. Jack fruit which was really nice, star fruit which was pretty sweet, kind of like a really hard apple, and coconut jelly which Paul liked but I didn't.
All in all, we enjoyed Penang and would recommend a drop in if you visit Malaysia. But four days max.
Now, let see if we can find a beach. Off to Langkawi we go...