Loads of visitors to Penang go for the beach so I decided, considering that my boss was paying for the airfare, to check out Batu Ferringhi for the weekend. Even though this was my fifth trip to Penang, I had never explored this part of the island; and believe me when I tell you there is a lot to explore. I am not really a ‘beach’ person so I chose to visit the Butterfly Farm and the Spice Garden.
I had hoped to walk the distance between these two sites but it turned out that it isn’t possible. There are no sidewalks along the road and the beach is not consistent The good news is that the bus is very cheap. The bad news is that Agoda has still not reimbursed me for the money that they stole from me. If you can advise how to deal with internet theft, I would appreciate it.
My fifth trip to Penang was a couple of months ago but it didn’t start off very well. In fact, it could have been a disaster. I had been asked to conduct two days of training literally across the street from the Krystal Suites, the hotel where I stayed in 2011. I booked with Agoda and was issued a confirmation for two nights. When I arrived I noticed that the unmanned reception desk had dust on it. Not a good sign. There were two security guards at a desk in the lobby who informed me that the hotel had been closed for two years! Agoda is still taking bookings for this hotel.
Luckily for me, I had stayed here before and knew there was a good hotel not too far away. The security guards called a taxi for me which took me to the Eastin Hotel If I had been a tourist from Europe who had never been to Penang and didn’t speak English very well, I would have been in dire straits. Agoda charged me for one night as a cancellation fee for a hotel that was not open. It reminds me of the scam that the Wine Guys were pulling in Australia but Agoda is a global company. How are they getting away with this!?!
Anyway, my fifth trip to Penang has a happy ending (my favourite kind) but you will have to wait until next week for Penang – Part 5 (B) 🙂
My fourth visit to Penang was part of a Holland America Cruise that I took over Christmas and the New Year with my sister Brenda just a few years ago. As I mentioned in Penang – Part One, this is one of my favourite places and so I was really excited to share it with my sister. The walk from the cruise ship port to the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, where we had a lunch of local food, is approximately a kilometer and a half and passes by some historical sights. I had a martini to raise a toast to Farquart’s Bar and to Billy Duncan.
My third visit to Penang included a trip across the bridge to Butterworth, the mainland part of Penang state. I had been invited to attend a wedding in George Town that weekend but the festivities began on Friday night at a nightclub in Butterworth. Clearly, this was going to be a rocking weekend!
The next day my friend Jen took me to some of her favourite places in George Town. Penang is considered by some to be the “Food Capital” of Malaysia.
I was able to visit the apartment of the groom’s parents in the residential area of Air Hitam, a part of Penang with a fascinating history. Please follow this link if you would like to learn more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Itam
My next trip to Penang was in 2011 for business. I was asked to come and conduct on-site training for an international company with offices in Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. This area is in the south-eastern part of Pulau Pinang (that’s Malay for Penang Island). My flight from Singapore arrived the morning before the training so I had most of the day to explore a new part of Penang. I chose to check out the snake temple.
There are more than just snakes, and believe me, there are a lot of snakes; there are also monkeys, tortoises and turtles, as well as iguanas and other kinds of lizards.
For lunch, I went to Jaya Cater’s Corner, a nearby open-air Indian restaurant where I had roti prata. The irony of eating Indian food and visiting a Chinese temple in Malaysia is not completely lost on me but I also think it serves to prove that Malaysia is more multi-cultural than some might think.
Penang Island, in the Straits of Malacca, is my favourite part of Malaysia. In fact, it is one of my favourite places in South East Asia. Last month, I went to Penang for the fifth time and I decided it was time to write about it on this blog.
The first time I went to Penang was about 7 1/2 years ago. I wrote about it on The AFB and if you follow this link you can read about how Penang had been on my list for a long time.
That first trip was to George Town, the capital of Penang and it was love at first sight for me. I spent an entire day wandering around looking at the street art and I ended up at the Clan Jetties.
The next day I visited Penang Hill with its Kek Lok Si Temple which, according to Wikipedia “…is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.” It is also home to a huge statue of the Goddess of Mercy.
Not only was that trip my first to Penang but it was also my first time staying in a Tune Hotel. I can recommend it for those whose budget falls between a hostel and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel.
Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is often called, is the largest city in Malaysia. According to Lonely Planet, “The founding of KL was almost an accident. In 1857, 87 Chinese prospectors in search of tin landed at the meeting point of the Klang and Gombak rivers and set up camp, naming the spot Kuala Lumpur, meaning ‘muddy confluence’.”
These days Kuala Lumpur is more famous for the Petronas Twin Towers than it is for the twin muddy rivers. I have written about my frequent trips from Singapore to KL but this post is about an opportunity I had to share my favourite part of KL with some visiting Canadians.
We began our evening at Bijan Bar & Restaurant which advertises that they serve “fine Malay cuisine”. The food, the ambiance, and the service were all great. This restaurant is located in the trendy Bukit Bintang area so there were plenty of places to choose from for a ‘nightcap’ after we finished our wonderful meal.