TheLoneRider.com Monday October 23, 2017 EDT 
a nomad in search of...
HOME PAGE About TheLoneRider Contact TheLoneRider Web TheLoneRider.com      
HOME PAGE
DESTINATIONS
Cambodia Canada France Hong Kong Indonesia Italy Laos Malaysia Monaco Myanmar Philippines Singapore Switzerland Thailand Vietnam USA
ACTIVITIES
Astral Projection Caving Fitness Freediving Kayaking Meditation Mountain Biking Mountaineering Rafting Rock Climbing Scuba Diving Snowboarding Surfing Traveling Yoga
REVIEWS
Book Review Gear Review Hotel Review Movie Review Restaurant Review
MISC
Art Chilling Out Cool Sites Community Counter Culture Food Odyssey best food recipes Lucid Thoughts Peoplescape Politics Print Media Quantum Mechanics Random Lives Showbiz Snapshot Slice of Life Thought Bubble Teaching Verbatim Wealth Building
WEB SERVICES
SEO Services Web Design Services Advertising Here

Traveling

Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016

Penang (Malaysia) Immersion

Location: Penang, Malaysia

Off to Penang from Kuala Lumpur
After 2 days in Kuala Lumpur, it was clear I wasn't enjoying myself anymore. Where to go? I could leave Malaysia altogether, but I still had 28 days left on my visa. I didn't want to waste it. Penang has always been tempting and unfulfilled since I wasn't able to visit last year when I was in KL. I've heard good things about the food scene. With further transport research, I learned that with the fast ETS train, it's less than 4 hours. With that, I was off for Penang thinking I'd be going to a rural town isolated in its own history and time. I was in for a shock!

The Trip from KL to Penang
Altogether, the trip was painless. I went to KL Sentral, boarded my ETS (KTMB) train and I arrived in Butterworth after 3 hours and 50 minutes! It was a walk to the ferry station (Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal) where I boarded the ferry for Georgetown (Weld Quay, aka - Jetty) - 20 minutes, MYR 1.20. From the Jetty, again, it was a short walk to the bus terminal in Georgetown for a trip to the city center. There is a free bus - Free Cat, which takes you around the Old City of Georgetown, where most of the backpacker hostels are located. The free bus departs every 15 minutes.

Penang (Malaysia) Immersion
street-art girl looking at the sea as the old ways of Penang are supplanted by modern scrappers defining the skyline

Penang City
To my surprise, Penang was none of what I thought it would be. Perhaps it has seen better days, but Penang is a full scale city with its own harbour, heritage (and well preserved) buildings, financial center, first-rate transport system and quaint charm to top it all! It has a rich culture and a fascinating history. At first glance, the energy felt right already. I knew I was going to enjoy myself here. I thought I was getting tired of traveling with my low energy in Kuala Lumpur, but upon arrival in Penang, I realized it wasn't me. It was how I was interacting with Kuala Lumpur.

Lodging

Just InnJust Inn
I booked online to make sure I had a quick place to stay upon arrival. With the low season, I paid MYR 18 for a bunk bed at Just Inn. I was lucky to have picked that place. It's new, clean, spacious, organized and centrally located. Tay, the guesthouse manager, was helpful and friendly. I was a short walk to food hawkers and the street art scene. I met fellow travelers whom I spent a fun time with during my stay.

Le Dream Boutique HotelLe Dream Boutique Hotel
I lucked-out having stayed 3 nights at Le Dream Boutique Hotel. It's new (just a few months open) and stylish with a modern theme. A sumptuous buffet breakfast is included with the room. It is centrally located as well (near the mall, Comtar, bus station but still within the Old City of Georgetown). The hotel has so many perks for its guests - free laundry, free shuttle service, free ice cream-cookies-coffee, free wine from 5:30-7:30pm, free nightly movie. I had the use of the roofdeck jacuzzi and gym. I was in wonderland, pampered and lavished, the entire 3 nights.

Casa Inn 56
As I checked-out of Le Dream, I drifted into the Love Lane street of Old City and chanced on this newly opened backpacker lodge - Casa Inn 56. I got lucky again having picked it. At MYR 20, it included breakfast and wifi. It was stylish in the Penang heritage tradition. It was clean, spacious (lobby and chillout center) with good energy for just hanging out. Likewise, I met a lot of travelers whom I spent time with.

I would highly recommend all these 3 places in Penang.

Typical Day
I'd been traveling for 4 years now and the mindset is no longer into exhausting everything a place can offer and crossing out items on the checklist. Paid packaged-tours are not that appealing either given many things to do on my own. In Penang, I would spend most of my days just walking around the city, getting surprised at the next street art around the bend. I eat on roadside stalls when I get hungry, getting to the end of the line for eats when I see people lining-up on a food stall - a clear indication this is a famous eating place. I would invariably be meeting people along the way. If it's too hot to be exploring around, I would do my online stuff in the comfort of my hostel. I may meet incoming hostel guests and a new people-interaction ensues. For the most part, I don't behave like a traveler...more like someone looking for a home with whatever time I can work with.

Wish List
As good as it gets in Penang, it's not perfect. I think Penang would be a better tourist destination with the following implementation.

  • smoking in public - I don't mind if people smoke as long as it's in open public spaces like a park or on the street. But not in fan restaurants or hostel lobbies. Just because no one openly complains doens't mean it's ok to breath-in 2nd hand smoke.
  • sidewalk - I find this odd considering Penang is now a global destination. The Old City has sidewalks but not clear throughout. People eventually have to walk on the narrow roads and be grazed closely by passing motorists.
  • peeling street art paint - one of Penang's attractions next to food is its street art. But surface preparation and quality of paint used is inferior. Already, famous art pieces are peeling off the wall.

Peoplescape

peoplescape

Having stayed long in Penang in just a few lodges, I experienced the coming and going of travelers, some of whom I've become friends with. Like most places I've been too, it's a non-stop turning of a revolving door, seeing people I'm just developing a connection with, leave...and seeing new faces come in, knowing fully well the cycle repeates itself. You eat 'impermanence' for breakfast and 'detachment' becomes the name of the game.

Abundance
Money-wise and accommodation-wise, Penang was giving. A little here and a little there goes a long way. It's not about getting rich, it's just about getting bus fare for the next place. The universe provides...when the need arises. I've met wonderful people I think I'll be bumping into again. I look forward to that.

Ending Thoughts
With the 23 days I spent in Penang, I had the luxury of getting the feel of the place....instead of seeing it as a passing blur. Penang is one of those special places you want to stay longer in. It's got all the right ingredients working well together - coastal location, food capital, street art, friendly locals, chill travelers, budget friendly, and an overall energy that feels reassuring. Penang is definitely one of the places I would recommend to any traveler. I put it up there with Bangkok, Singapore, Pai, Da Lat, Hoi An, Siem Reap and Luang Prabang. As good as the going was, I felt the looming restlessness. With 5 more days left on my visa, it was time to move on and see another destination before leaving Malaysia altogether.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

on the ETS train en route to Penang from Kuala Lumpur meeting Shine on the ferry, a Singaporean traveler reaching Penang Island the free bus cruising along Georgetown from the jetty
Just Inn, my first home in Penang with fellow travelers from Just Inn - Francois and Devon giving Iron Man the tiger look manicured elegance amid the ruins...this is so Penang
Penang is a justaposition of old and new Penang's coastal perimeter a small patch of beach by the city 2 lovers a world apart...chos!
the old sandwiched by the new...Penang I thought the famous movie, Anna and the King was fiction the Protestant Cemetary where Anna's husband is buried a Hindu temple and the skyscraper, Comtar, competing for the skyline
kids at play with a Transformer Mr. Bean at a wax museum Penang Times Square...imposing on the outside, empty on the inside feeding frenzy...a typical foodscape scenery
extreme devotees...I'll never get it tri-shaw array....old world persistence at a foodcourt with Belarusian Tatiana and hostel staff Penang at night
with German traveler, Evi Durian stall at MacAlister Road drying my laundry on my bunk bed I got off the bus at Balik Pulau for Durian...which direction to take?
Durian with Sanna meeting Manna...guru, yogi and mystic chilling at Casa Inn 56 with Sasha - traveler, monk, yogi and guru
ruins of Penang the famous Koay Teoy man on Jalan Siam a metaphor for Penang - ruin, art, texture, mix media being part of the art
with Syaquera of Casa Inn 56 Penang is elegant in white Masjid Kapitan Keling, the oldest mosque in Penang bicycle rental shop
at the Penang Couchsurfers' meeting at Antarabangsa, Penang's cheapest beer place - 3 cans for MYR 10 broken heart? You now qualify for priority seating on Penang's public bus best Coconut Tart is this un-named stall in the middle...that's Penang for you
market scene and food scene restored art houses at the Heritage Site tea stop and checking the map tourists on a bus-bike
with Francois and Regina  at Just Inn street dancing with Janine at Chew Jetty headstand for posterity
Big Bowl Ramen with friends from the Philippines - Junne, Janine and Jay walk about town with laptop...just in case I could make a few bucks at Antarabangsa with Laura and new friends from Singapore - Jacklyn at the Indian Resto with Junne and folks from Typsy Tiger
at the jetty neighborhood on stilts working out at the Le Dream Boutique Hotel gym buffet breakfast at Le Dream Hotel

Google Map Penang, Malaysia



tourist attractions in Penang tourist attractions
  • Batu Ferringhi in Penang Batu Ferringhi - beach resort town 30 minutes from Georgetown
  • Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) in Penang Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) at the National Park (Taman Negara) - free admission, beach, camping, trekking and maybe you get to see a turtle lay eggs
  • Penang Hill in Penang Penang Hill - panoramic view of Penang from 830 meters above sea level
    Hours: 6:30am–10:30pm, Phone: +60 19-750 2139
  • Botanical Gardens Penang Botanical Gardens - developed in 1884, the garden is 29 hectares of prime evergreen tropical rain forests just on the outskirt of Georgetown
    10470 George Town, Penang | 5am–9pm | +60 4-227 0428
  • Botanical Gardens Penang Penang National Park - with 2,562 hectares, the park is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets. The sandy beach of Pantai Kerachut is also a nesting place of Green turtles from April to August
  • 
Pinang Peranakan Mansion Pinang Peranakan Mansion - a stately home has been renovated to back to its former glory to showcase the opulence, lifestyle and times of the Peranakan a century ago. Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Admission: MYR20.00
  • 
Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum - modern interactive 3D art Museum with the "Glow in the Dark" theme | 145, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 Georgetown, Penang | Adult MYR 18, kids MYR 10 | Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:30, Sat-Sun: 10:00 - 21:30
hotels in Penang - hotel
  • Le Dream Boutique Hotel Le Dream Boutique Hotel - central location, fitness gym, jacuzzi, compli wine hour, all day treats, movie nights
    139, Jalan Pintai Tali, Georgetown - 5°24'55.9"N 100°19'58.4"E
  • Just Inn Hotel Just Inn - central location, clean, affordable, helpful and friendly staff
    155,157,159, Carnarvon Street, 10100 George Town, Malaysia - 5°24'53.8"N 100°20'05.3"E
restaurant in Penang - restaurant
  • My Voice - Big Bowl Ramen My Voice - Big Bowl Ramen - 2 locations to serve you, biggest ramen bowl for everyone to join
    1. C-5-1, Lorong Bayan Indah 3 Bay Avenue, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, George Town
    2. big bowl ramen, Penang Penang Chew Jetty

Penang FYI / Tips

  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is in Georgetown's Old City (the UNESCO Heritage Site area). Any lodging in Old City puts you in the heart of things
  • getting around Penang by bus is convenient as there are many buses to several destinations. However, the bus takes the longest and circuitous route so be prepared for a long ride. For more information about Penang buses, go to Rapid Penang

How to Get to Penang (Georgetown) from Kuala Lumpur

  1. train - with the modern ETS fast train, the travel time has been reduced to 3 hours 50 minutes. It's not necessary to take the sleeping train or bus anymore. And you can buy train tickets online at the KTMB website **. Go to KL Sentral and buy your ticket at the KTM InterCity office on the 2nd level, B79. Wait in the waiting area until the train comes and the staff opens up the gate to let you down to board the train - 3 hours, 50 minutes. ETS train schedule
  2. ferry - from the train station, it is a 5-min walk to the ferry station (Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal) to board the ferry for Georgetown - 20 minutes, MYR 1.20. Ferry leaves every 40 mins. First ferry from Georgetown departs 5:40 a.m. and last ferry departs 1:00 a.m. From Butterworth, first ferry departs 5:20 a.m. and last ferry departs 12:40 a.m.
  3. bus - from the Jetty (Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal, aka - Jetty), walk to the bus terminal in Georgetown for a trip to the city center. There is a free bus - Free Cat, which takes you around the Old City of Georgetown, where most of the backpacker hostels are located. The free bus departs every 15 minutes. The free Jetty-Georgetown bus takes a different route from the Georgetown-Jetty free bus
** I initially booked the train ticket with Easybook.com. They confirmed it by email and charged me for it. They said a 2nd email will come with my seat number. The 2nd email never came. When I had the confirmation email checked at the KTMB office on my departure, they said my purchase was not on their system. I had to buy another ticket. I later complained to Easybook.com and requested them to reverse the charge. They arrogantly said they don't do refunds. You'd been warned!

Things to do, Places to go in Penang

  1. food - needless to say, there is no bad food in Penang. Every local has a recommendation on the must-haves, the food bloggers all have their opinion on where to eat and what to eat. But again, you don't have to search far and wide - the eating stall across you is probably a good bet already
  2. street art - in Georgetown, there are numerous street art adorning the walls. Walk around and be surprised. There is even a Penang street map devoted to street art - ask for one from your hotel concierge
  3. Batu Ferringhi Batu Ferringhi - beach resort town 30 minutes from Georgetown, MYR 2.70 by 101 Rapid Penang Bus
  4. Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) Turtle Beach (Pantai Kerachut) at the National Park (Taman Negara) - free admission, beach, camping, trekking and maybe you get to see a turtle lay eggs, MYR 4 by 101 Rapid Penang Bus, 1.5 hours, 22 kms
  5. Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera) - 6 kms, bus 204, 1 hour, MYR2 from Comtar to Penang Hill. Penang Hill rises 833 meters up a tram system. It covers several hills and could take a whole day to explore on foot. Tram fee MYR30 round trip
  6. Botanical Gardens in Penang Botanical Gardens - developed in 1884, the garden is 29 hectares of prime evergreen tropical rain forests just on the outskirt of Georgetown. 10470 George Town, Penang | 5am–9pm | +60 4-227 0428
  7. Penang National Park Penang National Park - with 2,562 hectares, the park is home to 46 species of birds such as the stork-billed kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens and great egrets. The sandy beach of Pantai Kerachut is also a nesting place of Green turtles from April to August. Phone: +60 4-881 3530
  8. 
Pinang Peranakan Mansion Pinang Peranakan Mansion - a stately home has been renovated to back to its former glory to showcase the opulence, lifestyle and times of the Peranakan a century ago. Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Admission: MYR20.00
  9. 
Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum - modern interactive 3D art Museum with the "Glow in the Dark" theme | 145, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 Georgetown, Penang | Adult MYR 18, kids MYR 10 | Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:30, Sat-Sun: 10:00 - 21:30

Suggested Destinations after Penang

  • Cameron Highlands -
  • Perhentian Islands -
  • Langkawi Island -
  • Taman Negara -
  • Hat Yai -

Penang Cost Index

(US$1 = Malaysian Ringgit 4.116 = Php 46.67 as of June 1, 2016)
  • MYR 40/hour tri-shaw (pedal-powered rickshaw) around the city
  • MYR 5-8 small bottle of beer
  • MYR 5-8 standard price for a soup noodle or rice topping dish
  • MYR 6 hot coffee in a decent cafe (cold coffee is more)
  • MYR 10 bicycle rental, 8am to 6pm
  • MYR 5 coin operated laundry
  • MYR 1-2 local bus rides, no change given, have exact fee
  • MYR 18 cheapest dorm room, shared toilet during low season
  • MYR 2 one hour, internet cafe
  • MYR 2.70 1.5 liter drinking water
  • MYR 79 ETS fast train from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth (Penang pier area)
  • MYR 18 standard admission fee for museums for 1 adult. eg - Dark Mansion - 3D Glow In The Dark Museum
  • MYR 7 haircut

Malaysia Blogs by TheLoneRider

    Cameron Highlands

  1. Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
  2. Kluang

  3. Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
  4. Kuala Lumpur

  5. Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
  6. Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
  7. Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
  8. The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
  9. Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
  10. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  11. Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
  12. Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
  13. Malacca

  14. A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
  15. Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
  16. The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
  17. About Malacca July 28, 2016
  18. Penang

  19. Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
  20. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  21. Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
  22. Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
  23. Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
  24. Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
  25. Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
  26. Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
  27. The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
  28. Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
  29. Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
  30. About Penang May 27, 2016

The following people like this:

Amy Cervantes Montehermoso
Amy Cervantes Montehermoso
Kin Soon Cheong
Kin Soon Cheong
Bruno Mathieu
Bruno Mathieu
Zati Orquina
Zati Orquina
Doris Rodriguez
Doris Rodriguez
Nonnie Gicana Jeruta
Nonnie Gicana Jeruta
Friz Yang
Friz Yang
Uyen Nhi
Uyen Nhi
Tony Ancheta
Tony Ancheta
Cindy Cheung
Cindy Cheung
Jade Tubog
Jade Tubog
Lora Frances Lorente
Lora Frances Lorente
Divine GC
Divine GC
Fanny Boutin
Fanny Boutin
Yaj Kram
Yaj Kram
Edong Manahon
Edong Manahon
Claire Madarang
Claire Madarang
Junne Grajales
Junne Grajales
Chato Dominese
Chato Dominese
Alex Bangcaya
Alex Bangcaya
Fernando Ado Bantula
Fernando Ado Bantula
 



Facebook Users
May 27-Jun 19, 2016

»» next Traveling story: Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands
»» back to Traveling
»» back to Homepage

ARCHIVE: 2017 | JAN| FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | ALL BLOGS



Penang Hotels

Hotels

Le Dream Boutique Hotel, Penang hotel


Just Inn, Penang hotel


Restaurants

My Voice Cafe, Penang hotel


Attractions

Dark Mansion 3D Glow In The Dark Museum, Penang hotel






Penang Hotels

Le Dream Boutique Hotel, Penang
Le Dream
Boutique Hotel

Georgetown
Penang, Malaysia



Just Inn, Penang
Just Inn
clean | affordable
Penang, Malaysia



Dark Mansion 3D Glow In The Dark Museum, Penang
Dark Mansion
3D Glow In The Dark Museum
Penang, Malaysia



My Voice Cafe, Penang
My Voice Cafe
Big Bowl Ramen
Penang, Malaysia







Subscribe

TheLoneRider