Posts Tagged With: Penang

Lazy Langkawi and the Long Ride to KL

Our third day in Langakwi was super beachy- the sun was shining and it was almost unbearably hot – almost.  We set up in front of our favorite five star resort and I snuck into their pool numerous times to cool off – hehehe. Sneaky.  We grabbed some duty free beers after burgers for lunch and did some last minute poking around in the mall and little shops before spending the later part of the afternoon in our pretty guesthouse with all the kitties, and our fellow travelers.  I seriously can’t say enough good things about Soluna guesthouse – you have to walk a little bit to get to and from the main road, literally through a field and some rice paddies with water buffalo hanging out, but its so quaint with the cottage style rooms and beautiful greenery, the owner obviously put a lot of effort an planning into making the place a comfortable destination for travelers, and I especially enjoyed the air-con in the dorm and mini fridge to keep our cheap beers cold!  After cleaning up and eating dinner once again at the cheap and delicious Indian place down the road from us, we packed up our stuff and went to bed early.  In the morning we had a kitty-escort to the taxi stand, two funny little guesthouse cats followed us halfway down the road, just being cute little punks!

Our taxi took us to the jetty and I arrived in time to buy a ticket for the 8:15 ferry across the channel to the mainland.  Micheline and I said our goodbyes at this point, as she was traveling north to Thailand and I was headed south to Kuala Lumpur!  Thanks for being such a great and easygoing travel partner!  I’ll miss you!
The ferry ride was FREEZING but I was prepared this time with a sweater and blanket, I sat next to an energetic girl who watched me play candy crush the whooooole way, then whipped out her iPad and played a few rounds herself!  The jetty was a short walk to the bus station in Kuala Perlis, and I spent the next hour anxiously awaiting my bus after being told there is NO ticket counter for my company there. Eeps! Will it come? Am I in the right place? What happens if it doesn’t show up? I was also, at this point, trying to fend off a Pakistani man who decided since I was alone I must be lonely and offered to be my friend, but i soon realized he meant “boyfriend” and I told him thanks but no thanks. Lol. He persisted and THANK GOD my bus rolled up only about 15 minutes late, I said goodbye to my new “friend” and boarded the Transnasional Bus.  I soon realized I had bought a ticket for a bus that stopped in EVERY town in the province, and it was two hours before we even crossed the border into the next one!  Oh well, I got to see every little towns’ bus station, so – there’s that.  We finally got on the road and I figured the ride would take twice as long as the estimated five hours. I was right, cause five hours into the ride we were still nowhere close to KL.  Oh well.  We stopped at another little roadside rest stop, this one more picturesque than the one we had stopped at on the way to Penang.  I ate some noodles and chicken, had my bag of drink and waited in the rain for our bus to open up and depart.  When I say “bag of drink” I literally mean it – they serve drinks in these hilarious takeout mini bags with handles and a straw and ice.  I guess cups are too much effort.
We rolled into KL around 8pm and I was dropped at a bus station called Duta – which is still kinda outside of town. I was anticipating taking a taxi into town but the driver told me to board another bus with the same company – no charge – that would take me down town!  Win for Transnasional Bus Company!! The bus took its sweet time leaving but I wasn’t complaining about a free ride, especially after I realized I could now walk to my hostel from there.  I was armed with my guidebook as we arrived at the Puduraya Bus Station and I successful navigated myself through the streets of Kuala Lumpur and ended up at Reggae Mansion, the coolest, cleanest and funkiest hostel I have stayed at.  I have a little “pod” in the girls dorm with four walls that feels like a tiny hotel room, there’s free breakfast and the facilities are gorgeous! Yes! I already was loving KL!!
Advertisements
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love in Langkawi

I have officially found my favorite place in Malaysia!  Shes got everything I need – incredible beaches, cheap beer, great shopping and awesome accommodation. The only thing she was lacking was a good beach party!!  We took the ferry from Penang to Langkawi, since both are islands and fairly close together it made sense to hop on the ferry that connects the two.  Our tickets were 62 Ringgits, about $20 each and we managed to catch the bus there (about a ten minute ride) from out hostel on Lebuh Chulia for one ringgit (YES).  The ferry left an hour late and we got underway around 9:30 am.  It took three freezing hours to get there, seriously if you ever go on a Malaysian ferry bring both a sweater and a blanket, we had hoodies and sarongs to cover us but were still cold.  We went from cold to sweltering hot and boarded a taxi to Pentai Cenang after a quick food break at the jetty since neither of us had breakfast.

There’s no public transport on Langkawi, so taxi are the main transport for tourists if you are not renting a car.  We found our guesthouse with not too much trouble, we had found a brochure for a lovely looking place when we were in the Pehrentians, and luckily they had room in the dorm.  The place is called Soluna Guesthouse, and I would highly recommend it, its newly opened and very clean, centrally located, though not on the beach it’s quite close, and cheaper than a beachfront place, very quiet (except for the homemade Ramadan bombs going off, not much they could do about that), and run by a lovely Italian woman and her husband who keep a bunch of friendly cats around!
We dumped our stuff and had the rest of the afternoon to explore slash fall in love with this little place!! Langkawi is a pretty big island, and we stayed on Pentai Cenang, the biggest and most populated beach.  There is one loooong main road off the beach which holds all the restaurants, shopping, hotels and guesthouses, construction was going at a frantic place everywhere you looked, im assuming Langkawi will look very different in a few years with all the mid rise hotels going up!  But for now its still quite charming, we walked down the main road and found tons of interesting shops, even a shopping mall and a duty-free complex!  There was also lots of yummy looking and cheap food to be had.  We walked the whole strip before turning our attention to the beach, which was unreal. White sand, untouched tropical islands in the distance, the sky blue Andaman sea, it was just the thing this beach bum wanted to see!  We walked the length of the beach, climbing rocks and watching the parasailers as they sailed above us.  After dinner at a little Indian restaurant, we noticed that a whole new batch of shops had opened up in the evening, and did some poking around before heading back to our guesthouse.  There is NO nightlife to speak of in Langkawi – the beach bars were dead, the restaurants close early – I guess since it’s a family place we guessed everyone was at home with their wee ones.  Oh well. There’s always a catch in paradise, I guess!!

 

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Walking Tour of Penang

We only had one full day in Penang before heading to Langkawi, and were determined to make the most of it!  It was a sleepy Sunday, so not much was open but it was still fun to walk around and check out the many sights of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We set out in a random direction, armed with a map.  We managed to get lost after I ate what was the most delicious fried rice I’ve ever had in my life (for breakfast, lol) from a cart, and the proprietor warned me about bag thieves and the myriad of ways people could steal my bag and money.  I thought SHE was going to rob me, from the detail she was going into!  I clutched my bag and left as we walked and walked and WALKED, saw churches and temples and mosques and the city hall and the esplanade running along the waterfront and a memorial clock tower, finally deciding to purposefully find a museum after realizing we had inadvertently seen half the city’s sights just by walking around!  We got lost in Little India and sidetracked at TeoChew Temple, we finally located the Perenakan Museum and saw some more history concerning the wealthy Straits Chinese families, I am so fascinated by this particular facet of Asian culture, and find the food so delicious, I’m convinced I must have been a Nonya in a past life!

We stopped for sushi and I splurged hard on good food, the most I’ve spent on any meal since I’ve been away – 62 Ringgits!! 20 bucks! It was well worth it, though, the sushi was fresh and I was super satisfied.  We decided to check out a movie that night and headed to the mall, which was about a ten minute walk away.  We loaded up on candy and ice cream, and saw R.I.P.D, a fluff movie but good for the hotness that Ryan Reynolds provided!  I had a long chat with my sister when I got home, shes five months pregnant and one of the main reasons I’m looking forward to the end of my trip: I get to meet my new nephew soon after I get back!
Our feet were achy after so much walking, so it was bedtime for us as we had an early ferry to catch!
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Road to Penang

Wahoo! Nothing like a nine-hour bus ride to occupy your day.  Although travel days are different in a way because there’s no way of knowing what your destination brings, it usually turns tedious pretty fast.  Our bus driver was late because of traffic (excusable) but had to be called back to the drop-off point because he had taken off without us, his four passengers, in the back!  Oh man.  Our driver, captain Taz, as he introduced himself, was dressed for a day of golfing in short pants, long socks and a golfing tee and hat.  Hmmm? I didn’t ask.  Soon after we left it was clear he was an AWFUL driver with a lead foot and shitty attitude behind the wheel, I wedged myself between a bunch of backpacks in the backseat and hoped they wouldn’t fall on me – which they did – eventually.  Then. The traffic.  OH MY GOD. It was some of the worst traffic I’ve ever seen, and we inched along the road, lurching forward with every stop. Only my music made it bearable, and I watched the charge slowly decline and prayed the tunes would hold out till we got there. They didn’t.  Our minivan held four other passengers besides Micheline and I, and after three hours we were all hungry and desperately had to pee!  We asked Captain Taz to stop, and he replied that he would but he would keep the van inching along in traffic and we would have to run and catch up.  What? So we ALL ran out when the door opened, I guess he realized he would have some explaining to do with an empty van and no passengers, so he stopped for us reluctantly.  I peed in some Muslim guys backyard (oops sorry!) and we stopped at a roadside stand to buy fruit (some passengers were not as prepared as us with our loaf of white bread and peanut butter) and ran back to the torture device that was our ride.
 
 The time slowly passed as we alternated between breakneck speed and painfully slow jerkiness, finally we came to a roadside stop where we were the ONLY ladies with our hair uncovered, this was a sight for the rest of the Muslims around, who were lovely and friendly and fascinated by us, especially by Micheline’s blonde hair!  We got back on the road, and our driver told us he “didn’t know” how long it would take for us to get there….lol. We finally arrived around 8pm and were recommended to a guesthouse by our golfer/driver/captain. Since we were too tired to object and the guesthouse looked clean and there was a sweet mural on the wall, we paid the 35 Ringgits ($11.50 CAD) and dumped our stuff, happy to finally be in Penang.  

 
We dumped our stuff and wandered around a bit, since we were in the heart of Chinatown there was a sweet night market serving all kinds of food and drink, so I sat down with a plate of noodles and we had watermelon shakes and happily went to bed after walking a bit and realizing there’s not much nightlife around!  
 
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pehrentian Island Paradise

Yay! We are back on the beach again!  The Pehrentian Islands are a two tiny islands on the east coast of Malaysia, close to the Thai border and about a ten-hour bus ride from Singapore.  After crossing the border without a hitch, we settled in to sleep and tried to get some shuteye on the swerving bus.  I think i succeeded – i woke up feeling not too crabby at the Merang jetty, the closest we could get to our destination by bus, but still an hour away from our port.  We found two lovely Polish girls to share a taxi with to the Khota Baru jetty, splitting the 100 Rinngit cab fare four ways, making it about CAD $8 each.  At the port, we bought tickets to the islands ($23 return fare or 70 Ringgits) and tickets for our bus ride onwards after the islands (60 Rinngits to Penang, about $20).

The boat ride to the islands was refreshing, and we landed on Kecil, the smaller of the islands, at Long Beach, which isn’t actually that long but looked lovely to us.  We had some problems finding a room, as it’s a holiday weekend and we walked from place to place with our backpacks on, sweating bullets as we begged for a place to stay.  I finally found a room at the LAST place on the beach, a little cottage with a fan and two beds that was grungy but perfect for us at 50 ringgits a night! (25 rinngits each, about $8).  The beach was calling us after that, and we laid on the beach alllll day, working on our tans and soaking in the sun.  Our dinner was not the best,  but it was cheap so what do you expect.  Our plans to watch the fire show were cancelled as it started to pour and we were tired from our overnight bus ride.
Our second day on the island was awesome!! Even though we had to wait an hour and a half for our breakfast at D’Rock Garden, our guesthouse, the sun was out and we hit the beach again.  Around lunchtime we stopped for Milo milkshakes (mmm malted chocolate) and eavesdropped on others who were having trouble finding rooms, even going so far as to sleep on the porches of various hostels and guesthouses!! We felt pretty lucky to have found a room without too much trouble, after that! In the afternoon we walked over to coral beach on the other side of the island, comparing the beaches and the food we found. It was smaller than our but the ambiance was quite nice!  We had dinner (pizza mmm) at the Imbiah Resort and tried to catch the sunset with no dice, as there were clouds rolling in.  Our second night’s attempts to go out and hit the beach bar were once again cancelled because of rain 😦 BOO!! I wanted to see the fire show!
Today it was grey and rainy, so I decided to type up all my blogs and hang out at the overpriced cafe.  Their wifi is down, but its funny to hear all the spoiled and disgruntled tourists complaining around me about poor service, no ATM’s, lack of rooms, and the weather.  Cheer up, people!! You are in paradise!  SO what if there’s nothing to do, there’s a beach!

The evening ended up being really nice, so after playing cards all afternoon and catching a few rays as the sun went down, we decided to go out to the beach party and ended up having an awesome time!! The Changs were flowing, we shared some shisha with some friendly Malaysians, and watched the fire show on the beach – not quite as good as Thailand, but pretty impressive nonetheless!  I even spun some fire myself, sorry Mom!! I cant help it, its too fun!! The fun ended around midnight, though, as these two Cinderellas had to catch the 8am ferry back to the mainland.

 

xo

 

D

 

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.