Malaysia

Penang Post! – Part 4

Continued from Part 1Part 2 and Part 3

The last day of our vacation. Sigh! We only had one item on the agenda, and no prizes for guessing it involved food – specifically lunch! But before that, we had our standard awesome breakfast at Spice Market cafe. They had an awesome Blueberry Crumble and the banana cakes had been fantastic for a couple of days now!

We didn’t have a lot of time to digest it, because we had to leave the hotel by 2 and had very minimal time for lunch. We took a cab to the Living Room Cafe (actually walk-able, but 10 MYR away by cab) which served fusion Malaysian. A small cafe on the main road that also sells art. They had quite a few interesting photos around  – Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin, Muhammad Ali & the Beatles etc. There was also a band practicing. I ordered a Cider, D an banana juice and we waited for what we had come for – Beef Rendang. We got talking to an American lady who had been in Batu Ferringhi for 1.5 years and planned to stay 2.5 more. We wondered what it must be like. Meanwhile, the beef rendang did prove to be an excellent choice.

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Penang Post! – Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2

We lazed around and barely made it in time for breakfast! The buffet at Spice Market Cafe was awesome as always, and my meal was made thanks to the parfait and bread pudding. I also saw what suspiciously looked like a snide remark on Twitter 😉

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The day was not really packed in terms of schedule, but we were a bit delayed and when I learned that the taxi to Penang Hill would work out only to about 30 MYR, I immediately voted to skip the elaborate bus plan. We reached the Penang Hill station in about 45 minutes  and it actually worked out to 50 MYR (contrary to what the lady at the hotel said) but it was a wonderful ride – peaceful settings with only a couple of traffic bottlenecks. There are a couple of queues to be navigated – one for the tickets (30 MYR per person) and the other to actually get into the train that will get you to the top. The internet suggests that one person should stand in each, since the waiting time could turn out to be quite much, but the line for the latter seemed reasonable, so we stood united! More

Penang Post! – Part 2

Continued from Part 1

The day dawned bright and sunny. Ok, maybe dawn is an exaggeration, and it’s usually so at 8.30. 😀 The buffet breakfast was at the Spice Market cafe, and the spread was just fantastic. I’d planned on a light breakfast since street food was a major part of the day’s agenda, but I really couldn’t help myself. Given that we were running a bit late, we skipped the original plan of taking Bus #101 and took a taxi to Georgetown, (40 MYR. They all claim to be metered, but ah, well. So ‘negotiate’ the rate before you start.) a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2008. Fort Cornwallis was where we asked to be dropped and the view from there reminded me a lot of Cochin.

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Someone at this fort had a cannon obsession. The damn things were everywhere, and the irony is that the fort has never engaged in battle! We took a leisurely stroll inside and then turned into Pengkalan Weld, to begin our street art discovery.

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You can do this street art exploration in many ways. You could just walk around and organically see the ones on your route, or research, figure out the ones you want to see and make a walking route. We did the latter. There are many resources available – a Google Map, an online brochure (doesn’t have the 101 Lost Kittens series) and the free guide that you can pick up at the airport is actually the most up-to-date one. Our first stops were Louis Gan’s “Two Children playing Basketball” and “Brother and Sister on a Swing”, both almost seemed alive!

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Penang Post! – Part 1

For long, Malaysia has had a transitory presence in our travel itineraries – a temporary and forced stop on our way to our vacation spots. We had actually planned a trip within India, but then I chanced upon Batu Ferringhi, Penang. That led us to Georgetown, its street art and street food, and plans were abruptly changed! Meru, for the first time, gave us a scare, but we were rescued by Taxi For Sure. After a quick caffeine dose at the airport, we were on our way to Kuala Lumpur, courtesy Air Asia.

Based on our earlier experiences, we had expected to land at that glorified bus stand called LCCT, but were pleasantly surprised when we alighted at KLIA2. In fact, we had an abundance of choice for breakfast and found it difficult to settle on one place. Across three floors we roamed, until Ringgits were spent at Alessio, which offered a great value-for-money breakfast. (at least by airport standards)

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A few hours later, another hour long Air Asia flight took us to Penang, the Pearl of the Orient. (that must be the most over used description ever!) The airport had quite a few useful free guides and they should be enough to plan the vacation even if you haven’t done so earlier! We took a cab from the airport pre paid booth to Batu Ferringhi. Our first impression of the place, during this trip, was that it was actually quite peaceful, despite the obvious urbanisation. Drivers followed road rules, there was minimal honking and not a lot of ambient noise at all. The driver got us to our destination in the promised 50 minutes for about 75MYR. The Shangri-La Rasa Sayang has a rather deceptive appearance. A lot of trees partially hide a clean, aesthetically designed yet minimalistic set of buildings. But once inside, you can actually feel the opulence. They were nice enough to let us check in a couple of hours earlier than standard, and a wonderfully refreshing welcome drink later, we were escorted to our room on the fourth floor, overlooking the pool, and the sea beyond.

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