My friends stayed in Penang and it was their holiday so I called them up to check if I could pay a visit. It is always good to friend-hop cross country.
I started from Golden mile complex, the hub quarter for bus/coach travel companies.
It is famous as Singapore’s “Little Thailand” and, walking past the spirit house in the parking lot and into this multi-purpose mall, it’s easy to forget which country you’re in. From the obviously Thai faces to the clacking heels of lady-boys to the smell of fish sauce in the air, Golden Mile has the sights, sounds, and smells of the kingdom covered.
The place is also famous for their Thai stuff with a number of restaurants at level 1 (a Karaoke club too) as well as a Thai supermarket at level 2. The steamboat restaurant was full with a long waiting list. It is said to be the best deal here with very affordable price and decent variety. I settled for a Thai restaurant next door with Pineapple fried rice and Tomyam soup.
I booked my ticket online and I just needed to go over the counter to collect. The coach took 9 hours but it was a pleasant ride so I slept through the night.
I reached at 8am in the next morning. From the Penang bus terminal, I took a cab to my friend’s house. In Malaysia, things are much cheaper than Singapore. My friends rented the whole 4-room flat in a condominium for one third the price of what it is in Singapore. And they all can afford a car!
We then settled for a quick brunch at a nearby food-court.
Wasted no time, we drove to Batu Ferringi. Batu Feringghi consists of a long stretch of soft, white sandy beach along a winding road named Jalan Batu Feringghi, filled with a host of accommodation and dining options. Its night market is quite legendary, while its waters are popular spots for a range of water sports activities such as parasailing and windsurfing.
Road trip was always great. I enjoyed the scenery along the hill and down below, the strong wind tapping thru car’s windows and some loud trendy music.
It was durian season here and there was a lot of rest places along the road. The locals turn them into some sort of small business selling water, tea and fruits. We stopped for fresh coconuts and durian. I cannot take durian because of its strong smell but my friends loved it. They even wanted to fill the back with durian!
Batu Ferringi was not crowded. The weather was still good for a swim so we drove along to find a good spot. Different water sport vendors approached us with their price lists. They were friendly though. And because it was non-peak period with few tourists, they gave us package by “anyhow-bundle” method. We bargained a little more (just for fun actually) and we got a good deal for parasailing and jet skiing.
It was my first time trying parasailing. Parasailing is a recreational kiting activity where a person is towed behind a vehicle (usually a boat) while attached to a specially designed canopy wing that reminds one of a parachute, known as a parasail wing. The manned kite’s moving anchor may be a car, truck, or boat. The harness attaches the pilot to the parasail, which is connected to the boat, or land vehicle, by the tow rope. The vehicle then drives off, carrying the wing and person into the air.
For that fifteen minutes, I felt as if I was an eagle sparring her wings to dominate the sea and the sky. My head became so light and my mind found its calmness. It was so surreal.
After the beach, we headed downtown, Quayside to explore. Quayside is the latest seafront resort condominium development located in the popular tourist haven of Tanjung Tokong in the beautiful island city of Penang. I enjoyed the modern architecture and the “Manhattan lifestyle” whereby you can see yacht club and atas dining options.
It was a fun-filled day.
At night, my friends brought me to meet up with a group of friends at a seafood restaurant. They then decided to go for night crab catching session. The weather was so chilling at night at sea and it was total darkness. They brought torchlights and their gears to catch crab. It was so hard to catch one but really exciting.
We woke up early to head to George Town for Dim Sum breakfast. Actually it was so early that many stores opened yet. After walking for a while, we finally saw a crowded Dim Sum restaurant to settle our stomachs.
We walked around George Town leisurely to take photos of the lovely colonial buildings and street arts. The architecture of Penang reflects the 171 years of British presence on the island, coalescing with local, Chinese, Indian, Islamic and other elements to create a unique and distinctive brand of architecture.
We then went to Penang Botanic Gardens, also known as the “Waterfall Gardens” because of the cascading waterfall nearby. It is a public park situated on Jalan Air Terjun (Waterfall Road) in George Town.
After garden, we drove to Kek Lok Si Temple, which is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang facing the sea and commanding an impressive view, and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is said to be the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.