On The Road Again 3 Sunday 19th to Sunday 26th February

Ipoh and George Town, Penang

Sunday 19th February

5 o'clock wake up call!! They're setting up a Malaysian style car boot sale just outside our window with much early morning banter and as our new room is only on the second floor we hear everything loud & clear. After breakfast, we stroll outside to see what's on offer.

Not much different from our own

A bit of sightseeing before ordering an Uber to the train station.

Here it comes
Very cheap and a snack as well!

Arrive in Butterworth then a short ferry ride to Penang ....

15 minute journey

Colourful Hindu Temple

The threat of rain never materialised

Church of St George the Martyr - oldest Anglican Church in S E Asia

Penang State Museum & Art Gallery

Liked the 'Change of Bad Luck'!


In the evening decide to go to Teksen, a highly recommended restaurant, open at 6pm. By 6.20 when we turn up, the place is full and there is a queue! An hour later we are in, but it was definitely worth the wait.

The queue
Delicious food- slick service

On the way home, had fun with the street art:

Marilyn .....

and her friends!

Monday 20th February

More sites on the way to the Blue Mansion:

The Blue Mansion Heritage Home of Cheong Fatt Tze:


Then on to Penang Botanical Gardens:

A little disappointing - most of the 'houses' were closed

Some of these were a bit aggressive

but he was just thoughtful.

Tuesday 21st Feb

Decided to take the Hop on Hop off bus which covers the main areas of interest in George Town. There are two routes; one takes in the coastal area to the North and the second centres on the Heritage area in the Old Town. Getting out of the busy city seemed the best option and Penang National Park our destination. We chose the more challenging trail heading south from the suspension bridge towards Pantai Kerachut or Turtle Beach (a green turtle nesting ground). It took about 1 hour 30 minutes to walk the sometimes steep path to the beach.

We arrived feeling like two boiled lobsters only to find that the beach was very shelved and almost impossible to paddle and cool down. No sign of turtles.

No swimming
Thankfully some shade

Then we faced the return journey. Covered 12 Km today!

Street Market food then back to the Museum.

We sampled a few
Interior of The Museum Hotel

Wednesday 22nd Feb

After a lazy morning, take an Uber to the ferry terminal to catch a speed boat to Langkawi. Again, not a pleasant experience; cold, cramped seating down in the hold with high windows blocked with a film of opaque plastic sheeting and an Indian film on a 'loop' for two & a half hours. I don't know why Malaysian ferries have to be like this! Stumble out into the hot sunshine and take a taxi to Ocean Lodge which is to the south west of Langkawi, a half hour ride a way.

Our home for the next three nights

Didi, our German host greets us warmly and shows us to our room:

Flowers and origami towels!

.......and suggests places for us to eat. There are Malaysian, Thai, Seafood and German restaurants to choose from. We choose Seafood: The Roof Restaurant which is very good.

A very good restaurant just 100 yards from our B and B.

Thursday 23rd Feb

Doug is not happy. Last night's restaurant was probably the most expensive so far and he has had a bad stomach all night! However, he has recovered now and although a little tired, we plan the day ahead. After chatting with two German girls at breakfast, it seems that the 'SkyCab' is the thing to do. Didi arranges the transport and we are deposited at the Oriental Village. This turns out to be a sort of mini Dysney World type theme park attached to the main attraction ( the bit we have come for) which is a 20 minute cable car ride to the top of Gunung Machinchang.(Gunung means Mountain)

Spectacular views as we ascend

And at the top there is a steep stairway down and then up to the SkyBridge, a single span suspension bridge 100 metres above the jungle canopy.

And if that wasn't enough fun, when we had returned to the village our tickets included two more attractions which of course we had to see because we had paid for them!

The 3D Art Show was fun!

Surfing with backpack & camera!

Loved the colours here

This lady was everywhere

There she is again

It was a fun day out

Didi drove us to the German Restaurant in the evening because it had started to rain. It was full of ex-pats and very popular. Food was tasty and a change from rice and noodles and was accompanied by a rather spectacular thunder storm. It continued as we walked back but thankfully the rain was short-lived. Arranged to hire a car for the day tomorrow.

Friday 24th Feb

After breakfast, we walked around the corner to pick up the car. Handed over 60 Myr (£10.84) and we were handed the keys to a rather beat up car, no questions asked and no driving license required. Thankfully the A/C worked but the steering was incredibly stiff. The two German girls were setting out for the beach so we offered them a lift. There is only one road around the Island and we didn't mind which way we went.

Dropped them off at a very touristy area, parked and had a look around. I bought a batik 'Pareo', a type of sarong, for 39Myr (£7) in case we found a quiet beach later.

First stop a Thai Hindu Temple
The Snake God
And a blessing

A short drive on to the Geopark - where we discovered that the only way to see the place was by boat; quite expensive at 250Myr (£45). However, it was a good trip, stopping off at a fish farm first,

Through the mangrove forests. Our driver told us that when the Tsunami hit this area the roots of the mangroves kept the destruction to a minimum.

We left the river, entered the Andaman Sea and sailed around the coastal 'mouth' for a short while before returning to the river.

Wild life photography is not my strong point so the sighting of sea eagles, although numerous and amazing, was not adequately captured here. They are beautiful birds and I may cheat and import a better picture from Google!

My poor effort
Malaysian Sea Eagle

After that, we stopped at the bat caves. It was a case of walking through one cave through the mangroves again and back through another cave. Bats in their thousands hung from roof as we shone our torches upward (must have been very annoying for the bats!

Too dark to see the bats!

Interesting 'bending' stalactites!

Back down the river

After that adventure, we found a quiet beach

And a few hundred yards away was a restaurant called 'Scarborough Fish & Chips'. Didi had told us about the place; it had been set up by a Brit but was now owned and run by Malaysians.

Barracuda and chips

It was surprisingly good and a great ending to the day.

Saturday 25th Feb

Leaving Langkawi today.

First, we had to leave back the hired car. Making sure we had left enough petrol (half full) we handed back the car, and without even a glance at the car to see if we'd damaged it, the chap just took the keys and turned back to what he was doing - no hassle, no questions. We told him that every time we had turned a corner we had our feet washed in cold water, but he just shrugged and smiled. So, a two minute walk back to Didi's, an hour or so to wait till we called for a taxi before we faced the delights of a Malayan ferry ride back to Penang.

Back to the Museum (and yet another upgrade!)

Delicious dinner at Jawi House

A pleasant walk through the streets of Penang

The most iconic street art .....

But could get a shot of it without this extremely large group of Chinese jumping in to have their photo taken?Gave up and took this little boy who looked bored to tears with posing.

Tim, our old friend from college had messaged me when he'd discovered we were in N Malaysia and suggested we visited him in Phuket. He has been teaching in the International School there for the past two years and is retiring at the end of this year.

It is interesting to note that we stayed with him when he was in Mexico City. We were on our first long haul trip thirty five years ago and he was on his first placement abroad! We've only seen him once in the interim.

While at Didi's we had decided to accept Tim's invitation. We had planned to travel to the east but the weather forecast was not good so a change of plan was in order.

Sunday 26th Feb

Hired a car for the next two days. Royal Belum is a rainforest area of Central Northern Malaysia and there is no other way to get there. We hired the car from Penang airport because when we returned, we would be flying out from there to Phuket.

The journey of three hours started badly with a nasty accident involving a woman bike rider, just outside Penang. She lay motionless in the middle of the road with blood streaming from the side of her head. No one seemed to be looking after her, putting anything soft under her head etc which seemed to suggest that she was already dead. It was a sobering moment.

The traffic lessened as we headed north, the road narrowed to a single lane and wound gradually upward. Every so often there would be a slow lane added to allow us to pass the increasing number of lorries laden with red logs.

Our spacious, but dark room

We arrived about 6 in the evening. A smart place on several levels (lots of stairs) with ideas above it's delivery and rather empty! The buffet was very poor.

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