Yesterday (29/10) we took the bus to Penang, one of Malaysias islands on the west coast. It took about 5 hours to Butterworth where we got on the ferry. Still can’t believe how cheap traveling around is: we paid 32RM (about €7) for the bus and for the ferry only 1.40RM. That’s €0.30! Another 1.40RM for the bus to Chulia Street, the main street of Georgetown and there we found a nice old hotel, ironically called the Modern Hotel. We rented a scooter for the next 2 days, again only 35RM a day. And don’t worry about the fuel costs as well, that’s only about 1.80RM per litre.
Exploring north of Penang
Today we explored the island with the scooter. It takes you quite a while to get out of Georgetown, it is a pretty big and crowded city! First stop was at Moonlight Bay, a little beach just before the more famous Batu Ferringhi. It gives a really nice view on the rocks, the trees and the sea. It was very humid and cloudy, so we didn’t stay very long before going further west along the north coast of the island. Batu Ferringhi itself is a long stretched beach with white rough sand. Beautiful, but the water isn’t that appealing because of the watersport activities. And they say the water is full of jellyfish around the island. Too bad! It started to rain a bit, so we decided to have an early lunch at 11am at an Indian place next to the beach. Not the cheapest one, but that chicken curry was definitely worth the 12RM!
Animal-time at the west!
The advantage of going by scooter is that you can just drive into every random street and get surprised by whatever comes along. That’s how we ended up at a local diary goat farm. Apparently a well known one, since it was pretty crowded with Chinese tourists, but still really nice. Besides goats, they have 2 ostriches, chickens and a bunch of dogs. With 3 little puppies, I’ve never seen such sweet little adorable furry puppies! 🙂 We had a delicious ice cream made of goat milk and hopped on the scooter again. On our way south we tried to find some beaches along the west coast by entering random roads again. Instead of beaches we found ourselves surrounded by a forest full of palm trees and little crocodiles!
Getting soaked Asia-style in the east
Even more south, all the way at the end of the road, we found another beach. Beautiful again! Cruising up to Georgetown again, when we had about 30km to go, it started to pour all of a sudden. We found shelter, but when we found out that it wouldn’t stop for the next 2-4 hours, we took the raincoats out of the seat of the scooter, and just let it pour! Since we didn’t take into account all the one way streets, we got lost a couple of times and it took us more than an hour to get back. The traffic was jammed and the streets where completely flooded. Quite the Asian experience getting soaked on the scooter with our ankles in the water!!
Disappointing Monkey Beach
The last day in Penang we did the walk up to Monkey Beach. About 1,5 hours they said, we arrived 25 minutes later. Arriving there, what a disappointment! The walk itself is really nice alongside the water, but Monkey Beach is definitely not worth the visit. It looks like it’s abandoned by its people, with garbage and broken stuff everywhere. There were a couple of monkeys, I’ll give you that, but that’s it. It is supposed one of the few beaches on Penang that you can actually swim in, but even though how sweaty we were, we didn’t feel like going into that water.
Let’s give Malaysia another chance to convince me of the gorgeous islands.. up to Langkawi!