Well, we’re back in the UK which is a little strange after 2 1/2 years on the road, but I wanted to write about our final stop – Penang, on the west coast of Malaysia – which turned out to be one of the best places we’d been on the whole trip.
A quick 15 minute ferry ride from Butterworth got us into Georgetown, Penang where we found our way to The Star Lodge Hotel, a friendly budget hotel in an ideal spot in town. The smiley fella told us he’d saved this “very very nice room” especially for us. How special, we felt, as we wandered past 20 rooms all precisely the same. It did the job though, and for a decent price, so who’s to complain?
After a customary ‘we made it’ beer we wandered towards the area called Little India for a nose. Along the way we marvelled at the architecture, well-preserved and colonial in style, as well as little morsels of art, a mural here, an iron sculpture there: this was exactly what we’d been looking for. So, Little India – smells and colours invade your senses everywhere you turn. Once Ruth had perused EVERY fabric shop in town we finally sat down to get our first taste of Penang’s food. We’d been looking forward to this ever since Kapas Island where the guy with the smooth jazz radio voice had told us we simply spend our time eating. He was bang on. We were hooked, I looked forward to every single mouth-watering meal.
Our evenings were taken up exploring town, chatting to other travellers at the hotel, finding restaurants and on one occasion I sat drinking a beer with two of the local policemen watching Malaysia vs Arsenal on tv in the hotel lobby.
Despite Penang’s reputation for being a place to eat yourself into a torpor, it’s not short of other things to occupy yourself with. We saw the International Dragons Dancing on Stilts Festival (I bet you didn’t even know there was an International Dragons Dancing on Stilts Festival) held at a school hall, a spice garden, a war museum, a botanic garden, as well as an art/craft trail around town, plus there’s a popular beach not far from Georgetown. That’s most bases covered I reckon.
Penang is the perfect mix of old and new, the buildings ooze character (a photographer’s paradise), the people are friendly, there’s loads to see and do, and best of all – the food. The food… oh how we miss the food! It deserves a whole post to itself, so I will, next time.
Hope you enjoy these photos – a selection to give a flavour of the place. Click to enlarge.