The Island of Penang

19 May 2013 – Bus from Malacca to Penang

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Wed: 1030hrs KPA bus from Malacca bus terminal to KL stopping 45min, Ipoh 30mins, + 2 other quick rest stops to arr in Penang 1900hrs MYR45 S$19. KL bus terminal is not a favourite, thus no pix. When waiting in the bus, one could really feel the pollution, considering the numbers of buses in the dark basement! Ipoh has a new bus terminal and quite impressive for a small town. The ride was smooth and comfortable. Had our own food and water and even managed to nap.

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Filling gas at Butterworth before crossing the bridge. Quite amazed to see how much gas a bus like this takes…

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Crossing this lovely suspension bridge to Sungei Nibong interstate bus terminal on Penang Island. The public bus ride into Georgetown took app 45min MYR2 S$0.85c. Got into the heritage area in the dark. The first time here was in the 1950s with my parents, but with hardly any memory besides the Snake Temple which freaked me out. The next trip was 1996 for a wedding, so did not see any of the tourist or heritage sites.

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Little is known of this island’s early history. Chinese seafarers were aware of the island back in 1500s which they called Betelnut Island but it appears to have been uninhabited until the 1700s when colonists arrived.

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Thu: the Chulia Heritage Hotel***in the heart of the heritage district was decent, MYR260 S$108 for 2 nights. Clean room with bathroom attached. Service could be better if they were more flexible about a late check-out considering the room we had the leak in the bathroom and had to change room after 1 night.

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Hawkers food (night only) and night life just 1min walk from the hotel.

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Good noodles for brunch. There is a free bus shuttle around historic UNESCO Georgetown

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Pinang Peranakan Museum, MYR10 S$4. Once a residence of Chung KengQuee, one of the most wealthy Baba-Nonyas of that era. Now a stunning restored with intricate elaborate designed and furnished owned by Mr Soon, worth the time to see. Most who have been following the TV series The Little Nonya might recognise some of the scenes.

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The Colonial District: Fort Cornwallis.

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Clock Tower, City Hall, Town Hall.

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The Weld Quay Clan Jetties Waterfront Settlement. A long hot busy day ended with a simple noodle dinner.

http://www.penang.ws/penang-attractions/clan-jetties.htm

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Fri: National Day for Norway and no Norwegian food! DimSum at the same place yesterday. Another hot day with more exciting heritage buildings. The Penang base for Dr Sun YatSen, leader of the 1911 Chinese revolution. Cheong Fatt Tze/Blue Mansion which is a hotel and only allowed in at certain times for a guided but time was not on our side.

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Khoo Kongsi/clanhouse, MYR10 S$4. The Khoo are a successful clan and they certainly did not hide it. As impressive as all of this, the roof caught fire on the night it was completed in 1901! It was no surprise to find a pix of father’s friend Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat who used to address father as ‘brother TinYue’.

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IMG_3986Being 17th May wanted to have some Western food. Buffet at The Eastern&Oriental Hotel, originally built in 1884, has stood as a testament to the grand elegance of the British colonial era. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 and not within my budget to stay and the buffet was so-so, MYR192 S$80 for 2pp including 1 drink. Their E&O Sling is more to my taste than the SIN Sling!

http://easternorientalhotel.com/

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Public bus to airport MYR2.70 S$1.20c 1hr+ ride. Computer system was down for TigerAir and gate agents are not used to hand-write boarding passes! In addition, there was a group of 13 students from Eton House International Primary School/SIN. 30mins delay for take-off and even with these problems, the arrival time back to SIN was just 15mins later than scheduled. PEN-SIN costing MYR120 S$50.

The total expenses with airfares, transport, hotels and everything inclusive for 5days 4nights trip is S$410.

All of us grow up in particular realities – a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we’re brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it – Chaim  Potok

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