Penang at Last!

Our long ferry voyage down the coast of Thailand from Krabi finally ended and we crossed the border into Malaysia between Koh Lipe and Langkawi. One last boat trip brought us into Georgetown, Penang on 26th February. In the planning stages it had seemed so adventurous to travel down through the Andaman Sea by public ferry, but in fact we realised that thousands of intrepid travellers are jumping on boats between the islands every day. Not quite as adventurous as we thought we were!!

Another ferry journey

On arrival we spent a couple of days staying in Georgetown checking out practical stuff like the main tourist attractions, where to find the best food and how the public transport worked. It felt important to be organised, as a long awaited day was just around the corner – Darcie would be travelling out to meet us to spend a couple of week’s holiday in Malaysia and Singapore.
We did a bit of sightseeing but found it quite difficult as Georgetown was not just hot, but sweltering hot – the hottest place we had been to so far! Between about 11.00 am and 4.00 pm the sun was so intense that we literally ran between any available patches of shade. We managed to do a bit of sightseeing and shopping around town, but two days later it was up with the backpacks again to take the bus along the coast to the resort of Batu Ferrenghi beach and our apartment at the “By The Sea” condo style complex .


What a long time we had waited to get a big hug from our lovely daughter! We went down to the airport to meet her and were so excited to see her eventually emerge from the arrivals hall.
In spite of having travelled for around 20 hours, Darcie didn’t seem too tired and actually managed to get a couple of hours around the pool on her first afternoon. In the evening we just had to to celebrate properly, so we temporarily gave up our frugal, backpacking ways and took her for a meal at the fanciest restaurant in town.

The Ferrenghi Garden is a beautiful outdoor restaurant in a lush setting among tropical trees, flowers and waterfalls all illuminated with sparkly, coloured lighting.
So lovely to be together again after such a long time!

As Georgetown is famous for its eclectic foodie culture, we explored Little India and Chinatown and ate local street food specialties with Danny, who is a historian, artist and food enthusiast.

Danny buying us tasty egg samosas at a stall in Little India
In Penang, you often mix a selection of curries all together on your plate so the different flavours complement one another

Another thing the town is well known for is it’s street art so we followed the “trail” around the most well known pieces:-

Stopping off for a cool, refreshing coconut water after the hard work of walking around in the hot sunshine.

The next day we got a ride on the funicular which took us up to the viewpoint of Penang Hill for fantastic views over the city and across Penang Strait to the mainland.

The steep track up the hillside. Penang funicular was opened in 1923 and we saw one of the original wooden carriages although they are using new modern equipment now
Great views from the top! There was a gorgeous, colonial style restaurant there where we had coffee. I wanted to go back in the evening as the city lights would have been spectacular, but sadly we ran out of time.

Our apartment complex opened right onto the beach and had a lovely pool area which was a good thing as Darcie was able to have some “proper holiday” time relaxing on a sun bed and soaking up some rays!

One day we took a trip into the hills to visit a stunning butterfly park and check out a tropical fruit farm.

This butterfly was huge – around the size of my hand!
They came in all shapes, sizes and colours
Gorgeous clashing colours!
Sampling the 18 different tropical fruits

We have had difficulties with cyclone, political unrest and pandemic so far on our travels. We didn’t think we would need to add fire to the mix, but in Batu Ferrenghi it was so hot and dry that one day, the bush to the side of our apartments burst into flame. The fire spread incredibly quickly and at one point the flames were about 20 feet high. This picture was taken from our balcony; that’s the other side of our building on the right. We thought the blaze might spread to our apartment building, but the “BytheSea”staff were brilliant – they dragged big fire hoses out from the basement area and managed to get the fire under control long before the Fire Engines eventually turned up from Georgetown.

On our last evening in Penang we met up once again with the Hartshorn family were travelling in the opposite direction up from Singapore, so luckily our paths crossed once again. We had an authentic local Nyonyan meal, and then went to a special “dessert restaurant” where we tried sticky black rice pudding with coconut cream and weird looking cubes of rubbery lemon herb jelly served in sweetened rose water with ice cubes. It was refreshing and actually tasted quite nice!

Our first week with Darcie seems to have gone by incredibly quickly, but at least we still have a few days and some exiting sights and activities to look forward to in Singapore!

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