We left Ko Lanta at 8am on Wed 29th Feb and had arrived in Georgetown, Penang by 8pm...so was a full day of travel but we were glad to get that done and dusted, The border crossing from south thailsnd into Malaysia was really staright forward, just stamping out on your passport from thailand and getting stanped into Malaysia, as well as having your bags scanned. Afetr doing the Thai Burma border crossing we were very pleased to have such an easy crossing!!
Penang is an island off Malaysia but connected via a 13 mile bridge and we stayed in its capital, Georgetown for 3 nights. Georgetown was a lovely introduction to Malysia as it is full of culture and is really fascianting to look around. Malaysians are really proud of their food and are said to combine the best food from all neighbouring countuires we are looking forward to testing out that theory! The minivan dropped us off right smack bang in the centre, by all the guesthouse, which is quite unusual for us...in Thailand usually they drop you off a few kn out of the town so the tuk tuk drivers can make a bit of money from you too! Our guesthouse 'Banana; was great, reallky cheap and one of the clenest places we have stayed even...despite it being shared bathroom here it always seemed to be clean. As we arrtived late on Wednesday we didnt do much toher than find a lovely wee place called 'Mickes place' on 'Love Lane' where we ate a very cheap meal that included free ice cream, horray!!
Thursday 1st March - St Davids day and my cousin Ryans 21st bday! Andrew dressed proudly in his red t shirt and wore his leek and welsh badge on his t shirt all day...i took out my wee welsh teddy Dewi attached to my handbag haha! We did get a few looks! Dont think we will ever get to celebrate st davids day in Malaysia agin so we just went for it! We visited the massive shopping centre 'Komtar' here where we needed to find a cheap new battery for andrews camera, mission accomlished after haggling and playing a few different traders off each other! Georgetown have a great government run bus service that circles the main town, so we made use of that! We walked through and explored 'Little India' which was a maze of indian shops, goods, music, people etc - the indians moved to this area years ago and have remained there so it is now like a little india. We walked down to the docks and went to have a look around some tmeples and churches and then had a look in the state museum. They had the little binding shoes there - years ago women used to bind their feet into small shoes - like baby shoes - the smaller the feet the more beautiful the women were considered. However, having seen photos of their feet Andrew and I would have to disagree!! Yuk!
While walking the streets here you have to be very careful of the extremely dangerous drains on the street! Honestly, have a look at the photo album for Penang, they are unreal, just massive holes a few feet down and a few feet deep - in the street, with no gratings often, i would be surprised people dont fall down and break legs quite often!
On Friday 2nd March we visited the Penang Peranakan Mansion which is an old chinese mansion with lots of antiques etc from the straits chinese. It was so ornate inside, really beautiful and lots to see as you can see in the photos we took. We then took the cheap and clean local bus to Penang National Park where we were very excited to see a huge wild monitor lizard on the rocks there as well as a white bellied sea eagle and lots of crab eating macaques in the trees! At one point the quite vicious monkeys spotted us and started making noises to each other above us, cicling us etc - and so we picked up the pace! Apparantly they are known for being quite nasty here, eek!! We had a bit of a nightmare getting the bus back as it didnt end up going our direction, so we had to get off and walk in the down piur rain and get on another (Andrew got quite vocal with the bus driver while I sat and apologetically smlied at the little old shocked malaysian woman on the bus haha!) - but in the space of time of waiting for our next bus (the free one i might add!) we managed to be on the receiving end of a very heated political rant from this very angry elderly malaysian man! Eek! He was very hostil towards the british and then started ranting about the northern ireland issues...not pleasant! I just sat in silence as Andrew tried to nicely explain things to him but then the malaysian man ended up walking off tutting and shouting! He he...welcome to Malaysia! Other than that though,we really like what we have seen so far and looking foward to more exploring here. Everyone else has been really freindly and welcoming!
Toomorrow (Sat 3 March) we head to the Cameron Highlands, fanous for their tea plantations and highlands. Looking forward!