Our 'VIP' bus ride to Penang started with a squeaky, dirty and leaky bus with no air con. The bus driver drove down the mountain as if he was downhill skiing, swerving across into the other lane and overtaking at every possible unsafe chance. It was also pouring with rain and we were getting wet in our seats (He was driving with the front door open because of the air con issue).When we got to the bottom of the mountain we swapped onto a better bus which we thought was awesome until we got off the bus and realized that our video camera had been stolen!!! The bus driver was really unhelpful and we weren't able to report it to the police as the police station was unattended so it's long gone and hopefully our insurance will cover it……. Moving on…….
After having a bit of a sulk about the camera we found our way to a hostel in Georgetown - the main town in Penang. Our hostel was the cheapest so far at RM18 (about $7 Australian dollars) for the both of us in a private room. It was really basic but had free internet and a nice communal bathroom with an open roof.
Our whole time in Penang pretty much involved us walking, eating, drinking coffee and hanging our at Gurney Plaza which was a really nice shopping centre on the island about a 4km walk from where we were staying. It was nice, clean and air-conditioned which were all the things we were craving along with nobody trying to sell us anything. The first time we went there we saw Wolverine in the cinema - awesome awesome movie and now Sammy has adopted the wolverine facial hair in tribute to the very talented Hugh Jackman. Probably my favourite movie for a long time. We went back to the Cinema the following day and saw Fast and Furious (4) which was surprisingly good as well.
When we returned to our hostel after the first night we tried to book the bus to Phuket. Problem arose when we realized the bus was fully booked and if we crossed the border by land we would only get a 14 day visa (we were planning on staying in Thailand for 6 weeks). We debated what we could do and found some flights from Penang back to KL and then onto Phuket. It would mean we would leave for KL late at night, have a 7 hour layover in the early hours of the morning and then fly out to phuket first thing.It would be a hell of a flight but we'd get to see everyone in Phuket and we'd get 30 days on the visa. So we decided on that and it all worked out OK. Sammy was a trooper and stayed up during the night to mind our stuff at the KL airport whist I slept on the bench beside him.
Penang was a great stop and it was nice to hang out and do some regular stuff such as go to the movies after all the sightseeing we'd done in the previous places. I'm sure there's a lot more to Penang and it's surrounding islands than what we saw but we still had a good time and did what we wanted to which is the main thing…. And we got to have the awesome time with our friends in phuket!