21.01.2010 - 22.01.2010 37 °C
We got the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Penang on Thursday 21st January, which took about 7 hours. The bus was really comfy, the seats were like big sofa chairs that almost reclined all the way back.
We had only booked 2 nights in Penang because we had seen a weather report saying that it was to rain for the next few days. It didn’t rain but we were glad that we had only booked for 2 nights, there wasn’t that much to do there. The place we stayed at used to be a fishing village and our hostel looked like one of those tin huts you see on TV where they sort through the fish and put them in buckets of ice. It was a really basic hostel, we got a private room which was basically just four walls and a bed. They seem to like having there showers in the toilets here. They place the shower right next to the toilet seat so you have to manouver yourself around the pan whilst trying to wash. As Kev says you can go to the toilet and have a shower at the same time!
It was absolutely sweltering in Penang, we were so hot that we didn’t want to do anything. We managed to motivate ourselves to have a wander around. We first headed to the beach, 2 seconds away from the hostel. It was pretty but it wasn’t really a sunbather’s beach, the tide was always pretty high so there wasn’t enough space to sunbath. It was more of a water sports place. 2 minutes on the beach and we were being harassed to go Para-gliding. We told them we would think about it and then made a quick exit.
We had a walk about, not much to see or do, just a couple of shops. Had dinner and waited for the Chinese night markets to open. They set up stalls along the road and sell allsorts from fake designer bags to ice cream. We were a bit disappointed by them, they weren’t that great and it was like being back in Egypt again, getting harassed to by something from every stall we walked past.
On Friday we hired a guy to take us around the Island to see some of the sights. We wanted to do a tour but because it was out of season we had to hire a guy and his car to take us around. It was only £4 an hour and we thought it would be a good way to see what we wanted to see on Penang.
He had a list of the popular tourist sites and we had to choose where we wanted to go. First stop was the fruit farm, it was really interesting. We saw so many fruits we had never seen before and got to try some at the end. There were all sorts, elephant apples, star apples that tasted a bit like yoghurt, they had a milky juice. Figs, pineapple, dragon fruit and a fruit that tasted like root beer, I can’t remember the name of it, cheetcha something.
After the fruit farm we went to Kek Lok Si temple. Part of it is still being built. It’s a massive Buddhist temple with a huge bronze statue under a very detailed pagoda type thing. From there we visited the Snake Temple. Pit Viper snakes live in the temple, they came here to breed once and have stayed ever since. They say that the snakes aren’t harmful because they are subdued by the incense sticks but there are signs up telling you not to poke them! I thought it was going to be like an Indian Jones movie, a dark, dingy temple with snakes everywhere but it wasn’t. There were only a few snakes there strategically placed on branches and on picture frames! We were taken into another room where they had a couple of Python’s which before we knew it were wrapped around our necks for photo time (and of course we had to pay for the photos, they were only a couple of pounds though) The snakes felt wierd, I was just a little bit scared! I was ok until they started turning round to face me and started feeling me with their tongue, it tickled but they were getting a bit too friendly for my liking. That’s when I started telling them to get them off me.
After the Snake Temple we visited one more temple, the reclining Buddha Temple. Basically just another temple with a huge Buddha lying down. By this point we were getting too hot and bothered to care anymore, we just wanted to go back to the hostel and lie down for a bit. So that was the end of that. It was good to get to see a bit of the Island but it was just way too hot to keep going.