Not entirely sure why I came here ?
09.02.2012 - 14.02.2012 33 °C
Writing this entry is a bit of an effort in fact I nearly skipped it entirely as I wasn't sure I wanted to remember but I was convinced that I should and it is part of the trip and a record for me in the future.... to make sure I never return !
The journey to Penang didn't start particularly well as I was suffering a bit with the well known ailment travellers tummy and with a 2.5 hour ferry journey to endure from langkawi where the facilities on board are usually best avoided unless you have a snorkel mask and waders on I really wasn't looking forward to it. The ferry terminal and ferry were in fact a pleasant suprise compared to Thailand. It's a bit like a small airport terminal with gates, porters and trolleys and you get an allocated seat on the ferry !! Yes no playing sardines and wondering if you will sink on these little Malaysian numbers, they even played a movie for us to watch. All going very well until the ferry got caught up in a fishing net half way and we were stuck firmly for nearly 2 hours while a lone diver in superman pants untangled us.
The ferry docks in Georgetown, where I was due to spend a few nights but my taxi driver ( amateur tour guide ) kindly put me off saying an hour or two and I will have seen it and the waterfall is tiny and butterfly farm rubbish and after driving through very slowly in the rush hour traffic I got his point and decided to cancel the Georgetown stay. I did see Jackie Chans holiday penthouse though so that's kind of sight seeing.
I arrived in Batu Ferringhi and within 5 minutes had a big rat on my balcony which wasn't particularly pleasant as they frighten the life out of me so I moved rooms to a higher floor as it was late and moved hotels the following morning upping the star rating dramatically which meant I was now staying in a hotel with several saga tour groups. This was actually quite nice as my fellow holiday makers were really friendly and they didn't like to see me on my own, so I spent one afternoon playing cards and drinking tea out of thermos flasks with a gang of old ladies,had several interesting chats with a moth collector who was unhappy that he'd travelled to the Cameron Highlands to collect a particular species but hadn't realised it was a full moon so had come back empty handed. A memorable moment was when I was sat in a bubble pool and an elderly gentleman apologised to me, I asked why and his response " oh my dear, I have a dreadful tummy so I thought I'd sit in the bubble pool so no one would notice my bubbles but I think you have, so sorry " I sympathised as Penang didn't agree with me either !! Shame because part of the appeal of Penang is the world famous hawker food but sadly I may well be the only visitor to Penang not to experience as this as I lived on cheese sandwiches and bread rolls.
The beaches on Penang are really not where anyone would wish to spend anytime and in fact they didn't. They are filthy dirty and the water is brown and full of jellyfish. One guide told me this is always the case and due it being on the Straits of Melaka. So My advice if you like beaches is avoid Penang as you won't find a nice one.
There was a highlight to my visit, I went to Orang Utan Island on the mainland one day, which was a bucket list thing to do. It's about 2 hours from Batu via suicide bridge ( best place to jump so they say as the currents are so strong ) and a nice journey through rubber plantations and feng Sui fish farms. The Island itself was home to 39 Ranga's as part of a rehabilitation programme and for once it was the tourists that were in a cage rather than the animals. You walk through a caged tunnel and it's up to you to look for the Ranga's which you may see if they are wandering around or you might not as they are left alone to do what they want. I was lucky and saw 7 in their own environment including the old man Mike, who was huge and a mother and tiny Baby. It was very difficult to take photographs as the cage was several layers thick and to be honest I was more interested in watching them than taking photo's. They did however on the day I visited have 2 babies in the nursery room, which had a glass front so you could watch them play with their soft toys and each other. The day ended in another rat sighting, time to leave !