During the National Day and Hari Raya long weekend, my husband and I decided to visit Penang. One of my colleagues mentioned that she enjoyed the place compared to Malacca.
We took a plane from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur then from KL to Penang on Wednesday afternoon. There are direct flights from Singapore to Penang. But since I purchased a hotel and flight package, we had to take 2 flights. You can even travel to Penang by bus but that would be a very long and tiring trip.
The flight from Singapore to KL took about an hour. We were on a Singapore Airlines plane and they served us coffee. Hmpf. Hehe. But at least the seats were comfortable. A far cry from our usual budget airline seats, hehe. The trip from KL to Penang was with Malaysia Airlines. They gave us some peanuts and juice. :)
We had ample time to catch our KL to Penang trip. We had to drop by the Transfer Counter to get our boarding passes. Unfortunately, we did not have time to go out of the airport to check out KL. We took the airport train from the international airport to the domestic airport. The immigration officials were nice. When they saw our Philippine passports, they greeted us in Tagalog. :) My husband and I were discussing that Malaysia is really quite similar to the Philippines. Even their immigration personnel look like ours. Yung pwedeng mabiro. Hehe. Unlike the strict, formal, but polite Singapore immigration officers. :D
It was our first time to take connecting flights. I was scared that we will be late for the connecting flight or our luggage will get lost. Initially, we did not want to check in our stuff. But since our sunblock and contact lens solution were more than 100 ml, we had no choice. When we got to Penang, my fears were confirmed. Nightmare!!! It was taking forever for our luggage to arrive. Finally, we heard one airport official say that there were no more luggage. So we were herded to the lost baggage counter where we found ourselves in the company of some fellow passengers. It was soooo annoying. But I was too tired to fight with the airline personnel. I still reported for work in the morning so I did not have the energy to be confrontational. We were informed that they have not yet located our luggage but it will be delivered to the hotel as soon as possible. They got our details and we had no choice but to wait.
We took the coupon taxi from the airport to the Bayview Resort Hotel in Batu Ferringhi. It cost us MYR74. It was quite a long trip, around an hour. Again, we had a nice cab driver, similar to the chummy Manila drivers. Andaming kwento ni kuya. Hihingi ata ng tip. Malas nya, kurips pasahero nya. Hehe. He was even smiling and waving when he dropped us off.
The hotel was nice. We were even upgraded to a more expensive room. Hehe, as budget conscious travelers (read: poorita, nagtitipid), we always book the cheapest rooms. :D There was even a lounge singer who turned out to be Pinoy. Yay.
After checking out the room, we decided to have dinner. After all, there were no luggage to unpack. Boo. We had dinner at the restaurant across the hotel. I can't even remember the name. Pero they served Italian and other dishes daw. Pwede na rin. I can't recall what our individual orders were but we ordered one pancit for sharing. Walang masarap. :( Buti na lang gutom kami mejo, hehe.
We checked the beach after dinner. It was okay but the waves were quite huge. Mukhang di pwede paliguan.
Afterwards, it was sleeping time for us. Admittedly though, I could not sleep well because I knew that our luggage was still somewhere out there. Di na nga ko nakapagbihis ng pangtulog, alam ko pang pwedeng di pa rin ako makapagbihis the following day. It was really a nightmare!
I woke up quite early on Thursday because I could not wait to call the airport to check if our luggage has arrived. Sige na nga, I was also looking forward to the breakfast buffet, hehe. I was overjoyed when I saw the hotel concierge's note on the door asking us to pick up our bag. Yey!!! Rhuel was still happily asleep and I did not want to wake him up. At dahil excited ako sa mga damit ko, I picked up the bag myself. It was such a nice feeling to be finally reunited with our bag. :)
Breakfast was so-so. The cereals tasted old. Even the western food like the sausages tasted curry-ish. They also served local food. I felt that I will not be enjoying breakfast for 5 days. :( During our entire stay, I only ate pancakes which tasted bland, muffins, croissants, and fruits. Sayang.
After breakfast, it was swimming time. Pool was okay. May mababaw na part, yehey. Hehe. It was not too crowded. After swimming for about an hour, we decided to check out the beach. Confirmed, di nga maganda paliguan. It didn't help that there was a huge sign there saying there were jellyfish in the sea.
We just lounged around on the beach chairs. They had nice huts which provided us with good shade. We had lunch at the hotel.
We also tried to play table tennis. Tried ang operative word because my husband was picking up the ball 90% of the time. Hehe.
After making tambay, we decided to check out the night market. It was not so near the hotel. Took us around 15 minutes to get there. We don't really mind walking but it was quite difficult because some parts did not have sidewalks.
We checked out some of the stores but we did not buy anything. They sold stuff similar to what you see in Divi. The fake jerseys were quite expensive, almost close to the price of the originals. Tsk. We wanted to buy a magnet but my choosy husband could not find one that met his standards. :D
We had dinner at the Long Beach Cafe (I think). It was one of the hawker centers in the area. We were quite hungry so we were not so adventurous. We ordered some chicken wings and it actually tasted good. We could not find a store selling plain rice though. So we had to order yang chow fried rice which cost as much as the chicken wings. Boo.
On our way back to the hotel, we decided to walk by the beach. We checked out the other hotels (that we could not afford, hehe). Golden Sands looked nice. It's by Shangri-la. It was nice to walk along the beach because we saw a lot of people doing different types of activities. But path was quite uneven so my husband was grumbling along the way. :D
When we reached the hotel, we decided to visit the lobby cafe to listen to our fellow Pinoy sing. He was nice and accommodating. He's been based in Penang for 10+ years already and he's been doing the rounds of the hotels there. He even agreed to sing some of our requests. After listening to a few songs, it was meme time for us.
It was time to check out Georgetown, the location of the World Heritage sites. We took the bus from the hotel. We were lucky to have been one of the first few passengers to hop on the bus because we were able to get good seats. After a few stops, the bus was so full of passengers and it was SRO already.
Buses in Penang don't use cards for payment. They only accept cash. Good for tourists, I guess.
The trip to Georgetown was quite long. There were some traffic jams along the way too. The driver alerted us when it was time for us to get off.
We decided to explore the place before eating lunch. We found the place quite chaotic. It reminded me of Quiapo, Intramuros, and Recto. There were a lot of old and rundown buildings and establishments.
My husband and I were joking that maybe dilapidated is the definition of a World Heritage site. The only nice thing I noticed is that they really try their best to retain the old structures. Although banks and restaurants already occupy these places, the structures still remain the same.
After going around the place for about an hour, it was time for lunch. We were not feeling too adventurous again so we settled for a cute and cozy cafe, Sip N' Chew. We had some western food and free wi-fi. Yey.
After lunch, we decided to go back to the hotel. Initially, we wanted to take the bus. But the buses going to the hotel were all full and SRO. We were not in the mood to rub elbows with different people so we decided to take a cab instead. Taxi drivers in Penang are really like Pinoys. Although there are signs which say that they should use the meter, you actually need to negotiate with them before you hop on the cab. Driver said it would cost us MYR35 to get to the hotel. We agreed. It's half the price of the cab fare from the airport to the hotel, so should be normal. We were so tired that we ended up sleeping most of the time.
The trip back was sooooo long. The traffic jam was terrible especially from the entrance of Batu Ferringhi to the hotel. Tsk.
When we got to the hotel, it was almost time for dinner. We wanted to explore some other place so we checked out the nearby Hard Rock Hotel. Our first choice was Hard Rock Cafe but the receptionist told us that she can only accommodate us for 45 minutes because their tables were reserved. We went to their Pizzeria restaurant instead. Of course, we had pizza. Food was actually good. And you have sea view so it was really a nice experience.
On our way out, we chanced upon a cool band performing on the Hard Rock Hotel lobby. They were good. They were singing songs that we loved so we listened for a few minutes before heading back to our hotel.
Saturday and Sunday
Just one entry for Saturday and Sunday because we had the same routine on these days. We ate breakfast then we swam for about an hour.
Afterwards, we lounged around on the beach chairs reading our own stuff. I was able to finish one John Grisham book and I think I was able to start reading one of the Pretty Little Liars prequels. Not bad. It's just so difficult to find time to read books nowadays. Sigh.
Lunch was hotel food. I had kway teow on Saturday and both of us had nachos on Sunday. The nachos were so good. Sauce tasted like pasta sauce with lotsa cheese. Yum.
Dinner was at the Hard Rock Hotel lobby. Saturday I had chicken rice. I really liked it. It did not taste ginger-y at all. Sunday we had pizza again. Yum.
Band on Saturday night was not so good. Mmm, they sang quite well but their speaking dictions were not so okay. Sunday night's band was the same as the one on Friday so we really enjoyed it a lot. :)
Back to reality on Monday. We left the hotel at around 11 am. There were cabs in front of the hotel so we did not have a hard time. Fare to the airport was MYR70, cheaper by MYR4 than the coupon taxis at the airport. Trip to the airport was not so bad.
We checked in our stuff first then we had lunch at Starbucks. We had a few hours to waste before our flight. There was nothing much to do in the airport though.
This time, both flights were handled by Malaysia Airlines. So that's (peanuts + juice) * 2. :D
Our flight from Penang to KL was delayed. We could not land in KL so we arrived several minutes later than scheduled. I was so afraid that we will be left by the plane for Singapore. I knew we could not make it if we still had to take the train at the airport because we arrived around 10 minutes before they close the departure gates. We were running around the KL airport like crazy. I've never ran that fast in my entire life, I think. My knees were shaking. My husband had to run ahead of me because he was the faster runner. Fortunately for us, we no longer had to take the train and we already had our boarding passes so we did not need to go to the Transfer Counter. Di nga lang kami magkatabi sa eroplano. That was the first time that we traveled together but we were not seated beside each other. Oh well, basta importante, we made it. People were already boarding the plane when we got there.
The trip from KL to Singapore was okay. Better landing than the super rough (with matching screeching brakes) one we had from KL to Penang.
Over-all, the trip was okay. We had time to relax and unwind, to lounge around and just read books. Admittedly, there was nothing much to do. We did not really find the sites super amazing. But just like Malacca, we just had to visit the place because it was nearby. Besides, we had a very relaxing stay so we're not really complaining. Warning though, Batu Ferringhi is quite far from the popular part of Penang, Georgetown. If you just want to relax, you should stay in Batu Ferringhi. But if you want more action, you should find a hotel in Georgetown. :)