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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Penang Island, Malaysia

Date of visit: 25th May 2013

Trademark building of Penang, "KOMTAR"
It was Wesak day, a public holiday in Malaysia when we arrived in Butterworth from Kuala Lumpur on 25th May 2013 (in relation to event "KL to Bangkok by train"). The weather was great. After we placed our luggage at KTM's temporary station at a rate of RM3/bag, we went to adjacent bus station to purchase a bus ticket from Butterworth to KL on 31st May 2013 upon our arrival from Bangkok. The ticket on a comfy exclusive coach is only at RM31.80/person. After having a breakfast and a jaw drop expression over 50cents/cup of black coffee without sugar charged by the stall owner, we went to approach the taxi driver to take us for intended early lunch of Nasi Kandar.

Fisherman boat on Butterworth side, next to jetty

We were discussing whether 4 hours are sufficient for us to cross over to Penang Island to have their famous Nasi Kandar or should we just go to a nearby Nasi Kandar restaurant in Butterworth. Anne put up her case that she really wanted to see Penang Island, so we decided to check the ferry jetty seat adjacent to the Bus and Taxi Station. 


Anne que to change money for the ferry ticket. She changed RM5 thinking that RM1.20 per trip x 2 trips x 2 person. Again, we were having another jaw drop when the total ferry ticket is only 60 cents per trip. On our return, we don't have to pay a thing. 


Being in the same old ferry brought my memories back to a 6 months practical training in 1988 in Butterworth or best known as Bagan by locals. My late parents visited me during those period and I took them to the same Nasi Kandar Kassim by ferry. I was with Anne when those memory came running to my head.


We can view the construction of Second Bridge link from far distance. The second link bridge will be completed in year 2014 of which we hope Penang would become more prosperous. I sincerely felt that nothings really change in Penang as the people are still as friendly as ever, the Malays, the Chinese and the Indian's are communicated well among themselves. We heard a Malay lady stall owner was talking in Chinese language with their stall colleague. It was amazing to have those harmony and peace under a change state of the opposition, the most humble YB Lim Guan Eng.


Penang is famous for the preserved fruits which we called as "JERUK" as can be seen from few photos  which I snapped while waiting for Anne to try and decided what she wanted to buy. The colorful jeruk really matching Anne's mood. I was feeling happy and still am glad with Anne's radiant face.



DIGI is even following wherever jeruk goes :)


Not knowing nor decided where to go, we went out from the jetty compound and I spotted the beautiful heritage building and a clock tower, hence I asked Anne to pose. She was feeling a little embarrassed but I assured her that I will make her look as grandeur as the building. I hope you guys would agree with me :)


After wandering and being told not to enter a private yard, we decided to take the city bus which were station nearby the jetty. All buses in here will pass the city centre before going to their next destination, i.e to many other part of the Island. For those who wishes  to visit Penang, may visit the Penang Goverment tourism website in "http://www.visitpenang.gov.my/portal3/". They have a lot to offer, nice beaches, clean and modest hotels, Penang Hill etc etc. Rest assured that you wont regret visiting our lovely Penang State.


Due to a public holiday supported with a great weather, we have no problem with the traffic in the city. The road is rather clean and clear and the bus driver is very friendly too. When we got into the bus, we discovered another jaw dropping facts, there is a FREE WIFI in Penang. Thank you to the State Government for your kind and generous effort. 


Since there's not many tourist the owner of the tricycle in below photo took his rest by the road kerb. I saw him right after we came out from Prangin Mall which interlink with KOMTAR building. We were crossing the street to look for Nasi Kandar Kassim just around the corner when I spotted a nice angle to take this shot.


I had Nasi Kandar at Kassim restaurant so frequent back there in year 1988 but never once did I return. After 25 years, I had a chance to visit again. This shop is existed at the same spot for nearly 100 years. The land mark is the Gamma Supermarket which is still standing tall the same way I left, 25 years ago, nothing practically changed in the nearby area.


There were a little more crowd when we got back into the bus to the ferry station. What I saw in the bus of the older generation of Penang people really touch my heart. The Malaysian, despite races, religion, skin color and/or different view of political background are belong to this country. Whoever said that they are not really must dig the history of how Malaysia became today. Don't speak and spread hatred without knowledge.


The second last photo that I wish to share here is the "OMG" electronic shop found inside the Mall before we had a nice coffee at Starbucks. This was posted in my Instagram.


The ferry ride back to Butterworth is merely 10 minutes, without the que in and out. As soon as we reached the train station, we were sweating with our walks and from the sea breeze and the facts that we did not have morning shower that day. We quickly had showers, changed and performed an obligatory prayer before boarded on the Train No. 35 to Bangkok. Isnt' it lovely to see my favourite cardigan and a pair of socks hanging while I took shower?


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