A few months back we got a chance to escape to Penang, Malaysia for a few days. Been wanting to get there for a while but the stars hadn’t aligned, so to speak. It’s likely our only ‘out of country’ getaway this year so we made the most of it.
We chose to stay at Doubletree Hilton Resort (Batu Ferringhi), as we were after the “resort experience” and this proved to have pros and cons. RM 1300 for four nights + 500 deposit which we blew through during our stay.
👍 Good pool, nice view from balcony with a glimpse of the ocean.
👎 Without a car had to rely on buses (slow) or taxis (a pain) to get around. The ‘town’ of Batu Ferringhi is NOT walk-able from the hotel (they have one free nightly shuttle @ 7PM but you need to book ahead ; no return shuttle and a taxi will cost you RM15) – not many other dining options close by if you are looking to save money.
For some reason even though the bed was decent we never had a good nights sleep while there. Strange.
Upon arrival at Penang International Airport, we found ourselves a taxi to make the trek out to Batu Ferringhi, about an hours drive away. Avoid the touts and head straight for the taxi counter where you pay, then hand the chit to the driver when asked. Easy. From memory, the fare was RM 60.
The afternoon was uneventful, but we did discover a gem of a bar across the road. The Miami Beach cafe was the perfect place to rest our travel-weary legs and slurp down reasonably priced icy cold Tigers.
A tonne of stairs leading down to this beachfront-cafe from the bus-stop on the main road, but well worth the hike, trust me. Of all the things we did on this trip, this is one of my favourite memories.
Being a work-day we felt it prudent to stay at “on-site” so we could attend to any work issues which may arise. Smart move. I had to wade through a large article in the afternoon and the wife was also busy with some of her customers.
But we did squeeze in a leisurely buffet breakfast and a nice swim, as well as late afternoon drinks at the Miami Beach cafe.
The joys of being a digital nomad 😊
Alas our 2nd visit to the cafe wasn’t as good as the first – As I’ve said before, you can never go back.
We headed into Georgetown, grabbing a taxi to Little India where we found a cheap and tasty breakfast. Then we started to walk, eventually stumbling upon the Black Kettle cafe. Tucked into coffee and a pastry, but the breakfasts looked really good. Toilet stop and then we were on the move again.
Usually, my sense of direction is pretty good and I can size up a new town quickly. Not this time 🙁
I walked the Mrs around for over an hour the wrong way. She was a good sport about it.
We stumbled upon The Chocolate Boutique. Think tourist trap with ‘Museum’ which quickly leads you into a sales area with not-so-cheap chocolates. Good quality and free tasting. We bought some and it lasted for 3-4 weeks which is a record in our household.
Cashier was kind enough to give us directions towards the famous ‘Street Art’. We eventually got there after first getting lost again. I was quickly becoming tired and moody, as the wife likes to call it.
Got hassled by a vagrant in a 7-11 which was a little creepy. Tip for beggars – I can be generous, unless you get in my face when I’m inside a store, then all bets are off!
We walked some more.
When I spied a burger joint on the other side of the road, I insisted we stop. Food was OK – not the best I’ve had nor the worst. Sometimes escaping the heat of the day is its own reward. That and the use of a ‘free’ loo.
Finally we found the street art – by which time it was stinking hot and we’d walked at least 5 kms. I let the wife take photos and was relieved when we took refuge at the food court near the ferry terminal.
Got the bus back to the hotel from the main bus terminal in Georgetown. Had a wee bit of trouble finding the correct ‘platform’ but luckily the bus hadn’t left and we quickly jumped on, paid and sat down. Ah, the scenic route (about an hour) but a great way to save money compared to getting a cab.
Had a swim and decided to stay put that evening as we were tired. Ate at the hotel and knocked off a few bottles of well-priced decent Aussie wine.
Note to self: If you’re going to load the day-pack with Indian groceries, don’t do it early in the day.
Back into town, this time on the bus again. Wanted to catch the street art we missed the day before. Armed with a better sense of direction the day’s mission proved much easier.
Caught some more art we had missed the day before and managed to fit in a foot massage before the afternoon heat caught up with us.
Ducked into a great German bistro (Eldeweiss) for a late lunch and drinks. Wheaties served in proper glasses, a bottle of vino and some currywurst hit the spot!
Headed back to Batu Ferringhi for dinner, this time Lebanese. Food was good, we went with the mixed platter.
Back to Bangkok as the rain really set in. Had a batshit crazy taxi driver – lucky to have made it to the airport in one piece. Sometimes getting to the airport is more dangerous than the flight itself!
Nice break away from Bangkok, but I’m thinking Penang is likely ‘one-and-done’!