Friday, May 16, 2008

Exploring Penang

I am back blogging, after 3 days of vacation exploring Penang with my gf armed with a trusty tourist map & a smattering of Hokkien. Prior to that, we did pretty much everything online, you know things like looking up bus routes, attractions, hotel bookings etc etc...

We took Plusliner for the journey from KL to Penang & had a surprisingly pleasant trip. The best thing about Plusliner is their buses depart from KL's KTM main terminal, meaning you won't need to jostle with the crowd at the carbon monoxide filled dungeon of Puduraya. Not to mention clean interior and cockroach-free seats.

I think our driver even set a new Malaysian record when the bus departed one minute before the stated time. We were impressed ^~^

5 butt-numbing hours later, we reached Penang or what I like to call it, the DAP state. The taxi ride from Sg.Nibong bus terminal to Berjaya Hotel cost us RM22! Bloody expensive for a 20 minutes journey. Note to self : if mechanical engineering doesn't work out, try taxi driving in Penang.

The view from our hotel room

Penang is a curious mix of old & new with many structures dating back to the colonial era. The island is littered with Western style bungalows, churches, missionary schools and clan houses, especially so in Georgetown.

Speaking of clan houses, we visited three : the Yap, Cheah & Khoo Kongsi
at one shot since all of them were situated close to each other. All of them are still beautifully preserved with the most impressive being Khoo Kongsi due to their immense wealth.

But finding these grand buildings can be tricky as all of them are hidden from view & can only be access from small entrances. The purpose was to protect the buildings from being destroyed during clone clan wars in the olden days.

Entrance to Cheah Kongsi

Gigantic lanterns adorned all three of them. Really reminds me of the movie 'Raise The Red Lantern'.

One particular room at Khoo Kongsi were hung full of 'signboards' of Khoos who manage to complete university. If you thought such things were ancient practices, some of the them obtained their degrees as recent as 2006.

The Khoo clan must have been very concern with security, not content with just building small hidden entrances, they even build stone pak guards to scare away troublemakers.

Walking around in search of Sun Yat Sen's Penang base, we saw this Habib Jewels outlet. Must have been the first outlet before they expand into every major shopping complexes in Malaysia.

We failed to find the building though but still saw a statue of the great man at the Penang Philomathic Union.

From the compound, you have a nice view of the Umno building & Komtar. One houses the office of the Chief Minister while another is the headquarters of the opposition party ^~^

Completed Day 1 with a meal at Lorong Selamat. Will post about my second day as soon as I finish adapting myself back to bland KL food hehe


BernardC said...

Nice place to be. Penang, I planned to go there this weekend but didn't work as well as i thought.
Smattering Hokkien?? Try me, I don't know even how to speak or hear, as it I'm in Jupiter or domething.

joshuaongys said...


BernardC said...

I can't believe it...Double for Man U

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