Tagged: malaysia

Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Borneo

 

 At 12:30pm four of us from Borneo Sandakan Backpackers were picked-up by a minivan to take us to Kinabatangan River. The drive was 2.5 hours. There was me, an Aussie girl, and two German guys.

The 2 night package with Asia Green Travel cost 371 rm ($100) and included meals, lodging (basic lodge dorm,) 2 jungle walks, 2 night jungle walks, and 4 river cruises. Our guide was named Aloy and came from the town across the river bank.
We arrived at the lodge and and were shown our room, a 6 bed dorm with about 6 inches of space in between each, and a bathroom. Luckily there were only four of us because the space was incredibly tight, although it was the nicest basic outdoor lodge I’ve stayed in. It even had AC and hot water. 

 It’s green beetle season right now and there are literally thousands of lime green beetles all over the place- the floors, walls, air, etc. There were also massive lime green grasshoppers and cicada’s.  Our schedule for the first day was snack, afternoon cruise, dinner, night jungle walk. For our snack we had roti’s and curry sauce which was delicious. It heavily down poured before our cruise which I think scared a lot of the animals away. On the night walk to saw a Blue-eared Kingfisher, a bright blue/pink/yellow bird.


Aussie and I stayed up late hanging out with our guide. The lodge is going to be town down soon because the owner is building a resort in its place. We were given a tour of the new lodges and at midnight Aloy and Elvis, the lodge host, took us into the massive restaurant under construction on the waterfront. The design is wooden and upscale.
The next day we left at 5:45am for the morning river cruise. Then had breakfast and left for our daytime jungle walk. We used the boat to cross the water bank then trekked for an hour to Lake Oxb Lake. Here we threw bread into the water and immediately tons of tilapia babies starting fighting over it. On the walk we saw tiger leeches, millipedes, a black squirrel, pigmy squirrels, and a big daddy long legs. There was a bunch of pigmy elephant poop with mushrooms growing out of it, but we didn’t see any elephants. 

           We walked back to the boat and went back to the lodge. We had lunch then played cards with our guide. It started to downpour again but at 2pm it had stopped and we left for our village walk. The village nearby, Bilit Village, ended up being a few houses and a school with a convenience store. We bought drinks, visited our guides family’s house, and played with newborn puppies.  After the village walk more people arrived at the lodge. Two older British couples, a young couple from Vancouver, and a young Swedish guy. We all snacked on fried shrimp bread balls then headed out for our cruise, which was by far the best one yet.


On this cruise we saw a big older orangutan making a nest high up in a tree. We also saw 5 elephants feeing along the water. On the way back we stopped and watched two Proboscis monkey families fighting over tree space. In total their were eight groups of monkeys in that tree, and the surrounding ones. The monkeys were jumping around and actually hitting each other; I thought I was watching National Geographic. 

     After dinner someone spotted a 2.5 meter long Yellow-ringed cat snake on the exterior wall of the outdoor bathroom. It was black with yellow stripes. Me and Aussie ran when a guide attempted to pick it up by it’s tail, and Aussie actually broke the floorboards when she sprinted off.


The next morning we woke up early again for another sunrise river cruise. This trip I noticed all the old used orangutan nests throughout the trees. Apparently they only use a nest for one night then move on.

On the four river cruises we saw Proboscis monkeys, long tail macaques, pig tail macaques, silvered langur monkeys, black hornbill birds, Oriental Pied hornbill, black hornbills, Wrinkled hornbills, a red hornbill, purple herons, great egrets, osprey, white-bellied sea-eagles, crested serpent-eagle, stork-billed Kingfisher, a 4m crocodile, a foot long baby crocodile, 2 orangutans, and 5 elephants.


After breakfast I was dropped off at a junction 35 minutes away to grab a bus driving from Sandakan to Semporna. I paid 40 rm and the bus took 5 hours. All the land we drove through was Palm oil plantations. Imagine a corn farm but Palm trees instead.

Sandakan, Sabah, Borneo

 

In Sandakan I stayed at Borneo Sandakan Backpackers, which had great reviews online and a modern website. I stayed in the dorm for 30 rm a night including breakfast. The hostel was in a great location right on the backpacker tourist street and a block from the sea. The breakfast was proper with eggs, and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. 


I arrived at 2am. At noon I woke-up and had scrambled eggs with real coffee- none of the Instant stuff I have every morning at the other hostels. I then walked around the city a little but stayed in the same general area. The city is very small. The waterfront has a few restaurants but they are overpriced so I skipped them. I walked inside the new mall in the Four Seasons but it hasn’t been finished yet and there isn’t much there now. 

    For lunch I ate at Selera Sri Keniogan downstairs from my hostel. I ordered an apple juice and chicken noodle soup. Before my meal came I was brought a cup of ice cream, very bizarre but I definitely didn’t question it.   After lunch I checked out the tourists shops. I had decided before hand to skip the Orangutan Sanctuary since I already went to one on Sarawak. Also, although the one here in Sepilok is more famous it is also more controlled and expensive. I’ve been told it feels more like a zoo than a sanctuary. 


I also decided to skip Turtle Island once learning about it. One goes to Turtle Island to watch mother turtles lay eggs and then also to see eggs hatch, which sounds interesting but this only happens late at night and early in the morning and therefore it’s an overnight trip. The accommodation at the island is very expensive as is the trip in general. Again it’s something that would be more affordable if I wasn’t alone.

I did sign up for a 3 day 2 night Kinabatangan River tour, which someone recommended to me.

Across the street from the hostel are two spas both offering promotions. I chose Lynn Beauty Center, which offered an hour foot massage and ten minute back massage for 48 rm ($13.) The foot massage room faced out towards the sea so I had a nice view while I relaxed. 

 After the massage I went to the grocery store to pick up some fruit, veggies and snacks for the river trip. I then headed back to the hostel and relaxed for the night.

Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo

 

flew into Kuching International Airport and met up with a girl from Vermont who I became friends with in the hostel I stayed at in Seminyak. We grabbed a cab into the city and checked into Seahare Guesthouse. The hostel is smack in the middle of the small city, across the street from the river. There’s on air conditioned dorm that holds sixteen people comfortably, and a nice couch/tv area. A British man owns the hostel and he was great at telling us all about the city and area around.

We ventured out right away and decided to check out the museums around us, which are all free. Both the Natural History museum and Art museum were closed for renovations. The Sarawak Museum was similar to a natural history museum. The downstairs was all animals stuffed from the regions around, and upstairs was ancient artifacts. 
It was storming when we were done with the museum so we had to wait under an awning for a while for it to stop. We then walked towards the Mosque and through Little India, which was as very colorful. We bought green beans to snack on along the way. 

    

We stopped for lunch at Borneo Delight (on the corner from our hostel) and tried the local Laksa, vermicelli noodles with chicken and shrimp in a curry broth.   Later on we walked back towards Little India to Jalan Powers to check out the street art. Here Ernest Zachaervic, the Lithuanian artist who painted all over the street of Georgetown, Penang, has painted two 3D images of orangutans. 

We then walked along the waterfront towards the modern downtown area. There were food stalls along the water as well as local musicians. The waterfront is beautifully landscaped and has random street art. It was also full of local people enjoying the evening. 

  

The next morning we jumped on public bus #1 to go to Bako National Park. The 30 minute bus dropped us off at a port where we purchased a park ticket for 20 rm ($5.50) and a one-way boat ticket for 20 rm. [A return ticket also cost 20 rm.] We boarded a roofed canoe and rode to the park.  We pulled into a massive flat beach and deboarded into the water. First we did the trail Telok Pandan Besar (1.75km)  then Telok Pandan Kecil (2.2 km.) The trails were almost the same just two different tips of a Y shape. The trails were not too difficult but the heat and humidity made the trip harder. 

We walked past a small waterfall, up and down hills, and over millions of roots. At one point we reached a flat section that looked like the moon with large craters. Here we got lost finding the next part of the trail so we wandered around the moon for a while.

Besar led us to the top of a cliff, while Kecil led us to a massive beach. Both had beautiful views and rock formations. We ate our lunch on Kecil beach and watched as the tide changed. 

          On the way back we attempted trail Telok Paku because it’s supposedly the best track to spot monkeys, but we quickly ran into a large group who said they didn’t see any so we decided to turn around. I went swimming but the ocean was not refreshing, it felt more like a hot bath.  After returning back to the city we went back to Borneo Delight and had the curry noodles. We then walked to 7/11 to get ice cream.

In the morning we walked towards the modern part of town. We ended up walking right through Chinatown and checked out all the local food goods. There were pink cakes and large marzipan towers. We found out there’s a Chinese holiday tomorrow to celebrate the deceased; it’s also Easter. We then stopped for wonton soup because they served pork (a rarity in Muslim Malaysia.)
At the entrance of the city is a large Chinese archway with a large cat statue. Kuching means cat and therefore this is Cat City. There are statues of cats all throughout the city. We walked through the cat garden after. 

Later on we took a boat across the river to check-out the other side for 1rm (30 cents.) 

When we got across we stopped in Mira Cake House for some samples of colorful cake, which we had been seeing all over the city. All the cakes are different flavors- chocolate, cheesecake, strawberry, etc. There are hundreds of flavors made. I kept wanting to find the peppermint but there were never samples available.

We walked to Fort Margarita, where they do not sell margaritas. We then walked back to the water to check out the Hawkers. The food there did not sound that appealing and it was more expensive than our local spot in town so we decided not to eat here. We took a boat back across the water, and I picked up fried rice and ginger fish from Borneo Delight. We stayed in and watched Harry Potter.
At 7am we got into our rental car and set out for the day. There were five of us- me, Vermont, a girl from LA, a Dutch girl, and a German guy. We did the entire day of driving using two regular paper maps, old school and difficult. 

 was most scared about driving on the left side of the car and road, but Malaysia seemed like the safest place to try. I drove the entire day and only had a few mishaps, mostly I kept turning on the windshield wipers instead of signaling. But I had a great time driving through the beautiful roller coaster jungle roads. 

We wanted to make it to Semenggoh Nature Reserve to see the orangutans for their morning feeding at 9am, so we left the hostel at 7:30am. We took one wrong road to get there and ended up taking a random road that we think brought us into the actual reserve. So we back tracked and made it to the feeding at 9am on the dot. First we saw Delima the baby being fed with her mother, then we switched platforms and saw Ritchie the gigantic male being fed. Ritchie is no joke. He looks like a sumo wrestler wearing a fur coat. He strutted his stuff as he walked down the pathway. 

  

 After the monkeys we drove farther north towards a Longhouse. Again we got lost and ended up on the wrong highway. We stopped at a strip mall to ask for directions and picked-up local pastries (I got a pork bun.) We got back in the car and decided to not backtrack. Up north (once off the highway) the road was damaged in many spots from a recent landslide that the government is making no attempt to fix. It took us one more wrong road (and backtracking a bit) to make it to Annah Rais Longhouse. A Longhouse is one long wooden platform with houses build directly on top. One family or community lives there. In this case it’s a community. Most remaining longhouse’s are now homestay’s (guesthouses) for tourists.

We were greeted with local rice wine samplings, and then walked around on our own. There was a shop that was closed and an empty restaurant, but other than that it wasn’t touristy at all. We were the only tourists there simply observing their homes from the outside; although many asian homes are as much on the outside as inside.

  

 After the longhouse we headed back towards Kuching and just before the airport we turned off the highway towards Bau town. Again we got lost, or so we thought, but we made it to the Wind Cave at 3:30pm. We had originally wanted to do the Fairy Cave but it was closing at 4pm and was farther away.

The Wind Cave was completely dark and even with our flashlight it was hard to see; although I’m sort of happy I couldn’t. There were thousands of bats all over the ceiling, and bat nests in the crevices. We saw a few large spiders and some frogs. The air was moist and there was bat poop all over the walkway and railings. 

   While we were in the cave in started to downpour and lasted all throughout our drive home. Holland, who was sitting shotgun then, put in a Malaysian pop CD and we rocked out to local jams in the rain. Overall it was a fantastic day and we saved a ton of money by doing the trip on our own. The car cost 100rm plus 45rm for a full tank of gas. The monkeys cost 10rm, the longhouse was 8rm, and the cave was 5rm. So total we each spent 52rm for a 10 hour day. At a tour office is costs 150rm for a trip to the monkeys and longhouse.

After returning to the hostel we drank some beers on the back porch to wind down. We then went back to Borneo Delight for a final meal, this time I had the curry fish with fried rice. I had to eat my meal in less than ten minutes then run to get my stuff from the hostel. Vermont and I left at 9pm for the bus station and got a 10pm bus to Miri. The bus took 15 hours getting us to Miri at 2pm. Luckily before when we stopped at noon we were at a market. 

 

 

Melaka, Malaysia

IMG_6953.JPG

In Melaka I got off the bus at Dutch Square and was immediately accosted by multiple rickshaws decked out in Hello Kitty and Frozen decor with LED lights and loud sound systems playing dance music. Apparently these are the method of transportation for tourists both daytime and nighttime. They’re character themed to appeal to children and women because they have the power to spend dads money. And yes, Asian women are just as obsessed with Hello Kitty as the children are.

In Melaka I stayed in Chinatown at Julan-Julan Guesthouse 2. The hostels are practically next door to each other and have the same reception. The original has been around for over eighty years and has a great reputation for being friendly. Lee, a British guy who works there, is a real treat. He’s incredibly outgoing and takes people out for dinner and activities regularly.

Upon arriving I was greeted by Lee and immediately invited to a local restaurant for dinner. I dropped my bag in my room and right away I had a new group of friends. We all ordered the stingray on recommendation by Lee. It was served in a spicy tomato broth with a side of white rice, sautéed cabbage and half a salted egg. I also had a carrot juice which was the first real juice I’ve received in a long time (aka not watered down.)

After dinner we went to Uncle Lee’s, a “bar” on the same street as the hostel. It was more like uncle Lee’s living room. Uncle Lee is in his late 80s and sits in his living room in his underwear with huge bifocals watching tv. His living room/bar is on the street and therefor everyone can see him. His commode is also sitting there for everyone to see. We grabbed beers from his fridge and made ourselves at home.

After Uncle Lee’s we walked a little further down the road to Shantaram bar, owned by Sood. This small “bar” has a couch, a bunch of plastic chairs and a fridge. The walls are covered in magazine photos with all the heads replaced by cat heads; Soon loves his cats, or rather cats control his life.

IMG_7099.JPG

The next day I woke up to go with Lee to a local Gurdwala Seek for lunch. We made a 2rm donation and were served a vegetarian Indian meal. After lunch we cleaned the dishes for the whole place then biked back through the old wooden houses that still remain in the city. We also stopped at the riverside which was my first time seeing it (Chinatown is surrounded by a river,) and at an abandoned historic building that’s filled with street art.

IMG_7074.JPG

At 5pm that night a group of us all grabbed bikes and Lee brought us to Dorris’s on Jalan Jawa, a Chinese medicine bar. The Japanese used to drink here during the war. The shop has a small wooden bar and the shelves are lined with all different types of Chinese liquors and medicines, many with neon pink labels. First I tried the silkworm, which Lee recommended. Next I had the one with gecko (the bottle literally says gecko parts) for energy. Both liquors tasted similar to Fernet Branca. While we drank Dorris served us traditional Chinese cracker snacks, and we bought a bag of spicy potato donuts from a man on the street.

IMG_6989.JPG

After our drinks we biked out of Chinatown to a local market. It looked and felt like a town fair. There were tents selling food, produce and clothes. Our group probably tried everything combined, but I had grilled spicy chicken, and I tried fried oysters, some pancake taco thing, a roti, corn in a cup, and a sugarey young coconut drink.

IMG_6995.JPG

On the way home we stopped at the biggest Hindu temple in Melaka, Sri Subramaniar Thuropathai Amman Alaya Paripalana Sabai. I think it was my first Hindu temple ever. All the statues and architecture were colorful and emotional. There was a pig/monkey faced man statue, and I saw a baby being blessed with his family.

We drove back to the hostel and decided we wanted to buy alcohol instead of drinking beer right away. I asked a deli worker and he told me to go to the closed gate across the road and there I should find a place to buy alcohol. So I walked across the street and peered into the gate and saw an old man sleeping in his underwear inside a narrow liquor shop. Bingo. We bought some whiskey and went back to Shantaram bar for a long night out.

The next morning I woke up and went for some of the best dim sum in Chinatown right down the road from the hostel. I had two orders of crystal shrimp dumplings and a roasted pork bun which ended up having liquid inside too- a hybrid between a pork bun and a soup dumpling. After breakfast I walked to the Dutch Square right over the bridge from Chinatown, and up the fortress hill. I saw the remains of St. Paul’s church, and took a bunch of photos with locals. Then I walked down to the ruins of Porta de Satiago and listened to a local musician play.

IMG_7152.JPG

IMG_7081.JPG

IMG_7083.JPG

I stopped in a mall for some AC and sashimi. Then I went on the River Cruise which is supposed to be great for seeing the riverside street art. I ran to catch a boat that was pulling out and I ended up boarding a boat packed with older South Korean tourists. In unison they all looked at each other and moved so that the only available seat was directly in the middle. I couldn’t see much of the scenery and every single time I looked up one of them was trying to take a selfie with me in it. The first few minutes were fine but twenty minutes in I was annoyed that I had actually paid for this.

IMG_7089.JPG

I walked back through Chinatown along Jonker Street, which is mostly filled with tourist shops selling identical tank-tops with designs on them. I stopped at 37 restaurant (on recommendation from Lee) for some Chinese fish with ginger. Later that night we all walked out of Chinatown to a local tandoori restaurant. The tandoori was delicious but the naan tasted more like pizza bread, it wasn’t crispy at all. After dinner we went back to Shantaram bar for the third and final time.

IMG_6979.JPG

The next morning I got up and headed back to Sentral bus station for a four hour bus to Singapore.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

IMG_6688.JPG

Pulling into Kuala Lumpur gave me the same thrill of crossing the GW Bridge and rushing down the west side highway watching the skyline from the passenger window knowing that I am home. I didn’t expect to like this city as much as I did. It’s the first Asian city I’ve been in that’s been truly multicultural. The three main groups that you see are Chinese, Islamics and whites. I had two different “trips” in the city. My first three days I was a backpacker and stayed at Birdnest 2 Hostel in Chinatown. The hostel was on the second floor of a walk-up but was designed to look like houses outdoors. Sweden and I shared a double room with a fan. There was no window and with temperatures in the 90s everyday we felt like we were being tortured.

Our first night we went to Nando’s, a UK chicken restaurant chain that basically everyone I’ve met raves about. I had the butterfly chicken breast extra hot. To be honest I don’t understand the hype. The sauce was creamy, not that spicy, and not that exciting.

After we went to Betraya Times Square, one of the many massive malls in the city, to catch a movie. All the movies we wanted to see (and that the theater website said it was playing) were not actually in theaters here. We ended up seeing The Wedding Ringer. I had never seen a preview but it was stupid funny, and perfect for our mood.

The mall had a roller coaster inside, like the mall or America. I got a euro-tart fro yo nearby. It also had a grocery store downstairs where I went bonanza.

The next day we got on the free public bus intending to take it all around the city. We ended up getting off to transfer and never got back on. We stopped at Dunkin and Starbucks for coffee (I miss regular black ice coffee) and then went to Forever 21 in the mall across the street. The Pavillion ended up being a massive middle/upper class mall. We got stuck enjoying the air conditioning and the western lifestyle. After shopping we grabbed a late lunch at Michaelango’s. I had the antipasto and a glass of white wine- my first glass of wine since Laos.

IMG_6600.JPG

That night we went to Mansion Rooftop, the bar on top of Reggae Mansion. There was a great view of the KL Tower from the roof. We played pool and didn’t drink beer (I can’t keep drinking only beer.) We thought there might be fireworks that night because it was the eve of Chinese New Year but there was nothing. It did start to rain though and we had a dance party outside.

IMG_6609.JPG

The next day was our official tourist day. We woke up and walked over a graffitied railway tunnel to the Islamic Arts Museum. I wasn’t sure what Islamic art meant but in this case it was mini replicas of the worlds most famous Mosques, old books, jewelry, clothes, weapons, etc. The museum architecture was modern and there was a nice view, but to be honest the museum wasn’t that great even though it’s rated #1 on trip advisor.

IMG_6617.JPG

IMG_6783.JPG

Next we went to Masjid Negara, the National Mosque of Malaysia. We had to wear traditional Islamic robes and hijab’s. It was fun to see both girls and boys walking around the mosque in purple robes- this mosque’s color choice. The mosque wasn’t impressive; especially not after seeing the mosque in Abu Dhabi. There was a lot of open walking space and there was the prayer room, which was only open to Muslims. Other than that there was nothing to see and the artictecturhe was boxy modern. Nothing about it felt old or religious.

IMG_6640.JPG

IMG_6798.JPG

From there we walked through the Hibiscus and Orchid Park. The national flower of Malaysia is the hibiscus. The flowers were mostly pinks which reminded me of my tattoo. I splashed myself in the fountain which felt incredible- it was over 90 degrees out. We went to the Butterfly park and I found the most entertaining long neck water turtle. He followed my GoPro around even when I forced him into the bubbles jet stream.

IMG_6654.JPG

IMG_6657.JPG

IMG_6673.JPG

We headed back home and stopped for dinner in Chinatown. We had figured since it was the new year that there would be celebrations but instead most of Chinatown for closed. I did managed to find shrimp with broccoli though so I was happy.

We went to Sky Bar that night at Traders Hotel. It’s a rooftop club directly in front of the KLCC towers so it provided the best view for photos. I got a Manhattan (because it was the only bourbon cocktail) and we sipped our drinks next to to pool staring at the view. A local invited us to his table where we sat for the rest of our time there. We danced to old music and sipped on Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks.

At 1am-ish our new friend drove us to Changkat, the bar street. I was expecting a backpacker street like in every other city I’d been so far, but instead it was a clean street packed with big bars. Very western but not backpacker. It was a real going out scene which thankfully we were dressed appropriately for. We went to one bar that was having a ladies night and had two free cocktails.

At 3pm-ish we headed back to Mansion Rooftop. Right away a guy from Dubai started buying me drinks and I my own personal grape/mint shisha. He was flaunting his money (literally wads of cash) in an obnoxious way so I had no problem taking advantage. All in all it was a great night- from high roller rooftop tables all the way back to the backpacker rooftop bar.

The next morning we checked out of our hostel and our local friend picked us up and brought us to Jump Street, an indoor trampoline park. We had to buy special socks with grips, and we paid for an hour access. We started at the Main area which was a checkerboard of regular trampolines. I haven’t been on one since I was a kid but our local was a pro and Sweden has one at home. We jumped here for a while, then went to the advanced section where the springs are bouncier and you can jump into an air bag. Then there’s the section where you can jump into a foam pit. I preferred this landing because it was softer. However, the advanced area was the most fun because here you can bounce the highest. Trampolines are a serious workout.

IMG_6730.JPG

After jumping we got dropped of at KL Sentral, the transportation hub. I took the subway back into the city and Sweden headed for the bus station.


The second three days of my trip I lived as a resident. I rented a large modern studio in the central of KL right near KLCC. The studio was Golden Triangle Suites by Mondo, part of Marc Residences. I was on the 26th floor and had a kitchen area (only a stove), large bathroom, washer/dryer, and a bed/ living room area with a large flat screen tv. It was everything I hoped for and needed.

IMG_6846.JPG

The building facilities included two outdoor pools, a gym and a computer room. One of the pools faced one of the KLCC towers.

IMG_6759.JPG

After checking in I went straight to KLCC mall to shop. I bought the new season of 24 on DVD, and then headed to Cold Storage grocery store. I went nuts with vegetables, and also bought hummus, brie cheese, seafood, and ice cream. I got other stuff as well but I missed these things the most.

IMG_6820.JPG

In the next three days I made pan fried dory, sautéed Chinese broccoli, Cajun shrimp, vegetable stir fry, and a lot of eggs and toasted toast using only a frying pan.

IMG_6856.JPG

IMG_6911.JPG

I spent daytime in the gym and by the pool, and nighttime cooking and watching tv on the couch. I slept in late everyday and took long hot showers with my waterfall shower head. I jelled out to the max and enjoyed every second of it.

IMG_6936.JPG

Three days past and I took the sky train to KL Sentral, then the Kommuter train to Bandar Tasik Selatan, the big bus terminal. From there I got a bus to Melaka.

Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia

IMG_6556-0.JPG

On Penang Island I stayed in the old historic UNESCO town of Georgetown on Love Lane at 56 Red Inn. The hostel cost about $8 for a 6-bed aircon dorm with a toast breakfast. Love Lane street is lined with guesthouses and sits in the middle of Chinatown; however, this Chinatown is not like any other I’ve seen. The building are all thin and double story with old European-looking facades. Georgetown is the artistic hippy section of the island and it shows.

I arrived in the late afternoon and went to Red Garden for dinner with some girls from my hostel. Red Garden is an outdoor food court with a stage for live bands. The exterior of the area is lined with food stalls from around the world. I had Thai food since it had been a while. After dinner me and one Swedish girl had a beer across the street from our hostel at a Beatles bar. Beer here is incredibly expensive- $4 for a bottle.

On my first and only real day in Penang I woke-up and headed to my first yoga class in over three months, at Sunalini on Love Lane. The class was $10 and not worth it. We did three poses and some stretching and that’s it.

IMG_6565.JPG

Afterwards I walked around the artistic part of Georgetown. The area has murals scattered randomly on the buildings, iron UNESCO sculptures, coffee shops, book stores, artistic stationery stores, vintage clothing stores, etc.

IMG_6554.JPG

IMG_6559.JPG

IMG_6557.JPG

Afterwards I walked through Little India which is right nearby. I ate lunch in Little India at Restaurant Sri Ananda Bahw An and got tricked for the first time as a tourist in Malaysia. I ordered the chicken curry which said $4. I was served the curry along with a leaf with 3 small heaps of vegetables, and two dipping sauces. At the end I was charged $7 because apparently the vegetables were extra. I assumed it was like Myanmar and you just got extra small dishes. Now I know.

Then I paid $3 to see Khoo Kongsi, a Chinese Malaysia house in the middle of Georgetown. The house is the oldest clan house and is know for having gold painted walls, wood carvings on the walls, paper lanterns and huge wooden furniture. I expected a large house, or at least that’s how it’s described, but it ended up just being the facade and one room. It was beautiful but a complete rip off for the money.

I spent the rest of the day wandering the streets and catching up on errands. I walked past the blue mansion that was a break taking shade of blue.

IMG_6560.JPG

IMG_6561.JPG

For dinner I ate street food with a girl from Finland and a girl from Sweden who I also ate with the night before. We had Won ton mee, noodles with steamed and fried wontons in a dark sauce. I also got a tomato carrot juice. I had been wanting to try the fresh tomato juice and it was just as bizarre as I suspected- very watery.

IMG_6562.JPG

The next morning I took a bus to the Cameron Highlands with Sweden and Finland.