January 3, 2013

Penang Pictures - Better Late than Never

I had the opportunity to visit Penang Malaysia through work back in November and was able to do a bit of exploring. Here are a few pictures from the visit.

First up was a botanical garden. It was lush green and beautiful compared to Wisconsin in November.

The highlight of the botanical garden were the monkeys... just hanging out begging for food.

The next stop was Penang Hill. We rode the tram to the top for a great, although foggy, view of the island.

At the top of the hill we also found a hindu temple. It was a bit strange just wandering through it taking pictures but that seemed to be allowed and welcomed. It actually seemed a bit more like a tourist attraction than a temple but it was pretty impressive. 

Our next stop was the Kek Lok Si buddhist temple complex a few miles away. The scale and incredible level of detail of the statues and buildings was pretty impressive.

The next picture is the view from my hotel window. One of the nice things about your sleep schedule being 12 hours out of sync with the sun is that you are generally wide awake very early and get the see the sunrise each morning.

The hotel was pretty nice, below is a picture of the lobby.

I only ran into one strange toilet and it was in a "shack" just behind the Batu Ferringhi nigh market. It suited my needs just fine but I can imagine it may be a bit more of an issue for the ladies.

The food in Penang was fantastic, below is a picture of some dragon fruit.

One of the locals took us to an Indian restaurant for lunch and we had banana leaf curry. I'm normally not very adventurous when it comes to new food but the encouragement from our local friends was enough to give me the courage to try just about everything with an open mind. I don't think they steered my wrong once, everything was pretty good.

One of the more memorable restaurants was the Bali Hai Seafood Market. Their tagline is "if it swims, we have it". I don't think I've ever had better fish. I have no idea what it was but it was darn good. The giant prawns (shrimp) were pretty good too.


The island is very diverse with some neighborhoods consisting of little more than shacks contrasting with the developed areas which aren't much different to a decent sized city in the US. Below is a picture of the shopping mall directly behind my hotel.

The trip home included an overnight layover in Singapore so I had a few hours to get out of the airport and see a few of the sights.

I then found out that you need an official boarding pass in addition to your passport in order to get back into the airport terminal. I had a printed paper copy but that wasn't good enough. Below is a picture of the United counter around 11PM. It look just like that until the first employee finally showed up to open the counter around 4:30AM.

I ended up spending the night wandering the airport and hanging out in these chairs and ended up getting into the airport with just enough time to get back to my transit hotel, take a shower, and head to the gate to board the plane.

I was lucky enough to fly 747's for the longer flights both ways. Quite an upgrade from the regional puddle hoppers I usually get stuck on flying out of Appleton.

All in all it was a great trip.

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