25th December 2008 – On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me… Well, it didn’t actually happen. It’s the day that I joined a road trip organized by my fellow Kepongite friend. Road Trip to Penang Island! The last I been to Penang is about 4 years ago and that was to attend a Multilevel Marketing Consultation Course. So, this consider the first time I explore Penang.

The travel took place by rendezvous with the others at Petronas Station, Manjalara, Kepong by 5:00am. We started our early journey and it’s was quite surprising that we didn’t hit any traffic congestion and reached Ipoh, Perak roughly about 7:30am for a short breakfast. We had Dim Sum for our breakfast.

[ dim sum at Ipoh ]

After our breakfast, we had a short walk around Ipoh town and I brought the gang to Japanese Garden to let them take some photos. We hang about the area for about 20 minutes as I was guiding Ernest how to make a Panning Shot by the road side after we’re done with taking pictures of the Garden. There on, we continue our journey.

[ bridge at Japanese Garden ]

[ just a panning test shot ]

We reach the Ferry Terminal about 12:00pm as we wanted to have the experience of having our vehicle transported by a ferry to the island from the mainland. We were stuck at the Terminal for about 40 minutes, and the ticket to board the ferry for motor vehicle was at a cost of RM 7.00. The ferry ride was a good experience but I’m not gonna take this ride again as at the cost of RM 7.00, and the time taken to board the ferry, it wasn’t really worth it in my opinion.

[ congestion at Ferry Terminal ]

[ queuing up ]

[ this is how we are transported ]

Upon reaching Penang Island, we immediately when to check in our luggage at Min Good Hotel. It is a 2 star budget hotel and I can’t complain much on the facilities provided, the only vital thing missing is the water boiler. We had no choice but to make purchase of water everyday itself. After we’re done with the hotel, we walk along Transfer Road to hunt for food, we found Lorong Burma (if I’m not mistaken), and had our lunch there. The food was decent and a real bang for bucks.

[ room at Min Good Hotel ]

[ hokkien prawn mee hawker ]

[ ice kacang ]

[ hokkien prawn mee ]

[ cendol ]

After having our late lunch, we walk back to our room to get our needed rest for the late evening. We head out for dinner after couple of hours rest. We had our dinner at Gurney Drive Food Court. As usual, we’re amazed with the food they had and the price of the food, it’s something we can’t find in Kuala Lumpur. Cheap, and yet tasty. I was too excited eating, I forgot to snap pics of them 🙁

[ night view at Gurney Drive ]

With our heavy meal, we went back to hotel for a rest again! Got back out to town to visit the happening areas e.g. Clubbing, Pubs & etc. We found Fame, Slippery Senioritas, Momo and some other places. However, we did not drink or party as not all of us are in the mood to do it for the day. That’s the end of Day 1.

26th December 2008 – Fort Cornwallis, Kek Lok Si & Batu Ferringi
We got up late, sometime at 10:00am and had our breakfast in the hotel itself. Later that time, we took a short drive to Fort Cornwallis to pay Francis Light a visit. The entrance to the fort cost RM 3 per head. There’s nothing much to see at the Fort, except on the the readings of the history of Cornwallis & Francis Light, things that I was able to see are a small Chapel, Store, Prison, Canons, Lighthouse, and a Cafe.

[ Fort Cornwallis ]

[ wall of Fort Cornwallis ]

[ trash bin ]

[ Francis Light ]

[ the chapel ]

[ Edward’s Clock Tower ]

[ the lighthouse ]

[ canons are everywhere ]

[ meriam sri rambai ]

We drove back to town, to Little India this time to hunt for some Indian food instead. At the end, we settle down at a Mamak called Kapitan’s. I had Claypot Briyani Chicken and it was awesome. The grilled chicken was tender and juicy. The rest had the same, or Claypot Briyani Beef, and Milani (a dish of chicken chop and pita bread).

[ one of the streets in Little India ]

[ fried long beans ]

[ fish eggs ]

[ claypot briyani chicken ]

[ claypot briyani beef ]

[ milani ]

We’re done with our meal and head directly to Kek Lok Si Temple. KK was mixed up that Kok Lok Si Temple is Snake Temple itself and most of the buy the story. Obviously, we don’t find any snake at Kek Lok Si Temple except for Snake statue of the zodiac animal. There’s isn’t much to see here but Temple Structure, Pagoda, and enjoy the view of Penang Island on the high hills of Kek Lok Si Temple.

[ view of penang island ]

[ pathway ]

[ mini man made waterfall ]

[ pagoda ]

[ Kek Lok Si Tram ]

We head to Penang Hill / Bukit Bendera shortly after wandering around Kek Lok Si temple. To our disappointment, the tickets for Penang Hill access was all sold out. We head to Batu Ferringi instead. We went to the private beach of Batu Ferringi at Park Royal Hotel, the beach was clean as expected from private beach. The place was packed with people and there’s quite a number of activities that is available for everyone.

[ park royal hotel ]

[ enjoying the beach ]

[ horse riding ]

[ parachuting? ]

[ banana boat ]

[ building sand castle? ]

[ sunset by the beach ]

We met KK’s friend whom is a local. He introduced us to a restaurant named “Under Big Tree” if translated directly from Cantonese. The place was just beside Wisma Kastam, and I apologize for the missing visual as I was hungry, I did not take a picture of the food. The food is simply amazing and the price amaze us further. It was cheap. The food portion was for 7 people, we ordered Kam Heong Crab (2 crab), Teochew Stim Fish (Red Fish), Soy Sauce Pork, Curry Stingray, Oyster Omelet, Sambal Squid, and vegetables. The price we paid is just RM 163! Damn!

With too much spicy food for the day, I start to have a headache and I had to call it a day while some of them went to club. That’s the end of Day 2 of my Penang Road Trip.

27th December 2008 – Bat Cave Temple & Toy Museum
Similar to of previous day, we had breakfast at the hotel. We started our journey to Penang Hill at 11:30am as to previous day we weren’t able to make it due to tickets sold off. We are unfortunate for the day as well as the tickets available now are 5:30pm onwards and the queue is long. What the heck? It makes us curious what’s so great about Penang Hill which made the tickets sold like hot cakes. Leaving us no choice, we went to check out Bat Cave Temple which is just 10 minutes walk away.

[ penang hill ]

[ bat cave temple ]

[ bats ]

Whilst we’re on our walk to Bat Cave Temple, we got a brochure that’s promoting Toy Museum. I nearly forgot about the Toy Museum until we got the brochure on it. We went to the Toy Museum to check it out! The entrance to the Toy Museum cost RM10.00 per person. The Toy Museum is indeed huge, but unfortunately… the toy collection they have there is not complete. Here’s some of the pics mainly on live size figures.

[ Lara Croft ]

[ The Hitman ]

[ Captain Jack Sparrow ]

[ Martin Martian ]

[ Ben Kenobi ]

[ Ironman ]

Taking photos of toys behind the glass is indeed difficult and we spent about an hour time looking around the area. With a bad headache I had, I needed to rest and hence all of us head to New World Park which is just 2 streets away from Min Good Hotel to have our lunch. After hour lunch, I and KK head back to the hotel to get some rest. I replenish myself with some 100 plus for the needed glucose in my body during lunch time and hit the sack for evening activity, the rest went to the some Heritage building near Fort Cornwallis to take some photos while KK check his mails in the hotel room.

[ ice kacang special ]

[ pasembur rojak ]

[ koay teow soup noodle ]

[ chee cheong fun ]

After a needed rest taken, I am good to go for the rest of the night. We head to Kimberly Street after all of us gathered at the hotel for Dinner. There’s a lot of Hawker stalls by the street and we had difficulty choosing what to eat. As usual, I got hungry and didn’t too much pictures:P We head back to hotel for an early rest as we insist on Penang Hill visit after 2 failure attempt. We shall head there as early possible as it’s our last day in Penang.

[ ice kacang hawker ]

[ asam laksa ]

[ shark fin soup ]

[ sui kao ]

28th December 2008 – Penang Hill & Home
The day we see Penang Hill. This day we finally got our tickets to Penang Hill, we start queuing up for the tickets at 9:30am onwards and the ticket time we got was 12:00pm. Now that explains how hot the ticket is selling! The ticket was sold at RM 4.00 for both rides up and down the hill. From 10:00am after the ticket purchase, and with 2 hours to go… we walk to an obelisk just opposite of Penang Hill Asia Cafe to take some shots and hang out at Asia Cafe. The food at this Asia Cafe is way cheaper than the food at SS15 Subang Jaya Asia Cafe. Not to mention, the food must tastier too!

[ the only group photo ]

[ obelisk opposite road of Asia Cafe ]

[ Penang Hill Asia Cafe ]

[ wanton noodle ]

[ chee cheong fun ]

[ prawn mee ]

The time has come, we all marched to Penang Hill to on board the train/tram up to Penang Hill. The queue was well worth it. The view from Penang Hill was simply astonishing. Just like Kek Lok Si Temple’s, the view here, we can see Penang Bridge clearly without any obstacles and the air is cool here.

[ demo on wireless flash ]

[ railway tracks to the hill top ]

[ midway transit ]

[ view of Penang Island & Mainland ]

[ steam peanuts hawker ]

[ old shack ]

After the Penang Hill visit, we head home. It was a smooth ride, no traffic congestion on any road we been. It’s indeed a smooth Road Trip for us all.

More photos are accessible via http://picasaweb.google.com/benjaminbeck/Travel2008RoadTripToPenang