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Published: January 30th 2009
After 3 days on the beach in Krabi it was time to get back to city life with two nights on the Island of Penang and another two in Kuala Lumpar (or KL as the locals like to call it).
Penang is a fairly small island of the Northwest coast of Malaysia. The population of Malaysia is mainly Muslim and because of that the cost of Alcohol is roughly 3 times that of Thailand (actually about the same price as in the UK but I’ve been getting used to cheep booze over the past few months.
Next door to our hotel in Penang was a mosque. Normally I’m quite happy to go along with most local customs and respect people’s religious beliefs but the 05:50 call to prayer was pushing my tolerance levels a little.
We had an orientation walk around the city and a meal at a very cool food court although I’m not entirely sure what I was eating, but it had all been incredibly well deep fried. I was a bit but off by the stall selling curried fish heads though.
The following day we went for a guided tour of Penang with our guide Mr
Stephen who was a little camp, but I thought he was quite funny. He took us to a Fort Cornwallis (apparently the first British settlement in Penang). The Chinese piers which I didn’t really understand and 3 different Buddhist temples.
That evening we went to little India for dinner and for less than £2 you can buy: tandoori chicken, nan bread, salad and a fruit juice. Following that we found a fairly quite local bar for a few pints (that cost twice as much as the meal).
From Penang it was a 6 hour trip to KL where we stayed in Chinatown on Petaling street (famous for fake designer clothes). Not long after arriving we went for an orientation walk, and after 20 minutes the heavens opened and we were trapped under a pergola that did little to keep the rain out. We had to abandon the walk and run back to the hotel for a quick shower and change before we headed over to the Petronas towers (probably best known from the end of the movie entrapment). We must have spent a good hour at the towers just taking photos; I was really impressed with the way they
were lit up, totally dominating the skyline. We headed back to the hotel for a few rum and cokes (I smuggled the rum from Thailand) and a movie in the hotel lobby. One of the guys on reception at the hotel (another Mr Stephen) joined us and I think he took a shine to one of the girls in the group because he went out and bought some DVD’s for us along with a more rum and cokes for us all. We also decided to go out the following night with him and a few of his friends for Chinese New Year.
We spent our only full day wondering about the city, firstly we tried to get into the National Mosque at which we were told that it was closed to “Non Muslim Tourists” followed by a trip up the Menara tower (the 4th largest communications tower in the world) from which we got a really good view of the city. Included in the price was a visit to the Winter par (a really tacky collection of inflatable snowmen and polar bears), Animal World (with very questionable animal welfare) and a go on an F1 simulator but unfortunately I
for the curry
was too tall and fat to be allowed on. We also had an Indian buffet which may have been some of the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten.
That evening we met up with Mr Stephen and his friends and were taken to a club advertising “Malaysia’s Premier Rock Band” I thought they were great but most of the group didn’t really enjoy. The club also sold drinks by the bottle (I mean vodka not beer). For 300 RM (£60) you get a bottle of your choice of vodka a bowl of ice and as much mixer as you want. After the band finished they played some more danceable music which seemed to put a bit more of a smile on everyone’s face. I heard a few fireworks going off for Chinese New Year.
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