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Published: June 22nd 2012
We left you on the beach of Ko Phangan.. living by Thai time, sunbathing and drinking cocktails in the sun. Things took a turn to the less relaxed atmosphere; The imminent 10 hour bus and ferry journey Penang Malaysia. We didn't go out, we packed the night before, and we set an early alarm; we were prepared! We were wrong! A tourist mini bus down to Malaysia is not what you would expect. Cramming 16 people (and their rucksacks) into a 16 seater minibus with broken seats and barely working air con is bad enough - throw in a fake 10 baht immigration cost and a moody thai woman, that shouts down the phone, and is importing (suspiciously illegal) food (aka - cleverly packaged drugs/ people) into the country and now we have a ball game! It was very much a shoving contest on that stretch of the journey. Oh! Lets not forget the angry rastafarian (who clearly thought he was gods gift to travellers) and I think we have a truly Asian travel experience. Lets hope that the bus to Kuala Lumpur will be less stressfull!
However, Georgetown was definitely worth the troubled journey! The first thing Lissie realisedb when she was doing some meticulous route planning was that it had an esplanade - most of us wouldn't compare this small part of Asia to Weymouth, Dorset. Becky, Emma and I were less quick to do so. Mostly due to the fact that we're not even sure Weymouth has an esplanade. But to continue... This hub of East meets West culture on the idyllic island of penang oozes with history and culture. From the busy street food stalls on the famous Chulia street to the enticing smells and sounds of little India, Georgetown is best explored on foot. In a day you can see all the main sites, which convey the dynamic history that this small part of the world has gone through. Previously colonised by the Brits, the French and the Dutch, bombed by the Japanese and had an influx of Indian and Chinese populations, Penang is now making its way after the last 50 years of independence. This city is thriving and busy - definitely not one to miss on the back packer route.
Tomorrow we are going to explore the rest of the island... more soon!
Catrina, Lissie, Emma and Becky.
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