A Load of Hot Air

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February 7th 2016
Published: February 14th 2016
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Rob Writes:

It was time to leave KL. We had arranged a bus from the TBS, KL’s large bus station which is situated to the south-east of the city, about an hour away by various means of transport. We had to get the monorail from where we were staying in Bukit Bingtang, to KL Sentral, and from there a direct train to TBS. Our bus wasn’t until about 11:30 if I remember correctly, but we set off at about 9 just in case we took the wrong train, almost hit by a car, or something similar again. By the time we got there and got our tickets we didn’t have much time to spare, with no more than ten minutes or so before the bus was due to arrive. The bus was about twenty minutes late, but what-ever, we got on it.

So the bus picked us up at TBS before heading into KL and picking passengers up from KL Sentral. We had just bloody come from there! When I booked this ticket online there was no option for us to get it from KL Sentral, so that was a bit annoying. I could have stayed in bed longer!

I feel the need to write about the bus. The company we chose was one called ‘NICE’ and they were a little more expensive than the other companies, but promised a more ‘executive’ experience, in-bus entertainment and a meal along the way. I think it cost about 35RM or there about, so roughly £7 each as opposed to the £4-5 of the other services.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what we were expecting and I think the company over-sells itself. The power supply and entertainment system didn’t seem to be working. I asked if I could use it, to which I was told “No”. Thanks for that. The biggest problem though, was the driver’s inability to drive smoothly. Accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake... It’s like he had to be pressing one of the pedals all the time, it was relentless. If there was a corner approaching he would turn in carrying his speed, then decide he was going too fast and slam on the brakes. The bus would pitch violently and hey-ho, there goes your lunch to the other side of the bus. That actually happened! Not only that, every other bus that passed was a pal of his and got about five blasts of the horn. We must have past about a hundred buses! No pals about to honk at? No worries, give them a ring on your mobile phone while driving and have a loud conversation. Is no one answering their phone? Then why not sing a song at the top of your lungs! Is that stationary traffic approaching? Just wait until you’re within ten meters before you decide to actually slow down, catapulting your passengers into the seat in front. Seriously?!


We arrived at Penang about five hours later and thank God, I was verging on vomiting. It was like being on a boat.

We were dropped off at Penang’s bus terminal which was about ten miles south of George Town, where we wanted to be. Having done prior research I knew we could get a bus (401) into George Town for 5RM each (just less than £1). A woman approached us at the bus terminal, I don’t know who she was or what her job was but she asked, “Taxi?” “No, bus,” we replied. “Over by the street,” she said. Over by the street was a load of taxis. We went over and had quick look but no, there was no bus stop just taxi drivers touting for our business. Back into the bus terminal we went and we found the station for the correct bus. Soon enough we were in George Town and at our hotel after about fifteen minutes of walking from the George Town terminal, Kromtar.

We were staying in a hotel called GLOW by Zinc. It was around £30 a night and it was very good. I had no complaints. The best thing about it was the water pressure of the shower; it was like a pressure washer, although a little sore on your sensitive areas, such as your face and eye-balls.

George Town on the Island of Penang is a small town off the north-west coast of Malaysia. I enjoyed it. So far we had only been to busy Singapore and KL, stopping briefly at Malacca so it was a bit of a rest from the hustle of the big cities.

As soon as we arrived we dumped our stuff and headed into George Town. The bar tender at GLOW had been kind enough to give us a map which he had drawn various places of interest on, so we used that as our guide for the evening. We strolled around for the evening, stopping for some Indian food in a very cheap restaurant (it was something like £3 for two meals and drinks) before checking out the ‘white-people’ area, as pointed out on our map (not my words). We then got a foot massage and then Tina lost her iJesusPhone and headed back to the hotel, once again shattered.

It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel, about a thirty minute walk away, did Tina realise she had lost her iFisher-Price device. So, as per usual, because I go to the gym (I shit you not) it would be best and quickest if I head back out there and get it found. So, off I went.

I marched back to the massage place in record time only stopping to do some push-ups and a couple of chins on the way. Once I had arrived I had to then explain my predicament.


At first they thought I wanted another massage but we got there in the end. I was instructed to sit and wait for the person who was now sat in the chair Tina was sat in, to finish receiving their massage, and we would commence search operations.

Fortunately we found the iChickenNugget. It had fallen out of Tina’s pocket and into the base of the chair. I was so happy that I ran a marathon before knocking out 100 more press-ups then decided to go back to the hotel and try blast the bad mood off of me with the shower. It worked.

The next day we went into Penang to attempt to find and photograph all of the street art. This was good fun. Most of it had been marked on our map; it was just a case of us trying to find it. It wasn’t always obvious as sometimes it was up high on the side of a building, or down an ally, or even in a building. We had to ask the locals for assistance. We got the majority of them but walking around in the mid-day sun at over thirty degrees Celsius was taking its toll again. Late afternoon we headed back to the hotel to chill with the idea of heading back out for dinner.

We ended up ordering room service. Reason being, we were trying to decide where to go next. We had planned to leave for Koh Samui in Thailand after two nights in Penang, but that was proving difficult to arrange due to Chinese New Year on the 8th of February, and the following holiday period. It wasn’t that we couldn’t do it, but it was due to the expense of the flights. An alternative to flying was to get the sleeper train and then a ferry to Ko Samui but we couldn’t really be arsed with the long journey of about twenty hours. In the end we decided to fly to Ho Chi Mihn City, Vietnam, as the flights were cheaper, about £120 all in, as opposed to £200 plus to Ko Samui. We ended up spending the evening in the hotel arranging that, along with another night in the hotel to accommodate the flight we had bought. This gave us another full day in Penang, which was no bad thing really as I was quite enjoying myself.

By our final day in Penang we were running out of clean clothes. We did a laundry in the morning after spending hours to try and find somewhere open, again due to Chinese New Year. We followed that up with some cheap Sushi lunch before heading into the town again to see more of the sights. We then got on a free shuttle bus to the annual hot air balloon festival, a free event which was taking place in the evening in Penang’s main green square. We were due to fly to Vietnam the following day.

I’m sorry if this blog is complete drivel but I drank too much last night.

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14th February 2016

Candy flosssssss
Ooh Penang looks good. Rob, Rob I have left my bottle of water in the kitchen. Since you go to the gym can you nip down and get that for me? 😋 xxx

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