Day 12 - Penang

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April 3rd 2012
Published: April 9th 2012
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Today we were up and out as we had a very busy day to pack in. Firstly we drove approximately 15 mins to the Penang Butterfly Farm. We had a guided tour around the gardens and saw all types of Butterfly’s and Insects. We got some really good info about them as the guide was very good. We walked around for a while and the girls got to touch a millipede and had a photo with a scorpion.

Then we headed into the insects and reptile enclosure for a look at spiders and lizards and Scorpions which was cool and in Air-conditioned. We could not get over how hot and sticky the gardens were. Frankie was feeling it a lot poor lil man. We guessed that it must have to be hot though for them. We met a really interesting man and his wife from Canada who are over here on a holiday and he is an entomologist. He specialises in biting midges or sandflies like we have at home in Brisbane. An interesting fact he told us was: There are 6000 species of biting midge (eg sandflies) around the world but there are only 2 that bite humans. He suspects there are thousands more species of them that are still to be recorded. We could have sat down all day and listened to him. We went through the gift shop and got a few things then we made our way up to the Tropical Fruit Garden which was about 10 mins up the road.

We arrived and had a look around the fruit and Juice store and then our guide took all of us in a van up the hill to the farm. He showed us all the fruits one by one and explained the history and the benefits of eating the fruits. This was great to know as there are so many health benefits with each different fruit. There were so many fruits there it was amazing to see. A few of the fruits we hadn’t even heard of! After the tour we were treated to a fruit buffet and were blown away by the fruits that were there just to name a few, mango, banana, pineapple, star fruit, dragon fruit, nutmeg, camu camu - (which is the highest fruit with Vitamin C) they are a small fruit that look like a dark purple grape but have a seed in the centre and are quite tart and tangy, Malaysian orange, papaya and jackfruit. I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed out but it was great to try a couple of fruits that we hadn’t eaten before. We also got to choose any fruits that we wanted to be made into a fruit juice. I had pineapple and nutmeg – it was yum but quite strong.

Our next stop was to the Spice Garden, this was really exciting and a big treat for me to be here for anyone who knows how much I love herbs and spices.....right up my alley! We had a guide that was very informative and was able to answer any questions we had. There were hundreds and hundreds of different types of herbs and spices there. Now I know pepper is very common but to see the peppercorns on the trees was really cool to see. Halfway through our guided tour we were treated to a ginger drink that was sweetened naturally with stevia. It was strong, but delicious. Located towards the end of the tour is a playground so Dani and Zav took the chance to have a muck around while we were able to talk to the guide and other couple who were there. We also were able to have a look around the shop while the girls played.

Attached to the Spice Garden is a restaurant called Tree Monkey. We decided to stay for an early dinner and were not disappointed at all. The restauant is literally up amongst the trees and not visible from the road. There is a great view of the ocean through the trees and you can see monkeys from the deck. The staff were lovely and friendly with the children and service was great. We ordered some fantastic dishes. Dani ordered a vegetarian bolognese that definately had a thai twist to it, Zav had a chicken stuffed omlette and it was very impressive. Stu and I ordered a tasting plate with betel nut leaves which you placed a small amount of all the ingredients on the platter. This was our first try of betel leaves and they were yum, yum, yum! We couldn't get enough. Stu ordered a noodle dish and I ordered sizzling prawns. Check out the pic with the fresh green peppercorns - wow, very impressive. We also had fresh juices with our meals, doesn't get any better.....

After dinner we headed back to Miami Green for an earlier night and so Dani and Zav could have a decent swim before bed. Frankie had an early night for once on this holiday. Tomorrow we are heading into Georgetown for a looksie.

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