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  • Day129

    Penang, Langkawi & mugged by a monkey

    July 2, 2017 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    "Why don't you just explain the hostel terms to me at the same time? It will save you having to do it twice" I said. Futile - the receptionist gave a blank expression and instead repeated exactly the same spiel to me as the person checking in beforehand. It was more or less word for word - he might as well have been a robot! 🤖 Anyway Penang, Malaysia's second largest city doesn't seem particularly big when you first get there. I arrived in Georgetown, a chic little spot with a chilled vibe. After the android had checked me in, I was amazed to see that the hostel bunk bed system was a three tier high one - insane. Thankfully I was not on the top. If you were to fall off that you would probably break a few bones or worse die. It was ridiculous - another classic SE Asia health and safety farce.

    I ventured out to Georgetown for a mooch about - it's a lovely little place full of coffee shops, souvenirs and art. It's also quite famous for street paintings on the wall so I went and seeked out some - the popular ones were surrounded by Chinese tourists who, instead of looking at the art, decided they would be 'part of the art'. One fully grown man must of taken ten silly poses next to a painting while others waited patiently to take a photo - I quickly snapped one before the next person took up their hilarious position. They sure love a funny photo.

    In the afternoon me and another lad from the hostel took a cab out of Georgetown. We were told there was a snake temple nearby Penang Hill so decided to take a look. Lies! Snake Temple was NOT anywhere remotely near Penang Hill, plus it was pretty crap too - after wasting the 30 odd minutes it took to get there, the few snakes inside didn't seem real (couldnt tell) and the obvious real ones were sadly caged in pretty poor conditions - we wern't fans so left fairly quickly.

    We headed towards Penang Hill but on the way stopped at a pretty impressive temple: Kek Lok Si, it was huge and gave some good views, it had the various Hindu shrines but also a lot of little shops which seemed unnecessary in a temple. We also tried the local famous food; Laska which looked like brown slop but actually tasted pretty good, really not sure what was in it, but the number of local people dining there suggested it was a good spot. After that we made our way to Penang Hill. It's really high and you get a train up. The view from the top is outstanding and you can see pretty much see all of Penang - it's actually quite a large city. Unfortuntley we then had to wait in a queue for over an hour to get back down. Everyone else decided they would also leave at the same time - I would have walked, but it was dark by now and I thought I'd rather not end up in a heap at the bottom of the hill.

    I boarded a car ferry over to Penang's mainland where the bus station was - it played ludicrously loud music all the way which wasn't pleasant at all. Not even the locals seemed to be enjoying it. Got the bus and headed for the island of Langkawi - arrived and immediately regretted my accommodation decision - mainly local families and in the middle of nowhere. I stayed one night and changed to a better located place the following morning. It was also raining which didn't help.

    The next day it continued to rain in the morning so didn't do much, walked around the local area a little. In the afternoon the rain stopped so a few of us hired mopeds and went with a crazy guy who worked at the hostel. He took us to a couple of nice spots but would insist on riding off at the speed of light on his superbike while we pootled along behind on our mopeds. Then he would wait about half a mile down the road for us to catch up - seemed pointless! That evening the sun also decided to make an appearance, so we were treated to a sunset on the beach was very nice.

    In the morning I took the island hopping tour around Langkawi. It started off well - the sun was out, the views were great and the islands were fun to motor through. We passed the pregnant lady island, so called because it's shaped a little like a pregnant women - makes sense. We stopped at the next island and walked around a bit, there was a nice lake to wander around but it went downhill from there. The heavens opened and it poured with rain, I was also really hungry so bought a burger, waited about 15 minutes for it to cook and was walking down the jetty towards the boat when I see a flash of fur pass me. A rather large monkey stops and hisses aggressively me, looks at my burger and swipes at it. I consider trying to fight it off for a split second but then think better of it (didnt want to get bitten) and decide to reluctantly release the burger. The monkey snatches it up and runs off with my meal. Soaking wet and annoyed I return to the boat burgerless. 😭🍔

    The boat powers off to the next place - it stops raining a bit and we reach an opening with loads of eagles circulating the area - they are cool to see, swooping around majestically. I think the boat drivers must feed them here as I'm not sure why they are all just located in one spot, but it's great to see them. We head to the final place another scenic island and watch a bunch of Asian girls in expensive, full length gown dresses taking selfies in the sea - perplexing. Back on the main island I hunt out some food - we find a KFC and greedily scoff it down, makes up for the lost burger a bit I suppose. 🍗
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