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Malaysia Forum Malaysian Travel Forum to post about your Malaysia holiday, did you visit Penang or go on a tour of the Malaysia island of Langkawi, Malaysia has many tourism destinations including Johor Bahru, Malacca, Genting Highlands, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, or maybe you were just passing through on your way to Borneo, Brunei, Singapore or Thailand.

Thai Dating  Savile Row Fashion Bangkok

Laos Visa run  Kuala Lumpur visa run  Penang visa run  Cambodia Visa run

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Old 18-11-2010, 11:19 AM   #26 (permalink)
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My son will be going to college in Narathiwat at the end of next year, Penang would be a pretty good choice for a year or 2 I think. Even as a tourist you get 3 months on arrival, take the car across and do the odd visa run, seems a lot less hassle than Thailand.
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Old 18-11-2010, 11:44 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Narathiwat
Penangs a great choice of you like the urban delights- albeit it costs a bit more, Langkawi is beautiful and great if you like things a bit less developed and the duty free drugs, and the east coast of Malaysia if you like pristine beaches, traditional village life and don't miss Gogo's (but Had Yai isn't far).
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Old 18-11-2010, 12:03 PM   #28 (permalink)
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This is 35,000baht per month, cheaper than similar in Pattaya I reckon.


Ferringhi Villas

Batu Ferringhi. Penang. Malaysia.
Ferringhi Villas is a landed residential development sited in the natural foliage greenery just 100 yards walking distance away from the beaches. The 2.5 storey Villas are of contemporary tropical designs and are accessible through a private road with 24-hour security. Incorporating the concept of Orchard Styled Villas and a clubhouse with amenities, including a swimming pool facilities for leisure and enjoyment.

2.5-storey villa with land 3,400 sq ft ( build-up 1,800 sq feet) id 35071








Orchard Styled Villas - Gated and guarded with clubhouse pool facilities



Ferringhi Villas Resort Home
Property location Batu Ferringhi, Penang Malaysia Date of completion April 2007 Type 2.5 storey Villa Plot size (sq feet) 4,400 Tenure Freehold Bedroom Four bedroom and 3 bathroom Facilities 24-hour security, gated community, club facilities, swimming pool & tennis court.

Rental: RM3,500 / Sale: RM770,000 (id 35071)
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Old 18-11-2010, 01:43 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I did the penang visa run 6 months ago, went by train and found it very relaxing and cheap trip.

For coffee lovers I would recommend a place called coffee lane on king street in george town. A coffee shop that offers a variety of different coffee beans rather than the usual single bean.

Is it my imagination the food way seemed way better there than in bangkok?

The best bit of the trip was in a local super market, pointing out to the wife all the thai products where are about 30% cheaper in penang than thailand (; one of the many invisible costs of thailand's closed economy.
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Old 19-11-2010, 09:44 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hazz
Is it my imagination the food way seemed way better there than in bangkok?
Nope, not your imagination, just a fact there is a lot more choice of quality foods in Penang which are cheaper than Thailand.

I have been looking at some of the Penang real estate agents websites, 2 to 3 bed 2 bathroom condos and they have loads in the 7,000baht to 10,000baht range, and you know if it's on a real agents site it is most likely over priced, not much in Thailand at those sort of rates unless you want to live in Nakhon Nowhere.
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Old 20-11-2010, 04:55 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Batu Ferringhi

Well before everyone moves to Batu Ferringhi I may as well show you some photos of the place. Unless you like burning money, I'd suggest the bus- they are frequent, cheap, and they run up Chulia St & along Penang Rd in Georgetown- so not far at all from your hotel. Look for the 'Telok Bahang' bus. The ride itself is quite interesting too. Tanjong Bungah now looks like parts of Hong Kong Island- modern, high rise condo's perched on hillsides. Apparently a fair few expats live there, and it has some hotels too. If I could travel back to 1982- when it was a quaint kind of place- I'd buy some land here and be rich.

In contrast, Batu Ferringhi at first glance hasn't changed so drastically. Basically, more resorts have opened, and the places where the people live have been squeezed further out by the pressure of money. Fortunately there is a small old, tatty village area left by the sea- this of course is where I stayed. No doubt I'm not alone in having a place that was one of my first travel destinations that one retains an affection for. It was here I first got the 'Asian bug' actually, and stayed six weeks in a part of the village that is now the Parkroyal resort. Great memories, and when I look at my life since it had a big influence. Asian food, dusky maidens, hanging out in villages with the locals, even fishing with them, maybe one or two things you can't really talk about in a nice website like this- yeh, I'd say that marked the beginning of the sabang Asian era.

If you're staying in the 'old village', you get off the bus past the Parkroyal, look for this sign-



There is a cluster of small guesthouses there. I wanted to stay at Ali's, mainly because it seems to have been going forever. I could be wrong, but I think it was there in the 80's too. Not that they deserved my biz- I rang their number to make a booking. And rang. And rang- no answer. 'Phone not work' the obese ladybot that runs the place said. I didn't believe her. Some things don't change, such as 'Malay time'.



^ You walk past two of these octagonal houses as you trudge the short distance to the tatty 'old village', although that is largely an honorary term these days because there is very little village left. But there are a few beachside bars and places to eat by the sea there, in fact for that kind of thing i think it is the best hangout in Ferringhi. My mother and stepdad thought so too- they were staying at the Bayview resort at the end of the beach, their second time there, and they didn't even know this area existed. I'd say thats pretty typical. The resort package market in Ferringhi is the big thing now, backpackers largely a quaint memory, probably old farts like me on a nostalgia trip.

Anyway, what to say about Ali's. It's fine, for 100 R per night you are paying for the location really, just a few steps from the beach- the same kind of place on the other side of the road would cost around half the price. 'Up to you', but worth it to me. It does have a couple of pleasant courtyards where you can sit down and relax. The rooms, while basic, are fine-





I get the idea that Ali's just rolls along on past glories- other places 'try harder'. But that is what i was looking for really. "Trip Advisor" had warned me I would be eaten alive by bedbugs, but strangely I wasn't- methinks some of Ali's newer, more vigorous competitors wish to muscle in on it's action.

The bed was very comfy really. Besides us there was only one other room occupied, so perhaps they should get their phone fixed.

Last edited by sabang : 20-11-2010 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 20-11-2010, 06:30 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Last time I was in Penang a couple of years ago I also noticed that Georgetown was going to seed and that many buildings were falling into ruin. One evening, I asked the Chinese owner of an internet cafe why this was so ?
Just returned last week from getting my brand spanking new O visa there and noticed the same thing. It's been several years since I was down there but the place has definitely gone to seed. The airport is way too small for the amount of traffic going thru there too.
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Old 20-11-2010, 06:36 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Where the nice people hang out

Ferringhi = farang in the Malay lingo, and the white man has been coming here a long time. In ye olde times, the busy Georgetown colonial would pick up his mistress from nearby Love Lane, and come out here for a weekend of sea air and other wholesome activities. But of course the Arabs have been coming here a lot longer- and in a strange twist of history, they're back with a vengeance. A lot of tourists from the middle east here now, and one of the most visible changes is the proliferation of Arabian and Indian restaurants- where else can you find a place that advertises Arabian food, and pizza? Whilst I'm not necessarily enamoured with the Arabian ladies sartorial elegance, I do like their food. However, if you happen to be an ex-Marine suffering from PTSD, I might perhaps recommend other destinations.

This is the Bayview resort, one of the newer ones perched down the 'far' or Telok Bahang end of the beach-



Travelling up the glass elevator to mums room, I glanced down and saw a middle eastern couple at the travel desk. Fatima lifted her veil to talk to the agent, so I got a glimpse of the forbidden fruit. Man, she was beautiful- sheik Ahmed has done well. Probably his fifth honeymoon too with his fifth bride, lucky sod. They were obviously affluent- but how do I know that? Her chador was made of very nice material indeed, and even had a fashionable side vent- thus showing a glimpse of comely lower leg. Must admit, I felt a bit like a naughty schoolboy.

Right next door is the newest Ferringhi resort, a Hard Rock Hotel-





Stunning. Magnificent. Yawwn.

At the other end of Ferringhi beach, there are two Shangri la's, although they weren't shangs back then. This is the good old Golden Sands, where I used to sneak in and use their swimming pool-



The other shang right next door, the Rasa Sayang, is even nicer. Nice traditional Malay architecture, dread to think what the wood bill was. It was closed for renovation, to reinforce it's status as the nicest place on the beach. They were diligent there- I only got away with swimming in their pool once before being sent on my way.


Then theres the Lone Pine, the Parkroyal, the Holiday Inn etc. I'm surprised a small backpacking scene survives here really, but pleased about that. You get the picture- this ain't Robinson Crusoe's island.

I think our local graffiti artist is being a little optimistic here, or perhaps he failed at spelling -




Anyhow, Solidarity bro.

Last edited by sabang : 20-11-2010 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 20-11-2010, 06:45 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boon Mee
I was down there but the place has definitely gone to seed.
Personally, I quite like places a bit on the seedy side booner. Dilapidated colonial grandeur, places like Salvador & Olinda in Brazil, Havana, the parts of Macau that are still tatty and old. They've got character.

Anyhow, if stainless steel and colored glass is your thing, I suspect you won't make a beeline for old Georgetown.

Quote:
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The airport is way too small for the amount of traffic going thru there too.
Probably, it was certainly humming with people. Bayan Lepas airport was quite snazzy and new back in the early 80's.

Last edited by sabang : 20-11-2010 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 20-11-2010, 08:08 AM   #35 (permalink)
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the Beach

As with any other beach untouched by the hand of man, Ferringhi offers the standard unspoilt beach activities.



Bring a chador that neither shrinks or runs, and you too can participate in unspoilt activities.



Ebony and Ivory. Sorry sir Paul.




It's still a pretty beach really. Come Friday, it gets more busy- I guess they head up from KL or out from urban Penang for the weekend.










And this atrocity, which I nicknamed the Grand Canal, hasn't changed either. It stinks, and the effluent laden water is black.




I certainly wouldn't swim in there, or anywhere close- but the water monitors didn't seem to mind. Sorry, but they were camera shy.

As you can see, there wasn't much in the way of bright sunlight this time of year, but thats fine by me- i've gone native.








Anyhow, off for a beer brekkie. I'll get this knocked over later.

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Old 20-11-2010, 08:19 AM   #36 (permalink)
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The other shang right next door, the Rasa Sayang, is even nicer. Nice traditional Malay architecture, dread to think what the wood bill was. It was closed for renovation, to reinforce it's status as the nicest place on the beach. They were diligent there- I only got away with swimming in their pool once before being sent on my way.
That's where I stayed. A little 'paeng' but worth the extra money to stay at the Rasa Wing. No renovations going on last week but it did rain the three days I was down there. Food so=so at their restaurant.
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Old 20-11-2010, 09:01 AM   #37 (permalink)
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^ Posh bugger.

Didn't take it long to reopen then- i suppose high season is around the corner.

Heavy rain was forecast when I was there, so I got the clouds but you got the rain! Southern Thailand however got the floods, 'cus they never had things like Brits to organise drainage.
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Old 21-11-2010, 12:30 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Some meals you want to just sit down and eat informally, where the locals eat. We liked this place-




It's on the corner to the 'old village', across from the big sign. Cheap and cheerful, and it appears to be The place in town if you're up early for breakfast- and the coffee is good. The only tourist around besides us was a jogger. Nothing flash of course, but nothing wrong with the food either- I guess thats why it's always busy. Doesn't sell booze though, and closed on Fridays. It was fun watching a troupe of about 20 monkeys making their way across the powerlines, heading back into the jungle-







Thanks to the dense jungle, Penang still has it's fair share of wildlife. On my second trip to Penang in 1984, I was thrilled to see a pangolin- near where the Hard Rock is now, and of course I just had to tell my friends, dumbarse. They captured and ate it- apparently it's meant to make you virile.

For something more flash, The Ship does a pretty good steak. You can hardly miss it-




Next to that is a flash looking middle eastern restaurant, done in the manner of a row of Arabian tents. I didn't make it there but all along the road you've got restaurants, middle eastern & Indian are particularly common. It may not quite be Georgetown, but Ferringhi is still pretty darn good for nosh. If you're in a resort, I'd just use it for the buffet breakfast. Hotel food is boring and overpriced. Imho.

We all just lurv eating by the sea, and these places sell booze too. There are a couple of nasi lemak type places in the tatty old village, very reasonably priced. They give you a plate of rice, you load what you want onto your plate from the selection of dishes on display. There is always a beef curry- and it's always good, seafood, nice fried chicken, okra, no shortage of food in the Malay style.

But Chinese style seafood, as the sign says? No, didn't see any of that.




But who's complaining.




This of course is why several of the local places are closed Friday. A few "Trip advisor" wimps complained about the sound of the Mosque- but I don't see what all the fuss is about.



I quite liked this quaint Hindu Temple. Ferringhi has long had a Tamil population, traditionally fishermen.





Found a newly opened place that was selling wine very cheap (for Malaysia), and got a bit merry there too. Man can not live on Guinness alone, although when you travel from Thailand to Malaysia it is tempting.

Last edited by sabang : 21-11-2010 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 21-11-2010, 01:53 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Telok Bahang

Back in the early 80's, Telok Bahang was a typical, sleepy Malay fishing village, and it still is- hasn't changed much at all to my eye. Not even a paint job. It's just a short but scenic ride from Ferringhi, and on the way you've got an orchid and butterfly farm, for tourists to see nice tropical orchids and butterflies.

We hopped a taxi there, and asked the driver to take us to the 'best place in town', which was closed somewhat to his chagrin. I think I know why. So he took us to another Chinese seafood place that was open- and watched from the corner of my eye. Yep, a little commission money still changed hands. Can't knock the food or the price though- it's on the roundabout as you drive into town. What I did notice was that the seafood in the tank was absurdly overpriced, and of course abalone is always absurdly overpriced- but we passed on both.

Looking across from the restaurant, the sharp eye catches the history of Malaysia-



Abdul's bumiputra shop is closed- he can't be bothered staying open through the heat of the afternoon. Mr Wong right next door is trading merrily away, of course. He never shuts.

A short saunter to the beach. Around the Headland is Penang national peak, with nice beaches you normally have to yourself. The active can walk it, but the average hire a boat-







This ebullient chap virtually insisted I take a photo. Happy to comply, so now you can see a typical nasi lemak on display. Looks pretty good, eh ?



There is a lone Berjaya resort on the right as you roll into town. Exactly why I do not know- I'd be surprised if it breaks even. Telok Bahang is worth it if you just like hanging around in a quiet Malay village- nothing much to see there really, but pleasant enough for lunch and a bit of a poke around, and it's easy to have a chat with the friendly Malay folk, maybe haggle for some fish at the fishing pier. You can also make a day of it and visit the national park, or that butterfy and orchid place.



And that TDer's completes the trip report. I'd have preferred a few more days than the three days we spent in Batu Ferringhi, time to hire a car and get around a bit more. But, as sponsors of the womens boat racing prize, we felt obligated to be there- it's a big weekend in the local village calendar. It was great to see mum & Bob, who were returning from their trip to England, and it saved me a trip to boring old Adelaide to catch up with them. I felt a bit shamefaced in the taxi that took us to the airport, because I had not looked up my good old friend Morgan. Perhaps I can use mum and Bob as an excuse, or perhaps you can never really 'go back'. But I doubt it- he was thrilled to see me when I went for my third trip there around 1997, with my then HK Chinese wife. Neither of us had changed- just got older, married, and had a bit more money. Oh well. Some of the most cherished memories on this mortal coil are the people you meet.

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Old 21-11-2010, 02:16 PM   #40 (permalink)
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^ thinking of converting, Terrance?
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Old 21-11-2010, 02:24 PM   #41 (permalink)
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No need- infidels are welcome to eat their yummy food anyway, and I carnt afford five wives.

But that MM2H ('Malaysian my second Home') deal must have several Thai farangs thinking about becoming ferringhi instead.
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Old 21-11-2010, 02:39 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Quote:
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But that MM2H ('Malaysian my second Home') deal must have several Thai farangs thinking about becoming ferringhi instead.
I was thinking about going there anyway. I can work just as easily from there as I can from here, but the Midget doesn't want to go there - probably too embarrassed to move to somewhere close where they're not all retarded. The oldest boy would have problems too, as his English is on par with most Thais.
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Old 21-11-2010, 02:58 PM   #43 (permalink)
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There were more than a few Thai in Ferringhi actually- Thai food is readily available there, although maybe not Isaan delicacies, and I was quite surprised that there was a Filipina working in the bar across from Ali's too.

Heck, if the junta keeps on going the way it's going we may have little choice. Best to keep an open mind.
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Old 21-11-2010, 04:50 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Nice thread so far sabang. Really enjoyed the pics.

Hope this one of the "happy couple" isn't framed somewhere in the house.


Thanks for sharing.....................
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Old 22-11-2010, 08:48 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I liked PENANG before but now prefer VIENTIANE in Laos, weed is better and everybody understand Thai !

Good point also in Laos, they have cheap Indian/Malay food, best in the world i my opinion.

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Old 22-11-2010, 10:48 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Hello. I've spent a good deal of time in Georgetown over the past few years, and I'd just like to add my observations and feelings about the place. Take them as you will, just speaking my mind.


I like the atmosphere of Georgetown, especially the the area east of Penang Rd and north of Komtar. This includes the Chulia Street area (no one calls it 'lebuh') and Little India. I also like walking around at night, and haven't had any problems with this, but then again I'm careful. Still, in the accumulation of about 30 months that I have stayed there I've only had a few near mishaps. I'm considered a 'big guy' there, which I'm not, only 5'11” and weigh app. 200 pounds. Once a rikshaw guy was giving me mess, which I let him know I didn't appreciate, and he said he'd slug me if I wasn't such a big guy. First time I heard this, but other old farts who've I'd had conversations with regarding old age and health have said this too. Go figure. But I digress...

There may be better accommodation for decent prices in the outlying areas, but it would be like living in the suburbs, no where to walk but residential streets, having to take buses at night to go 'downtown,' having to consider the schedules etc. The Rapid Penang bus system is relatively new, three years old or so, and I think has improved from its growing pains. Before that the bus system was atrocious, and every time I rode it the person next to me would strike up a conversation about how terrible it is. Indeed, the local buses even on the east coast of the peninsula were in much better shape.
On the subject of buses, the bus from the airport is 401A, and will bring you to the jetty, via east end of Chulia Street, near the Indian section. If you want to get off at Chulia street ring the buzzer when you pass the big mosque, the bus will stop around the corner. If you didn't have to deal with the airport terminal etc a taxi from that part of the island to Chulia would cost app. 25RM.


If you're going to KL by bus I recommend taking the ferry to Butterworth (the various spellings you'll see can be funny, my fave is 'Brotherwarts') and just showing up at the terminal and getting the next bus out. It can take anywhere from 4 to 7 hours, depending on the mood of the driver, whether it breaks down or not, detours the bus makes to cafes where the driver is compensated, weather, etc. The fare as of a few months ago was app. 31RM. I don't recommend trying this on holidays and weekends, at which times make your reservation in advance. Some people swear by Transnational, but I've taken them a few times and didn't see any difference in quality or adherence to schedule. Those 'agents' on Chulia St will tell you anything, buyer beware. I once bought a ticket directly to Singapore, and my good friend the ticket seller told me the bus completely bypassed KL. Well, guess what bus not only went into downtown KL, but for over an hour cruised the streets of the city with a tout leaning out the door calling out to people on the street “hey, want to go to Singapore?”
If going to Thailand the minibus is the way to go, and have your hotel do the booking (they all have the hook-up), this way when you're waiting around the lobby the hotel people will call them to straighten things out. Also note that throughout Malaysia (and Indonesia, and …) people will constantly be trying to get your ass in a cab so they can get some kickback. The unfortunate part is that when you really have no alternative to a cab you may think it's just another taxi hustle.


Rats: In the West rats are a sign of bad sanitation, in SEA we don't need subtle signs to show us that. I now see rats as welcome pests, as they eat the garbage etc on the streets. It's an alternative to disease and other fun stuff that would result from decaying waste. Just keep them out of my room, please.


General hygiene and food handling: nasi kandar, with those trays of open food, should be restricted to lunch time, IMO. When you go looking for food in the evening you may see things that have been sitting there since 11am. If you know it's a place with fresh food coming out of the kitchen that's another story, and you can usually spot these places easily as they are pretty busy: the locals usually know where the food is fresh, the supply is getting turned over, etc. Myself, I usually had rice for lunch, and at night I'd have some sort of Indian bread with a dish that was freshly cooked, like tandoori chicken.
You'll notice in Malaysia there is no shortage of people who can't be bothered covering their mouths when they cough, even when viewing uncovered displays of food. Contend with this as you will. From what I've seen with many Western tourists this coughing and covering precaution is passe with them as well, just check out all those spittle marks on the screens in the internet places.
Maybe I'm just squeamish, but I can't bring myself to order food when the person behind the counter is picking their nose.


Food: I think Penang has the best assortment of Eastern dishes. Indian dishes of better quality than India, IMO. Chinese food of any type, but unfortunately many restaurants don't cater to a party of one, except for maybe a plate of noodles, and also these restaurants, even though they will proffer a menu, aren't really about the menu: you have a discussion of what they have that day, how you would like it cooked, what kind of sauce you want, etc. The best way to eat in these places is to have someone who speaks the language and a party of at least 4. With a little research you may be able to find restaurants where someone speaks enough English for you to order creatively, but you'll still need some knowledge of the cuisine to know what to order.
And then there are the little specialties and treats to be found in back alley stalls and out-of-the-way market areas. I always gain weight when there, even if I sweat gallons per day.
Some restaurants have slimy tactics for travelers, and not restricted to Westerners. They'll put stuff on your table, and if you eat it you'll discover, when the bill comes, that it costs extra. I know of one place with great food, but their tactics I so annoying I haven't eaten their in years. Actually, one day a few months back I decided to try. I went to the trays, pointed to a chicken dish and told the fellow I wanted that. He kept telling me I should get the mutton. “Chicken” I told him in Malay. “Mutton” he insisted. I walked out. Yeah, last time I was in there, after setting me up with a big nasi kandar plate the boss told me “my friend, I think you should also have some lamb!”
Another is where you are brought something other than what you ordered, and, in every case, is more costly. Tandoori bread is the shoo-in; you order a plain naan, they bring you cheese naan, which is 3x the price. They know Westerners are an easy touch in this regard, a good bet you'll say “aw, it's alright, I'll take it.” Don't get pissed off at the waiter for it, the owners make them to do this. There's a bunch of other little gotchas they have to get extra $$ out of your pocket, just be careful.
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Old 22-11-2010, 11:05 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Nice thread mate and my memory of Penang is cloudy as I think I was pissed when I arrived and more pissed when I departed which was over 23 years ago.

Thanks for taking the time to share your adventure with us.
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Old 23-11-2010, 02:54 AM   #48 (permalink)
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When I lived in KL I had to do a week or so every 6 weeks to oversee our branch office in Georgetown
Always stopped at the Rasa Sayang at Batu Ferengi as they had the best Japanese restaurant outside of Japan that I ever went to !!!

This was 10 years ago so maybe it is no longer there .
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Old 24-11-2010, 08:07 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Greens to you Sabang for a very nicely done report. Very interesting sights and touristy doings, in a non touristy way. The feedbacks were all interesting as well, no flaming of your choices, a pleasant change from some trip threads.

Shilih Jim
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Old 25-11-2010, 01:12 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Been off line for a coupla days- thanks for the feedback fella's.

Dutara, you seem to know the place well, good of you to respond. During my brief visit I encountered no problems either on the ripoff or delhi belly front. And Happyman, if I leak that information about the Japanese restaurant to the wife, she'll have me on a plane tomorrow- she loves Jap food.
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