Day 3 of our road trip and we left KL (rather sadly – goodbye Grid 9!) for a night’s stay at Penang. We planned on taking the train up to Bangkok from Butterworth, but realised that the transport making the connection on the same day would be nigh impossible. Thank God we stayed a night at Penang, because the bus ran late.
We purchased the bus ticket at Plaza Rakyat LRT Station on the first day we arrived for 9.30am on Wednesday morning. The bus station is approximately 5mins away from the train station, although we didn’t know that at the time and arrived super early. We didn’t want to miss the bus after all. The buses wait beneath the plaza waiting area and you have to descend a staircase to board at the numbered platforms, but we were way too early and breathed in volumes of noxious bus fumes.
It was a pleasant enough ride on the 40-seater bus. A little cramped but since it was about 6 hours, we managed just fine with our backpacks on our laps.
We made one 20 minute stop for a quick loo and snack break but for the most part we slept through the journey and took in the scenery. Malaysia is really picturesque. Honestly, I’m perceiving the country on a whole different level during this journey.
Upon arrival at the bus station at Butterworth, we headed straight for the ferry. It’s RM1.20 for a return trip and is quite an experience in itself.
Both cars and passengers are allowed on the ferry. Unlike the ones you find in countries that need to cross the seas for an extended period of time (e.g. 3hrs), the ferry is rather small and has a maximum capacity of approximately 14 cars. There is no limit to the number of passengers. Given the availability of the bridge nearby, few cars use the ferry as it is.
Just like KL has the RapidKL transport system, Penang has the RapidPenang transport system. Innovative! Except that in Penang, it’s limited to buses. We took bus 201 to our favourite accommodation in the heart of Georgetown, Chulia Heritage Hotel. It used to be an old colonial house, but has since been refurbished into a boutique hotel. It was also the most expensive night we had (and will have) at RM135.00. We didn’t manage to pre-book since we left all our cards back home. Thankfully though, there was a room available with an attached bathroom.
One thing I also enjoy whenever I return to Penang are the quaint shop houses and the rustic atmosphere of Georgetown. There’s something nostalgic about this place that is a photographer’s dream.
We wandered around for a little bit and had an early dinner (tinner?) at a fusion restaurant nearby. Mum was quite indulgent and allowed me to snap away, although I didn’t take very long to compose my shots.
We relaxed most of the time since it was only a night’s stay and there wasn’t much to see. We did attempt to visit the night hawker stalls, but were too full from our early dinner. We did enjoy a Magnum each though!