Since our last KL blog post (https://acastling.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/we-%E2%99%A5-kl/) through a mix of rubbish internet and lack of spare time (surprising i know, but we have been busy bees from dusk till dawn!) its been a while since we have posted and we have already been and seen lots of Malaysia.
When we left KL we met up with my mam in KL airport and all traveled together up to Langkawi. Now I know anybody with a slight orientation of SEA would think this was madness, to travel from Thailand down through Malaysia, to only head back towards Thailand again, a kind of 4 steps forward, 6 steps back approach. Well it is madness and not something we originally planned in, but these are the things you do for your loved ones and especially your mammy. Plus the flights were cheap and very, very short.
We stayed in Langkawi for only 3 days as there wasn’t a great deal to do there apart from soak up the sand and sea and dine in the various restaurants along the ‘strip’. We were led to believe that Langkawi was a duty free haven, full of cheap ass beer and even cheaper food. Now coming from Thailand this would be a hard act to follow, however coming from KL, this should be childs play. Well unless we went to the wrong bars and ate at the wrong restaurants, Langkawi was no cheaper, if not more expensive than KL, however you do have a beach to sit on and fresh seafood to eat! So i guess it all evens out in the end. Aside from the duty free shopping area and main beach strip, Langkawi also has some beautiful scenery, which is best seen by taking a cable car to the highest point on the island, were you are met with panoramic views of the whole island and glimpses of Thailand if you are lucky enough.
It was a great place to introduce my mam to Asian cuisine and gently, as there were no hawker centres, no plastic bag drinks or spicy spicy cuisine. Everything was catered towards the western tongue and was a good intro. She also got to experience what being a backpacker was all about, as our lovely accommodation (that isn’t sarcasm) was without air con and three people in a room without air con in 40degrees is not cool!! (pardon the pun). Even after i moved into the dorm (which was open to the elements and had only fans too, the room was still walm enough to be able to boil water. So a great intro into what roughing it can look like, just we happened to have nice beds, linen, decent toilets, no roaches or rats and no thumping music till 5am. Baby steps though, maybe next time she comes to join us!!
We then headed back down to Georgetown, to explore areas that we haven’t seen on the first visit and take my mam to some of the sights we got to see in the company of our Malaysian friend Alan who lived in Georgetown. One of the biggest draws to Penang/Georgetown is the food and it does not disappoint. If you want to really submerse yourself in Malay, Chinese, Hokkien and Indian cuisine, then look no further. I personally became a BIG fan of the Laksa, which is a spicy coconut based soup (its a fact, I am addicted to coconut like a druggy, its going to be missed in South America!) that is made in a fish broth and usually served with chicken and squid, sometimes dried anchovies, tofu, shrimp, noodles and fresh herbs and veg………mmmmmm you might want to wipe that dribble off your chin now!
The time spent in between chewing down on sensational food, we visited Penang’s biggest chinese temple Ke Lok Si, Penang Hill, Penang Botanical gardens (where we saw lots of monkeys!), Fishing village, searching for street art, walking tour of the colonial buildings, Japanese temples, Chinese temples, Hindu temples, walked along the beach, walked around night markets and drank lots and lots of coffee out of plastic bags!!! Now you can see what i mean by being very busy! This was all done in under 5 days and we touristed (yeah not a word but you get its meaning) from dawn till dusk. Obviously the only way to wind down after a full day of sightseeing in 35+ degree heat is to fill up your belly with more food, wash it all down with fine Asian beer and have a good old chin wag with my Mam.
The last picture is a little glimpse of the lifestyle of Georgetown residents and as Alan admitted ‘we are very lazy and like to sleep’. Which was a welcome surprise from the hectic 5am awakening in Thailand every morning from people going about there everyday business and starting their business day. In Malaysia it is more like the day starts about 10am, maybe 10:30 just depends. Love it.
Georgetown is definately somewhere I would return and if i was going to, i would definitely fast before arriving so i could tuck away at least 4 meals a day and get the most out of the amazing food that is on offer, which aside from the chic colonial buildings and various other sights, has to be Penang’s biggest draw and reason for visiting.