Saturday, March 2, 2013

Backpacking to Penang part 1

This was my first time went to Penang by backpacking. Which means, I only packed all my stuffs into my backpack, shared room in very low budget guest house, budgeted the expenses, even though only for 2 days 3 nights LOL.

Well, this time I traveled with my friends who I call them "bang" (like brother or bro) from Bangka-my hometown. They basically love travelling as well. They had been in some places in Indonesia like Makasar, Lombok, Bali, Bandung, etc. Knowing that I love to travel too, when bang Okta said that he wanted to travel to Malaysia so I accompany him (which later he asked bang Ali to join us) to Penang. Therefore, after their arrival in KL Sentral, I met them up there. Then, we decided to go to Puduraya Bus Station (Puduraya Sentral).

I had very less information about Penang. I planned to go there like long time ago by asking my classmates about it. But it never happened. And I think it's the best time to go there while I have not so much routines in my campus. I browsed from Mr. Google about Penang, ask my Penang friends, and also ask some friends who went there before. Bang Okta also brought a travel guide book that he bought in Indonesia. As the result, I still didn't know much till I was there, Hahahaha.

We went on friday morning, taking bus to Penang which cost RM35 with very good service though we only stopped once to public stop within 4.5 hours journey. The bus is full AC, and the seat is comfortable though. From Puduraya Sentral, we stopped at Butterworth because some passengers wanted to stop there. Afterward, we continue to Penang Island. We passed the Penang Bridge and stopped at Sungai Nibong Bus terminal after all.

As my friends requested me, we took Rapid Penang bus no. 409 to Georgetown and searched the cheapest guest house. My friend told me that at Chulia Street, there are a lot of low budget guest houses which actually very familiar for backpacker. We finally found Banana New Guest House. For 2 days lodge, we just paid RM 100 for a shared room and shared toilet. With that budget, we got a room with 1 double bed and 1 single bed + AC. That's more than enough for us, because we were only in the room at night for sleeping.
Banana New Guest House

At the guest house, we got free Penang Traveller's Map. The information in the map is very simple and understandable. We always brought it everywhere we went. Just follow the direction and lines in the map. We then realized that Georgetown is small. Even Penang is a small island compare with Bangka. We once tried to take free bus called CAT (Central Area Transit) from Komtar-the highest building in Penang- to go to some places. But, actually we could just track the road by walking, LOL. We had asked for bike rental. It's about RM10 per-day. Whereas we must pay the deposit RM 100 to RM 200. Meh, no lah. We were rather walking than biking.

During travelling, the most important thing is our immunity. Being healthy is a first requirement. Because we are gonna be very tired walking around the tourism destination. And sometimes we take the whole day to cover our travel time shortly to see a lot of attractions. Those who are very easy to be sick, better to bring some medicines or vitamin to stay fresh. For woman, we sometime unexpectedly get our period, so we must prepare pads inside our backpack.

Anyway, Georgetown reminds me of Melaka. They both have similarity in term of the architectural building. Georgetown is basically an old town that still utilizes it's old building as the hotels, shophouses, restaurants, and also tourism attractions. I really love old buildings which has unique characteristic, well managed and covered by colorful paint. They look pretty cool though!!

As what we saw everyday there, the population in Georgetown is dominantly populated by Chinese. They open many kind of business there, but mostly as seller at the restaurants, groceries shops, etc. We found less Malay here compare with back in Kuala Lumpur.

Although Georgetown is very crowded, this small town is literally a clean town. This town is also equipped with some directories and other facilities that easy us to explore. The transportation is also easy to access. Money changers are easy to be found. Restaurants and street foods are available everywhere.
Komtar, the highest building in Penang (taken from the guesthouse I stayed)

My friends and I did foods hunt here. We also traveled to some tourism objects. But, I will tell about this in another post. So, see you later ^_^