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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Penang Trip - Day 2

Continuation from the previous post...

We are on holiday but were forced to get up as early as 6.30am. Matt and Minch came to pick us up at 7.15am. We had agreed to meet Minch's friend at 7.45am for dim sum at a restaurant in Gurney Drive.

Minch friend called to say that he would be late, so we had a drink (for Mctc's benefit, because we heard that they don't serve coffee at the dim sum restaurant) at a local coffee shop. At 8.00am, there were hardly any coffee shops opened for business. In fact, we were the first customers in this coffee shop. We spent like 40 minutes searching for coffee shops!!

Still waiting for Minch friend to call, Mctc and I checked out from the hotel and went to Him Hiang to collect the biscuits we ordered yesterday. We headed down to Gurney Drive after that.

This is the restaurant we went to for dim sum. At 9.30am, the place was packed with people. I'm not much of a dim sum fan, mainly because in Seremban, we were served by waiters and waitresses who were busy pushing the food carts from one table to another. Sometimes the cart that came along didn't have what I wanted, and I would have to wait for the next one to come along.. which may take ages.

Over here in the Bali Hai restaurant, it's self-service. So many types of dim sum... wow! We took what we wanted to eat and carry them to our table. Hmm.... Seremban's dim sum restaurants should implement this system.

This was what we had.

The place is huge. It wasn't an air-cond restauant, but it was cooling. Probably because we were there at the right time. It rained for a few hours just before we arrived here. Oh.. and the toilets had air-conds. Ha! Toilets with air-cond and eating area without, this is just to weird.

Lots of live sea creatures as promised by what was written on their signboard "if it swims, we have it". My guess is, they serve dim sum in the morning and seafood dishes at night.

Lobsters, crabs, prawns, fish... whatever.....

We were at the restaurant for over an hour. Carzy isn't it, to spend so much time on breakfast. This restaurant is one of the many food shops along the gurney drive. The beach is just opposite these shops. For some reason, it is not safe to swim here.

We bought "apong" just before we left the island. They basically taste the same like the ones they sell at the Blossom Heghts pasar malam, just that these have added ingredients - a couple of sliced bananas and corn.

11.30am. We left the island via the Penang bridge which is one of the longest bridge in the world.

It took us about 7 minutes to reach the mainland. We stopped at the Juru rest stop to have our "apong".

Then we headed straight to Ipoh for lunch. I didn't know North of Ipoh was so beautiful. So many hills formed a beautiful picture of Ipoh.

We reached Ipoh at about 1.45pm and started looking for a few famous biscuit shops. We took many wrong turnings before we arrived at the correct street.

2.45am -Then we started looking for the famous "hor fun" in Ipoh. Yup, we found it. The rice noodles were so soft and slippery. We also ordered the "lobak". Should have eaten "lobak" (another famous food) in Penang, but we forgot all about it.

Right after lunch, we went to look for the Ipoh's famous white coffee. Thank God Ipoh was not a very big town. We managed to find the shop quite easily. I had my usual "teh" but this time with ice, Mctc had hot white coffee and both Minch and Matt had iced white coffee. I would have ordered the hot white coffee if it weren't for my persistent sore throat.

Minch ordered "chee cheong fun". I was surprised when she ordered this because we just had lunch. Oh, I have to say this too, Mctc and I shared a toast. At that time I was thinking.. how could I sit at a coffee shop drinking tea/coffee and not have a toast to go along with it? So we ordered only a piece and shared.

At 4pm, we left Ipoh and headed straight for Seremban. We reached our hometown at 7.08pm. Wow.. it took us about 3 hours to reach home. Matt must have kept to the speed limit. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Penang Trip - Day 1

Last month, Minch, Matt, Mctc and I discussed on visiting the Penang Island. Matt was working there since August last year and he had tendered his resignation letter some time this year. He did extend an invitation to visit him while he was there but we never did go.

Matt's last day was Thursday, 28th of May 2009. We made plans to fly from LCCT-KL to Penang on the 29th of May. We took the first flight out to Penang because we wanted to make the most out of this trip.

Mctc and I went over to Minch's house at 5.15am and from there we took a cab to the LCCT-KL. It cost us RM70. Minch had already checked in for us earlier on so we don't have to be at the airport so early.

We boarded the plane at 6.30am and landed in the Penang International Airport at about 7.30am.

We got some brochures from the airport... just in case we got lost... :)

Matt came to pick us up and took us to our first stop - the famous Chay Kuey Teow located at the corner of Jalan MacAlister and Jalan Perak. He didn''t know where the shop was and we had to rely on the maps we took from the airport.

After a few rounds, we finally located the shop.

Minch ordered yam cake. It was not one of my favourites but since we were on an eating spree, I decided to take a piece of it. The serving was small and it cost a bomb. RM3. Minch "sign- languaged" with a chopstick against her throat (cut-throat).

Our chay kuey teow came.. at RM4 for a small plate, it was very expensive. The serving was even less than what we would have in Seremban. I think Seremban's CKT (Chay Kuey Teow) taste much better. (Probably got more msg in there too, hehe).

Our first tourist stop was the Penang Hill. (read more about it in my previous post).

After that, we went to Gurney Drive to look for food. We weren't hungry but since it was lunch time, we thought we could have something light before going to our next destination.
When we reached Gurney Drive, we saw that the setting was more for foreigners. Feeling a little lazy, we decided to go to a nearby shopping mall for Kim Gary (a Hong Kong Style restaurant).

We went to the Kim Gary's at the Gurney Plaza to have a rather heavy lunch.

This was supposed to be our next destination, located at Batu Ferringhi but we didn't enter because it cost us RM14 per person(pretty expensive just to see herbs and plants).

I wanted to see the Titi Kerawang waterfall, and so Matt drove further towards Balik Pulau. We passed by the Teluk Bahang Dam.

On our map, it was stated that in order to reach the waterfall, we had to pass the Tropical Food Farm. Minch thought it would be interesting to pay this farm a visit. Yes, we did go in, but only at the entrance. A tour round the farm cost RM25 per person inclusive of some fruit and a glass of fruit juice. We didn't take the tour but we paid for our fruit juices.

We didn't get to the waterfall because Matt took the wrong turn and didn't want to u-turned back. :(

We went back to the city to buy the famous Him Hiang Tau Sah Piah (green bean biscuit) located at Jalan Burma.

It was about 5.30pm when Mctc and I decided to check into Tune Hotel. The whole day we were looking out for a reasonable-priced hotel, and yes, we did found some, but it was not near the city. Tune Hotel is a budget hotel which is cheap only if you book 3-4 months ahead. Since we were late, we had to pay about RM85 for a basic room with 12 hours of aircond. More of Tune Hotel in another post.

While we were gallivanting at Batu Ferringi area that afternoon, Minch called her old internet friend and asked if he would like to join us for dinner that night.

They agreed to meet at Queensbay Mall in a Chinese restaurant called Dragon-I. Earlier on, the four of us had decided to go for the famous Penang Nasi Kandar, but Minch friend had already booked a table here at the Dragon-I.

The setting was really. uh.. Chinese, with statues "looking" at us as we had our meal.

We had their famous "xiao loong bao" (dumplings) and I think it's called "la mien" (noodles). The dumplings were very nice, but the noodles weren't that good. Our meal came up to RM140 for 5 of us.

After dinner, we were too full to try the Nasi Kandar. :(. I called Vive, a friend I knew for more than 15 years, to meet up with him. He was studying in Seremban at that time.

We met at a Nasi Kandar restaurant and I had my teh tarik. Too full to eat anything else. Vive brought his wife and 2 other friends. He suggested durians for supper... but not only we were too full to try out the durians here, Minch brains were "shutting down", plus her friend had to drive back to mainland.

Must make a mental note to visit Penang again next May just for the durians.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Penang Hill a.k.a Bukit Bendera

Standing at 830mtrs high, this hill is a favourite place to visit, both tourists and locals alike.

This picture was taken at the top of Penang Hill on the 29th of May 2009. It was either hazy or misty which prevented us from having a good view of the Penang city.

The entrance to the Penang Hill. We arrived here at 9.30am after a so-so only breakfast (We had Char Kuey Teow - I had expected the CKT to be much better than Seremban's).

I think this is my 2nd time to this place, the last was about 20 years ago.

There were 4 of us - Matt, Minch, Mctc and I. We chose the return fare of course.

Our train was scheduled to leave at 9.45am. Not sure why, but the train only left at 10am. There were more people than usual. Probably because it was the last day of school for this term.

We had to wait like 10 minutes before the train started moving. Minch was concerned that the train might be overloaded with people till she read a signboard in the train saying that the maximum load was 80 people.

View of Penang just after leaving the train station.

We are going higher....

We changed trains at the mid station.

2nd level... going higher. Mctc was wondering whether this hill is higher than Gunung Datuk or not. It was also quite steep and took 20 minutes (train ride only) to arrive at the top of Penang Hill.

When we reached the top, the first thing Matt did was to get himself a can of coke.

Things to do/see...

Checking out the place..

A model of the train. It's just for show.

Some food and souvenir shops for tourist spend their money.

Steps leading to worship sites. There was an Indian temple, a Buddhist place (not a temple) and a mosque.

There were 2 hotels and some restaurants here too. I spotted a post office, but I don't think it's operational.

Lots of big spiders here.

Big spiders and some poor flies got trapped in the spider web.

I don't believe it!!! Why is the canopy walk closed?

11.32am. Time to go back. Oh, the weather here was quite cooling and breezy.

Going down...

Reaching the foothill. The air was no longer cooling. It was hot and humid.

Penang Hill.... hmmm.... should try hiking here one day.