On 13th February we arrived back at Changi airport from Brisbane. As it was evening we needed to stay over to catch the ferry to Sebana the following morning. We discovered Changi Village Hotel near the airport with a free shuttle, and also not far from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for the morning. Lovely, reasonable and even better located near a food and local market where traditional meals were available for Sing$3, and wasn't it great to get back to the variety of foods and spices for dinner and breakfast!
Saturday across on the Ferry to Sebana, where all was well with Charmar and four days of just, well not much at all. A little tiny bit of maintenance and cleaning, swimming, walking and eating, eating swimming and walking and snoózin'. Feed the monkeys, watch the monitor lizards and the horn bill birds!
So we decide to go to Penang and maybe Langkawi. On the staff bus at 0700 to Bandar Penawar, catch an express coach to Kuala Lumpur, get off and walk across to the transit station, where a chap says, "where are you going", we say Penang and he walks us into the terminal and puts us on an express coach to Penang which left within half an hour! It would have taken us hours to find the right coach in the massive terminal!!
Arrive at Butterworth at about 1900 out of the coach, directly onto a ferry for the short ride to Pilau Pinang (Penang Island - Georgetown).
Go to the first lodge, grotty, catch a taxi to take us to the hotel area, tell him we just want somewhere clean for the night and he takes us 50 metres around a corner to a very clean lovely little hotel which we really like - The Friendship Hotel and VERY clean, pleasant and reasonable, we will come back here and can recommend it. Well worth the 10 ringit negotiated taxi fare!!
Stay the night walk to the ferry terminal at 0700 the next morning and catch the Ferry to Langkawi direct. Off the Ferry 2.5 hours later, hire a motor scooter and scoot to the other side of Langkawi to Cenang Beach, rent a room, drop our backpacks, onto the scooter up the road to jump off the bike straight onto the ferry to Rebak Island Resort and Marina. Meet our friends on Tiaki there for a couple of hours and tour the Island and Marina. Can't wait unfortunately for Kassoumay's owners to arrive on Saturday and catch the staff ferry back to Langkawi Island and head down the road back to our room. Quick ocean swim. Back on the scooter did a trip around the bottom of the Island to check out a dry dock and marina and onto Kuah the main area and township. It was dark so we went back through the middle of the Island - stopped at a local market to eat local fare for dinner - it was great (where the locals gather and eat can't be too far wrong!). Back to our room and bed after getting some mossie coils to fight off the persistent beasts!
Up early for breakfast, should have had a swim but forgot to, joined the locals for breakfast, went to visit another marina and boatyard and headed back to Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and Marina where we did a tour of inspection, quick lunch and back on the Ferry to Penang, with a stopover at a Marine Park Island on the way.
Back to our Friendship Hotel where we stayed one night ago, and asked for and was given a discount as a regular!
Perhaps an interesting management theory here, don't overplan but use the features of the environment to your advantage and your strategy may just work. Sometimes overplanning just leads to disappointment and failure of detailed plans to materialise! Broad plans and flexibility to achieve a given result using whatever comes along to advantage may just be a better recipe for our times!
Now to find another scooter and get around Penang. Dianne loves Langkawi (for good reason!) but is reserved about Penang so I need to convince her of its beauty and merits!!! Where is that scooter??
Sorry no camera with us, no photos, only memories.
PS: We find a scooter in Penang down in Litte India for 20 ringit and head off to the beach side markets for dinner, wow it was just fantastic and we get back to the Friendship Hotel before midnight but full, fat and happy.
After dinner whilst walking around the markets we visited "Dr Fish",
now this is where you sit with your feet in an "aquarium" and hundreds of little Dr Fish eat the dead skin off your feet and legs, and hands if you like. Little "cat fish" come along and vacuum where Dr Fish has been. In doing so they inject an enzyme that is "good" for your skin. Well it is a very funny feeling. Whilst there a South American was there with his girlfriend and parents, now he had very sensitive feet and burst out in raucous laughter everytime the hundreds of little fish set out about 'chewing' under his feet. It does tickle but you do get used to it but he just couldn't stand it and everytime he put his feet back in he burst out in uncontrollable laughter which was contagious to the group there. It was great entertainment and your feet felt so good afterwards as well - that was a bonus! Not a piranah in the tank anywhere!
Saturday we head off around and over and through Penang on the scooter and see a lot of the Island. Up hill and down dale was the order of the day as the Island is quite steep in parts. Scooter is a great way to travel around these parts - and we arrive back near the markets where we started last night for a shaved ice treat and banana fritters!
As we set off we see a large monitor lizard swimming in the sea as we are now travelling around the beaches and pretty coastline.
Onto Georgetown where we find Caroline and Steve by riding down a one way street the wrong way and spend the evening with them and their families with a delicious steamboat dinner before getting on a coach back to KL and onto Johor Baru arriving the following morning. The coach was very comfortable and we slept well. From Johor we had a two hour stopover on Sunday morning to catch the local Mara Liner bus back to Sebana, where we had a leisurely afternoon.
Monday and it is raining all day and I have been catching up on work and Dianne reading. Interesting how with modern technology one can be actively university lecturing in Australian through ANU but actually be in Malaysia and it is all transparent via Skype, the internet etc.