After 6 days spent in Penang, well, in Georgetown which is the capital of the Penang island, we are moving again towards Thailand where we should be in 2 or 3 days time. We did not visit all the island. I thought I would spend a day or two cycling around but I got lazy. The back of the islnd is apparently very hilly so it cut off any motivation. I should have find the way to leave my trailer somewhere. Anyway, we visited the historical centre which was okay. Today we left Penang at 5pm and cycled just out of Butterworth city to find a quiet place where to camp. Easy day.
We did not see everything in Chinatown yesterday so we have a second round today. We have visited more Chinese temple, seen more street art and walk too much! Yes, I prefer cycling than walking. This is much easier :-) Tonight is the last day of 2015. We planned to see the fireworks. We saw it but not in the best conditions. Finally, this is when we returned to our campsite that the night really started. Always no plan is the best one :-) That worked for 2015 and it’s going to work in 2016, for sure! Happy New Year!
Today, we are visiting Chinatown, the real part. Until now, we stayed around the backpacker area. It is still in chinatown but on its edge. All the price are quite high but if you walk 5 minutes to the east side and follow the tourists, you will discover this old area with lots of souvenir shops, bicycles to rent, ice cream to eat and street art.
What you need to apply for the tourist Visa for Thailand (and from Malaysia) is pretty simple. You need your passport and its black & white photocopy, 2 ID photos and 150 Ringgit. They will ask you to fill a paper and provide them an address where you will stay in Thailand. Make sure you have one. If you don’t have the photocopy or the ID pictures there is two ways to get them. You can go to a camera shop in the city (See map). The price: 4 ID photos for 12 Ringgit and 20 sen per photocopy) or you can do it front of the Consular itself but it will cost you a bit more. The price is respectively 20 and 2 Ringgit. Two guys have their car parked front of the Consular can do it on the spot. We came this morning at 8:15 to be the first one on the queue because it grows rapidly at nine o’clock. We will pick up our visa tomorrow at 2pm, so 29 hours later. That’s pretty quick!
This time we are coming to Penan by ferry. The crossing cost us 1.40 Ringgit (bicycle included). That’s cheap. I’ve heard about Penang since I’m in Malaysia. Georgetown is an historical city and the capital of Penang. It reminds me Malacca in some places and has too much shopping malls for me. The development of the city seems fast. Lots of tall skyscrapers are in construction. There is lots of traffic. I’m disappointed that there is no beach in the city where people can walk or have a drink. We must have to go further out to see that. In general I can see that Malaysia (like Indonesia) doesn’t really care about improving the area next to the water. Maybe that’s the case on small islands but from what I’ve seen until now, this is not really the case.
Big day today and absolutely no plan at all. Firstly we started the day with a 500 metres climb. I knew we had to cross a pass today but I did not expect it to be that high. It was hard! and steep! and hot! Few! Then we planned to reach at least Selama or even Kulim but the road was so nice than we kept going and going until we were stop by water. We thought we could cycle on the bridge leading to the Penang island (The northern one) but a guard stopped us and redirected us to the ferry terminal. Finally we stopped halfway to the terminal on the side of the road. Penang will be for tomorrow then :-)