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First impressions on Penang

First impressions on Penang

Yep, kind of uncomfortable to be walking for the main part of the day. Though it doesn't stop me doing so. I walked for about one hour one midday/afternoon, from centre of George Town, up, into and around various roads of the residential area, and then onto the shopping malls. I liked how all the houses were all different and some quite fancy looking.

These are my observations of my one week break in Penang in mid November.

Yep, kind of uncomfortable to be walking for the main part of the day. Though it doesn't stop me doing so. I walked for about one hour one midday/afternoon, from centre of George Town, up, into and around various roads of the residential area, and then onto the shopping malls. I liked how all the houses were all different and some quite fancy looking.

Having a few big shopping malls was nice. I'm not into shopping, but I like that they are there, to escape the heat, and that they have many food options inside.

Being someone who likes walking a lot, including for commuting, I found it not great. In George Town, where I was based, I found it irritating that the paths are constantly blocked by bikes and sometimes cars. This felt worse when out walking in the day time as you end up in the hot sun even more. I was getting used to the blocked paths by the end of the week but still, I found it frustrating sometimes.

Lack of pedestrian crossings. Even right outside the big shopping malls, Paragon is the one I'm thinking of here, there is no crossing to be seen. I'm assuming, that they assume, no-one in their right mind would be walking to get there, so they don't think it necessary to add such things? It can take a while for a gap in traffic just to cross, even with an entrance directly opposite. Maybe I just missed it, or I ended up at a not often used entrance.

I do like the bus system. Lots of buses and very cheap, and was informed Penang was particularly good for this, compared to other places. not being a driver, though I can drive, I would rely on buses a lot.

Food, and eating out, was far cheaper than I expected it to be. I ended up eating dinner most days in one of the food courts, and found, having two five ringgit plates at lunch and three at dinner was generally sufficient, though I can eat more. So basically £5 a day for eating, or £10 if I included a bit more and plenty of water, which was most of the time. Only had beer on the first and last night, and was certainly not as cheap, though still cheaper than UK. But as I don't drink much these days it's not a big factor for me. Idid wander into one of the supermarkets I came across, and scanned various things I typically buy back here in the UK, and it seemed the same prices were not too different to the UK. So my thoughts are it will be cheaper to eat out than cook at home. I think I saw this same observation on a thread somewhere else.

I liked the architecture of the centre of George Town. It reminded me very much of where I used to live in Spain, allbeit with a Chinese theme. I liked the deep houses, the few I went in were spacious and interesting. On two days I was up at the break of dawn and liked how it seemed very relaxed and quiet with people drinking tea, coffee etc outside. Though perhaps these were just tourists outside their hotels, like I was.

People were all very very friendly and helpful. I think people are generally pleasant to tourists anyway, but still, I only had good experiences. Language also was handy that almost everyone spoke English. If I was going to be there for any reasonable length of time I would make some effort to learn Malay, and having some basics in Mandarin, would also work on improving that too.

I liked the variety of things to see and do, the botanical gardens and national park for walking around, and the semi-deserted beaches if you're happy to trek to get there. I ended up reaching the botanical gardens late one evening and saw many hundreds of locals jogging around which was a nice feature and made it all look very family friendly.

If I were to live there for a short while, ie, a few months, then I think I'd start off in George Town then explore the other areas more thoroughly once there. I wrote most of this last month and have forgotten the rest of what I was going to say, but overall impressions were very positive, and my visit confirmed what I was hoping which was I'd like to go back there to spend more time.

BritishExpats Member "SpacialTomato"

 

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