Trip Report by Angela November 2001

We stayed for just 8 nights at Casuarina hotel, flew Malaysian airlines, no hitches, great flight & service. We started off well enough but both caught a virus which is still lingering, this severely affected our normally 'eat everything in sight holiday'. We met Webtraveller & had a few times out with him & his lovely wife but not being in top form couldn't enjoy their company as much as we should have liked. We visited the E&O hotel & everyone must go, we had lunch there & the chef made us a special free appetiser, came over to ensure we had enjoyed our meal too. We saw a bride & groom having photos taken in the bar, they looked very pleased with themselves. One day walking along the street in Georgetown we were admiring some old buildings, a taxi driver came over & gave us the history of the buildings. We told him we love the city & are pleased that the heritage buildings are now to be kept. This lovely guy gave us a bright smile, thanked us for coming to Malaysia & pointed to a trishaw driver & encouraged us to go for a ride, we did & it was wonderful. I have been afraid to try a trishaw ride during the day before. We took one other trishaw ride with an amazing character we met at Komtar, he took us on the city tour, in the rain, fantastic! We did visit Gurney Plaza, it is a huge shopping centre but I still prefer Chinatown. So didn't do much this trip, we were already booked to go in February & have just changed our airline from Singapore Air to Malaysian & booked for our 16 & 19 yr olds to come too. So roll on February and I hope those hawkers stalls have plenty of extra food for us, we have a bit to catch up on!


Trip Report by Angela February 2001

We have just returned from Penang after a 10 day break. We flew Malaysian airlines & I strongly recommend them. We were sad to see that our flight from KL to Penang was cancelled but the airport is nice & the time went quickly. The Jumbo we arrived on took us to Penang, there was a bad water leak by our group of seats so we flew business class, very nice. When we arrived in Penang every passenger was searched which took a while but customs were very nice & friendly. We had arrived as the chariot for Thaipusam was arriving so the streets were very busy & it took nearly 2 hrs to reach Batu Ferringhi. We decided we would go to the celebrations the following day. We stayed at the Casuarina, our 2 previous visits we have stayed at the Golden Sands. The hotel is nice but definately caters for the older set of travellers. The rooms are large, all have sea views, excellent service & really good activities officers.The guests are all incredibly friendly & many have stayed there for the last 18 visits or so. We went on the hotel organised trip to Thaipusam & I am so glad we did, we would have got hopelessly lost. We first visited a temple where the penitents were having hooks placed into their bodies, we saw men having their whole torso covered in hooks with small silver cups & also small, limes? attatched. I was surprised that women are also pierced, with large skewers through their cheeks. We were most impressed by the skill of the priests, drawing hardly any blood.The family support is incredible for these men & women. I said some prayers at the temple, we also left donations though I was surprised that many other tourists did not. We went on to the waterfall road area & really felt we were in India, the sights aromas & music were absolutely beautiful. There were hospitality tents with free food & drinks, we partook of the drinks many times. We did not walk the steps to the temple. I am so pleased we saw such an important religious event & I will long remember the atmosphere. We went on a boat trip with a guy called Lie (phoenetic spelling) he was most interested in ecology. He told us that the reason for jelly fish is the decline of the leather back turtle. There is a programme to help the turtle but it does not seem to working so well as others in Malaysia. At Monkey Beach the monkeys swam to our boat, were gentle & not greedy. He taught us how to behave with respect to the monkey. We saw eagles & monitor lizards, the latter swimming & on rocks. We walked in the jungle & Lie told us the uses for all the various trees & flora & fauna. In the middle of the jungle walk is the most awful concrete bridge & pavillion, Lie agreed with us wholeheartedly that is should not have been put there. This trip with Lie was for me a great learning experience & I would urge others to find him & go. Lies kampung is the fishing village between the Casuarina & Park Royal hotel. This is also where there are great guest houses & fantastic restaurants on the beach.Lie parks his boat at the front of the Casuarina hotel. We drove around the Island a bit & saw a beautiful Malay fishing village, there the Chinese wear sarongs & are ancestors of the original Malay who married the Chinese men introduced by the British when the island was settled. These aspects of Malay, Chinese & Indian culture in Penang are fascinating. This village is not on any tourist trip & we visited it with friends. The food & shopping is wonderful, we ate anywhere & everywhere, especially enjoying a Nasi Kampung from the village I have already mentioned, hot & spicy with tiny salted fish & prawns. we ate at the Hot Wok, close to Island Plaza, this is a delightful colonial Chinese, malay restaurant & we ordered special claypot at lunchtime for our evening meal. It was a sumptious feast & special as it was our wedding anniversary. We did heaps & enjoyed our holiday so much. I should like to thank this forum for lots of advice, we tried to do as much as possible, but did spend one day at the pool with book in hand. I am sorry this report is so long but it is only a sample of the wonderful holiday we had.




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