Trip Report by Brissie June 2003


Where do I begin....

I am still coming back down to earth from a fabulously successful family holiday. I got my photos back and am so happy that they turned out so wonderfully...even kayes would be proud of me. I love taking photos and the ones I have seen on this forum inspired me to do as well.

We flew Brisbane, Australia to K.L. with Malaysian Airlines. The children enjoyed the T.V. screens in the back of the seat infront of them...movies as well as nintendo! The meals as well as the service was superb.

Arriving in K.L. late at night we were pleased to go straight to sleep. The Federal Hotel was in a great location. Close to all the shopping plazas, Lot 10, Bukit Bingtang, Low Yat and even Star Hill, all of which we certainly gave a great deal of our time to. The morning we visited Star Hill, we saw people filming a T.V.advertisement or a part of a movie perhaps. This was interesting especially to my oldest daughter, who is in 3rd year Uni studying Film and T.V. production.

The money changers were everywhere. The rate was 2.50 RM to the A$1 and we found this rate both in K.L. and Penang.

We caught cabs everywhere as we were very central and cheap (3-8 RM). We visited the Petronas Towers and went up to the skybridge and pretended we were in the movie Entrapment. They are really amazing, aren't they!

We had dinner that night at the revolving restaurant at the top of The Federal...purely for the view, the restaurant looked a bit tired in the daylight, though the food was good too, but expensive compared to what you buy on the street. The Federal also has a Bowling Alley, which we ofcourse promised the children we would go to. This was very cheap compared to bowling in Australia. We had so much fun !

Off to Petaling Street in the evenings for the night markets....fake watches, bags, name it! No DVDs though. The authorities have come down hard and there are huge fines if the sellers get caught selling fakes. The food areas of these markets was great too....and the smells!!! We went to Central Market, one morning, The hawker food stalls outside of this market are something else. Inside was a bit touristy, but there was a shop selling fake DVDs, so that kept my husband and the girls happy while I roamed the craft stalls. Oh! the shopping!!!! Batik, nics-nacs, jewellery, souvenirs.

What interested me, was the walk just down the road to the Hindu temple of Sri Mahamariamman as well as the Chinese temple further along. The architecture, the colours, the carvings, the people were fabulous. There was a celebration at the Chinese temple and a man was burning hundreds of huge beautifully coloured paper clothes in an enormous oven...incense burning everwhere. What atmosphere!! I was abit taken back by people begging at the entrance to temples etc.though.

Everyone we came across was terribly friendly, helpful, courteous and eager to please. From taxi drivers, to Hotel staff, to people in lifts with us and shop staff. Always asking us where we were from etc.

Having read this forum and seen lots of photos here, it was great to already know what places looked like. I felt as if I knew the place before I arrived which made travelling around so much easier than roaming aimlessly.....thanks Kayes. Next....Penang


After two and a half very full days in K.L. we were packing again and off to Penang. Not enough time in K.L. but just enough to give us a fabulous impression and high hopes for the next 6 days.

They told us it was an hour flight to Penang...what aload of whoo-ha!!! By the time the plane lifted and got to the desired altitude, they were announcing the landing! I say half an hour flight.

An hour drive from Penang airport, we finally arrived at The Shangri-la's Golden Sands Resort. We had two sea-facing rooms,( with 3 children we certainly needed this) with great views of the pools, gardens and the ocean. We could have lived on that balcony and not moved away and still be so relaxed with watching the comings and goings!

Within a couple of hours, we had investigated which seats were the best, by the pool and overlooking the sea. Our younger girls were excited to see a small water slide into a separate pool and the next day we discovered the larger water slide , next door in Rasa Sayang's pool ( which we could also use as it was also a Shangri-La property !)

The same afternoon the girls went horse-riding on the beach ( 30 RM each) and then it was off to Nando's for dinner, as we hadn't explored too far down the road yet.

Day 2 and we decided to take in a bit of the culture and got the free shuttle into Georgetown and visited Wat Chaiyamangaharan Buddhist Temple. It was exactly what I had seen in the travel books as well as the photos kayes had put of this forum. The statues and carving outside were fabulous, then inside, the huge golden reclining Buddha!!! WoW!!! Absolutely beautiful. We walked around awhile then ventured over to the Burmese temple across the road. Saw the giant globe with the crazy dragons with wings holding it up. Had a photos taken of us next to the statues of two chubby cute guys (one poking his tounge out ) carrying a bell! Saw the monks giving blessings to those who knelt infront of them. We took in the beauty of the many sitting, standing and kneeling etc. buddhas. These temples make you appreciate the word "colour".

We then took a taxi to the Botanical Gardens where they cage the plants and let the monkeys roam free! Not a bad idea I say. The monkeys put on a great show for us...leaping, fighting with each other, baby monkeys playing together and even a couple enjoying an amorous affair....(we had to explain this to our 12 year olds who couldn't work out what was going on!!) After the morning out it was back on the 3.30 p.m. shuttle and time for relaxing by the pools again. That night we ate at Long Beach Stalls...the food was so great and inexpensive, then off to the night!!! So much to look at and buy. Fake bags were the highlight, sunglasses, souvenirs, silver jewellery, watches of every style and even the guy whispering DVD's under their breath.

Day 3 we decided to stay locally and visited the Butterfly Farm at Teluk Bahang. I got some wonderful shots here. One large butterfly landed on me and another on my daughter. They were beautiful and the gardens were pretty too. Entry was 12.50 rm for adults, 6.25 rm for children, 5 rm for the video camera and 1rm for a normal camera. As we were trying to please the girls too, we were trying to do things they would they don't keep saying " Not another Temple, Mum,please!!" So it was back to the Golden Sand in time for an archery lesson at the kids club.

That afternoon I had a reflexology foot massage...Oh! the pain. I learned alot about what was wrong with my body and my diet that afternoon. Mr&Mrs. Cheah are the first umbrellas as you come to the Golden Sands along the beach from the alleyway next to the Hotel. They are truely professional and lovely to talk to... 30rm for half an hour.

Before I sign off for tonight I must tell you who we came across at the night markets that night...Singaporean comedy star Phua Chu Kang and his wife Rosie. We had seen him in the local paper that morning and had previously seen him on the Amazing Race. When I approached him, he asked us how did we know him, then did a small interview with us. We all had to say with thumbs up " Don Prey Prey" whatever that means! So keep a look out for us, if we feature in any of his T.V. appearances.

Enough rambling for tonight...


Penang ....part 3
With only a couple more days left to enjoy Penang, we decided to take the early shuttle into Georgetown and take a taxi to Kek Lok Si Temple. It had thundered and rained during the night.(I might add that this was the loudest thunder we have ever heard....and we are used to hearing lots of thunder with our summer storms!) Even the bus driver warned us that more rain was rolling in. We still decided to go to the temple and luckily the showers cleared while we walked around there.

It was nostalgic for me, as I had visited Penang and this temple as a 2 year old when my Dad was posted to Malaysia in 1958-62. I had a photo taken in my mother's arms with the Pagoda in the background. I had this photo with me in my handbag during our visit there. The beauty of the temple is infinite. Everywhere you looked was a feast for your eyes to absorb...colours, architecture, statues, golden buddhas, intricate ceilings and floors etc.

Enough culture said the we taxied it to Midlands Shopping Centre for some more bargains.

Back to Batu Feringghi for our afternoon quiet time. That night we ate at Eden Seafood Village..... a must , where you can combine a great dinner with a three-quarter hour cultural floor show that started at 8.30 p.m. This show was so vibrant and the dancers so enthusiastic that you couldn't help being swept away with the music. They even got some of the audience to participate and afterwards invited guests up for photos with the dancers. An amazing sight was walking past the enormous fish tanks, on your way to be seated at the restaurant. These tanks were filled with local and international live delicacies.( I don't even eat seafood...I had Chicken with cashews...yum!)

We opted to take a trishaw ride along the B.F. night markets, just for fun, rather than taking a chance in the traffic of Georgetown. We passed a poor frightened monkey being chased by a couple of guys. It had probably lost its way!!?? Managed to buy a few more necessities and a beautiful water colour painting depicting a street scene with hawker food stalls, trishaws, chinese temple and local shop houses....just lovely!

Off to Georgetown the next day to buy more suitcases. Shopped at Campbell Street and Komtar, took in some local markets, made sure we enjoyed another horse-ride along the B.F. beaches and my husband even went para-sailing, much to the horror of the girls who had been asking him to do it, the whole time we were there.

How time surely flies when you're having fun. Before we knew it, we were packing...making sure we got in that last morning swim and slide ( for the girls, ofcourse) and walk on the beach, lunch by the pool etc.

There was still so much more to do and see, so many more things on my list that will have to wait for next time. We are back a week now and I am still showing my friends and family the photos I took and still talking about our exciting experiences. We all have had a wonderful holiday, an education and a very positive experience in Malaysia.

I can't thank enough, the people on this site that have answered my questions, before our trip. A big thank you to you, Kayes, for allowing everyone to experience Penang through your dedicated work on this forum.

We will return....




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