Batu cave monkey

Malaysia – KL and Georgetown, Penang Island

Once again I’ve fallen terribly behind on my blogs. Since I’ve just boarded the first of two 14 hours flights I figured now’s probably a good time to do some catching up! So I’m coming to you from 36,000 ft in a very comfortable Emirates airline seat. I don’t take this sort of thing for granted, especially after way too many Air Asia flights this year! (Since starting this blog I’ve gotten even further behind and I’ve finished my time in Brazil and I’m in Canada now!)I’m getting side-tracked though, rewind 2 months from now and I found myself on a stopover Kuala Lumpur for the second time of my trip. This time I had 6 days before I was boarding a flight to turkey.

I decided to get out and see a bit more of Malaysia with the 6 days I had and booked a bus ticket to take me to Penang Island. The buses in Malaysia are awesome! For a mere $20 AUD I boarded a very comfortable 5 hour bus ride bound for Penang. Unfortunately I was still feeling a little under the weather after I’d been sick in Myanmar but I managed to make it, despite a whole lot of nausea, to my destination without too much trouble. I was staying right in the heart of George Town. This gorgeous town and its infamous street art was the reason why I’d decided to spend my time here. I ended up arriving late in the afternoon so I checked into my hostel, grabbed a bite to eat and did some research on where I’d find all the best street art at the following day.

Kids on a swing
Kids on a swing mural

In 2012 the George Town Festival commissioned the Lithuanian street artist Ernest Zacharevic to create his imaginative Murals around the streets of George Town. He cleverly combines real life objects with such as a bicycle or a basketball hoop with superb paintings to bring a scene to life. His work has been so popular that a lot of the time you have to line up to snap a shot of his masterpieces. But if you head out earlier in the day you can usually avoid this inconvenience and you should be able to see the best ones before it starts to get to hot too! I headed out at about 8:30 am and was able to snap some great photos along the way. Since Zacharevic installed his pieces many street artists have followed suit and you can pretty much find something awesome to see around every corner. Additonally the historic centre of George Town is a World Heritage listed site and so it should be! I spent the rest of my day exploring and discovery all of the beautiful old building located around the town.

kid with a pet dinosaur
This was one of my favourites- kid with a pet dinosaur
Jimmy Choo
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the famous shoe designer Jimmy Choo, well this is where he started his apprenticeship!!

On my final day in Penang I decided to head out for a hike in Penang national park. I ‘d left my big pack back in Kuala Lumpur so I didn’t really have appropriate hiking shoes with me but I checked with one of the guys at the hostel and he said my sandals would be fine. So I headed off on the bus around the coastline and eventually found myself at the entrance to the national park. I opted to hike to the lighthouse for what I was sure would be magnificent views. As soon as I started the hike I realised that my sandals really weren’t appropriate! It was a full on jungle hike but I decided to push on anyway. After about 1km through some dense jungle I popped out on a long stretch of beach, after crossing the beach I entered the jungle again for a short stretch and then came out on turtle beach. I should also mention that the humidity this day was completely out of control and I was sweating up a storm! I crossed turtle beach, without seeing a single turtle, the name is very deceiving and from here I started a steep climb up to the lighthouse. I expected it to be tough but not this tough! I think I’d definitely lost nearly all of my fitness by this point in the trip. By the time I got to the top I had only a sip of water left which was a little concerning but I was quickly distracted by the wow views I got in every direction from the top of the lighthouse. There was also an incredibly refreshing breeze blowing through so I spent a bit of time up here enjoying the moment.

turtle beach
Turtle Beach – only reachable by the hike or by boat
lighthouse view
View from the lighthouse

Eventually I made my way down, very aware of how far I had to go to get back, the blistering heat and my complete lack of water. Luckily turtle beach boasts small drink stalls and eager boatmen offering you a trip back to the national park entrance. I didn’t take much convincing, I was exhausted and completely dehydrated so I grabbed myself 2 bottles of water (one of which I sculled immediately) and jumped on the first boat I saw. Beats trekking back through the humid jungle any day! Since I was the only person stupid enough to be hiking at this time of the day I ended up with a private boat ride. On the way back my boat driver spotted two giant iguanas on the waters edge, they appeared to be having a bit of a squabble and to my surprise one of them jumped in the water to swim away from the other! I thought the marine iguanas in the Galapagos islands were the only ones to do this! This was the perfect way to finish off my little adventure, by the time I got back to the hostel I was completely exhausted!

Giant Iguana
Giant Iguana
Penang national park Jetty
The jetty where my little adventure came to an end!

I returned to KL for another couple of nights before I flew out and as usual I happily occupied myself by visiting the Petronas towers and doing way too much shopping!

Petronas towers
The always impressive Petronas Towers

On my last day I made the train trip out to see the Batu Caves, just a short 30 minute train ride from KL, these incredible caves a holy Hindu shrine reached by an intimidating 272 stairs. I promise the climbs not as hard as it may initially look and you’ll have lots of monkey friends cheering you on/ chasing you on your way to the top!

Batu caves
The impressive entrance to the Batu caves – The Lord Murugan statue is the tallest statue in Malaysia!
Batu cave monkey
Like I said, monkey friends… but be careful they’ll try and steal your possessions if you get to close!

 

As always I loved every second of my time in Malaysia and I managed to put together a fun video of my adventures.

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