After being in the concrete jungle of KL we all found being in Penang very refreshing to be surrounded by nature, whether it be the ocean in front of us or the forrest and hills behind us.
Everyone we spoke before going to Penang told us about the great food available and this definitely did not disappoint, whether it be Char Koay Teow, Assam Laksa, Wan Ton Mee or Rojak. I think we managed to try most of the dishes, although with such an amazing list of food we surely missed off a couple. I am hopeful that we will manage to find a few more dishes scattered throughout Southeast Asia that can also be added to our list of favourites. The water in Penang also tasted a lot better than KL, we had to buy plenty of bottled drinking water in KL because the water out of the tap (obviously after boiling it) didn’t taste very nice, but in Penang the tap water (again, after being boiled) was so much better.
One of the added bonuses of our time in Penang was the New Zealand dollar got stronger; in that, our currency exchange changed from getting 3 MYR to $1 NZD to 3.16 MYR to $1NZD. Although that does not sound like a lot, it meant paying considerably less for our accomodation and when visiting some of the more expensive attractions we went too.
One of the highlights of our awesome world adventure so far, which did not cost anything, also came in Penang and was the morning we climbed to the top of the Waterfall Hill Temple. I can’t remember the last time I got up to watch a sunrise and it was the first time our family had done it together. Despite the early morning hike up the 500 odd stairs, we arrived just in time to see the sun rise over the city and take a moment to truly appreciate where we were and what we had achieved since leaving New Zealand. Apart from a just few working around the temple, we were the only ones there, which made for a serene and peaceful start to the day.
The other day I was speaking to another resident of the apartments about our world adventure and he asked me, “without having to work, what do we do all day?” The answer was simply, “we do whatever we want to do.” If we want to explore parts of the city/town we are in, we do; or if we are feeling like a lazy day, we spend it by the pool. Travelling long and slow definitely allows us the feeling that we do not have to rush from one attraction to another, plus the children and parents alike need their rest days where we can lounge about without feeling like we are missing out on anything.
The only negative I have about Penang and Malaysia is the amount of rubbish strewn about, it is such a pity given the beauty of the country. When it rains you watch as what seems like an endless stream of rubbish floats out of the waterways into the ocean. It definitely makes you appreciate New Zealand and how we pride ourselves on our clean, green image. The thing is rubbish bins in some areas are also non-existent, so you would end up carrying some rubbish all the way home just to put it in a bin. Braxton was the most shocked by this and use to point out all the rubbish when out on our walks; but even he gave up in the end due to the endless amount of it.
So after spending the last six weeks here, we say “Selemat Jalan” to not only Penang but to Malaysia as well, it has been a blast and it will always be the country where we finally had the realisation that we now live a nomadic lifestyle and are full time travellers. We would definitely love to return someday, however we have many more countries, not to mention continents, to visit first.
Average Daily Spend – Penang: $97.25 NZD ($75.25 under budget per day)
Average Daily Spend – Malaysia: $116.81 NZD ($55.69 under budget per day)