So Long, Penang!

Wrapping things up in Penang before making our way back to Kuala Lumpur and beyond.

Lori offered to watch the kids for a few hours while I fulfilled my dream of hiking Penang National Park.

The original plan was to do the hike together with the four of us. After reading a bit more, hiking through the park with wee ones didn’t sound like much fun.

So, I went solo, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.

More on that in a future post.

Now, onto our final days on Penang, rounding out our time in Malaysia.

Our final day in Batu Ferringhi was a beach day. How could it not be, being so close to the beach with excellent weather.

After getting the crew out the door, we took a nice, leisurely stroll back to Bora Bora, where we feasted on one of the cheaper breakfasts in town.

 

Then, more beach.

 

Along the way, we encountered one more monitor lizard for the road.

Noe’s been wanting to go to the top of our building. When he got from his nap, we did just that. All the way to the 40th floor. A different perspective of Batu Ferringhi up here.

After sundowners at the resort across the street, I took Noe on a mission to get some takeaway to bring back to the apartment. The weather gods have been kind to us this week, but on our final night in Batu, the skies decided to unleash a storm the likes of which we hadn’t seen since KL.

Torrential rain, thunder and lightening.

We’d made it about half way to the restaurant when we were forced to take cover in the night market for a while (which didn’t actually provide much protection from the storm, despite what appeared to be an abundance of “cover”).

The shopkeepers went to town expertly covering up their wares (clearly, they had done this a time or two). At the same time, the main highway began to flood, and the water began to rise quickly.

Just when the water looked like it would crest the embankment and flood the market stalls, a young man came over with a long hook, stuck down into the muck in exactly the right place, and yanked open a trap door into an abyss.

The water gushed in and within seconds, we could see the street again.

I pulled Noe a bit closer and we backed away a couple of meters from the toddler-sized sewage drain.

We finally made it to our destination, just in time for the electricity to go out. Miraculously, we did end up leaving with hot and tasty food 15 minutes later.

 

The next day, it was time to bid farewell to the island of Penang. We packed up our stuff, said goodbye to our historic townhouse for the week, and hopped the next ferry heading across the channel to Butterworth.

Looking back at George Town.

 

 

 

We had some time to kill before our train departed form Butterworth station. Then, it was off to KL!

You may remember the issues we faced with nap time on the four-hour train ride from KL two weeks prior. Noe was too excited to sleep, and our afternoon/evening were pretty crazy owing to that tiny little detail.

Not this time. We fed the boys some lunch, then Noe said, “I want to sleep now.” Of course, I couldn’t argue with that and went through the motions (telling myself it was simply a ploy and that he was hatching some devious plot to stay up again and torture us for the next nine hours).

But nope. I couldn’t have been more wrong about this one. Within minutes he was passed out across the seats, and remained that way for the next 2.5 hours.

 

Our onward travel from KL Sentral to KLIA2 airport also went better than expected. On our last trip to Malaysia, we wanted to take the Airport Ekspres but it didn’t make much sense as we would’ve had to pay for a taxi from our guesthouse to the train station as well.

This time, it was a no brainer. The Airport Ekspres was a short distance from the KTM ETS train platform where we disembarked, and cost US$20 for two adults. Not a huge cost savings over a taxi, but much faster and more convenient under the circumstances.

And, best of all, the Airport Ekspres station at KLIA2 is just steps away from Plaza Premium Transit Hotel where we were staying the night.

In 2018, we did something we’d never done before — stay in an actual hotel room in an airport terminal. I’m not talking staying in an airport hotel just outside of the airport or even sleeping in a quiet corner of the international departures area. Nope. These are actual hotel rooms inside the airport, just steps away from the check-in counter and immigration.

Here’s our room this time around.

Fairly compact, but big enough to accommodate the four of us. The rooms are clean, quiet, and comfortable. And, within steps of the KLIA2 mall.

After spending the bulk of the Ringit he earned on coconuts, Noe found himself with a handful left by the time we arrived at the airport. So, what does a toddler do with the equivalent of a buck on his last night in a foreign country before his money becomes essentially worthless?

Blow it all at the airport arcade!

Or, “ejercicios!” as he calls them (“exercises” in Spanish…he thinks they’re exercise machines).

All told, we managed to get a pleasant night’s sleep, considering we had a 6:40am flight the next day.

We made certain not to make the same mistake we made last time, thinking we’d breeze through immigration so early in the morning.

Again, the lines at immigration at KLIA2 defied words. This is one of the major hubs in Southeast Asia, yet the immigration hall is abysmal — poorly managed, poorly implemented, and half-staffed (with no express lines for passengers traveling with young children like Bangkok has).

We did eventually make it out of that horrid place, and were cruising at 35,000 feet a short while later, bound for…

 

Vientiane! Where else? We’ve got one more week in a hotel in Vientiane while Lori attends a work seminar.

Then, finally, after months of planning and anticipation, we’ll finally begin the next chapter of our overseas adventures in Cambodia.

19 October 2019

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Shirley Northcraft
Shirley Northcraft

Thanks for taking time to share your travels with us. The boys have been real troopers.