Friday, 2 April 2010

Penang trip - 2 Apr 10

There is always pros and cons to everything. Athough I like morning flight as I get to spend a full day at the destination but I hate waking up freaking early in the morning. For today's flight, I have to wake up at 4.30am and I only had 5hrs of beauty sleep.

We reached Terminal 1 at 5.45am and I proceed to check in first. After checking in, we waited for YQ as he took the first bus from his home to the airport.

The plane departed on time at 7.10am. The plane was full and I hardly get to board an empty flight nowadays.

It's drizzling at Changi Airport

The plane is not flying very high as I could see the land and sea below. We flew past KL and reached Penang Island in about an hour time.
View of KL from the plane
Plane landing at Penang
Penang International Airport
Aerobridges (At the right of the photo)
Souvenirs and duty free shops

As the immigration card was not handed out during the flight, we have to fill them at the airport. We cleared the immigration checkpoint within 20min.
2 baggage carousels

After clearing the immigration checkpoint, our bags have to be scan before we exit the arrival hall. Brochures are available here and also at Malaysia Tourism Booth opposite the taxi coupon counter. The cab fare is flat rate at RM42 to Georgetown. We took a lift to the departure hall to board Bus 401 to KOMTAR which only cost RM2.70 per person.

The rapid bus counter is located at the left of the departure hall when facing the road. The tourist passport can be purchased at the Rapid bus counter and cost RM20. As the total bus rides that we would be taking does not exceed RM20, it is not worthwhile purchasing the tourist passport.
Rapid bus counter
Screen showing estimation of bus arrival
Bus guide for reference

Cash is deposited into the metal box beside the driver and the bus driver would tear the correct bus fare ticket. No change would be given. It's like Singapore in the 70s.
Interior of rapid bus
Penang taxi

The bus journey from airport to KOMTAR tooks about 45min. Bus 401E would be faster but we missed the previous bus and the next bus only arrived 24 mins later. Bus 401 did not stopped inside KOMTAR bus interchange. We wanted to board the free transit bus CAT bus at KOMTAR but we had no idea where to board. In the end, we walked to Tune Hotel from KOMTAR.
KOMTAR bus interchange

KOMTAR is the most prominent building in Penang. KOMTAR is the acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak. It is Penang's tallest building and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia.
KOMTARPrangin mall

As we couldnt figured out our current location, we asked around for directions. The locals were quite helpful in giving us directions.
Sheltered overhead bridge
It's already 3 mths and this movie billboard has not been removed?
Able to spot Tune hotel?

It was indicated on Tune Hotel website that the walking distance from KOMTAR is 5min but we took 15 min. I doubt that the walking distance is 5min unless you are a marathon runner.
Tune hotel
7-11 at Tune Hotel facade
First time seeing a hotel lobby at Level 2

As Tune Hotel has a very strict check-in policy, we could only check in after 2pm. We left our bags at Tune Hotel and it's chargable at RM2 per bag. A red strip is attached to each bag and a red tag is given us.

Colourful lobby

In-room wifi is chargeable at RM12 for 24 hours and 30 mins of free internet access is available for guests at the lobby.

Free internet access Luggage tag

It's almost 11am after we deposit our luggages and we left Tune Hotel for our first meal in Penang.
Police station
Lebuh Campbell
This is the small alley

Toh Soon Cafe is located within the narrow lane between Lebuh Campbell and Jalan Kampung Malabar. It is opened from 8am - 6pm and is closed on Sunday. Toh Soon Cafe is famous for Roti Bakar (toasted bread). We ordered 2 set of bread, 2 soft boil eggs, 1 curry puff and 3 cups of coffee. The total cost RM 11.40 ~ S$4.80. The bread taste crispy and I love the kaya. Definitely better than Ya Kun. However the coffee was a bit sweet. I was so hungry that I start eating the moment the food arrives and realised that I didnt took any photographs of the yummy food until I finished them.
Toh Soon Cafe
Such a big crowd at 11am!

The bread here are charcoal grilled. Interesting, the stove is for boiling water at the top and grilling bread at the bottom. It's killing two birds with one stone right?
Poor guy has to squat to grill the bread

YQ and I went to a wholesale shop along Jalan Penang which is near Campbell street mall sign to buy mineral water. 1.5l only cost RM1 compared to other places which sell at RM2.

We passed by Chowrasta market which is the famous wet market in Penang. The name comes from Urdu, meaning "four cross roads".
Chowrasta market

We managed to catch the making of Po Piah Skin although we reached the shop at 11.20am. (Address: 5 Jalan Chowrasta, Opening hours: 8am – 11am) This is not my first time seeing the making of Po Piah Skin as I saw this at a popiah stall in Queenstown before. The making of Po Piah Skin is listed in the traditional food trail brochure.
Po Piah Skin stall

Stalls along Jalan Kuala Kangsar

Colourful wooden clogsPoor hens being locked inside the cage

We wanted to try Ais Tingkap (Rose essence & coconut drink) but it was not open yet. Address: Next to 2 Lebuh Tamil, Opening hours: 12pm – 7pm.
Not yet open for business

We continue our trail to find Yu Char Kuih/ You tiao. (Address: 76 Lebuh Cintra, Opening hours: 2pm – 6pm) There is another stall at 2C People’s Court, Opening hours: 10am – 6pm. We bought one to share and it is really very crispy. My mom commented that the yu tiao is not fried until very dark unlike Singapore. Yu Char Kuih is sold at RM1 per piece.

Auntie patiently frying Yu Char Kuih Yu Char Kuih

We saw someone copying the car plate number and we thought that he is similar to our carpark attendant in Singapore. Instead of issuing parking fines, they issue parking tickets so that the driver knows how much to pay for the parking fees.
Carpark attendant
Parking ticket
World Heritage Office
Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi 龙山堂邱氏宗祠 is located in a small alley but with my acute sense of direction, we managed to find it. =p (Address: 18 Cannon Square, Opening hours: 9am – 5pm daily, Admission: RM10)

Prominent sign to Khoo Kongsi
Alley leading to Khoo Kongshi
Admission office

Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, or Khoo Kongsi for short, is one of the most distinctive Chinese clan associations in Malaysia. The Khoo Kongsi complex consists of the clanhouse Leong San Tong, an administrative building with a meeting hall and offices, an opera stage, and 62 units of terrace houses and shophouses. It was burnt down in 1894, allegedly struck by lightning, and the Chinese believed that it was due to its resemblance to the Emperor's palace, which provoked the gods. A scaled-down version was later built in 1902 and completed in 1906. Even so, the complex boasts a magnificent hall embellished with intricate carvings and richly ornamented beams of the finest wood bearing the mark of master craftsmen from China.
Leong San Tong
Opera stage

The clan temple comprise of two levels. The ground level is the Khoo Kongsi Clan Museum and the upper level is the clan temple.
Khoo clan parentage room
I can't figure out these Chinese words
Middle name from 12th - 43rd generations
Such a thick 家普
Night view of Khoo Kongsi
Tools used by craftmen
Oops... They are not suppose to seat at the chairs
Anna & The King was film here
Famous VIP who visited

Saw our famous Mr Lee at the second photograph from bottom left (behind the guy wearing green shirt)?
Let's have a meal
Such a huge stone grinder
Layout of a typical kitchen
Antique wooden kitchen cabinet
Leong San Tong
Qilin 麒麟
Hmm... Are these snails?
Beautiful stone carving
Wooden carving
It used to link both floors but was sealed

I wondered why the temple was covered with fishing net and realised the reason when I read another blog that the fishing net is use to prevent birds from entering and make nest inside the building which destroy the original architecture.

Fish net

Located near Khoo Kongsi is another clan temple - Yap Kongsi situated at Lebuh Armenian. Admission is Free.
Yap Kongsi
Nice painting on the partition
Colourful tiles
Incense paper urn
I doubt such barber shop exist in Singapore

Another clan temple nearby is Cheah Kongsi (Address: 8 Lebuh Armenian, Opening hours: Mon – Sat 8am – 6pm). Admission is free.
Entrance to Cheah Kongsi
Worship hall

On the 2nd floor, there are few chambers displaying old furnitures and artifacts. The doors are locked but we can peeped into the chambers from the wooden poles.

Old artifacts and furnituresAntique bowls

We also passed by 120 Armenian Street where the former residence of modern China’s founder, Dr Sun Yat Sen is located.

Former residence of Dr Sun Yat Sen

It's already 1.30pm and we decided to have our lunch at Kek Seng Coffee Shop since there are few recommended dishes here and it's near Tune Hotel (Address: 382 Jalan Penang, Opening hours: 8am – 5pm). We ordered Assam Laksa, Gor hiang (known as Lor Bak in Penang), Popiah, Char Keow Teow and Ice Kachang. The food is mediocre, not something which makes me WOW or YEH. Don't bother to patronise this coffeeshop even though the Assam Laksa, Gor hiang and Ice Kachang were recommended on the internet.
Kek Seng Coffeeshop
Laksa stall
Gor hiang & popiah
Assam Laksa
Ice Kachang

After our lunch, we walked along Jalan Penang to the famous Chendol stall. (Address: Lebuh Keng Kwee, near junction of Jalan Penang & Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, Opening hours: 11am – 7pm). There are 2 chendol stalls, the right one with the long queue is the best. Chendol cost RM1.80 ~ S$0.75 per bowl. Ice ball is also sold here but I was quite full so didnt try it. The chendol was yummy and the green jelly and red bean is superb.
Lebuh Keng Kwee
Famous chendol stall
So many people
Business is very good
Mineral bottle used to prevent the canvas from being blown up by the wind

It's already 3pm and we walked back to Tune Hotel to check in. The weather is sorching hot and we were perspiring. Finally, we reached the hotel after 15min walk. We collect our luggages and were given an electronic key card for each room. I requested for an additional key for my room and RM5 deposit is required for each card. As YQ didnt bring his towel, towel is available for rent at RM5 and a RM10 deposit. The towel also comes with shampoo, conditioner and soap in a package. I also rent a hairdryer for my room at RM1 per room.
Colourful lift lobby
Nice flower painting on the corridor
Rental of aircon and hairdryer are embedded inside the card

The room is small at 12sqm. The area around the bed is sufficient for one person to walk around. At one glance, it is really a NO FRILL hotel. There are no tables in the room except a wall mounted table which can be closed up when not in use, no cabinet in the room except clothing rack mounted on the wall with 2 hangers, no cups and kettle, no TV. The room is well light and the ceiling fan is sufficient to cool the room. There is a safe deposit box but the one in our room seems to be spoiled. Nothing in the toilet except toilet paper and bath mat. Overall, the room is clean and comfortable.

Initially, I couldn't find the toilet bowl when I open the bathroom door. I realised that it is hidden behind the door. The shower and tap comes with hot and cold water. This is much better than the Five Elements Hotel which I stayed in KL, the tap in Five Elements only has cold water. The water pressure from the shower is quite strong, it would be better if it is a handheld shower. But at S$20 a night, I cant be expecting much right?

Interior of the room & bathroomColourful advertisement inside the room

After taking about half an hr rest, we went out to buy the famous Him Heang Tau Sar Peah. As I feel that Him Heang is a bit far from Tune Hotel, we board a bus from the bus stop near Tune Hotel. The bus driver is an Indian and could speak English. The bus driver whom I meet when taking bus 401 is a Malay and couldnt speak English so I have to use my finger to show him I want 5 tickets. ><" We asked the Indian bus driver where to alight and he asked us to alight at the wrong stop. We guessed that he also don't know the Tau Sar Peah shop. We figured out our current location and continue to walk along Jalan Burmah.

If you saw this church, there are still some way to go.

We saw a stall selling sugarcane juice and bought 3 packets to quench our thirst. Each packet only cost RM1.20 ~ S$0.50.
Unique way of tying the packet of sugarcane juice

Finally I saw Apong Guan hence I know Him Heang is nearby. The best Apong is sold by Apong Guan. (Address: Along Jalan Burmah near Sekolah Union, Opening hours: 11am – 8pm). There is a competitor Apong Chooi within few metres from Apong Guan. Apong is sweet Nyonya foldover pancake made from flour and egg, and topped with bananas, sweet corn and a sprinkling of sugar. The is only one apong griddle and 9 apong can be make each time. There are several cars parked along the road to order from Apong Guan and we were asked to wait. My mum waited at the stall while the rest of us walked to Him Heang.
Famous Apong Guan

Making of apong

Competitor Apong Chooi

We ordered 5 pieces only, should have bought more. The apong looks like a pancake but is a bit moist and rich in coconut. Yummy!
Apong Banana and corn inside Apong

There is a bus stop outside Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Union (Chinese Union Primary school) and Apong Guan is few metres before the school. Him Heang Tau Sar Peah is opposite the school. There is a traffic light infront of the school.
Sekolah Union
Church beside Him Heang

Tau Sar Peah 豆沙饼 is called Tambun biscuit 淡汶饼 here . Him Heang 馨香 is the most famous one in Penang (Address: 162A Jalan Burma, Opening hours: 8.30am – 5pm, Close on Sunday). The other is Ghee Hiang 义香 at 216 Jalan Macalister. 16 pieces cost RM 5.40 while 32 pieces cost RM 9.50. Initially we wanted to order and collect tomorrow but the person asked us to collect today as he can't confirm that there will be Tau Sar Peah tomorrow. We paid for our order and join the queue. The tau sar peah are made and baked on the spot which resulted in the long queue.
Him Heang
Such a long queue

After collecting the tau sar peah, we walked back to Tune Hotel as Jalan Burmah is a one way road and the auntie from Apong Guan told us that we have to walk to another street to board the bus back. We took a rest at Tune Hotel until 7pm before leaving for dinner.

We walked to Lebuh Kimberly where there are stalls lining along the street. These stalls are only opened in the evening and are located near New Asia Hotel. We seat along the corridor outside the shophouses. We ordered kway teow soup, braised drumstick and chicken legs from one stall and ordered char keow teow from another stall. The kway teow in the soup is very smooth. The braised drumstick and chicken legs are tasty and tender. The char keow teow was much better than the one we had in the afternoon. To round up our dinner, we also ordered 2 bowl of almond soup for dessert. The total cost is only RM 31 ~ S$13 for 5 person. I would highly recommend the kway teow soup and the char keow teow stall. The kway chap here is also recommended online but it was only open after I finished my dinner.

Kway Teow SoupBraised drumstick

Fried Kway Teow
Almond soup & you tiao

Our dinner

After our dinner, it started to pour. We walked to KOMTAR to search for shoes as my dad's shoes were spoiled. KOMTAR was once a hopping haven but it's an almost empty shopping centre now. There is a shelter bridge at the 5th floor of KOMTAR (inside the departmental store) that links to the 3rd floor Prangin Mall. The Prangin Mall has some resemblance with the Sungei Wang Plaza in KL. We didnt shop at every floor and everyone of us bought something except my mom. Before heading back to Tune Hotel, we went to Giant supermarket at the basement to buy 2 bottles of 5 litre mineral water which cost RM7 ~ S$3.
Empty shops in KOMTAR

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice travel log, thanks for info.
BT from HK