For those using trishaw for shopping, please be careful if you are travelling around with trishaw. There are cases of those whose purchases and even luggage that were left in the trishaws been carted away by the trishaw-man. Never....Never leave your purchases unattended. It is advisable to note down the trishaw number which is at the back of the trishaw.
This tip is separate from my "Things To Do" tip for Taman Negara Penang - National Park as a whole, which is well worth the visit. The turtle hatchery / nature centre is at Pantai Kerechut (beach) within the park and it is well-advertised on the Internet, at tour centres in Georgetown, and at the tour boat operators' tents at the entrance of the park.
There is indeed a turtle hatchery at the beach, but it is basically a plastic tub, maybe 3 feet high and 4 feet across with water at the bottom containing baby turtles. There isn't much in the way of explanations as to what is happening or why they're there. There is a hut next to it with a few exhibits in it, mainly in Bahasa Malaysian. There are a few guys who look like they should be working there asleep in hammocks in the shade. Maybe I'm being overly cynical, but I suspect that the baby turtles eventually die in that tub, and then they just get more new ones to show to the tourists.
We weren't the only ones who felt this way. One of the attached photos shows "Teluk Bahang" drawn in the sand nearby, "Liar's Beach" in the context of "Rip-off Beach". (It's free to enter the park, but perhaps the Malaysian authors had paid for a boat ride there.)
Unique Suggestions: In spite of this, the beach is very pretty and very quiet, with few visitors. There is a mecromictic lake - Google that, it's one of nineteen worldwide. It's a 90 minute walk from the main entrance to the park or an enjoyable half-hour boat ride around the peninsula. The park itself is worth the visit, as detailed in my other tip.
Be careful when taking Free Bus (CAT) from Komtar. This Station is very dark due to inside Komtar Building and lighting is very limited. I have once waiting for the Free Bus, then came an old Skinny Indian (about 45-50 years). He is asking me whether the free bus is stopping here or not. He speak very near your face with very loud voice and said coming from Singapore. I know he is trying to hypnotize me, but I cannot move my legs. I try go get away from Him but cannot move. Luckily my wife suddenly come after purchasing some water and told me that do not speak with this man so close. Then this man ask me that I coming in with several people, and I said "Yes" then suddenly he said nothing and went away.
Unique Suggestions: This man I met is not properly dressed, and wearing sandals. Really not look like from Singapore which I have visited many times. So please do not get near to people that look suspicous. Never start any conversation with them. Do not look at their eyes. And if you feel that someone is trying to hypnotize you, just close you eyes and get away from the place.
Fun Alternatives: Do not stand in front of the bus stop. Just stand a little bit far away from the Bus stop.
its more like a 'jungle' than a spice garden.
Unique Suggestions: Tropical Spice Garden is a commercial landscaped garden located in Teluk Bahang. It covers an area of 8 acres and is planted with about five hundred different types of tropical plants ranging from herbs to garden plants and trees.
Within the grounds of the Tropical Spice Garden is Lone Crag Villa, a colonial-era holiday bungalow, which had been converted into the Visitor Centre. It houses the Spice Museum, which showcases the history of spices in the region, and the Garden Shop, which make available for sale some of the exotic plants of the garden. There is also a cafe and a gift shop.
We hired a taxi and driver for 3hours to see the sights of Penang.
Make sure you go to Penang Hill first, as you catch a funicular to the top, and its very slow. You also have to wait quite a while, we just missed one.
It is worth going to the top of penang hill for the excellent views.
Our driver took us there last, so we went over our booking time.
Just some personal experiences with cabbies in Penang & KL.
If they know you're a tourist, they will usually charge you the return trip, even though you are only going the single journey. Before I get into a cab, i usually ask the locals how much it cost to catch a cab to the destination and it might be RM10.. but when you get into the cab, he will tell you it will cost you RM25, then you start to haggle.. from the 30+ taxi trips I've caught, I never manage to get them to use the meter, as a result I've had many, many taxi drive off from me, as they rather not do your business and if they do its only by haggling - other people may have success or maybe I look too much like a tourist.. :(
I've confronted them about charging double, but they think its perfectly normal and they too would be pay that price. so I rest my case with them!! I also find alot of them rather not do your business if you offer them local rates... if you're lucky they might charge you 1.5 of locals.
If you get the hotel to find you a cab, they will add another 10-20% on top as if you were to find one. So best to find one yourself and that can be just outside of the hotel.
Apart from over charging the tourist, I find most cabbies are very nice friendly people and also a very good source of local information. So if you do get into one, make sure you ask him all the questions like, where is good to eat, shop, popular destinations or how much to go from A to B, etc...
In some cases, it might be worthwhile to work out a deal with him.. like on my last day, I met a cabbie where he drove us from Georgetown-butterfly farm (waited 1hr), then back to Georgetown, took us to famous eatery, then took us to a shopping to buy famous local produce & souvenir gifts and then to the airport, it cost RM120 (~4hr). But if I was to do this individually, it would have cost a lot more and be more stressful, esp with the haggling, waiting for cabs and I would have never found those shops or eatery.
Hiring a car would be a better option from a cost point of view, but you need to consideration things like direction, parking, lack of traffic rules, etc, etc...
Well this is just my 2 bobs worth..
When Mr. Sun is going for its sleep Lady Moon will shine your face and trouble your sight. Even on Pulau Penang. The phrase "Most handsome men are gay" and "Most beautiful women are men" is worldwide well-known. Even on Pulau Penang. Well, when you know this watch the ladymen, the lady boys, the sheboys, the Penang-ladyboy, the shemales, the katoeys dancing around the Penang Island and ... the fewer the tourists, the higher the prices.
Unique Suggestions: We "found" our shemale, properly speaking, our photographer bumped onto this beautiful creature. She/he did some fashion (Dutch Design) shots for us. She/he was married, had children and could not find the time for modelling at Singapore ... we heard. How then is it possible ... ... ...
A lad at the Hotel told that is a Penang attitude. Some transsexuals do marry (mostly to men who's wife passed away), so they can have a "normal" social life. But these shemales also stay around the hotels, at bars, pubs, dancings etc. to be picked up ... see >>>
Fun Alternatives: When got "caught"... donot worry! Enjoy the heavenly beauty of these "women" and use your imagination and phantasy, entering a world of unlimited borders
Imagination seems more important than knowledge; for knowledge is limited while imagination embrace the entire world ...
author unknown, remembered by RoyJava
No proper certification.
Unique Suggestions: Be aware of "on the sport grading" of diamonds. Not all jewellery stores has a proper geamologist to do that. Quality of diamonds are not certified.
Fun Alternatives: I have visited a german jewellery manufacturer in Penang at Bayan Lepas, its also a highly
recommended tourist sight seeing stop. You will be taken on a factory tour by a warm charming lady and you could also buy direct with high worldclass quality jewellery. A must see! You would want to buy your love one a unique and memorial piece of jewellery.
Titi Kerawang Waterfalls used to be a wonderful picnic site with plunging waters.
However, over the years, the water has been diverted and the falls are no longer as they were in the good old days. We used to see locals with wet hair on their motorcycles or bicycles returning back from the waterfalls. And there were many cars parked on the road side despite the narrow winding road.
Today it is just worth a stop at the tourist stalls at Titi Kerawang for a short break round the island and to enjoy the view into the western coast of Penang Island of Pantai Acheh and Pulau Betong.
OMG. I never knew cab and bus rides in Penang could cost so high. Either that or i was cheated by most drivers on the island. I opt the latter. While i was taking a bus to Ferringhi beach which is a tourist area, i paid RM 2.70 for the bus fare and although it is not much, but i expected it to be much less as it is not very far away and i wasnt even issued a receipt which i was told that i should have been. I only realised i was cheated when another caucasian tourist who came on at the same stop and with the same destination was charged RM 3.50 for the exact same ride! Amazing amazing amazing, i was speechless.
Not only that, but when i was staying at the Northam which is within walking distance to the Gurney Plaza, i was charged RM15 from my hotel to the Gurney Plaza! Whoa.. and it was really really nearby.. walking there might probably just take 10 minutes or so and i was charged this price which was even higher than normal cut throats in KL. I am a bit disappointed with bus and cab drivers like these because Penang has always possesed the belief that it is a cheap and friendly holiday destination but incidents like these will only tarnish Penang's image as a tourist destination.
Unique Suggestions: Walk if its within walking distance and if you do have to take the bus, ask for a receipt!
Fun Alternatives: Meters meters meters!
It has to be bad karma to call a temple a tourist trap, and a major local-attraction temple at that… but… the Kek Lok Si Temple can part you from your money faster than just about anything else on Penang.
Whew, it’s been said.
I’m sure for some the cost worth it. For the rest of us, it’s not that the temple isn’t impressive – it is. The structures and gardens are beautiful. The winding ways though the halls of worship are dazzling. The sheer devotion required to maintain a complex this large is nothing short of miraculous. And this temple isn’t just maintaining, it’s growing: at RM100 per roof tile. You buy one, you get a special moment of prayer with the deity of your choice and a your name painted on on a tile that will be used for one of the new constructions.
Unique Suggestions: There isn’t a noticeably hard sell in or around the temple, except by the chachka dealers near the turtle pond. You’re going to “donate” somewhere, though, so it’s best to decide beforehand whether it’ll be to the Goddess of Mercy, the laughing Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or to the god of souvenirs (all proceeds go to the temple, of course).
the name of the shop is Long Summer Paper & Gift Enterprise ,lot number 33-3-113 Prangin Mall,Penang
here is my situation..I bought a vase and only discovered how inferior it was until I stepped out of the shop.I looked at my receipt and it stated there "goods sold are not returnable"but there was no such sign stated anywhere in the premises.
I turned back and tried to get a refund because the lighting that was used in the shop was so deceptive that it made everything look good.
At first I talked to the shop girls and then I asked them to ask their boss for a refund .After they said "boss said no"I asked to speak to him.
Oh my what a backlash !halfway through speaking on the telephone to the guy a lady rudely interrupted and started to raise her voice at me on the other end.
she said her shop policy is no refund,I said I had bought the item less than an hour ago and surely she could help me out.She flatly refused then proceeded to threaten me with the might of a mafia hench woman.
She threatened to send a guard to evict me from her shop if I did not accept her offer to EXCHANGE .she refused to give me my cash back.
When I mentioned that I wouldnt be shopping at her store anymore she retorted that she didnt need TROUBLESOME customers like me and she didnt want me back shopping in her shop.
in the end I was FORCED to commit to an exchange of which I am not happy about.
Moral of the story? beware when you step into this shop,bring a flourescent light along with you to inspect the REAL quality of the goods and if you ever hand over YOUR cash to her or her staff she will consider it her most precious property(yes money drives people to evil deeds)and will fight tooth and nail with you violently while spitting venom even though the value of the goods that you asked a refund for was $59.90 ringgit
Unique Suggestions: to make it more bearable and based on the feedback which I have received from various strangers they advised me to buy her deceptive lighting to make everything look good.
Fun Alternatives: you can buy things at a better lit area like the Parkson department downstairs whom the proprietor compared herself to....the thing she doesnt notice is the vast difference in lighting
If you're staying in Penang and are thinking of making the day trip to Langkawi i'd recommend DON'T! There really is nothing to do on this island... Dr Mahatirs souvenir collection was pretty impressive but once you've done that you'll be scratching yourself for something to do. Our guide kept telling us we would go to an 'amazing beach' which he said was so much nicer than anything Penang had. Well we got there and it was a beach like any other with sand and water - nothing special. If you're after a relaxinh holiday where you don't leave your resort I'm sure Langkawi is great but if you actually want to see interesting things don't waste your time. Oh, and the ferry trip over was two and a half hours of hell!
if you book your tours at your hotel you will be paying a lot more for them. If staying in Batu Ferringhi, take a walk down the main road & collect pamphlets & prices on the various tours from the Tour Shops, they usually do money changing too.
Then once you have all your quotes, barter for the best deal, they will reduce the price if you ask or promise that you will book all your tours with them!!all can be negotiated.
A very misleading name 'hibiscus, orchid and reptile gardens'. Only one hibiscus in flower (very odd, mine are constantly flowering', very tired looking orchids, about eight varieties. reasonable collection of snakes and reptiles, though in very small accommodation. Birds in cages, looking distressed, minus feathers, but the worst .... the two bengal tigers. I cried. It was horrible. Emaciated and pacing up and down in what must be the smallest cage. All in all not what we expected , as a keen hibiscus grower I was looking to see a few exotic varieties, however I have more in my garden.
Unique Suggestions: My advice ... DO NOT GO.
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