Beware of jelly fish if you are swimming in the seas around Penang island.
Apparently there are times when there are more jelly fish. Getting stung by one is no fun.
So before you swim in the sea, ask an informed local about any jelly fish alert.
Ammonia is a quick relief if stung. If no ammonia, eg on an island, then urine is effective, hearsay.
If in doubt, why not juest enjoy your hotel swimming pool.
Reckless drivers / riders - who'd simply dash your way. A scooter narrowly missed me even though I was standing on the pavement waiting to cross the road. Freaked my dad out.
Snatch-thieves - Always hold your bag facing away from traffic when walking on the sidewalk. Snatch thieves on motorobikes lurks around this place and they target tourists.
There are warning signs of fines and that it is an offence to feed the monkeys inside and around the Botanical Gardens but is largely ignored by some locals and some tourists.
There are two main reasons why not to feed the monkeys.
Firstly, if monkeys are fed, they no longer forage in their natural habitat and become dependent on tourist food. Excessive tourist food will also unnaturally increase their population and so it becomes a vicious cycle. When food becomes scarce, the monkeys will venture into other neighboring houses and create havoc and will also cause damage to the botanical plants in the garden.
Secondly, the monkeys are wild and become aggressive when taunted by tourists with or without any food. The dominant monkey leader are known to have jumped on unsuspecting child to grab an icecream causing traumatic fear.
So as a responsible tourist, do not feed the monkeys.
Parking at Gurney Drive (only those in front of Gurney Plaza) now on the coastal side are now diagonal slots which means you have to reverse park. It is OK during the day when traffic is not heavy but on weekend nights or public holidays, it is like trying to park in a night market of cars.
So you may want to just avoid Gurney Drive and go to the next road, Kelawai Road, and park at Gurney Plaza through Kelawai Road back entrance or the private car park next to it.
Alternatively, drive further down Gurney Drive to the less busy sections and hope for parking slot and then walk up back. Of course, others will have the same idea.
While in Penang, you may encounter the giant size cockcroach, much bigger than the American cousin but apparently originate from USA. This species is dark brown in color, sometimes fly in the air and grows to 1 to 1.5 inch long.
And did I mention the kitten-size rats that may dart across the coffee shops and into the drains in downtown George Town.
Mosquitoes bites can be painful but usually not Dengue fever or malaria related.
I know that most of you will take full advantage of the fake dvds on sale in penang so i would recommend the large DVD store in Batu Ferringhi. I bout 50 dvds from there and only 4 have not worked properly and that was because i didnt buy the master copies!!
I purchased some from georgetown and they wouldnt even play!!
Does this just happen in so-called developing world? The motorist don't observe the zebra crossings no more !! So pedestrians will have to be a bit more careful!
Still remember clearly that, as a little boy up till secondary school time, the motorists always stopped for me to cross the zebra crossing.
This is a minor danger (or more like an issue on principle)
For most of the coffee shops, ordering of drinks is optional, ie you can order food without ordering drinks. The boss (usually the operator of drinks counter) will frown at you, will bug you a few times, will curse you behind your back, but that's it.
However, a few years back, I did notice this Teluk Bayan coffee shop (from bayan baru roundabout, going towards pesta direction, immediately behind the shell station) imposing mandatory drinks on the table or else 30 cents will be charged. I guess the boss reasoned that he provided free car park so the patrons must order drinks.
I have since shunned that place.
Please be aware of the heat if you are from the northern hemisphere, particularly if you are travelling in our winter. We had real problems with my 15 year old daughter who was flattened for the first couple of days. Please build in a period of acclimatisation when you arrive and take heed of the warnings to keep drinking water. I have travelled in north africa and the med and have never experience heat like it. If your like us many of the locals will offer this advice when you arrive. Drink lots of water and take it easy for the first few days. Penang hill is definitely to be tried on your first day off the plane from europe in the middle of feb, please take my word for it. If you are going to spend a couple of days by the pool make sure its days one and two.
Please be aware if you hire a car from one of the smaller outlets. I hired one and made a significant saving but was always concerned about the legality of the vehicle I was driving as the tax disc looked a little on the shady side. I was also aware that the local police around georgetown appeared very keen on traffic stop checks. I may be over reacting but if you can afford it, I would stick with the more established outlets. I defnitely feel that I got away with a large fine more by luck than judgement. I hired my car from a tour/car hire company in the middle of Batu Ferringi.
If you’re going to rent a motorbike, be aware that the roads are either curvy and steep or congested, and occasionally both, and that people drive very fast and cut very close. The bikes available to rent appear to be on the less-maneuverable side (mine certainly was), and they might not be as well-maintained as you would hope. No one will ask whether you know what you’re doing, and no one will tell you how to operate the model they rent you. That said, it’s a fantastic way to see parts of the island you probably wouldn’t see otherwise, and to meet good people. Like motorbike mechanics when those lesser-maintained bikes need a good swift kick, and those who gather around to meet a foreigner crazy enough to have rented one. I had a blast, even though I once almost hit a truck and ended up with some scrapes and bruises.
The real problem with driving, of course, is the signs. I learned that “Awas” means more or less “Use caution,” and that word is everywhere. The rest of all the signs, though, are in (I’m guessing) Bahasa, sometimes with disturbing and unexplained images, like the one pictured. I’m assuming this one means either “Use caution, you’re dead,” or “Use caution, pirate crossing,” which doesn’t make sense since this was on the side of the road away from the water.
A large amount of traffic fills the roads of Penang everyday. We were only there for 10 days and saw two quite serious accidents. You need to keep your wits about you when walking close to the edge of the road or even crossing it . When the traffic starts to build up motorbikes pull around the cars or overtake as they don't want to wait. My husband and daughter saw a small boy hit by a motorbike speeding along the road. It was very frightening for both of them.
When we were on holiday in Penang we were given a local paper to read each day. This gives you an insight into the parts of Penang you would not normally be told about . When we first arrived an old woman was locking up her restaurant for the night & walking home when some one grabbed her handbag as they rode past on a motorbike. She was dragged along the roadway and her injuries were so bad she died. I don't think we would have found out about this except for reading it in the paper . It pays not to walk too close to the road which is sometimes hard if there are no paths. Also wear a bumbag or money belt & maybe don't have handbags that go over one shoulder. I find a backpack with the front closing buckle is good.
Apparently South East Asia is a high risk area for the fraudulent use of credit cards.
I did use my credit card in 3 shops only, duty free shop in Langkawi, duty free shop at Penang airport & a camera/photo shop in langkawi.
3 days after returning for Penang after a weeks holiday, my bank in australia contacted me & have requested that they replace my credit card with a completely new one (no charge to me, just a bit of inconvenience) as SE asia is very high risk.
I was quite surprised because i used the card at reputable shops & i have been to Indonesia many atimes & this hasnt happened to me before.
I think that the wrong people can get hold of your card details & scam or sell your detailsto others, not necessarily from the employees at the shops that are doing this.
SO BEWARE !!!!!word of caution, nothing unauthorised was put onto my card but it was MY bank who
did contact me first.
While in Penang, most people would opt to rent a car and drive about the island. A word of caution, driving in Penang isn't a bed of roses. Although a Penangnite myself, I feel people here drive quite recklessly especially during traffic jams. Weaving in and out without using the indicator lights and cutting right in front of you at the traffic light is pretty common. Also - watch out for the bikes. They're even worse than the cars!
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