Our next stop after Kuala Lumpur was an island along the straights of Melaka called Penang. Our destination on this Island was an old colonial city called Georgetown.
Despite the fact that it was raining when we arrived, both myself an Niamh instantly liked Georgetown. Our only problem at this point was the fact that we had nowhere to stay! This problem was solved - or so we hoped - when the Taxi driver that picked us up from the ferry offered to bring us to a "Vey ni pla", he promptly dropped us at a hotel in the bowels of Chinatown called the Waldorf. We checked into the Waldorf and then promptly checked out again fifteen minutes later. The best description I have for this place is that it looked like one of the hotel rooms that the beginning of the film the Beach was shot in. You know the part where Leonardo DiCaprio's character meets the looper Bunny and he first finds out about the Beach, well it was the exact same as that, complete with flickering fluorescent lights, grimy walls and bed cloths and a big TV that harked back to 1982. D.U.M.P
After leaving the Waldorf we walked around Chinatown for a while until we stumbled across a nice little hostel called Jims Place. This place was a cool little Rasta orientated hostel which was heavily decorated with Jamaican flags and pictures of Bob Marley. Jim (the owner) was an old hippy Indian dude who came bedecked with the mandatory dreadlocks, dilated pupils and bloodshot eyes. This was the first taste of the backpacking vibe we had been looking forward to since we left South Africa over a year ago.
Over the next two days we spent our time walking around old colonial Georgetown taking in the lovely laidback feel to the town. The two highlights of this leg of our journey was the Penang Museum where we got to see the evolution of the island in relation to the British, Chinese, Indian and Malay settlers. Going up Penang Hill was the second highlight. Essentially this is a cable car ride up the mountain/hill that sits in the centre of Penang island. The views form up here were incredible and the high altitude offered a welcome respite to the humidity of Georgetown.
After two days in Georgetown we bid farewell to the very friendly Jim, lumbered into our backpacks and jumped onto a boat bound for the beaches of Langkawi