Malaysia – Living with Locals, Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Penang, Malaysia, May 2018: Its my final full day here on Penang Island. Staying in Bayan Lepas, well away from any tourist districts, has been an interesting experience. Having to interact with locals and catching public transport to anywhere has made this trip quite a fulfilling experience even though I’ve been to Penang many times over the years. At first one has to adjust to a few little annoyances having arrived from a hectic Kuala Lumpur. Nowhere’s open for breakfast, food courts are mostly closed and when they do eventually open produce only a limited menu. One also has to get used to the frequent  Islamic chanting over loud speakers. This can start as early as 5.30 AM and occurs about every 2-3 hours throughout the day ending around 10.30 PM. Wouldn’t be so bad if they could sing in tune and to something I could recognise! So, for breakfast one has to buy a bag of rice and a carton of milk from the little convenience store under the block, then a bag of fruit (mango or papaya) from the seller next door and hey presto, all the ingredients for a tasty morning meal. Thankfully, the food court in a block down the road a few metres has a better selection. After 11 AM its nasi goreng or chicken rice, maybe noodle soup for fried noodles, but one things certain, I ain’t going to starve!

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self made papaya and mango breakfast

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Catching lizards

Coffee sipping, beer guzzling, shops and malls are about 15-20 minutes on the bus, any bus will infact head towards a mall where from within one can enjoy the American fast food and coffee chains now ingrained into Asian culture. Personally, I can skip all of that and make do with whats available at the little local store underneath the block.

So, for the last time lets take in those views from the 26th floor…  

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Mass public and private housing townships

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Nice view of the airport from the 26th floor

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Al Hidayah Mosque, Bayan Lepas

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Bayan Lepas, right opposite the airport

As its the last day, I’m going to wander down to the creek near to the Sungai Bayan Lepas (river) and attempt a little nature spotting, oh and a few planes too. As one crosses the river, for a moment there’s a sense of being transported back in time to when life was centred in villages (Kampungs) along rivers and around coastlines. Back along the creek that I visited a few days ago and here there’s an array of nature to be seen.

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Back to the traditional kampung days, life beside the river.

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Wallowing in mud, these are Monitor Lizards, they creep around and they can bite!

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Bird on a wire, this is a Bee Eater bird found next to the creek

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This Singapore based aircraft scoots across the creek

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Brahminy Kite or Red Backed Sea Eagle at the mouth of the creek

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OK, one more plane! Cargo Jumbo Jet from Taiwan

So, that was a few days in Bayan Lepas on Penang Island. Good for relaxing, walking in quiet surroundings and good for some sea air with afternoon breezes. A world away from the hot and busy tourist hub of Georgetown and beyond. Tomorrow I’m jetting down to Johor Bahru for a month and hopefully a few visits into Singapore. Its an early flight so I’d better say goodnight, sleep tight and thanks for reading my ramblings.

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