Hello from Sunny Penang, Malaysia. This morning we ventured out of our resort for the first time (despite being here 3 nights already) to have a morning in Georgetown. Georgetown is the capital of Penang and is best known for it’s old British Colonial buildings and it’s street art. It’s usually what most people come here to see, closely followed by the nice resorts, beaches, and shopping.
Despite being armed with a walking map given to us by the hotel, we opted for a trishaw (or cyclo) tour. What is a trishaw you ask? This:
It’s basically a 3 wheeled push bike with a seat on the front that is pushed/ridden around by your very own super fit local guide. I say guide like it was a pre arranged tour, but in fact we picked this guy up on the side of the road outside a shopping centre. Lucky for us he knew his stuff so we had an awesome day checking out a tonne of what Georgetown has to offer. Looking back there were a few things I wish I knew at the start of the day so I thought I would share them.
Be clear with pricing and how long you want the tour to go for. Keep an eye on the time!
I’ve travelled enough now to know that you should always negotiate price before you commit to anything so at 40MYR ($13AUD) for an hour it was a done deal. To be honest I don’t have a lot to compare it to so I’m not sure if that is an inflated tourist price, but if a small bloke wants to push around 2 tourists for an hour, the least I can do is give him $13 Aussie Dollars.
Now here’s the catch… after not keeping track of the time because he was showing us the sights for an hour we realise that we’ve gone way past said hour. Turns out our guide knew the schedule for the shuttle bus we were catching so he knew time was no factor for us. If we hadn’t have said to stop I think he would have kept going for the full 4 hours we were there!
Take a light shawl or wear pants.
Today was the sunniest day we’ve had since we arrived, and Georgetown is like a concrete jungle. It was sweltering and the sun was like a laser. After getting sunburnt yesterday I made sure I put on extra sunscreen, but the front of both mine and Jerome’s legs got absolutely scorched. The trishaw had a little umbrella and a cover for when it rained, but it didn’t protect us from sun on our legs. I had a jumper with me just in case I got cold in the air conditioned bus, but I ended up using it as a shield. I really needed something light to go over my shoulders and over my legs. If I did the tour again I would also ask to put the rain cover up even when it’s not raining. It got so hot that I’m surprised my sunscreen was able to fend of the scorching sun on my neck and shoulders.
If you’re pressed for time make a list of ‘must see’ street art for your guide.
The area that we spent most of the time in is actually very compact. Not only did we tick off the street art but we were also able to see Little India, China Town, the colonial areas and various temples. Looking back, we went the most complicated way possible to each piece of street art, zig-zagging our way through the lanes. If there are certain pieces or areas that you would like to see, tell your guide when discussing prices and times. That way you will all be on the same page.
Finally, don’t be an idiot like me and forget to charge your camera
Ergh!! I can be such an idiot sometimes. I still managed to get some awesome pictures, but I had to hand ‘photo duty’ over to Jerome and his trusty HTC 10 phone. It kills me to say it, but his phone camera dominates over my iPhone.
Despite the few things we now know for next time, we had such a great time on our tour. It saved our weary legs and it was such a cool and different way to see the sights. And the best bit about it is that you can do the tour over and over again and still discover something new. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.