Malaysia Holiday Guide - Penang Accommodation and Transport

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First updated : 19 April 2009
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

Tourist accommodation in Penang varies greatly! From historic luxury hotels to very basic dormitory or house based accommodation. Take your pick based on the type of holiday you want!  Prices are very competitive. However I would make sure the hotel chosen has working air conditioning. All the hotel review sites have lots of opinions you can check out but they are only a guide - it is the internet so don't believe everything you read.

Communications: Penang has the full range of wireless mobile phone coverage.  So any GSM or 3G phone should work in the country.  However check that your phone can access the correct frequency 900/1900Mhz for GSM and 2100Mhz for 3G.  You can also use 3G wireless mobile based broadband USB modems.  My Australian mobile network carrier has agreements with Maxis, Digi and Celcom. Most of the time I was connected to the Maxis network.

Apart from mobile phones Penang has many free wireless hotspots, mostly centred around Georgetown and major shopping centres. There are a few internet cafes but look a tad dodgy for things like banking etc.. so do that before you leave home. Bring a cheap notebook if you want less risky browsing, Facebook and the like!  If your hotel has a wired or network based internet connection try that too.  It is quite cheap and very convenient for about 50RM for 24 hours.

Transportation: Getting around Penang is very easy with plenty of different options to choose from. 
- Walking around is easy in most parts even in the confusing lanes in Georgetown.
Remember the traffic travels in different directions and can be haphazard.  The pedestrian button sometimes does not work.
- You will see cars and motorcycles going through red lights regularly.
- If lost just use the Komtar tower/building as a directional guide.
- The only issue you may have is the heat and humidity.
- There is a free bus that goes around the town's major facilities.
- Local buses are easy and cheap if you are travelling in a group less the 4.
However you must remember to carry the correct change because the driver doesn't have any.
- It was 2.70RM from Georgetown to Batu Ferringhi price will change over time.
- There are also plenty of Taxis but the you have to bargain. They seem to charge either 15 or 30 Ringgit.  Everything is around town so 10RM or less is reasonable.
If they use the peak hour or standard fare excuse just go to another one there are plenty.
- You can also take the the trishaws but they do cost more but it is an experience you have to try at least once.
- Hiring scooter or regular bicycles are also easy to do.
- There is a ferry across the 'straits' to Butterworth which you only pay at one end and it is regular and cheap.
- Georgetown is about 20-30 minutes from the airport dependent on traffic and where you are staying. Anywhere else like Batu Ferringhi can take up to an hour.  The airport is quite modern and often busy.

When you are done with Penang you can head off to the island of Langkawai.  This is a resort island so be prepared for that sort of experience.  The beaches and scenery is better than the ones in Penang.  Just remember it is a tourist island.  Travelling by boat to the island is the most efficient way of getting to Langkawai from Penang.  There 'appears' to be only ticketing office.  It just 10 meters or so from the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Memorial.  All the details are - just beware that there are several tour booking shops so make sure its the ticketing office!

By far the majority of motorised transport in Penang is the motorcycle.  They are everywhere and all the better for it.  The majority of models are the Honda Club and the newer Honda Wave in its various generations and 125cc where the most common.  Initially I thought they where called 'Boon Siew' but that's the dealers name!  Since there where so many you can safely assume that this dealer is by far the largest!  I did see a 1 or two large capacity models from Yamaha and few BMWs. They where the exception though.

Caption to picture above: I noticed this interesting vehicle while walking the streets of Penang.  It's a Honda Wave 125 motorcycle with 4 wheels.  So, does that make it a car?

Malaysia travel guide - Introduction
Malaysia travel guide - Penang

Malaysia travel guide - Penang Accommodation & Transport
Malaysia travel guide - Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia travel guide - Cars and Motorcycles
Malaysia travel guide - Malacca (Melaka)
Malaysia travel guide - Genting Highlands

Malaysia travel guide - Final Thoughts





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