Penang, Malaysia

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Today, we arrived at our second Malaysian port, Penang.

We had no tour escorting duties… so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, grabbed a city map from Reception and went for a walk.

Just outside the port, we encountered a large fort sporting an interesting-looking lighthouse; we didn’t fancy paying the entrance fee, however, so we just admired it from the outside and carried on walking. The road that ran around its perimeter also took us along the seashore, which suited us fine.

Eventually, we reached a point where we could no longer follow the shoreline; instead, we turned inland, back towards the the centre of the city. We paused for a few minutes to enjoy the shade of some very large trees in what seemed like a small public park. The shade was welcome since it was very hot… as a bonus, we discovered that there was also some free wi-fi, which we, obviously, took advantage of (never pass up the opportunity of using free wi-fi if its available, is what I say…).

Further on, we discovered an old cemetery (I say ‘discovered’… I’m sure others have known about it for hundreds of years…). A map displayed by its entrance provided a list of all the important, and famous, people who were buried there; sadly, none of the names meant anything to me, but it was an interesting old cemetery to wander around and photograph, with its stones pitted with age and covered in vegetation.

From here, we turned left, and into the city, the heart of which is known as Georgetown. Referring to our map from reception and our trusty app, we navigated our way towards Chinatown, which was a blaze of colour and activity. A huge mosque and a couple of temples captured our attention. A Chinese temple, in particular, was definitely worth a nosey. It turned out to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site (and was FREE to enter). Both of us loved the temple, although Tracey probably a little more than me, as I was starting to flag a little in the heat.

Time was getting on; we’d missed lunch but figured we should be able to get back to the ship in time for afternoon tea, so we headed back towards the port and managed to get back on board just in time, before the heavens opened, and boy… did they open!

When it came, the rain was truly torrential; we were really lucky not to have got caught out in it as some passengers did. There’s something very satisfying about stuffing one’s self with sandwiches and snacks and watching the heavy rain come thumping down…

This is a view of the city after the storm; it cleared up nicely…

Peter Woolley

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