Detained in Customs in Penang

So I finally made it to George Town Penang.  The sun is shining and while I should be excited that the rain is gone, it is H-O-T.  I just carried my bags 2km from the dock to the hostel and I am drenched in sweat.  Typical.

Always an adventure

The ferry from Langkawi ended up being 3 hours and I watched Jurassic World nearly the entire time.  And by watched Jurassic World, I mean I read subtitles for 2 hours.  I don’t think I’ve ever read the subtitles for an entire movie before, but from what I could tell, Jurassic World was really good!

Other than that, the seas were rough, several people were puking, and it was nothing short of an interesting adventure.  

Maybe I’m the Raincloud

When I get to Penang, I instantly melt in the heat.  I can’t believe I decided to walk 2km carrying everything I own to the hostel.  I’m drenched in sweat.  Not miserable, just tired.

The hostel is clean.  Its nice.  It looks just like the photos…  But I hate it and I don’t know why.

My package has arrived but it’s detained by customs.  How the hell do I get this package back from customs?  Where is customs?  Ugh.  I ask the front desk and she is no help.  Of course.  It’s too late to sort this today, I’ll figure it out in the morning.

I take it easy tonight.  I keep to myself.  I miss my private room.  I’ve spent too many days not talking to people and I like the peace and quiet.  It’s time to be social again and I really have to try.  I’m an introvert to the core so being social really takes effort on my part.  

I walk around, alone, in search for food.  Typical.  I hit food coma mode and venture back to the hostel to peacefully melt into my bed and fall asleep.

By the way, Penang (George Town) is famous for its food and street art.  I can honestly say that after tonight, I’ve tried everything and it’s delicious!

Where Is Customs?

Another day of fabulous weather but my first priority is finding the customs office.  I do some research and it is not easy to find.  I ask the guy at the front desk for help and he gives me the craziest set of directions.  For some reason I don’t trust him and thankfully I listened to my gut because I ended up being right.

A hot and sunny 2km walk to the ferry was the start to my day.  I had to take a ferry back to the mainland to reach the customs office.  I have no idea how I found the ferry because the ferry to the mainland was located in an entirely different place than I arrived yesterday.  Thank you universe, you’ve got my back.

I knew the ride would be free but I had no idea how to find the entrance.  Nothing was in English.  Not one sign.  Nothing.  So what else can you do?  I followed a random person and hoped they were headed to the same ferry I was going to.  Looks like they were!  I made it to the ferry just in time.  Sweet!

Docks at Pengang Georgetown

Streets of Penang Georgetown

Streets of Penang Georgetown

Hello Butterworth

I boarded the ferry with all the locals (and random cars as well) and prayed to make it to the mainland.  While I should’ve been paying attention, I fell asleep… on a bench… outside…  Whoops!

It was a quick 15 minute ride and I was immediately woken up when we hit the dock.  Hello Butterworth!

I was told by the man at the hostel to take the bus, but I had a feeling he was wrong and I could walk instead.  I asked a handful of people for directions and finally someone pointed in the direction that I thought it should be so I believed them and started walking.  Obviously I waited until someone agreed with me and then took only their advice, typical.  I started walking… on the side of the highway… like a hitchhiker…

Uhh Where’s My Package?

Magically I reached the customs office!  I have no idea how!  At the office, I learned that the value of my package was claimed too high and that’s why it was detained.  I had to open the box, inspect everything, explain what each item was, and promise that it was all for personal use, nothing new and nothing to be resold.  That was a challenge.

I make it out of there will all of my belongings in tact and head back down the highway carrying my half-opened box.  Now I really look like a hitchhiker.  I make my way down the highway, back onto the ferry, and finally the 2km walk to the hostel.

I am exhausted.

Streets of Penang Georgetown

Another Quiet Day

I have a quiet day to myself and in the evening I meet a bunch of great people.  We play cards (that’s the normal nighttime behavior) and chat about life.  We then head to the only duty-free liquor store in town and buy some of the cheapest alcohol I have ever tried.  Let’s just say it was a really bad idea.  Tomorrow was a waste of a day.

Maybe Malaysia Isn’t For Me

I barely make it out of bed by 1pm and now I’ve wasted my first afternoon here, all day yesterday at customs, and half of today.  It looks like Malaysia and I just don’t agree.  After the rain in Langkawi and now this, I just have no interest to explore.  None.

I grab a late lunch and head back to the hostel to recover and sleep.  The only thing I accomplish today is my laundry.  I cannot believe that I’ve been here several days (I leave tomorrow by the way) and I’ll I’ve done is washed a small load of laundry.

I’m supposed to leave tomorrow to meet a friend in Langkawi.  While I’ve already been there, I’m hoping the weather will be better and I’ll actually get to explore.  I haven’t even seen Penang (George Town), but for some reason I’m already ready to leave.  My transportation and hostel in Langkawi are booked and I’m ready to go!

Minutes before my friend is about to catch the overnight ferry (and take the same trip from hell that I took days before), I get a message that there’s been a change of plans and he isn’t coming.  Now what?

I can’t believe I got stood up

Should I change my plans or should I still head to Langkawi?  I decide I’m still going.  I don’t feel like being in Penang and I’ve already booked my transport and accommodation.  There’s no sense in wasting money so I stick the course and hope for the best.  I’ve got 16 hours to check out the nightlife, sleep, and explore Penang in the morning before I have to leave.  I start to hustle.

  • Night market (awesome vibe, live music, tons of food)
  • Night life (Love Lane, duty-free liquor store, Tipsy Tiger Hostel)
  • Early morning self-guided street art tour (amazing, must do, can be accomplished in <2 hours, hostels have maps with the art marked on it)
  • Restaurants (Madras New Woodlands, Thali NR Sweets, The Leaf Healthy House, Veggielious)

George Town Penang in Less Than 24 Hours

I cannot believe it but I cross almost everything off my Penang to do list!  I feel okay leaving the city and I’m excited to get back to island life.  The street art in George Town is scattered throughout the city and absolutely amazing!  The mix between painting and 3D objects embedded into the walls make it a truly spectacular experience.  Just check out some of these pictures below…

Back To Langkawi

I head back to Langkawi.  A 2km walk to the dock, a 3 hour ferry, and a 30 minute taxi to the hostel.  The ferry is a really old boat and the seas are really rough this time.  I’m actually a little worried.  Everyone is puking, not just a few people.  The movie is some crazy Bollywood-style film about a man with super human powers trying to find his dad.  I don’t understand any of it, even with the subtitles.  It’s weird but I can’t stop watching.  It’s like a fart, you don’t want to smell it but you still take a sniff.  I want to sleep but I can’t because of the seas so I read the subtitles for 3 hours.  3 very long hours.

Finally I arrive in Langkawi and see the familiar Eagle statue at the port welcoming me into the city.  I hop in a taxi and I’m on my way.  Fingers crossed it’ll be better this time.


Take a self guided street art tour in George Town Penang - Max Pankow Adventures There are tons to do in George Town Penang. Don't miss the awesome food and street art!

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