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Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Penang, Malaysia

Penang Arrival – Accommodation, Car Hire & Long Beach

We never managed to get our luggage down to 2 bags, but we have managed to travel in a normal taxi with 3 bags. Here's my view as we travel to Bangkok airport. These taxi have no boot space, so there is 1 bag in the boot, 1 on the front seat, 1 on the back seat and Josh and I snuggled close together beside it with a child on each lap.

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I was bouncing with energy on our flight from Bangkok to Penang. Penang was going to end my stint of travel loneliness. I was not only meeting my best friend there, but several travelling families, my mum and who knows who else would cross my path.

Josh and I have loved the sound of Penang for a long time. When we left Perth I had planned every flight and accommodation up until Bangkok then we decided on Penang for many reasons. But the most important one is it sounded like a great place to stay long term. For an Australian Malaysia is a free 90-day VISA. They also allow a jump over the border in Thailand and when coming back on the same day it resets the whole 90 days!

The taxi's at the airport are quick, although they refused us a normal size taxi and assisted on us taking a van, as always. The van was comfy and a trip to Batu Ferringhi was $40. The journey was roughly 40 mins to an hour. 

Miami Green Accommodation

We had found the most amazing accommodation in Penang. The complex is popular amongst expats and inline with that we met someone new regularly down at the pool. It’s a luxurious 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with sea views out the lounge room window and jungle views out the kitchen window. The kitchen is huge and has an oven! I have been carrying a cookie mix around 3 countries after buying it mistakenly in Manila and finally my daughter and I can cook them!

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It’s hard to describe this place and all I can say is it immediately felt like home. There are toys and plastic plates and cups. There are numerous pools, a gym, a playground, top security and a great location, halfway between the lovely tourist beach town Batu Ferringhi and the fabulous 8am – 1am opened, Tesco.

Check out the photos and then ask me, how much is that piece of luxury? Less than $40 a night! Including wifi, cleaner, electricity, gas, cable TV, local telephone and more! This place is the best and cheapest place we have stayed on our travels and I think you can tell I am absolutely in love with it. Feel free to email me for the Owner’s details or head here for booking.

Finding Transport

Our first few days we mucked around kind a bit trying to find a car. Taxi rides to Batu Ferringhi were only $3 one way, but we wanted wheels of our own to explore this gorgeous island.

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We tried several contacts we had been given by fellow travellers with no results. Finally I stumbled upon Labelle. From the first moment I spoke with Fateha I was impressed by her professionalism and willingness to help. She offered to bring a car to us, but we wanted to see the two cars she had so we went to her in Georgetown. Luckily since my husband did not fit in the smaller car.

After two days we knew the car we had picked was no good for us and as soon as they got a brand new MyVi (cute Malaysian car) it was delivered to our house no fuss. Super cheap compared to the big car companies should set you back less than $470 (1500MYR) per month. They had a good range to pick from, deliver at no extra cost, and accept cash and credit. Fateha and her husband have just taken over the business and are working hard to make it a really honest and trustworthy company. I highly recommend.

Meeting Facebook Friends

During my fourth day on the beautiful island of Penang I finally managed to get to the local Tesco. As I was walking down the isle of the frozen foods section a lady says to me, “Tami?” “Um no,” I reply and keep walking. Two seconds later she shouts back, “Erin?”. Oh, kind of weird, “um yes?”

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Turns out as the lady introduces herself as Sara that we have been chatting on Facebook over the previous weeks and were destined to meet sooner or later. She lets me know Mary from Bohemian Travelers is also here and as I enter the non-halal section of Tesco I bump into Sara & Mary. I had been reading Mary’s blog for a long time as she travelled around Asia before us. We had become fast friends online and spent multiple nights chatting over Facebook about different places to see, blogging and even tougher life issues. She was also one of the reasons for wanting to come to Penang. It was so great to finally meet and in fact took a lot of pressure off the final ”meet-your-online-friend-in-person”.

Penang Food At Its Best – Long Beach

The following night we all went out to dinner at Long Beach. This was my second time at Long Beach and as the first time I knew it would not be my last. I fell in love with that place. Long Beach is roughly 5 minutes drive from our house in the middle of Batu Ferringhi. It is set up like a food court with tables in the middle and food stalls in a square around the outside. Your table has a number and you simply choose what to eat from any stall – Indian, Chinese, kebabs, pancakes, western food, spring rolls, satay sticks, and more! You give them your table number and then they bring the food over and you pay them.

All the food is freshly prepared and absolutely delicious. It’s also super cheap with a meal for 4 of us generally not costing any more then $10. Of course, as always, when the price is low we order way too much food, but Long Beach also do takeaway! Who needs McDonalds when you can get fresh vegetables and meat to takeaway in minutes? Yes, I love Long Beach.

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We arrived in Penang on Wednesday and Thursday my best friend was arriving. It had been 3 months since I had seen her and my daughter could not stop talking about seeing her little girl, her best friend. They stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and the next 3 days were filled with just being together. You can read it in our next blog post where I will let you know about the amazing slides at the Hard Rock, their divine Day Spa and the fabulous Club Lounge.  

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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Mary Ann Norris on
i been to bangkok for 5x but i never been to this place i realy to go there with my family....
Posted by Bethaney - Flashpacker Family on
How much did your apartment set you back per month? It looks lovely!
Posted by Erin on
Yes Mary Ann, come, it's a wonderful place! We loved Bangkok too though.
Bethaney I believe it is under $1200 per month. There are cheaper ones, but this is considered a luxury apartment :) It really is stunning!
Posted by Hanif and Joanne on
Hello! Penang looks amazing. My wife and I and our 2 daughters (10 and 9) have decided to leave the grind and wander the earth. We love what you've done and thank you for sharing. Its kind and generous. I'd appreciate the contact information of the Owner for the Miami Green Apartment so we can schedule a much needed rest after India.

PS We will be leaving in September 2014

Cheers,

Hanif, Joanne, Suraiya, Simran
Canada
Posted by Sam on
Thank you for lovely information. I know this is year/s since u have been but it made my upcoming penang trip more exciting. We have been before and are going back in April because I love penang. Long beach was one of my favourites until we went into George Town one night and found another one. I think it was called RED something. Memories came back fast and strong with places u mentioned. Made me more excited because I just thought it was in my head how wonderful penang is.
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