Breakfast at Royale Bintang Hotel
After a terrible bout of food poisoning, I felt a lot better this morning. I should be able to take in some food today. So we went for breakfast at the Sri Tanjung Restaurant quite early. The restaurant was pretty empty at 7.30 am. We chose a table in the middle and went to get our food.
The buffet spread was pretty much the same with different varieties but the day before was better. My wife went to the egg counter and ordered an omelet to share with me. She also tried the local soup noodles as well as the roti canai. I took just very little amount of food hoping not to upset my stomach again. I dared not try the fruit juice but I took some fruits and a cup of coffee and that was it.
We returned to our room after breakfast to freshen up and rested a little bit more and also watched some TV. Our flight to Singapore was 12.50 pm so we had plenty of time before leaving Royale Bintang Hotel. Finally after chatting with the children back home to prepare them to meet us, we went to front desk to check out.
The hotel lobby was busy as usual. We collected our RM 100 deposit and then exited Royale Bintang Hotel. It was the same ritual of making two left turns to the back of the hotel to walk through the Interactive Museum to get to Pengkalan Weld. Then we walked towards the Jetty Bus Terminal again to take bus 401E to the airport.
Bus to Penang Airport
It was another bright and sunny day this morning. It had been great weather during the day and then a light shower early evening while we were in Penang. We walked past beautiful former colonial buildings. The building next to Royale Bintang Hotel would be turned into a 5-star hotel and should open in 2017. This new hotel would be very grand and with balconies facing the harbour, this would surely be a selling point for the hotel to make a mark in the hotel industry.
The road wasn’t busy this Saturday morning. Soon we reached the bus terminal. Bus 401E was already there but it wasn’t leaving yet. Not long after, the driver opened the door and we boarded the bus. We paid RM 2.70 each for our bus fare to the airport. As expected, the bus from the jetty wasn’t crowded at all.
The bus moved off and headed towards Komtar and then picked up more passengers at the bus terminal over there. The bus still wasn’t full as we made our way to the airport. Passengers alighted and boarded along the way.
When the bus reached Queensbay Mall, more passengers alighted. The mall wasn’t fully opened yet as it was just after 10 am. The bus then moved on and we arrived Penang Airport at 10.25 am, taking nearly an hour to travel from the Jetty Bus Terminal. It was a rather nice bus ride and cost so little to travel to the airport.
We entered the airport through the arrival hall. It was a busy place. A tourism information booth and a taxi counter were there. Quite a few visitors were queuing at the car rental counters. We then took the escalator up to the departure. This hall was even more crowded than the arrival hall.
Many departing passengers were either queuing at the airline check in counters or were having meals at one of the many cafes and restaurants. These eateries here were doing great business. Perhaps most departing passengers knew it would be better to have a meal here before entering the secured departure hall. There would be lesser eating options and probably have to pay more for a meal after clearing immigration. Hence, we also settled down to have another quick and easy meal at the McDonalds as our flight was slightly after noon.
Next we went to the Jetstar counter that had just opened to receive departing passengers. There wasn’t a counter for web check-in passengers so we just queued at one of those counters. Having gotten our boarding passes, we went to clear immigration. We had to dispose our water bottles before getting through security clearance. There wasn’t any water dispenser inside the airport so there was no point keeping those bottles.
We then did some windows shopping inside the airport but didn’t buy anything this time. Those snacks from traditional bakeries cost more in the airport. We paid less over at Gurney Paragon when we bought those tarts and snacks the day before. The airport is not very big. There wasn’t much to do after a quick round at the airport so we settled down to wait for our flight home.
Just after noon, we were getting ready to board the aircraft. Not long after, we were airborne. Flying out of Penang was a fascinating sight. We could see the long bridge connecting Penang Island and the main land of Malaysia. The weather was very good. We were flying ahead of time and should land about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Unfortunately when we were near Singapore, the pilot reported a change of runway so we had to circle for a while before we finally landed slightly after scheduled time.
Reflection on Langkawi
So this ended our 5 Days 4 Nights Langkawi and Penang Tour. Day 1 was spent travelling to Langkawi and we didn’t have a chance to take the cable car and enjoy the magnificent views from the famous Sky Bridge as we arrived a little late. Nevertheless, we watched the enchanting sunset from Cenang Beach.
Our stay at Nadias Hotel was great as this hotel is strategically located right in the middle of Cenang Beach with plenty of shops and restaurants. Moreover, Cenang Mall is just right beside Nadias Hotel and Cenang Plaza across the road from the hotel.
Day 2 in Langkawi was spent on Island Hopping Tour Package costing only RM 30 per person. We visited the Pregnant Maiden Lake at Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park which was very beautiful. Next was watching eagles soaring and diving for food off Pulau Singa Besar. We had never seen so many eagles before. Picnic on the beach at Pulau Beras Basah was great too after viewing the eagles’ feeding.
We then moved over to Adya Hotel in Kuah because we had to take the ferry to Penang the next day. The hotel was very good but shopping wasn’t as exciting even though Langkawi Parade was just 5 minutes walk from Adya Hotel. Nevertheless, Adya Hotel is new and modern and hotel service was great.
Taking a ferry from Kuah Jetty to Penang was the third day of our tour. The ferry trip took 3 hours and cost RM 70 including tax. We booked our tickets online before heading for this holiday to save us the hassle as there was no difference in price when buying the tickets over there in Langkawi.
Reflection on Penang
Staying at Royale Bintang Hotel was the best choice ever in Penang. The hotel is very new, nice and grand. The staff were pretty friendly and helpful too. We really loved this former colonial building converted to a hotel.
Shopping at Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue Mall was the activity for the day. This was followed by dinner at New Lane Hawker Centre next to Sunway Hotel. I believed I had food poisoning from the fried kway teow stall. I told the hawker I didn’t want any cockles but she forgot.
Day 4 in Penang was spent shopping over at Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon. My wife had a great time shopping including the lunch at Din Tai Fung Restaurant at Gurney Plaza. I was conserving energy trying to stay alive to get through the day fasting while shopping with her.
Our return flight from Penang to Singapore on day 5 was trouble free. The location of Royale Bintang Hotel is great. We could walk to the hotel when we arrived by ferry from Langkawi. We could easily walk to the Jetty Bus Terminal to take buses to other destinations, including our bus ride to the airport.
So it was a pretty profitable trip to fill up five days for some leisure. This trip didn’t cost much. Air tickets back and forth cost around $80. Hotel accommodations average around $70 per night when we booked early from Agoda.com.
Hence, destinations like Penang and Langkawi are very affordable tour options for a quick break. Transportation is not a problem at all. Taxis in Langkawi do not go by the meter but it is still much cheaper than taking taxis in Phuket. Thus you don’t have to worry about taxi scam in Langkawi. Another option would be to rent a car to drive around in Langkawi.
Georgetown in Penang is good for walking tour for those interested in street arts hunting. In addition, the free CAT bus is good for touring Georgetown but waiting time could be long though and it could be crowded as well. Anyway, bus fares are very cheap in Penang. It cost only RM 1.40 to go to Gurney Drive taking bus 101 from Georgetown. Bus 401E to the airport from Georgetown cost only RM 2.70.
As such, for a short trip with flight time slightly over an hour, Penang and Langkawi are ideal destinations. All in all, we did enjoy our 5 Days 4 Nights tour to Langkawi and Penang. We might return to Langkawi and Penang next year, especially when the brand new 5-star hotel at Pengkalan Weld next to Royale Bintang Hotel is ready. Well, we will wait and see.