3 Night, 3 Hotels...
15.11.2013 - 18.11.2013 32 °C
Sadly, all too soon, the time had come to leave Langkawi and catch our ferry to Georgetown, Penang. Nick was desperate to stay longer but it didn't work with either our timings or our budget (Langkawi was really quite expensive!) so consoled himself by spending most of the journey sunning himself on deck while I stayed glued to my seat reading fearful of feeling sea sick, as this was a catermaram and last time I was on one it was not good!
Roughly 3 hours later and we docked at the Jetty and only had a 10 minute walk to our hotel for the night. The Red Inn had excellent reviews and was relatively cheap. It also one of the few things we could find available. We had discovered after we booked our ferry tickets that we were arriving the day before the Penang Bridge Marathon so everything was fully booked! Having learnt from experience that some of the best guesthouses are not online, we figured we would stay one night and find a hotel easily enough while walking round the town- how naive we were! After 2 hours of going into every guesthouse, B&B and hotel we could find (the really expensive looking ones and the dodgy looking ones) we couldn't find anywhere that had a room - bollocks!
We stopped for food at a nice looking cafe where guests were encouraged to write messages on the walls (it was cooler than it sounds) and I had the spiciest Spaghetti Bolognese - OUCH! We also got talking to a couple from Argentina who were in the same situation and couldn't figure out what was best to do either. Leaving the restaurant narrowly missing the rain, we spent the rest of night coming up with ideas and quickly discounting them;
get the ferry back to Langkawi, however the hotels seemed to be full there too!
- Fly back to Bangkok to see what we missed when Charlie was ill - too expensive and a massive detour in the wrong direction!
- Fly somewhere random like Bali - too expensive!
- Fly to Borneo which was on our original itinerary - but we had no permits arranged!
- We even considered hiring a car to sleep in or just staying in a 24 hour McDonald!
Finally at about 02:00 we gave up deciding our only option was to get a bus straight to Kuala Lumpur and stay there for three days, buggering up our plans!
After not much sleep we set off on a last ditch attempt to find a hotel on our way to the bus station. Surprise, surprise no joy! Things got even worse when we got to bus station where our previous nights hotel had told us to buy our tickets. To be told that he was wrong and we needed to go to the bus station 12km outside of town! As some of you readers may know, this was also Nick's birthday so needless to say he was not very happy and had a complete meltdown in a coffee shop. Just as we had given up and were sulking our back to the Red Inn we walked past Rainbow Lodge 2. It was on a side street we hadn’t walked the previous day. Thinking there is no harm in asking, we went in ready for the now familiar rejection. To our surprise, she said yes. She has spare beds in a 6 bed dorm for only 18RM (£3.60) each including free wifi and breakfast! Bunks beds had not been either of our first choice for that night but it was cheap, immaculately clean and somewhere to sleep! Hurrah!! Problem solved and Nick was coming out of his birthday coma! After swapping hotels we went for a much needed coffee where I surprised Nick with a slice of birthday cake. The staff were brilliant and gave me a candle and everything!
Finally we were now able to relax and get to see some of Georgetown! It was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 due to concentration of original Chinese Shophouses. It is quite pretty (albeit slightly rundown town) with lots of Colonial buildings and the most amazing coffee shops! After spending a couple of hours exploring the Esplande, Town and City Halls, and Fort Cornwallis we were both melting in the scorching heat - time for another drink!
As our dorm room didn't have a lock we had the laptop with us and like everywhere in SEA the coffee shop had wifi so we decided to learn from our mistakes and get all of accommodation booked, right up until we meet Nick's parents in Singapore. We also splashed out on a swanky boutique hotel for one more night in Georgetown to celebrate Nick's birthday properly and unwind after such a stressful 24 hours!
Everything booked and feeling less stressed we went off in search of some unusual street art the Argentinas had told us about. Around several street in the old town artist have created painting and incorporated 3D objects to make them stand out. They were brilliant and so creative, although we did have to wait for all the Asian tourist to have their photo in front of them one at time before we could actually appreciate them.
After a VERY hot (our dorm did not have AC!) but surprisingly good nights sleep and tasty breakfast we bid farewell to one hotel to check in to hotel number 3! Noordin Mewss]] was stunning. Tucked away on a quiet side-street the hotel was a series of converted shophouses immaculately restored and renovated with dark wood furnishings and shutters and felt like stepping back into the 1920s. The hotel only has 12 rooms spilt over two floors around a small swimming pool. Our room was equally impressive with antique furniture and an amazing bathroom!
The rest of the day was spent relaxing by the pool, being spoilt with free afternoon tea and feeling pampered - exactly what we needed! We were so lazy we couldn't even be bothered to leave the hotel to get food so dragged ourselves off the rattan sofa in the now candle-lit grounds to eat in the hotels restaurant - yummy!
Not surprisingly we slept like logs and had a late morning and fantastic breakfast before having to say our farewell to the hotel, their amazing staff and to Penang as we headed to the station to catch our bus to Kuala Lumpur.