Category Archives: Penang

Batu Feringghi Night Market – Shopped and reviewed by Backpackies

There is just so much to do in Penang( and i mean the island of Penang), over the week end. It was a hard toss between heading out for some 24hour Nasi Kandar Line Clear at Penang Road and then to Upper Penang Road for drinks or head up to Batu Feringghi to check out the famed night market.
After much discussion, we decided to give our livers a break and opted for some wallet damage.  We took the Rapid Penang Bus 101 from the front of 7-11 on Chulia Street.
We were staying at Roommates Guesthouse Penang for this trip and the 7-11 was just like 2 minutes walk out from the guesthouse. Its a really nice guesthouse with extremely friendly staff.
The bus 101 was air conditioned and took about less than 25 minutes to get to Batu Feringghi. You can easily spot the night market which starts daily at 7pm and runs till around 11pm. If you are not sure, then just press the STOP bell at Golden Sands Resort. There is a new PETRONAS and McDONALDS just directly opposite the hotel. The night market starts from this point and stretches for another 2 kilometers.

Its the usual traffic jam along Batu Feringghi Road because it is all single laned

The market has changed a lot since i first been here about 5 years ago. That time, i used to remember that the stalls were sprawling till it overflowed out to the sides of the walk ways of the street. Nowadays with proper and stricter government enforcing, the stalls are pushed further back away from the road side.

You can also cycle up to the market, which will take you a good 45 minute – 1 hour journey

If you have your own scooter or bicycle, then you can always ride up to the market.

some of the converted stalls have air conditioning in them

there are plenty of clothes for you to shop for like batik and beach wear

Fresh fruits and juice are a hit among the tourists

Not so tacky souvenir shirts- these designs have existed some 10 years ago, when i was a kid. Man!! They should do something about these souvenir shirts!


I must admit that im a serious addict. A Watch Addict! I was literally drooling at the sight of all the colorful G-SHOCKs that were on sale. These are of course fake watches, but being water proof and for only RM 50 each. Man im sooo buying 5 ! Oh wait, i only got 2 hands!

Another must buy when you are here is the fake DVD’s. These are Blue Ray and DVD quality DVDs that you are getting for RM 4 each! Now who says, Penang’s shopping sucks?!!

A note to other bloggers: Please do not take pictures of the stall as they will beat you up. These pictures were taken illegally.

The latest addition to Batu Feringghi is the new Mc Donalds outlet and also the petrol station. Back about 1 year ago, you would need to make sure you had enough petrol to drive up and back from Batu Feringghi before you made the trip. But now its so convenient with the new petrol station up there.
Also with Mc Donalds added to the fast food option, eating up at Batu Feringghi is so much easier. (I just use the free wifi! )
There is of course the famous – RIDE THRU service



The night market is a great way to spend your evening. Head up here around 5 ish in the afternoon, head to the beach for a beer or to sun bath, then have dinner at the hawker center nearby, then shop at the market for souvenirs. Then take the last bus 101 back to the hostel. Voila! Mission Accomplished!


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Filed under backpacking, budget hotels penang, Penang, Penang Famous Hawker Food

Roommates Guesthouse Penang April Promotion!

Honestly speaking, this Guesthouse has to be given credit for making the effort to spruce up the backpacking scene in Penang, Malaysia.

Free local palm wine on Wednesdays, Haunted Tours around Penang for the Month of Cheng Beng, and student discounts are among the few things that they have managed to come up with.

Read more-

Magnificent April promotions and events that will guarantee to get your heads bobbing!!

Like them on facebook at > Roommates Penang

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Filed under backpacking, budget hotels penang, Guesthouses Penang, Penang, Penang Famous Hawker Food, Penang hostels, temples in penang

Kek Lok Si Temple during Chinese New Year is worth the visit

Chinese New Year is a celebration celebrated by all Chinese in the world, and of course in Penang, to celebrate the start of a new year. Chinese New Year or CNY on short, falls in end January to early February

The Kek Lok Si Temple or otherwise known as “Temple of Supreme Bliss” or “Temple of Sukhavati” is a Buddhist temple situated in Air Itam in Penang and is one of the best known temples on the island. It is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia. The temple is heavily commercialised with shops at every level and inside the main temple complexes.

Most visitors approach the temple as they ascend a stairway, roofs of which provide shelter to a multitude of shops selling souvenirs and other – mostly secular – commodities. They pass by a so-called Liberation Pond, following the buddhist tradition of merit-making, turtles may be released into freedom, albeit a limited one.

The temple itself consists of several large halls for assembly and prayer, here, statues of Buddha, various Bodhisattvas as well as Chinese gods are being venerated.

The Pagoda you see lighted up is the Pagoda of the 10,000 Buddhas. It was built in 1930. This 7 storey Pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown; reflecting the temple’s embrace of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.  After climbing up the spiral top, you will have a scenic view of Air Itam Town below.

Intricate woodwork, often brightly painted and a plethora of lanterns add to the visual impression. During Chinese New Year, for an entire month, the entire temple will be lighted up with 100,000 lanterns and lights and these decorations could be seen from a few kilometers away. During this time, the temple will be open to the public till late in the night!

There is an inclined lift to carry pilgrims and visitors further uphill. On the elevated platform, you can find a pond filled with Koi and the towering statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, which can also be regarded as Avalokitheshvara, Bodhisattva of Universal Compassion.

In 2002, a 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin was completed and opened to public. It replaced the previous white plaster Kuan Yin statue which was damaged due to a fire a few years earlier. The bronze statue is located on the hillside above the pagoda while the head of the previous statue which survived the fire is preserved and placed on the right hand corner of the new statue.

Getting here:
 Rapid Penang Bus 201, 203, 204, 206, 306 and U502. Check the Rapid Penang Bus Route for details, map and time table. The most convenient bus stop is located along Jalan Pasar, at the foothills of the temple. Jalan Pasar is a one-way street. Walk following the traffic flow until you reach a T-junction. You can see Kek Lok Si towering to the left side. Turn left and walk in its direction.

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Roommates Guesthouse Penang- Supa Dupa Guesthouse!

Roommates Guesthouse Penang is the newest and latest guesthouse in Georgetown Penang.
Check the video out !! 
It’s the next big thing to hit the island after Ryokan Chic Hotels. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present to you the ‘Smallest Guesthouse in Penang’!
The land area of this shop is 530 ft2 and features only 2 rooms but sleeps 16 people. When we interviewed the creative team that worked on this project- Quote “Space and comfortability was such a big issue, we had to knock every existing wall down just to create space. The shop is a 18th century ‘straits eclectic’ type of shop lot which they managed to restore including the timber flooring, facade, terra-cotta tiles and the louvered windows.

penang guesthouse

That's how i like it! Music, Smoking and Knitting! 😀

The common area which most guests like to gather around during the evening is the ‘five foot way’ outside the shop. The ‘five foot ways’ were introduced during the British Colonial Times. They were used mainly to shade the public from the rain and sun.

guesthouse penang

Porch outside Roommates Penang

The guesthouse rents bicycles which are an easy way to explore the inner city . You get to ride at your own pace and enjoy the ‘Real Georgetown” which consists mostly of all the non touristy temples, food and attraction.

guesthouse penang

Having dinner at the famous hawker food stalls at Kimberly Street with the other guests.(my new roommates and friends)

The whole guesthouse has an open concept with very little closed spaces. To create space, they used a lot go glass in the structure, to create optical illusions that the place is big.

guesthouse penang

Beanie bags that are just so gooood to sleep in !

roommates guesthouse penang

top view of the 'dance floor' and bean bags from the second floor

Free internet

Free internet stations that come with speedy connection and microphones to make skye easy

guesthouse penang

Jamming session with our permanent resident - Mr Kapok Guitar

Roommates Guesthouse Penang

Staying at roommates is all about meeting and making new friends during your travels

roommates guesthouse penang

Happy hour at Roommates Guesthouse Penang! It all starts with some 'Happy' Juice!

Our dorm beds are made of 3 inch steel and are CREAK PROOF!

roommates guesthouse penang

Enjoying morning breakfast in the lounge.

Heritage cups and saucers are used

And because it is the smallest Guesthouse in Penang, we had to attach a map of where Roommates Penang is located. The colored lines are the routes when you arrive from destinations. Green color route is for when you arrive on a ferry from Langkawi. Orange line is for when you arrive from the Ferry from Butterworth or from the Train. The blue line is for when you arrive by minivan from Thailand.

Map of how to get to Roommates Penang

You can find out more about Roommates by visiting their website > . The difference in staying in this guesthouse is that, on the outside it looks like your average pre war shop lot that manages to camouflage it self with the surrounding heritage city.  But the moment you enter the place, it automatically tones down the mood. The staff is so friendly, the people are great and the ambience is perfect. Makes me want to stay there again. Maybe i will 😉
We hope you find your stay at Roommates Penang as enjoyable as we did! For more free backpacking information please like us on Facebook at >> Backpackies 


Filed under backpacking, budget hotels penang, Guesthouses Penang, Penang, Penang hostels

Thusi Banana Leaf Rice Penang

When visiting Penang, one should only think about nothing but food (apparently). FOOD FOOD FOOD, is what every Penangite is famous for!
Today, we will be trying out and blogging about “Banana Leaf Rice”. If you are new to Penang or if you are looking for a good place to have banana leaf rice, this is the blog for you!

famous banana leaf restaurant penang

Thusi Banana Leaf Restaurant in Penang

thusi banana leaf rice penang

Roommates Guesthouse can arrange for bicycle tours to the best food in town

penang  famous banana leaf

Man demonstrating how to make roti tissue a type of pan-fried thin bread that is conical and tall in shape

banana leaf penang

There is plenty of dishes which you can order from

Penang banana leaf

Yummy curries!

banana leaf penang

Comfortable and clean seating

Eating with some guests and friends (some of which who refused to have their picture taken) 😛

Here is a DUMMYS guide to ‘BANANA LEAF’ rice. Read it and keep it to heart. Because we think that this is certainly, and truly one of the most delicious thing you will ever eat in Penang! Enjoy!

STEP 1: Authentic BANANA leaf is used as a plate

famous penang banana leaf

STEP 2: Scoops of vegetables are given

banana leaf penang

STEP 3: Hot Steaming rice is served - You can have as much as you want. The rice, dhal (lentil curry) and vegetables are refillable

famous banana leaf penang

STEP 4: Papadom (delicious crispy crackers) are given, but they usually give only 2-3 pieces. ASK FOR MORE! 😀

STEP 5: Curry is doused on to the steamed rice, creating a delicious mix of flavor and appetite

famous banana leaf penang

FINAL STEP: VOILA ! Dinner is served! DIGG Innnnn!!

famous banana leaf rice penang

Thosai – A type of thin bread that is slightly fried and is usually eaten with curry.

Curry chicken and another type of roti (don't know what its called)

This roti (bread) was different because it was also gently fried but it had potatoes and onions in it. Delicious! Sorry we don’t know the name of it.

digging in and showing you how good the food is! Can you tell from his face??

If you are on Facebook> Look us up @ backpackies.
Join our community and also our very own Guesthouse > ROOMMATES PENANG. If you are here, remember to ask our staff of where you can get the best and famous food in Penang.


Filed under backpacking, Guesthouses Penang, Penang, Penang Famous Hawker Food

Penang Ferry across the Penang Channel by backpackies

In this blog, we will be writing about taking the Ferry from Penang Island to Butterworth on the mainland.

What is in Butterworth you ask?
Well the Train Station is just 2 minutes walking distance from the Butterworth ferry terminal. Trains depart from the Butterworth Station for Hatyai, Thailand, and also to KL and Singapore. Here is what to expect of taking the train. Train from KL to Penang.

There is also a bus station on the mainland where you can hop on busses to take you up north to Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah where you can then take a ferry to Langkawi island.
There are also busses that travel to other states as well.

The ferry terminal on Penang Island is in Weld Quay. It is within walking distance from Fort Cornwallis in town. (The nearest landmark we can think off, if you are not local).
You can also take the Rapid Penang Bus Service to Weld Quay. There is a big bus terminal there where you can catch busses to get anywhere around the island easily. From there you will see a fly over, something like what you see in this picture.


Overhead bridge leading to the Ferry Terminal on the Island Side

Walk across the overhead bridge to get to the ferry terminal.


Ferry terminal on the Penang Island Side

Just outside the terminal you can see alot of taxi’s waiting for customers.
Along the walkway to the ferry terminal are stalls that sell water, snack, fruits and news papers.
There is a counter just behind these stalls where you can buy your train ticket. You don’t have to go across to Butterworth to buy the tickets.
Just in front of this taxi stand is also the FREE PENANG BUS SERVICE, which is called CAT (Central Area Transit).This website gives a pretty good explaination on this service. PENANG CAT. It is a normal RAPID PENANG bus but has the words CAT written all over the side. (If you are not sure, there is an information counter at the bus terminal) The FREE bus route services the inner part of town and most of the attractions within Georgetown.
If you are arriving to Penang Island by ferry, and you are staying around Chulia Street or Upper Penang Road, then you can take the FREE BUS SERVICE there.

penang ferry terminal

walkway to the waiting area

penang ferry
Above: This is a picture of the Weld Quay Bus Terminal.
Below: This is the passenger walkway heading to the waiting area before boarding the ferry.

The bottom of the ferry is for vehicles and the top is for walking passengers.

Penang ferry terminal

Walking the long walkway to the waiting area

ferry from Penang to butterworth

Waiting area before boarding the ferry

Yes taking the ferry is FREE!! You only need to pay for a single journey from Butterworth to Penang Island. And even that is only RM 1.20!

Penang ferry terminal

You only need to pay when you take the ferry from Butterworth to the Island

Penang ferry terminal

The view of Butterworth Industrial Zone

The ride is very pleasant especially in the early mornings and evenings when the weather is cooler. Relax as the calming cool fresh breeze gently caresses your face. The view of the channel can be very rewarding as well, as you get to see ships and boats of many shapes and sizes sail pass the channel going about their own business, making Penang Port one of the bussiest ports in Malaysia.

ferry from penang to butterworth

Very breezy ride across the Penang channel

Penang Ferry

The bus terminal on the Butterworth side

From this bus terminal, you can board a local bus that takes you around Butterworth, or you can also catch an Interstate bus to any other state on the Peninsular.

penang ferry terminal

Old local bus still being used for short distances

penang ferry terminal

modern double-decker being used for long interstate runs

penang ferry terminal

ticket counters

penang ferry terminal
There is a temporary food court just behind the Bus Terminal. It’s convenient for grabbing a bite before the journey.

Penang Ferry Terminal

Temporary Food Center near the bus terminal

They sell mostly HALAL food (no pork).

Penang Ferry Terminal

food court near the ferry terminal

And something that caught our eye that is out of topic is, that they all use cheap cooking oil! o.O Our arteries are screaming again with cholesterol!

Penang Ferry Terminal

Most of the local stalls use cheap cooking oil to cook their food

We hope you guys found this blog informative. If you have a facebook account, please like us on facebook at backpackies is on facebook!

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Nice Express Bus from KL to Penang review by backpackies

There are a few way’s of traveling around in Peninsular Malaysia. Besides the scenic but snail crawling Keretapi Tanah Melayu train, you have the direct opposite which is to fly (Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Fire fly covers most of the major states). Somewhere in the middle, you have the express busses which have existed back in the early days when the first trunk road was constructed to connect the many cities in Peninsular Malaysia.
There are basically 3 classes of express busses in Malaysia. The VIP class, normal express busses and the cheap ass factory/holiday busses converted to express busses to cater for the growing number of commuters.

In this blog we will be reviewing the NICE Executive bus service which covers most of the major cities in Peninsular Malaysia. The ticket from KL to Penang costs RM 75 one way. Which to us, is a hell of a lot of money. So are we getting what we are paying for? Lets see for ourselves.

Nice buses depart from the Old Railway Station in KL. So if you have bought your tickets from the newly renovated Puduraya Bus Stop, there is a shuttle bus service that will take you to the Old Railway Station.
This was what i took and i am not sure if it was the normal procedure but i was dropped off right at the corner about 2 minutes walk from the Old Railway Station. I have pointed it out in the picture below, where i was dropped off.
Not that im complaining but, i would pity the person who had plenty of bags to carry. Mind you, i had to walk across 2 roads before reaching this station. What about if it was an old lady?

nice express bus

The shuttle bus from pudu raya drops you off there. You have to walk all the way to where i am now

The Nice buses are parked directly outside the Old Railway Station.  It’s on the right hand side of the main road.

nice express bus

nice busses depart from the old rail way station in kl

Here are the operating hours of the office.

nice express buses

operating hours

If you havent bought your bus tickets, and have made it this far to do so, the ticketing counters are up on the second (2nd)  floor. There are signs showing you where it is. You wont miss it.

nice express bus

ticketing counter on the second floor

The toilets are also on the second floor. A wonderful thing i discovered was that there were also showers there! Yup, typical Malaysia. The doors for the shower were locked.
(In Malaysia, there are plenty of facilities that are provided but people are unable to reach/use it).

nice express bus

shower room in the toilet?

And because the bus tickets are so expensive, there is an executive lounge for the passengers to sit and wait in. Of course it is air-conditioned and comes with cable tv and drinks.

nice express bus

lounge with tv

nice express bus

executive lounge

nice express bus

executive lounge

Comfortable chairs to sit and wait for your bus. But the lounge seemed small, because the rest of the chairs were basically bar stools. (Not so comfy anymore).
In case you doze off, you can actually tell the waiter to wake you up when your bus departs. There is also a receptionist who will announce your bus arrival and departure on the PA system.
Once you are in the lounge, you will be served with some light snacks and coffee or tea.

nice express bus

light snacks and coffee or tea at the lounge

nice express bus

empty sugar and creamer containers

The service was pretty bad. The creamers and sugar containers were empty. And worse of all, i found a stone in my kuih! (some indian cake they gave me)

nice express bus

I found a stone in my cake!

Almost chipped my tooth!!

nice express bus

nice executive express busses

One thing good about this bus service is that it leaves on time. Unlike the normal express buses, where they tend to wait for other passengers till the whole bus is full. Sometimes you will have to wait for up to an hour before the bus leaves.

nice express bus

boarding on time on time

The chairs and coach was comfortable and nice. Everything you would expect for your 75 bucks.

nice express bus review

comfortable seats

nice express bus

VIP chairs

nice express bus


The pantry was for the waitress to serve you hot drinks and heat up your food for you.
One thing that amazed me was that the chairs had plug points. Which was a great feature because i regularly watch a movie or do some work on my laptop. But the catch is that the plug points are situated on alternate chairs. So you had to request for a chair with a plug point.

I was seated on a chair without a plug point, and lucky for me the coach was not full. So i requested to change seats, which i did. So i started to blog about the ride.

nice express bus

chairs that come with plug points are the handiest for business people

This was the collection of snacks that was provided on the bus. The funny thing which i didn’t like was that the food and drinks came all at once. Imagine having 2 drinks and some food together. If it was me, i would prefer the water to come, then the sandwich and during half the ride, the juice and coffee or tea. But i guess the waitress was just being lazy and wanted to get away with it, by giving everything at once.

There is nothing to comment ont he water and juice. But the bread i got was a little stale. It was hard and not that tasty. The last time when i rode on a NICE bus, the sandwich was really good. I hope NICE reads this blog and takes action to improve it.

nice express bus

this is the chairs they give

The reclining chairs we got. Which reclined to almost 40 degrees down. There was also a leg support to raise up your legs. 🙂 Did i mention that they also had an internal bus TV and music system. You will be given the headphones for it. (Which you are required to return at the end of the destination).

Overall, the bus ride was ok. It wasn’t faster or anything, but maybe more comfortable. Although i have rode on the same comfortable buses for Rm 40 before. (Minus the drinks and food).

So if you are interested in this service, here is their website. NICE BUSES

And guys, if you have a facebook account, please do add us on BACKPACKIES IS ON FACEBOOK.
We try to make traveling fun! 😉
Have a safe trip wherever you are!

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Filed under backpacking, Backpacking Kuala Lumpur, being happy while backpacking, Penang