An extenuating circumstance: an unintended – but wonderful – visit to Penang, Malaysia

Nico and I had been planning to spend New Year’s Eve in Koh Lipe, Thailand since we were in London. After extensive communication with my dear friends, Lili and Mandy, we had all agreed to join one another around New Years on this secluded island that doesn’t even come up when you search for it on Google Maps (try it! You’ll get a bed in the middle of the sea!) (unless they’ve changed it!).

Nico and I faced a few predicaments… we had planned our trip around Malaysia in anticipation of the time we would need to be in Koh Lipe to join the girls… we also planned our trip to Langkawi with the assumption that we could find a solution to our visa woes before entering Thailand.

Our visa woes – in summary – revolved around the fact you can only be issued a 15-day visa-on-arrival when entering Thailand overland. When in Thailand, you can go to immigration offices and apply for extensions, but these would cost 1900THB each and can only be extended by 7 days. At minimum, Nico and I required a 30-day visa as we purchased flights from Phuket to Chang Mai in Thailand later on in January. We also had planned to stop moving for a bit… enjoy some ‘down time’ on the beach… do some snorkelling… do loads of rock climbing… read a few books… write in my diary or in my blog… have a vacation from our vacation… 😉

After extensive research, we realised the best, most secure decision would be to detour… venture south again to Penang… to apply for a Tourist visa in advance to our border crossing. This deviation would set us back by 1 day when meeting with Lilz and Mandy.

We bought our return ticket from Penang to Langkawi before departing….walked to the next ticket counter to buy our afternoon ticket from Langkawi to Koh Lipe on the same day… only to be informed that all spaces on the ferry were sold out… sold out until the 10th of January.

Brilliant.

We went to Penang… stayed at a lovely hotel/ hostel called Hutton Lodge… the male receptionist was incredibly helpful… and shared with us the bad news that the Thai Consulate would be shut on the 2nd of Jan… Brilliant. This set us back by another day…

Penang, Malaysia (map)

Penang, Malaysia (map)

Hutton Lodge, Penang, Malaysia

Hutton Lodge, Penang, Malaysia

We had planned to spend 3 days in Koh Lipe and 3 in Koh Lanta… unfortunately, I’ve missed out on the opportunity to stay in Koh Lipe… which is unfortunate… but… the beauty of travelling is that nothing can… or will… go exactly to plan… we’ve visited and will be visiting plenty of beautiful places in the coming months…

On a more positive note, Nico and I had the opportunity to spend a short time in the ‘food heaven’ of Penang. A travel writer from Yahoo! Travel ranked Penang as one of the top 10 islands to visit before you die… I don’t know whether I agree or disagree with this… but, let’s just say… from the 2 nights we spent there, it became apparent that it was a pretty special place….I’ll share some photos and videos below.

View of Penang, Malaysia

View of Penang, Malaysia

View of the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia - Kek Lok Si - in Penang, Malaysia

View of the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia - Kek Lok Si - in Penang, Malaysia

 

Woman in prayer at Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

Woman in prayer at Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

 

A large selection of available 'wishing ribbons' in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

A large selection of available 'wishing ribbons' in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

 

Nicolina's Wishing Ribbons - 'Together Forever' and 'Bodily Health' - in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

Nicolina's Wishing Ribbons - 'Together Forever' and 'Bodily Health' - in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

 

Casting Nicolina's wish on Kek Lok Si's Wishing Tree in Penang, Malaysia

Casting Nicolina's wish on Kek Lok Si's Wishing Tree in Penang, Malaysia

 

Young, standing Buddhas in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

Young, standing Buddhas in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

 

Incense amidst prayer in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

Incense amidst prayer in Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple in Penang, Malaysia

 

Watching enviously at tandem para-sailors on Batu Ferringhi in Penang, Malaysia (oh, how much I long to para-sail)

Watching enviously at tandem para-sailors on Batu Ferringhi in Penang, Malaysia (oh, how much I long to para-sail)

 

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9 thoughts on “An extenuating circumstance: an unintended – but wonderful – visit to Penang, Malaysia

  1. Pingback: Koh Lipe Island (3Days/2Nights) | Hibiscus Travel & Tours

  2. Pingback: Thailand Travel Video Commercial – Travel to Go | MushroomTech News

  3. More great photos, Lina. Mimi and I are wondering if you or Nico took them. By the way, is Nico maintaining his own blog as well? Haven’t been to his blog since you joined him on his previous travel adventure. Love the alter photo and photo with hanging lanterns. Also like your wish ribbon shot looking down with you and Nico. Being together AND bodily health – good things to wish for. Hope the bodily health blessing finds its way to your Mom in Athens as well. She needs all the help she can get.

    Also, like sorabee, Mimi and I received your latest postcards. Thanks a million Love to get them. I’m going to scan and share them on your FB page again one of these days soon. I also watched more of your Youtube videos and saw the one of the Balanese dancing girls. Beautiful. So, non-Western. Interesting. Hope to visit some of the same places some day when I can figure out how to beat the work requirement.

    • Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! What do you mean you’re going for sure now!!?!?! Have you booked it!? hehehe. You can get super cheap flights to any where in Asia from Bangkok – so book something if you find a good price. You can then get another Air Asia flight for like £40 each way or so to wherever we are. Nothing’s set in stone … but likely to be Vietnam or Cambodia!!!!!! 😉 That’s the travelling leg! come come!

  4. ppl plan and god laughs…

    so true i think, look where i ended up!

    I finally got the work permit here! so things are in order and I am able to travel without being questioned by immigration!

    I am going to london on thursday til monday! and after that I will look into the prospect of asia with toi…now that i am legally capable..!

    i got your postcards baby! shared it with pano and another friend of ours..cause he was at the rakadiko mazi mas 🙂

    how wonderful it all sounds… how happy i got… but realised i cant write back to my travelling buddy

    miss u xxx

    • Awwwwww – yayyyyy!!!! Yay! Yay! Yay! Congratulations on receiving you work permit! Must have been an absolute mission – I always dread the bureaucracy. 🙂 And double-yay for your plans to come and join me! (Sorry for the delayed reply – I’m now in low internet place…i.e. the jungle!!!! will keep you posted !) Tell me more, tell me more!

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