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From Kuala Lumpur to Penang Island by bus

From the book "Penang Island. Island which is palm's namesake", episode 1.

9 and 19 January 2017

Would you like to get from the capital to the resort island of Penang by the price of a beer in an expensive hotel? Do the next steps: visit website, select your route and dates and buy tickets. Important: select a bus which goes right on the island, not on the continental coast opposite to it (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan), otherwise you'll have to get on the ferry. They say this is quite inexpensive and takes 20 minutes, but you still have to find the ferry, tickets to buy.. So it is better to take a ticket to Sungai Nibong Terminal, it locates in the suburbs of George Town, right on the island.

Buses depart from different terminals of Kuala Lumpur, we've chose the closest one to our hotel, its name is Hentian Duta (Duta Terminal). Our ticket costs 38 ringgit, it is if you are not fed, providing a snack by the road takes additional 64 ringgit. But any way, it's not expensive. The bus was clean, seats were comfortable. It was a bit cramped for legs, a seat designed for Malays, but you can bear it for only 5 hours, because we have in the middle of the way a stop in a special place for buses – with free toilet and shop – chips-fruit-juice-water. We went quiet, interesting and comfortable (this is not counting that driver have smoked the whole way, and we sat right behind him :) ). There were very green rainforest and rocky limestone hills along the road, we have seen already several cement plants, which are very efficient – way to delivery of ore is minimal, reserves are huge, outbound transportation is cheap – highway, railway and the sea are nearby.

And so on almost to the bridge between the mainland and Penang Island. It is long, 22 kilometres, but there is also shorter one, just 13 kilometres.

Then the bus station at the finish, and taxi drivers offer their services. It is useless to bargain, they have a book with the prices to any hotel, and in our case it was 70 ringgit. As I understand, they take both ends price, because it is problematic to find a passenger backward - bus tikets is cheap. And we could get on the bus number 102 from the bus station directly to our hotel, but at first we really did not know details, at second, to mess around luggage and an hour's travel.. Oh well. :) The taxi driver was an Hindu origin from the southern States of India (Madras), admirer of the God Ganesha, which is rare among Hindus. Ganesh is the elephant. He said that majority population of Penang is Chinese, the second largest – the Hindus and then the Malays. He pointed on Hindu temple in the distance a on the mountain, accessed by a 513-steps staircase, and generally he chatted the whole way trying make friends with us. Traditionally, he gave us his visit card, "If any – call me only and I will serve you the best!". Obviously, they had not many clients there..

We've arrived quickly, 10 minutes before the rush hour starst at 17:00 when people go from works. So we arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel, which will be another story about.

We did not take even a photo by the way to Penang, because the forward view was closed by curtains and side windows had dark tints on them. But on the way back all the conditions were good – the bus was half empty, seats were gorgeous – wide, deep recline, lots of space in front of, and even retractable footrests, so you can almost lie down. There was even a personal TV for each passenger like in the plane, so you could watch movies. Time after time I changed side of the bus and take pictures of jungles, limestone cliffs and little towns along the way. Also I sat in the front, beside the driver, and take pictures as we drive on chic multi-lane highway..

Here is the bus station Terminal Bus Sungai Nibong where we start from..

Below there is a sketch movie about the road. It has no 'art value'. I filmed what I saw outside the window - slopes of limestone cliffs covered with green jungle, cement plants, pretty villages and small towns around them, a luxury highway, and rocky slopes processed to prevent rock falls.. Well, it is interesting take a look onthe country! At least from the bus window :)

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