Monday, 23 August 2010

Isle of Treasures

5 Reasons To Add Penang To Your Bucket List
By Pandora Poikilos

When one mentions Malaysia, the first destination that comes to mind is the country's capital which is Kuala Lumpur. Fair enough, with the outstanding structure of the Petronas Twin Towers, diversified shopping, the Sepang circuit and of course the night life, where everyday is a party if you find the right spot, one is bound to be dazzled.

But no, it's not Kuala Lumpur that captured my heart, I went to Malaysia and I fell in love with the Pearl of the Orient, otherwise known as Penang. Located on the northern end of Malaysia you can get here by flight (you will need to transit in Kuala Lumpur), bus or car on the North South Highway or even train which is run by KTM Berhad and stops you at its mainland, Butterworth.

Even as you land in Penang and take to the streets, the only word that will come to mind is, rustic. You will see a blend of old and new, foreign and local, the luxurious and the basics all paraded on one street which brings me to the point of unity.

Unity
At the time of writing, the Malaysian government is carrying out a 1Malaysia concept which carries the objective to further strengthen and reitirate the unity among the three main races in Malaysia. Having been to most of the states in Malaysia, it is Penang that bears the emblem of this concept to perfection. You will see a mosque, a church and a chinese temple on the same street. In a hawker centre, you will find at least one spot that serves each kind of food although, in most areas, available food is Chinese food.

Food
Now, if you're on a diet or the kind who doesn't enjoy trying food at your holiday spots, then Penang may not not be that fantastic for you. Otherwise, it's probably the other reason why Penang is known as the Pearl of the Orient. Selections are extensive and range from anything as light as roadside toasted bread for breakfast, Nasi Kandar for lunch, Ice Kacang for tea and Char Koay Teow for dinner. Now, naming a full Penang menu, well, I'd need at least a whole day. Price wise, I wouldn't call Penang food expensive, you can have one Roti Canai and a drink under RM3.00 (approx. USD1). There is a large selection of restaurants that range from middle range to luxury dining (at a minimum of RM150.00 per person) but word of the wise, the hawker food will have you salivating. The two areas where you can get most of the popular Penang dishes under one roof would be Gurney Drive or One World Park, both located in the central area of Georgetown.

Convenience
While some people may often have gripes about public transportation in Penang or the non metered taxis here, there has been a vast improvement with its bus services since 5 years ago. However, transportation aside, most areas have your basic needs covered and you would usually find everything is accesible and conveniently placed in within one area. When it comes to food, there is a hawker, restaurant or cafe at least every 10 minutes of the way. When it comes to shopping centres, you have the fancy ones in the form of Queensbay mall or Gurney Plaza placed in prominent areas very accessible with public transportation and then you have hypermarket giants in the form of Tesco which has sprouted on the island and the mainland, Butterworth. You also have Carrefour on the mainland and some local hypermarket chains in the form of Giant and Econsave.

Heritage
When traveling extensively to other places, you may find that history will be in a book or in a torn down building, but in Penang, chances are you'd be able to visit that building and be told the story of how it came to be. Like some of its other Asian counterparts, Penang was also once ruled by the British with Captain Francis Light landing at the sie of For Cornwallis and taking posession of the island in 1786. While outsider governance and the effects of the World Wars may hold bitter memories for some, it is also very enriching to see that in most parts of Penang, heritage has been preserved. Old schools, townhalls, fields and old buildings which over the years have been given a face lift still stand proud and erect as a reminder of past lessons for a current and future generation blessed with independence.

Language
Most places in Asia, English serves as a second language, sometimes even a third which will usually mean that you would require a translator when walking the streets or talking to street sellers. Not in Penang. Almost everyone speaks English. And almost everyone will be more than willing to share their story with you. From the guide who will tell you of his school days in Penang to the hawker who will tell you how he raised his children by selling 'char koay teow' on a street corner, yes, everyone will have something to share if you are willing to listen.

And there you have it, I do not promise you a non-sweltering, non-insect bite Asian holiday, but I can promise you Penang will open your eyes to Asian treasures that will leave you with memories for a lifetime. She is after all, the Pearl of the Orient.
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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

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Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

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Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

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Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

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Blognostics - Poetry

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My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
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My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
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My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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