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Old Feb 1, 12, 9:01 am   #1
 
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Malaysia/Penang

I'm thinking of adding a side trip to Penang on my next trip to SIN. I might go to Langkawi or Malaccca, as well. I've not been to Malaysia. Can anyone tell me what their visa stamp consists of - does it take up a whole page of your passport like Indonesia? I'm running short of pages now. Does anyone have any hotel suggestions (budget to mid range) or any other advice? Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 1, 12, 9:07 am   #2
 
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There is no visa for Malaysia for tourists staying less than 30 days. It's the same size stamp as the stamp you'll get in SIN.

IME, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and certain visitors to Thailand will need a visa in SE Asia. The other countries are just a stamp.

Definitely go to Langkawi! It's beautiful and well worth your time to plan a stop.
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Old Feb 3, 12, 8:14 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by BankerManUSA View Post
There is no visa for Malaysia for tourists staying less than 30 days. It's the same size stamp as the stamp you'll get in SIN.

IME, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, and certain visitors to Thailand will need a visa in SE Asia. The other countries are just a stamp.

Definitely go to Langkawi! It's beautiful and well worth your time to plan a stop.
Agree that Langkawi is worth the trip. The Andaman on Datai Bay is excellent, and good deals can be found for this Starwood property. Personally I could skip Penang... a little too gritty for my tastes.
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Old Feb 3, 12, 8:44 pm   #4
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Agree that Langkawi is worth the trip. The Andaman on Datai Bay is excellent, and good deals can be found for this Starwood property. Personally I could skip Penang... a little too gritty for my tastes.
Penang is "gritty?!" Well, I guess it depends on where else you've been in SE Asia. Penang is definitely worth a stop of 2-3 days, at least spending some time in the Old Georgetown area. A rather important historical location on this part of the Andaman coast. I wouldn't go to Penang for the beach, though--save that for Langkawi. Melaka is also worth a day-ish. Seeing all three places depends on how much time you have for your side trip.
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Old Feb 7, 12, 8:38 pm   #5
 
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I go to Penang 3-4 times/yr from MSP via SIN. If you have a short transit in SIN, stay at the T1 transit hotel with the roof pool and bar http://www.harilelahospitality.com/transit_hotel.html

Penang is not really a resort area unless you go to Batu Ferringi area. Georgetown has good food, bars and a few discos. Ladies night is Wed. Gurney Plaza has a lot of food along the water but there is no swimming there. We always stay at the Evergreen. Nice hotel with a good breakfast and pool at about $65usd/night.

We had bookings in Langkawi (Hear it's a fantastic place) when we had a long weekend but ended up taking a bus (1st class at ~$14usd) to KL (Kuala Lumpur) to watch the F1 race at Sepang instead.

Fireflyz also has cheap flights to HKT (Phuket). I prefer Patong for fun and Karon for relaxing. I'm sure other areas are just as beautiful too.
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Old Feb 8, 12, 9:39 am   #6
 
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Thanks for your reply. I decided to do the trip to Penang and leave Langkawi for another day. I'm staying in the transit hotel at both ends of the trip (all the hotels in SIN looked too expensive to me this year). Flying Jetstar to PEN. I found a hotel between Georgetown and Gurney Plaza. It's in one of the refurbished old houses on Bangkok Lane and it looks very nice (though it doesn't have a pool - which I hope I don't regret). I'll probably grab a taxi from the airport and do the rapid bus once I'm there. Have you got any advice re changing money, interesting things to see etc?
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Old Feb 13, 12, 6:25 am   #7
 
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The Kek Lok Si Temple gives some nice views, being located so high up. You can also get there by some sort of cable car (or just a steep road). The road has a place or two to eat on the way up if you want some food too.

The streets are also worth wandering around - if you like Indian food head down to Little India, I had some amazing food here for very little money in a packed restaurant with very speedy service! Having just come from India it hit it spot on - from memory plenty of tandori chicken and naan bread for less than $1.50.

I was only on Penang for a few days though, having spent more time at Langkawi - so I didn't venture too far from Georgetown.

For any potential backpackers reading: If you come to Penang via Langkawi and then want to take the ferry to mainland Malaysia you can take the ferry for free as you only pay to Penang and not from it (or did a year ago)!
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Old Feb 14, 12, 2:33 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by fdflys View Post
Can anyone tell me what their visa stamp consists of - does it take up a whole page of your passport like Indonesia? I'm running short of Thanks in advance
No need to worry, they changed their visa early year, it sonly a quarter of the size now
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Old Feb 15, 12, 9:20 pm   #9
 
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I went to Langkawi and Penang on my first visit to Malaysia a few years ago.

Both places are excellent to visit though worlds apart. My observation of Langkawi was a more eastern tourist destination while Penang was full of westerners, high-rise resorts and general hustle and bustle of a city.

I took a FireFly flight from Langkawi to Penang which was quite cheap and comfortable.

The Malaysian stamp is slightly larger than Singapore stamp, it won't take up more than a quarter of a page, or less than half for entry/exit.

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Old Feb 16, 12, 10:05 am   #10
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thanks to the few who posted about FireFlyz flights, it should come in handy for an upcoming trip to Malaysia I'm planning

www.fireflyz.com.my
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Old Feb 16, 12, 11:47 pm   #11
 
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thanks to the few who posted about FireFlyz flights, it should come in handy for an upcoming trip to Malaysia I'm planning

www.fireflyz.com.my
the recent problem I had with FireFly and the reason I decided not to go with them is their "processing / service fee" which on a SZB-SIN trip was 49 RM compared with AirAsia, Tiger or JetStar flight out of KUL-SIN which altogether cost 49RM. You may see a nice fare advertised but by the time you consider all the taxes and fees it becomes less attractive.... I guess AirAsia is quite similar in that respect nowadays.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 8:20 am   #12
 
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Thanks TrueBlue. I looked at fireflyz yesterday thinking I might do a day trip to Langkawi but you're right the first price doubles almost immediately when they add in their fees. This was on a sale and the price would have been about what I'm paying to fly on Jetstar back and forth from SIN. Ah well, I'm sure I'll have plenty to do in Penang. Does anyone have any reflections on the airport and money changing in PEN. I'll need some cash right away for the taxi to the hotel. Does immigration and customs move pretty quickly? I arrive in late afternoon and have to get to the hotel pretty quickly because they shift out their staff and prefer the guests arrive before 6pm. It looks like a nice place so I'm willing to cooperate.
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Old Feb 17, 12, 9:44 am   #13
 
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Immigration is about 10 minutes wait, customs scans the bags. All-in-all you should be out in less than 30 minutes (with check-in luggage). Try to be fast on the walk to immi.
Penang Airport is a bit of a construction site at the moment. When you get out of customs, straight ahead is the taxi ticket booth (you got to elbow yourself through all the hotel pickup guys). You have to buy tickets there for a fixed price; no other way. If you turn left there are Maybank ATMs that accept international cards. Money changers are upstairs (go right, up escalators, at the end of the departure hall; compare the rates!).
As for the rest of the Taxis in Penang: their meters are always "broken"; meaning you need to haggle. If you are Caucasian (=stupid ATM), accept at the most 1/2 of the asked price and never expect a Penang taxi driver to know any directions (I wonder, how they find home...). So print out hotel location map.

Last edited by Cybergeorge; Feb 17, 12 at 9:45 am. Reason: Grammar
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Old Feb 17, 12, 9:53 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by andaman C View Post
Agree that Langkawi is worth the trip. The Andaman on Datai Bay is excellent, and good deals can be found for this Starwood property. Personally I could skip Penang... a little too gritty for my tastes.
I tend to disagree. Langkawi is getting over-expensive and Malaysian hotels are in general overpriced (x2 on Langkawi) and offer truly bad service. Take Firefly from Penang to Phuket (5x a week)and you get more vacation for your money. Stay clear of Pattong though, if you want a vacation...

Damn, I am spamming this thread...sorry 'bout that.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 2:57 pm   #15
 
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OP, did you see the recent NY Times feature on Penang?

http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/02/12...-malaysia.html

I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Batu Ferringhi. The water there isn't nearly as nice as Thailand -- a bit cloudy, lots of jet skiiers/parasailers, and the ocean has lots of jellyfish. But it was a good beach vacation.

In Penang, enjoy Little India with the great Indian food and the temple. I enjoyed the tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, once owned by a trader. It gave me a good overview of the history of Penang. They also rent rooms -- not luxurious, but historic and unique. I didn't stay there, but I would if I ever went to Penang again.
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