Travel: Penang Street Arts

This is my 2nd blog after I have stopped for many months. I would like thank all of you who are still following. Hope to get back onto my 2 feet and get some posting rolling.

If you a fan of street arts and have been following the arts around the country, then you will need to come to Penang for these 2 magnificent pieces. They are located in Balik Pulau with the GPS coordinate 5.351705, 100.235621 or you can refer to the map below with the red dot. It is pretty easy to find as it is painted the whole piece of the wall.

Since you are here, get a bowl of asam laksa and a fresh nutmeg juice. The famous laksa is just beside the street arts and a big car park. Or, may be some durians since this is the season for durians.

These are my blogs about other street arts.

KL Street Arts
Penang Street Arts
Penang Street Arts 2

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Event: Campaign For A Lane (CFAL)

This is one of the largest cycling event in Malaysia or it is better known as CFAL (pronounce as C-FAL). This year was the 7th year they hold this event and the number of participants grew exponentially. There were people coming from all over the place, so it was not only Penangnites who joined. The number of participants this year was 4500 and the event fee was RM100/person which was raised from RM80 last year.

This year route was cut short by 4-5km due to the road construction at Batu Maung area. Total distance was 76.8km based on my Strava record.

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As usual, with that kind number of people in the tiny island with tiny roads, there were bounds to be congested and caused accidents. I saw it with my own eyes there were cyclists fell down or inside the ambulance being taken care of. Safety is no longer there and I was nearly knocked down by a cyclist too. He was too engrossed with his conversation and out of sudden cut into my lane. I had to brake hard as there was no space for me to avoid him. I felt that the event organizer is getting worse each year and they were no longer care about the welfare of the cyclists than just taking profit. I heard that they will increase the number of participants next year. I can’t imagine with that kind of people on the road next time.

There weren’t many water stations for people who needed to refill. As I counted there were only 3 and the 3rd one was at the finishing line. So, there were actually 2 only and 1 of them was hidden somewhere. There wasn’t any banner or direction lead to that water station which was inside a school. Also, the location was dangerous picked as one has to cross the road with incoming traffic from opposite lane. Not only that, that person had to cycle for another 1km to the water station.

I felt the organizer is badly planned and hope that they will do a better job next year. RM450,000 was a lot of money they have taken.

The starting line was too congested and people were waiting along the side road.

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Road was too congested that cyclists had to get down and pushed bike.

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It was only clear after going up hill.

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Waiting for lucky draw.

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Our bikes.

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Travel: Penang as a World Heritage Site

Hmm… I know I have been missing from blogging for quite some time. I have some issues need to deal with and office workloads are tremendous… Thanks for staying put with me.

During the Ramadan month, I had too much free time on my hand as there was a long holiday and all I did was cycle or to be a tourist in my own hometown. Georgetown, Penang has earned the World Heritage Site (UNESCO) back in July 7, 2008. So, we all decided to do what tourists do. Went to places that we never been before.

Best to travel around the town is by foot or rent a bicycle. There are many places you can rent a bike, tricycle or quad cycle like the one we rented here. It was pretty easy to get around the town with 2 wheels and you can go a bit more distance too.

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There are many things that attract people from around the world or locals to over here are the colonial buildings, food, the murals or street arts in Georgetown. Of course, not to forget the friendly Penangnites like us. 🙂

The UNESCO site covers the Northeastern side on Penang Island as shown in the map below. If you wanted to learn more about the UNESCO site, you can click to the link here http://www.visitpenang.gov.my/UnescoHeritageBrochure.pdf for more information.

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Also, you can read more about Penang from my previous post here:- Scenic Ride: Penang Heritage.

Colonial and Pre-War Buildings

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Floating houses

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Murals or Street Arts

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Travel: Street Arts in Kuala Lumpur

Street arts or murals in Malaysia are actually started off in Penang. The State government was trying to lure tourist into Penang by providing beautiful murals which they were quite successful into doing that. There and then it started to spread elsewhere in Malaysia. If I am not mistaken, Johor was the next location they painted but it was removed due to some controversial paintings. Then, it started to spread to Ipoh and now in KL.

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Since my riding were all in the morning and I did have free time to walk around in the afternoon. So, my friend took me to SS2, Petaling Jaya to have lunch and then walked around the place. To my surprise there are quite a number of murals around and some are quite unique and nice. See for yourself…

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Oh, remember to stop by for lunch or tea time as there are so many restaurant around it and most of them serving quite a good food.

This was one of the coolest cab I have ever seen in Malaysia. I guessed he was going off road after off duty…

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Trail: Pearl Hill

This was my 1st play ground when I got my 1st MTB. I trained hard here and lost a lot of weight by just cycling up and down of this hill. It is not as high as you think. It is only 181m from sea level but doing it 3-4 rounds it will drain you.

It has been awhile since I have ridden here until lately only. Well honestly, it is kind of boring after ridden there for 1½ year. The road only covers 2.2km and doing it 3-4 times per ride and 2-3 times per week. I had enough. But lately, due to time constraints I started to ride back that road and take it as leisure ride or light exercise. I began to look around the surrounding. It was totally a different perspective now and then as I was training against time or how many rounds I could do. I began to enjoy the sunset by the beach, the trees surrounding me or the monkeys on the tree. But coming down the hill still gives me the thrills as I am letting off the brakes.

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For more detail about this trail you can click here as I have previously written about it.

Trails: Penang Bicycle Lane – Update

This is an update from my previous post for Penang Bicycle Lane. This place can finally consider a proper place for family recreational area. The path has extended from The Light Apartment to Queensbay Mall at Bayan Lepas. The total distance is now 14.65km with return trip which is an increased of 5km from previous route. It will take a small child an hour to complete with an average speed of 14.4km/h.

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This part of the trail is still quite secluded and not many people know of. It was just me and my daughter cycling that day. The other part of the trail has more cyclists and runners which you will need to avoid. There is no continuance from the previous trail and you need to cycle on the road for 100-150 meters, so it is still quite safe for small children (of course with parents guidance). The start of the trail is just next to the Gold Coast Resort Condominium.

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Once you have entered the trail, you will be cycling along the coastline which you will get a beautiful view and breeze.

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This is along the trail

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Until you hit this tar road which you are close to Queensbay Mall.

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From here the trail continues for another km before it ends.

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The end of the trail… (which you can see Intel plant opposite).

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Enjoy your ride…

 

 

 

Trails: Mount Erskine Trail – Partly Destroyed

I was sadden to see our only off road trails in Penang was partly destroyed in the front of our eyes. This is also happening in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. I guessed the human existence has expanding into the area of our mother nature.

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I have not ridden Erskine for quite some time due to constant rain and we were afraid of landslides. So, with a day or 2 of sunshine we quickly went. Alas, when we were about to enter the trail, it was gone and with this gate put up.

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I wouldn’t think it was fortunate or unfortunate as there was another way to get by it. We had to pedal thru people orchard, cemetery and chased by dogs. We had to climb slippery soil, next to a cliff and it was a scary experienced.

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The reward was this. We still get to had fun.

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I wouldn’t recommend going now or alone. I will wait for the developer to create an entrance for us.

Update

This is another update for the Erskine trail. They have made another entrance right in front of the Mount Erskine wet market. It is not an easy climb with a heavy bike and gears but at least we don’t have a pack of dogs chasing and barking at you. Going up from these stairs is easy but coming down is a challenging. Good luck MTB bikers.

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Trail: Adam’s Trail and Lime Farm

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Today, I went back to Sg Ara again as I can’t get enough of it. There were many purposes behind today’s ride. I find that cycling is the best way to let off steam or distress especially riding off road. Because you will need the energy to climb from 1 hill to another and your blood is pump with excitement when going downhill. By the end of the ride, you won’t have much energy left to think about the problems. And, during downhill you don’t have a split second to think about your personal problems as it means live or dead. I went all out today in terms of going uphill or coming down but still not as fast as my previous records I hold on in my Strava.

For the past weekend the weather was not on my side as it was raining nonstop. Today, the weather was exceptionally great as the hour goes by. We started from Indian Temple -> Zig Zag -> Adam -> Proton -> Reverse Carpet -> Carpet -> Reverse Carpet -> lastly Lime Garden. 1st half of the ride, we went back the same route as on last Wednesday and 2nd half was searching for new trails to ride. I believe everyone can get bored with the same route each week like Reverse Carpet, Cherrie Bloosom, Pearl Hill, Penang Hill or round Penang Island.

Adam’s Trail

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Carpet

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I wouldn’t say much on Adam’s trail as you can read from my previous posting. The 2nd half we proceeded to Bali Home and then we took a turn next to the Pak Man’s Trail. It started off with easy going uphill then the road is getting narrower to a single track. We called this place Lime Garden (you probably have guessed it) as it was an orchard full of lime trees. This place was filled with nice aroma from the lime dropping on the floor or drying up. The highest elevation of this place is only 274m which was about 130m climb from the connected hill. If it was not because of many fallen banana trees this would be an easy and nice trail to pedal with gradual increase in gradient. Also, the rain doesn’t help much as the cements were wet and filled with moss (one of our friends fell down twice in Adam’s trail because of moss). Some part of this trail is hard to ride also because of the long grass.

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Coming back down, we used MPPP’s trail and we were letting go of our brakes and let it picked up speed. There was a small group of people shouting at us to go slow as they all got scared when we all zoomed by them. 😛

I will definitely come back here to explore more rideable trails and to let off steam? 🙂

Trails: Penang Bicycle Lane

The Penang government is trying hard to promote cycling. So, they have engaged 5 property developers to build dedicated lanes for bike riding. This is nothing new in countries like US, Taiwan, Amsterdam and many more but definitely a good start for Malaysia. The total distance is 12.5km covering from Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas to Komtar in Georgetown. Due to 5 different developers are building this and the completion date is also different but it is expected to complete by mid of 2015.

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My daughter and I were managed to cycle part of it and it is 4.83km 1 way. We started somewhere near the Pulau Jerejak Jetty and cycled all the way to Tesco in Tunku Kudin.

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I believe the other completed part is from Intel plant to Queensbay Mall which I have not tried it yet or know how long it is.

This route that we have tried is very suitable for all ages especially young children. Why? This place is dedicated for bike riding only except there is a short distance where you have to ride on a service road. Since it is a service road, there are hardly any cars going thru here.

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2nd reason is, the road is flat so it is easy for any kids to cycle without wearing them out. Most of the path is covered with trees or building. Therefore, anyone can ride at any time of the day without feeling hot or burn out.

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The bike lane is actually next to the highway and you can ride up to the pedestrian bridge overlooking at the highway.

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Lastly, you can enjoy the cool breeze from the sea and a great view of the Penang Bridge.

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They have a dedicated jogging track too and it is next to bike lane and a stream.

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I really couldn’t wait for it to complete, so that we can cycle for 25km nonstop with no cars or crazy motorbikes riders.

Scenic Ride: Penang Heritage

Well, I have been blogging lots of Penang single or off-roads trails. So, I am going to write something that is different this time. It is going to be light and easy.

Penang is also known as The Pearl of the Orient and it is also my beautiful hometown. You can talk to any Penangites and they will proudly tell you about the city. In 2008, UNESCO has named Penang in the World Heritage lists together with Malacca. The site is located at northeast of Penang or Georgetown.

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The best to tour around the city center is by bike. There are many areas you can rent a bike for RM 10 whole day. Just don’t expect you will have Specialized, Trek or Cannondale bikes. If you are lucky, you can get a decent foldable bike. Or you can hire a trishaw to ferry you around. But, we used our own bikes.

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A lot of these buildings were built during the British Colonial time, so they have their architecture resemblances. During the ruling, there were lots of migrants from China and Middle Eastern too. Therefore, different part of Georgetown has its own uniqueness.

The Brits… 

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The Chinese

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Original Wooden Doors

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Original Tiles

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During the changed of government in 2008, Penang State has tried to attract tourists from locals or surrounding regions by promoting street arts and murals (murals drawn by Ernest Zacharevic). And… they succeeded.

The Murals

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The Street Arts

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With the influx of tourists came also the hotels. Nowadays, you can find a lot of these boutique hotels which were converted from abandon old bungalows or houses. They are not cheap! Some of them costing about RM 500/night but in very quiet neighborhood.

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There are a few restored mansions like Cheong Fatt Tze and Pinang Peranakan Mansion are open to public but there is an minimal admission fee. I believe it is worth for the visit.

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When you are tired of cycling or walking, you can stop over these types of café for cup of coffee, tea or cakes. Generally, they are pretty good and pricing around RM5-10 for cup of coffee and RM 8-14 for a piece of cake.

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Enjoy your riding… Just make sure to put on a lot sun screen as it can be very hot by 10-11am.