Thursday, February 27, 2014

PENANG Island, a Full Circle! (Part 1)

My blog posts on our 4 weeks break should have started from Penang, our Malaysian hometown!  But like the Star Wars Trilogy, I started from behind and wrote about Taipei, then Singapore and now, a full circle later; Penang!

It was a long, long EIGHT YEARS ago that we were in our hometown! This time round we only have EIGHT DAYS to get whatever we needed done on this often known "The Pearl of the Orient", or "东方花园" (Garden of the East)!

Before we landed on this now over crowded "garden", I had promised to meet up with good friend like Jeff Ooi; FB friends like Sam Ong (of Eat Out With Sam fame) and Bea Chai, but alas; like life, it did not work out as we thought... there were just too many commitments with relatives, so here; thousands apologies to all those friends that I cannot catch up with. So so sorry :(  It was my loss!

The Penang I remembered fondly has changed!  It is now SO CROWDED, the number of cars on the road; I can imagine the massive traffic jams during festive seasons!  Just as well we did not arrive during the Lunar New Year!

The relatively "new" State Goverment from 2008 did such a wonderful jobs to this island state that productivities and investments are super-charging on!

But then, to me; progress come with a hefty price; I was told in the last four years, property price has been going up like no tomorrow. A 3 bedroom "condo" (apartment in NZ term) are costing more than RM800,000!  I heard lots of claims that "buyers" from "rich" countries like Singapore and China are pushing up the property price, until; I would think the younger Penangnites will not be able to afford them!  That is really sad :(

A newly completed condo and more coming up around it, just like Singapore; land will be at it's prime!
The Bay Star condos, (located just opposite Queensbay Mall, Penang's largest and longest lifestyle mall at Bayan Lepas) where we were put up was bought by the present owner in 2009 for RM 450,000 and I just saw one unit for sale, less than 5 years later; for a whopping  RM 1,798,000!! If that is not out of control speculation, I don't know what is ;)

How about these relatively new, THREE STOREYS terraced houses at Batu Muang; they were sold for RM800,000 + but it is anybody guess how much they are now! I did not ask, way out of my league ;)

Apart from super expensive real estates, what are the goodies pulling thusands of tourists into Penang?

Surely it can't be the hot and humid weather that we dread ;)

Save by the air conditioners? Now I understand why the power suppliers are still government own, a really cool investment!

Great shopping malls are one of the tourists magnet, these shots are from the Queensbay mall.

Then there is the

Old Georgetown Streets at Penang, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Penang

No, I have the time to shoot pictures, I was taken around in a car by my brother-in-law, and I shot some videos :)  You can read and see what the big deal and excitement from the above link anyway!

The video is a bit shaky, forgot to buy a Steadicam ;)

There are many tourists attractions around Penang Island, in our short stay we only visited one because it was only on 2002, the 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin was completed and opened to public.

Thai Navy boys praying to Kuan Yin.
Devotion came at a price, that's our names on a roof tiles that will be put on the temple sometime for good luck. At RM30.00 a tile, priceless ;)

But, but.. what is the REAL ATTRACTIONS that thousands came to Penang for?

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