Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Far East 2009

Early start to Penang

I tend to be an 'early to bed, early to rise' type of guy - whether it's had the promised effect is open to debate - but a 5am wake-up call is getting beyond a joke! Who designed this schedule, anyway?   Luckily, I'd had both the time and foresight to get everything ready the previous evening, so it didn't take me long at all to collect my things, check out and board a taxi for Changi Terminal 2. Traffic was light initially, but grew substantially, the closer we got to the airport. I had no trouble at all checking in and making my way to the appropriate lounge, where a similar pattern was repeated : virtually empty to very busy in less than half an hour. Soon enough, it was time to head for the gate and board my Penang-bound 777.

(Link to flight log in side panel)

On arrival at Penang, I had an easy passage through the formalities and was delighted to find an official taxi-booking counter, where I could be sure that the correct fare was being charged. With that concern out of the equation, the transfer was a doddle and I presented myself, rather optimistically, at the E&O's Reception desk not long after 10am. My luck was in! Despite the early hour, my room was ready. Even ignoring this good news, the check-in process was very pleasant, involving a cold towel, a glass of ice tea and an introduction to my butler (how is that!) - a member of staff who would be on-call to give me any assistance or advice that I might need during my stay. Not for the first time during the trip, I was delighted by my latest accommodation and could tell that I was going to be very content there.

I relaxed for a bit, ordered a room service lunch and then set out for an initial stroll around the World Heritage zone of George Town. I saw the two main Christian churches, the Town Hall and City Hall (presumably one superseded the other!) and the not-so-impressive Fort Cornwallis. In the blazing afternoon sun, this proved to be enough and I was happy to make my way back to the hotel. I had dinner in 'The 1885', the hotel's top quality restaurant, where the fixed menu option provided a sumptuous feast at quite reasonable cost.