Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

It’s a road trip!

This blog has been slowly withering without my attention and care, so I’m here to give it a little help before I get busy with my semester again.

Roadtrip Preview Photo

Roadtrip Preview Photo

Remember the road trip my friends and I embarked on in December 2009 and January 2010, which I promised to post but never really quite got to it? Now it’s right here, staring right at your face.

Note: This post is a little long, so I’ve split it up into several pages. Get some coffee and let’s get started!

Preamble

The idea of having a road trip at the end of last year was conceived almost 1.5 years ago – during a steamboat dinner with my orientation group friends, somebody suggested that we should all embark on a pan-Malaysian road trip, or at least, one that will bring us to various cities along the Western coast of the Malaysian peninsula. The idea was met with enthusiasm and many people signed up, and we even playfully assigned each other positions – of course, I was given the “official photographer, publication and publicity manager” position, which I could never run away from in any occasion anyway *laughs*

The semester melted away and due to real life commitments, more and more people backed out of the plan, leaving a handful of us still sticking to the road trip plan. Basically, only me, Soon Leong, Weng Fei and the lovey dovey couple Bregitt and Rick remained as the traveling people, while a few others like Wen Cin, Jackson and Sin Yee played our hosts in their hometowns.

The summary of the trip:

  • Day 1 – 3: Penang
  • Day 4 – 5: Ipoh
  • Day 6: Kuala Lumpur

Destination Penang

Bregitt and Rick came to my house for a stayover the night before – it was a very memorable one lest the fact that our semester results were released the very same night and all three of us cuddled around my pathetic little laptop screen waiting for the goddamned result slips to load.

My GPA took a tumble but I knew nothing is going to ruin this roadtrip of mine.

The next morning, we woke up in the wee hours of the morning to board a bus that brought us from my home in Petaling Jaya to an island up north called Penang.

Day 1: The Snake Temple

Our very first stop of the day was the Snake Temple on Penang Island. Fortunately, and very miraculously, all 5 of us managed to squeeze into Jackson’s tiny little car :D

But very unfortunately, Rick just felt compelled to ruin the very first photo I took:

Rick the photobomber.

Rick the photobomber.

And this is Soon Leong, the leader of the pack, in his cowboy hat.

Soon Leong, our group leader

Soon Leong, our group leader

And interestingly, the dogs at the snake temple are very gentle – even with toddlers. They’re so demure and quiet, you don’t even notice them sneaking around unless their start to snuggle up with your legs.

Toddler and the dogs at the snake temple.

Toddler and the dogs at the snake temple.

And of course here’s an obligatory shot of the front entrance of the snake temple – looking awesomely majestic!

Snake Temple in Penang

Snake Temple in Penang

By the end of our visit to the Snake Temple all of us were already smouldering underneath the intense heat from the afternoon sun. We scampered into Jackson’s car and went to Kek Lok Si.

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si, Penang.

Kek Lok Si, Penang.

Of course we grabbed every single photo opportunity that we came across. My camera was passed from people to people so that every single one of us would appear in the photos, ha.

Group Photo #1 at Kek Lok Si Group Photo #2 at Kek Lok Si Group Photo #3 at Kek Lok Si Group Photo #4 at Kek Lok Si

We managed to catch the last funicular heading to the top of the hill before it was closed for the day. The view from the funicular is simply too beautiful for one to behold:

View from the funicular

View from the funicular

The bronze status of Kuan Yin and the 16 dragon pillars surrounding her. The statue is around 30m tall and was a replacement of a white plaster status of the same goddess that was damaged in a fire years ago.

The Kuan Yin statue

The Kuan Yin statue

We spotted a row of statues depicting the animals of the zodiac along the walkway, and took a group photo with them.

Statues and us.

Statues and us.

I’m looking horribly dorky and juvenille in this group photo. Soon Leong forced me to don his silly cowboy hat.

Bregitt, me, Soon Leong and Wen Cin.

Bregitt, me, Soon Leong and Wen Cin.

A few more photos of Kek Lok Si while we waited for Jackson to arrive with his car – without him shuttling around, we were effectively handicapped.

Kek Lok Si against the evening sky

Kek Lok Si against the evening sky

Kek Lok Si bathing in the warm glow of the evening sun

Kek Lok Si bathing in the warm glow of the evening sun

Dinner Time!

We started scouting for eateries the moment we hopped on to Jackson’s car because everyone was positively hungry. We had a really hard time picking which place to go to – there’s an eatery zipping past us every few seconds or so during the journey. It was torturous – we weren’t sure whether should we just get off Jackson’s car and eat what’s in sight, or wait for a nicer eatery to come up.

Eventually we were too hungry Jackson pulled the car over and did a really sloppy parking. I still had no idea how we managed to get the car out of the parking lot after that.

Stir-fried ricecake strips, or char kway teow.

Stir-fried ricecake strips, or char kway teow.

One thing I love about Penang hawker centers is that their food come is really miniscule serving – and this made us possible to order a dozen of dishes and we could just share the food among ourselves. Yum!

At the hawker center... aka food heaven Wen Cin and Jackson at the dinner table My bowl of curry noodles have arrived! Rick looking murderous with a satay stick in hand

Dessert goodness

Our visit to the island wasn’t complete without a good dessert to go down with the dinner. Jackson drove us around in search for dessert while very helpfully pointing out the hookers  prowling the streets in the red light district.

Desserts - a great way to cool off from the tropical heat

Desserts - a great way to cool off from the tropical heat

Ice ice baby.

Ice ice baby.

Soya milk and fried buns

Soya milk and fried buns

All of us were so tired after that. Jackson drove us back from the island to the mainland (Penang comprises of the island and a region on the Malaysian peninsula). Jackson and his mom were amazing hosts – they allowed us to sleep in their huge bedroom while they slept in the smaller bedroom instead. Awww, thanks! So all four of us squeeze onto the queen-sized bed and caught up with our sleep before another day started.

Day 2: To the island again

Bregitt and Rick trying to look very awake

The next morning we woke up to the incessant ringing of our alarm clocks. We were still all half-asleep when we went out for supper at yet another eatery in Bukit Mertajam. Actually, I’m more familiar with Bukit Mertajam than the island itself because my grandparents live there and I do drop by at least once a year.

And as per usual, the weather that day was awesome good.

Awesome weather

Awesome weather

Bregitt bought a handful of Portuguese egg tarts too. She was so busy showing them off in front of me in Jackson’s car.

Bregitt and her Portoguese egg tarts

Bregitt and her Portoguese egg tarts

We took a few photo en-route to Penang Island via the Penang Bridge, which is one of the longest bridges in Asia. We had so much fun cam-whoring in the car but the couple ended up being too sleepy when we arrived:

The sleepy couple who played too hard

The sleepy couple who played too hard

Hong Kiat drove all the way from a state further north and joined us for the day, too! Wend Li came along as well. Together we form a formidable gang of seven riding in two cars ploughing the streets of Penang. We decided to have laksa, a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture.

A group photo before we dug into our bowls

A group photo before we dug into our bowls

My bowl of laksa looking very divine

My bowl of laksa looking very divine

Digging in! Hong Kiat and his curry noodles Bregitt being her usual self making silly faces at me Rick!

Temple visits

We went to the sleeping buddha statue, the largest on in Southeast Asia.

Photo with the sleeping buddha

Photo with the sleeping buddha

We also went to the Burmese Buddhist Temple just across the street:

Burmese Buddha Temple

Burmese Buddha Temple

A long corridor leading to the prayer halls

A long corridor leading to the prayer halls

The pagoda above the koi pond

The pagoda above the koi pond

Group photo #1 at the pagoda

Group photo #1 at the pagoda

A group photo at the pagoda – from left: Wend Li, Bregitt, Rick, Hong Kiat, Jackson and Soon Leong. Look at how Soon Leong is still clinging onto his cowboy hat since the day before, ha! And it goes without saying that we took more photos that I could ever display, so here are the thumbnails :)

Bregitt and Rick at the pagoda Group photo #2 at the pagoda Rick and his witty poses Rick, do stop getting in my way! Haha.

Finding the Penang Island on the globe Posing with the globe #1 Posing with the globe #2 Soon Leong and Wend Li

More dessert please

Blazing warm day on the Penang island

Blazing warm day on the Penang island

The weather is blazing hot so all of us were screaming for more dessert. I wonder how Penang resident survive such brutal tropical heat at the first place, wow.

We found the dessert place! Oh Rick damn it.

We found the dessert place! Oh Rick damn it.

The queue snaking around the city block. Woah. Jackson brought us to this dessert stall located in a maze of streets and pre-war buildings in the heart of the Penang downtown.  The place is apparently so popular the queue snaked around the city block. How crazy can that be? And we had a really hard time navigating ourselves through that very maze, and Jackson didn’t have a good time either finding a coveted precious parking lot that is not in the direct path of the sun.

We ordered a few bowl of cendol, made from shaved ice in coconut milk with a colourful, dazzling assortment of jelly.

Cendol. Oh yummy!

Cendol. Oh yummy!

Group photo at the dessert place

Group photo at the dessert place

Laksa it is!

Laksa it is!

I made it a point that I must have a bowl of laksa for every single day I spend in Penang. ‘Nuff said.

Random places

The rest of the day were spent visiting random places in Penang because we were subjected to the mercy of the traffic. That very day was the last day of 2009 and the entire island was almost entirely consumed by gridlocks.

A temple in Penang

A temple in Penang

Little India

Little India

At the Penang Chocolate Mansion/Boutique

At the Penang Chocolate Mansion/Boutique

The visit to the Penang Chocolate Mansion/Boutique is probably the highlight of the day –  we get to sample endless types of chocolates that were freely handed to us by the very helpful shop attendants. The chocolates came in various sizes, colours and flavours, so much so that we were pretty much at a loss of what to buy in the end. So before we made up our mind, we asked one of the attendant to help us take this group photo :)

Night falls, and Happy 2010!

We went to a steamboat restaurant near Jackson’s house for dinner. It was great! I mustered the very last strength left in me to get the dinner done with :P

Steamboat dinner!

Steamboat dinner!

Jackson parked his car quite far away from the new year countdown venue because we didn’t want to end up getting stuck in yet another gridlock – and the prospect of starting our year in a traffic jam wasn’t too appealing. We spent most of the time in a coffee shop because the crowd out there was simply going crazy. We left the place almost after the fireworks display ended before the massive efflux of people out of the square. Soon Leong decided that we should just get a few bottles of beer and have more fun at Jackson’s house, which we did:

*burp* Welcome to errrr, alcoholics anonymous.

*burp* Welcome to errrr, alcoholics anonymous.

We spent most of the night playing silly drinking games and I was almost drunk towards the end. Well, most of us were, anyway. Happy 2010!

Day 3: Hard Rock Hotel

As expected, we all woke up slightly woozy and tired. Hong Kiat was driving us to Hard Rock Hotel in Penang.

Sleepy heads.

Sleepy heads.

Hard Rock Hotel

Hard Rock Hotel

Since we were already there, we paid the Hard Rock Cafe a visit.

Chicken wings, mmhmm.

Chicken wings, mmhmm.

We asked the waitress for some cards. She returned empty handed and told us that they ran out of decks because they were with the other tables already, and asked if we mind using their large decks. Not knowing what she meant, we just asked her to bring the large deck out and…

The large deck of cards

The large deck of cards

They were so huge we can’t even play our usual games, so we ended up playing Indian poker instead :P After we settled our bill, we made our way to the beach, which means passing by their beautiful (albeit non-air conditioned, which I found really weird) lobby:

Hard Rock Hotel lobby

Hard Rock Hotel lobby

By the beach

The weather was great, and nothing beats heading to the beach. The sun was fortunately shrouded by clouds so it wasn’t too hot out there.

Bregitt and Rick on the beach

Bregitt and Rick on the beach

A group photo!

A group photo!

This photo reminds me of those photos you'd see in a clothing store

This photo reminds me of those photos you'd see in a clothing store

Of course we didn’t forget to do mid-air jump shots!

Jump shot on the beach #1 Jump shot on the beach #2 Jump shot on the beach #3 Jump shot on the beach #4

Leaving the island… on a ferry

Jackson suggested that we should take the ferry back to the peninsula instead of using the Penang Bridge – although the ferry trip will take almost double the time needed to cross the sea, it was indeed a fun experience. The last time I took a ferry to Penang Island was when I was still a kid.

On the ferry

On the ferry

The ferry started moving, and we locked our car and left for the upper passenger deck. The view from there was gorgeous:

View from the passenger deck

View from the passenger deck

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