Spring time has finally arrived again in the sleepy city on the western coast! Spring in Perth is like no other – it literally transforms into Melbourne. Four seasons in one day – uno, dos, tres, quatro!
The usual foliage starts springing back to life. I wonder if the verb “springing” is to do with springtime or with the act of jumping.
Are you not trypophobed?
Spring brings many unique artists out of hibernation, culminating in displays of opulence such as this.
Spring in Perth is also a time for running and walking and doing outdoor things! Oh wait, that’s spring in most other countries as well.
Well, not quite yet. But she looks to be in a good mood this time round. That’s Summer, your friendly neighbourhood Samoyed, by the way.
Do you know which is the biggest cycling event in Penang?
The name itself might not be the catchiest, but it’s definitely been one of the largest since its inception back in 2008.
That’s right! It’s been running for 10 years straight, and this year they celebrated their 10th anniversary – with a big ride, of course!
Taking place right in the heart of George Town, at the old field by the sea, this iconic event takes riders over 80 kilometres through bustling city streets (at least not so bustling early on a Sunday morning); Penang’s major highways; up gradual rolling hillsides; past rural kampung areas that people couldn’t imagine existed in modern day Penang; and past picturesque beaches and coastal boulevards.
There’s almost always a hill in the background.
And we pass some intriguing gardens and attractions on our way.
Did I mention Penang is very hilly?
And of course when there’s lots of people, there’s lot of wacky antics.
Welcome to Penang – a tiny island of 293 square kilometres that is home to just about every unique thing there is! And that includes dark magic and night markets, among others.
Welcome to Magination! A most well-kept secret right there in George Town.
Beware of dark magic within.
A truly bizarre blend of spooky and sensational!
And some history.
And a place for shows! Because magic is all about performance.
Finally, merch you can put your hands on (and buy)!
Fun fun magic shows!
And at the end of the tour, you’ll wake up and wonder how you ended up in an empty warehouse.
And next door is where the construction magic happens.
Through a loopy rabbit hole, we appear on another side of Penang after the sun has gone down – the bustling night markets that pop up at selected locations every day of the week (with nary a repeat), to keep you on your toes!
What night market would be complete with yummy tropical fruit?
When you tire of the fray, you can try listening to other emo songs. Or extricate yourself to a nearby field to munch on your spoils of war.
Welcome to Monkey Beach – a pristine park of Penang’s northern National Park! And yes, there are actually monkeys here! For now.
It starts off with a nice civilised pathway, but wait until you get slightly deeper.
The trail to Monkey Beach is about a 3km hike across semi-forested areas and short stretches of sandy beach.
And there’s actually signage! Huzzah!
Now before you head in, you’ll most likely be accosted by some of the salespeople at the entrance claiming there is a landslide blocking off the passageway to Monkey Beach after the USM campus. This is a bold-faced lie.
They will also insist you need a boat to access the beach, and will insist you pay a deposit to ensure you have a boat ready to take you wherever you need. You do not need a boat.
But it’s still nice to take a boat ride on the way back after you’re exhausted from all that hiking. However, you can easily get a return trip by boat from Monkey Beach itself, or wherever there is a jetty.
Access to this National Park is also entirely free! That’s right – FREE!
All you need to do is list down your personal details in case you run away with the monkeys and they need some names to put in the news.
Watch out for the little critters!
You’re bound to meet plenty of wildlife in here, as long as you keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you. Just make sure the wildlife doesn’t make off with your sunglasses.
You can even go for a swim in the relatively clean (but still murky) salt waters of Monkey Beach!
Just watch out for the watercraft and jetskis and banana boats.
The best part is after you spend the better part of an hour trudging up to the beach, you can easily hail a speedboat back to the starting point. All for the cheap, cheap price of RM50 per boat!
I wouldn’t bother booking them beforehand, which the salespeople are wont to encourage you to do before you step foot into the park.
Port Dickson is a truly idyllic seaside sanctuary from the hectic madness not far to the north. The Avillion Admiral Cove is a meticulously reclaimed semicircular lagoon prodding west along the Straits of Malacca.
With turquoise waters and a gradually receding beach front, it’s a perfect spot for classy resorts…and sport.
For 17 years, this Avillion Admiral Cove has been host to the annual Port Dickson International Triathlon, one of the few this part of the world.
With clean sweeping beaches and protected lagoony marinas, it’s not hard to see why this is such a popular spot for tourists and hardcore triathletes.
And where there is tourism, there is food. Just down the road are a number of popular seafood restaurants. One iconic eatery is based in a multi-tiered Chinese shrine. The rest have your usual assortment of resting flora and fauna.
With the sportspeople come a rainbow variety of vividly coloured equipment and accessories!
As you may have noticed, bicycling is our passion! Currently we are hosting a cycling experience around Penang Island, with bike rental if you require.
One of our usual routes is along the northern coast of Penang, riding through Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi and Teluk Bahang.
You can tackle some of Penang’s scenic hills firsthand!
This here is Pearl Hill (Bukit Mutiara) which is nestled in the suburban slopes of Tanjung Bungah. Entirely optional, as it is a bit of a workout with the constant gradual climb, but nothing a seasoned cyclist can’t handle!
We will take a ride along the windy and winding roads of the northern cliffs, and make our way past the towering resorts and beaches that Penang is famous for.
We can also take a bike hike up to the Teluk Bahang Dam (and further beyond into the hills if you’re a seasoned climber).
We’ll pass all the fun places in Penang, such as the Escape Theme Parks as well as the Entopia Butterfly Farm.
And of course there will be fruit and food and drinks!
There are many intriguing and picturesque sights to see.
We host casual fun rides around Penang all the time, so feel free to contact us and join one of our cycling experiences!
Ipoh has always been a unique concoction of culture and art and limestone and soul, a magnificent microcosm of modern Malaysia.
While the adornments may not be entirely original – even largely derivative as a lot of modern art and popular culture tends to be, Ipoh puts its own sublime spin on what it means to be a Malaysian metropolitan landmark city.
With extravagantly large visuals (you’ll notice Ipoh is noticeably larger in print on road signage) and splashes of colours between heritage colonial buildings, Ipoh is evolving out of the umbra of its larger brothers that flank it to the north and south.
Easily compared to Penang and Melaka, Ipoh has always been that hub town on the road down to KL or Cameron Highlands. But I’m afraid that is no longer the case.
While retaining its former identity as a British colony and tin mining town, Ipoh is rapidly blossoming into a tourist city rife with vivid colour and character.
Ipoh has a strange phenomenon where existing narrow terres townhouses have been extended upward. You can still see the remnant of the original roof poking out between crushed concrete.
And like any tropical town, Ipoh is alive with green and vegetation, tying it back to its simple Malaysian roots.
And of course it wouldn’t be a modern city without some swanky street art!
Remnants of the colonial era stand strong against the tropical elements.