SKETCH YOUR JOURNEY
Or did I? As I recall, I spent my time burning my calories just as much as I spent gaining (I was in Penang, after all…). Let’s look back together to my trip and decide whether I lost or gained some weight.
I’ve been to Penang many times, but this time around, this trip brought me to all the places I’ve never been before, and forced me to do all the things I’ve never done.
The day started slow, easy, and breezy, as we paid a visit to Kampung Agong, a haven for Instagrammable shots with an entrance fee of only RM8. We were welcomed with drizzling rain (and this weather went on almost throughout the trip), so we relaxed under a rumah kampung, overlooking a beautiful pond flooded with water lilies.
There were many things to do under the small house. We played congkak; a traditional game of placing seeds or marbles in holes, took photos with a trishaw, tried using a batu pengisar (a type of metate traditionally used to grind grains or seeds), and took turns resting in a hammock.
Once the air cleared, we started with our attempts at getting those perfect angles at different spots, especially the many gigantic bird nests. For us to explore the rest of the area, we rented a bike at RM10 each, and this was when my warming up started for the full-stretched exercise.
Making our way between the many coconut trees, we crossed a narrow path between several paddy fields to reach the other side of Kampung Agong, where we were welcomed with a mock-up white piano and two large swings, overlooking more paddy fields. No words could do justice to the actual scenic view that we witnessed.
*For more information, visit https://kampungagong.com
Accompanied by the grey sky, we took the opportunity of the cool weather and went to Chew Jetty. However, we arrived a tad late as the shops were already closed. We walked to the end of the jetty, passing by a close-knit settlement of fishermen, where their row houses are built on stilts.
We only realised then that we barely ate for the day! Too tired to care, we headed for a bowl of Sup Hameed’s sup kambing (lamb soup), paired with soft Benggali bread, a classic comfort food only Penang has to offer.
*For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/suphameed
Now comes the day where I stretched my muscles with some adrenaline-pumping activities!
To start the day, we stopped at Belimbing Café Corner, a stall by the roadside for a plate of a gigantic roti jala (net crepes) with beef and chicken curry as the dipping sauce. *Belimbing Café Corner is located at Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang, 11050, Pulau Pinang. For further enquiries, kindly contact +6012 597 8739.
We then headed to Escape Penang, not knowing what was waiting for us. As it turned out, we were going to spend the day convincing ourselves that we were up for every challenge they have to offer.
The first activity we tried was Slingshot. Not really sure how to put the experience into words, but I sure screamed my heart out for the first few seconds. They basically strapped you to a rope stretched like a slingshot, tightened the rope using a machine, and in a split second, you are thrown high into the air. The heart-dropping part comes after; when you fell (what felt like freely) after being slingshot, and this would continue a few times before it stopped. A must try!
Next, we went for Atan’s Leap, where I really had to ‘slow talk’ with my inner self (and where the instructor had to give a few words of wisdom) to bring my right foot to the front and do a free fall from a height of 15 metres! This was definitely the scariest activity for me, as I had to bring myself to do it. It was also starting to rain when I finally mustered my courage, so, free-falling in the rain – check!
Once the rain stopped, we headed to the Kite Flyer. This activity has to be done in a pair, so my friend and I were strapped in a somewhat sitting harness that was hanging from something that looked like a kite, and we were lifted at about 15 metres high. My friend had to pull a rope that was dangling between us upon instruction, and off we went, flying just like a kite!
We then hiked a little up a hill to reach the next activity, the Flying Lemur, where would be riding five flying-fox(es) and overcoming two obstacles, on our own! An instructor gave a brief demonstration on the how-to's, the dos and dont's, and then we were sent to our freedom, flying from one tree to another, living our Tarzan’s dream.
After that, we cooled ourselves by taking a dip in the Wave Ball pool and had fun floating through the artificial beach waves. Then, we rode the Chairlift twice to get to the Tubby Racer and The Longest. The Tubby Racer felt like a roller-coaster ride where the seats are tubby tubes joined together. The Longest, described in its name, is the longest tube water slide in the world! So, imagine riding a water slide more than 1km long!
Ending our visit with a bang, my friend tried his luck at Aerobat, a trapeze activity with the talented Escape instructors (they even made it to Asia’s Got Talent!). He successfully aced the challenge and received a medal to commemorate the experience, while I cheered hysterically from the benches.
*For more information, visit https://www.escape.my/pg
Despite the dim weather, we attempted to catch the sunset at Batu Feringghi, to no avail. For dinner, we went a tad overboard at Lan’s Corner Ikan Bakar, feasting ourselves with delicious, fresh seafood. *For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/lanscornerikanbakar
I did not know what I was expecting when our itinerary said trail cycling, but my body was definitely not prepared for it! At the foot of Gertak Sanggul Hill, we were welcomed by Encik Fauzi and Encik Nan with bicycles thoroughly inspected beforehand for our safe ride. Equipped with helmets and gloves, we followed Cik Nan up the hill.
Legs barely built to jog around a lake, it was mere seconds before my brain decided that we didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. The uphill, bumpy trail was apparently too much for my stamina, so I ended up pushing my bike almost throughout the ride, and cycled when we met a flatter ground or downhill.
All the tiredness melted away once we reached the peak, overlooking the sea and Pulau Rimau (Tiger Island). The weather was perfect when we took a breather on a big boulder, discussing the use of buah pala (nutmeg) with Cik Nan. We also got to know that Cik Nan was the Penang state representative for BMX in the ‘90s!
We cycled past four durian orchards before we reached the ground once again and in total, we’ve cycled for 15 kilometres. I've never felt healthier in my life!
We dropped by the famous Container Art situated in the middle of paddy fields before we went for lunch at Mee Che Meh. Is it too much if I say it was one of the best kuey teow goreng I've ever had?
*For further enquiries on cycling packages, kindly contact Encik Fauzi at +6011 1002 9069.
* Mee Che Meh is located at Jalan Pondok Upeh, Kampung Setul, 11000 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang. For further enquiries, kindly contact +604 866 6393.
After bidding our farewell, we headed for our relaxing night-in at Boulder Valley Eco-Glamping Resort. We checked into our Tented Villa, settled down, and then changed into our swimming suits for a quick dip in the pool right outside our villa.
We had an outdoor barbeque feast for dinner and for the cherry on top, we had an amazing Organic Durian Pizza, with an abundant durian filling topped with melting cheese. The combination is like no other!
It was a shame that we didn’t get to stay longer at Boulder Valley, for it is the perfect getaway if you’re looking after health and wellness tourism. For starters, the food is prepared with organic ingredients (and tasted *chef’s kiss*), various relaxing spa packages are offered, as well as outdoor activities that allow visitors to bond with Mother Nature.
I managed to get the BV Glamping Signature Massage before breakfast, called Urutan 5 Beradik (5 Siblings Massage) which focuses on the five major points for releasing muscle stress.
*For more information, visit https://bouldervalleyglamping.com.my
My friends and I wrapped up our trip by mural-hunting across George Town, for all the famous Penang street art; classic cat murals, wire-sculptured caricatures, and the Instagram-worthy spot beside the Central Fire Station.
Last but definitely not least, we had our hearty lunch at Ivy’s Nyonya Cuisine Restaurant, for the ultimate Penang Peranakan cuisine experience.
*For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/ivysnyonyacuisine
I guess we all can agree that I gained more weight than I lost. Either way, it was such a fun trip and I would do it all over again!
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