walking in Penang

Living dangerously – I went for a walk

Mostly it’s not easy crossing Gurney Drive on foot.

But I thought I was doing everything right. A brief break in the traffic was coming, which is often all you can hope for, with a motorcycle proceeding straight ahead in the left lane. So I started across the right lane, ready to nip behind the motorcycle and cross before the next car came. Suddenly the motorcycle swerved right and almost hit me, to turn into a side street.

Normally to judge if a vehicle is turning one looks for a turn indicator (bearing in mind that for motorcycles they are often indicating simply because the indicators weren’t cancelled), being in the turning lane – in this case the right lane, and the vehicle slowing down. This motorcyclist did none of these.

So for more safety, now I think I should cross where there are no nearby side streets. However, walking along the other footpath, one is often blocked by parked cars and forced onto the road, anyway.

Very recently a lady was knocked over and killed on a pedestrian crossing by a motorcyclist at a red light on nearby Kelawei Road.  Whenever you cross a road you must watch for motorcyclists who ride between cars, and often ignore red lights, too.  You can’t just look straight ahead and cross safely.

 

Selfish car parking on footpaths makes walking more dangerous

One should apparently exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and possibly the easiest and most pleasant exercise is walking.  In Penang this has been difficult in many places, but footpaths are being built and upgraded, so the situation is improving.

Unfortunately, some car drivers see footpaths as a convenient place to park so that they don’t have to walk.  Often this forces pedestrians  onto a busy road with cars driving quite fast, so you have to wait for a break in the traffic to get past the parked car blocking the footpath. Or risk getting killed.  Of course, car lanes are quite narrow here, so you have to be careful.  Better signposts indicating where safe and legal car parking is available might help.  If these drivers parked safely and walked a little, they would also improve their health.  In fact, when you see strategies for scheduling exercise, they often mention parking further from your destination and walking as one of them.

Some motorcyclists seem to view footpaths as a traffic free speedtrack.  The other day I was surprised by a motorcyclist zooming towards me at around 40km/h.  Others see it as a way to ignore one way streets.  And others just to avoid traffic on the road.

Some cyclists also use the footpath, but in my experience they ride quite slowly, and I haven’t yet felt threatened – and I sympathise, as facilities are as yet quite poor for cyclists, although they too are improving slowly.  Faster cyclists tend to cycle on the road.

Here are a few photos:

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

and it's not only cars

and it’s not only cars – every other bike was parked OK, but this owner chose to block the whole path

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

rubbish is also blocking the footpath

rubbish is also blocking the footpath

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking by bus – there is a long length of lane with a yellow line where he could park which would not block traffic, but instead he parks on the corner where he causes a jam when traffic is heavier.  These buses do this all the time – but occasionally a driver is more considerate.

inconsiderate bike parking

inconsiderate bike parking

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

I can squeeze past on the left - but he's also part blocking a car lane

I can squeeze past on the left – but he’s also part blocking a car lane

I can squeeze past on the left - but he's also part blocking a car lane

I can squeeze past on the left – but he’s also part blocking a car lane

hmm

hmm

did he really have to block - even parallel to the path would have been better

did he really have to block the path?- even parallel to the path would have been better

right in the middle of the path

right in the middle of the path

hmm

hmm

and a bicycle gets into the act - I almost fall down the embankment

and a bicycle gets into the act – I almost fall down the embankment

lot of them

lot of them

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

there's that rubbish blocking the path again

there’s that rubbish blocking the path again

inconsiderate parking

inconsiderate parking

motocyclist road - sometime they honk you to get out of the way

motorcyclist road – sometimes they honk you to get out of the way

motocyclist road

motorcyclist road

motocyclist road

motorcyclist road

motocyclist road

motorcyclist road

More people are walking today than before, I think – a mixture of tourists and locals.  It would be nice if pedestrians were respected.

A wander around George Town

I went for a wander around George Town’s Heritage Zone one afternoon this week. In the past I would not have done this, because it is generally too hot, but it’s been cooler lately, and so it was a pleasant stroll.  Here are a few photos…

an old public phone

an old public phone

Food Museum on Beach Street

Food Museum on Beach Street

big Cendol

big Cendol

big egg

big egg

big noodles

big noodles

Fire Station

Fire Station

Fire Station

Fire Station

main temple entrance

main temple entrance

temple

temple

temple

temple

for tourists

for tourists

Armenian Street - popular with toursits

Armenian Street – popular with toursits

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on a side street

on a side street

this is good to read

this is good to read

mosque

mosque

side street

side street

you see these all over George Town

you see these all over George Town

not so much traffic in this immediate area

not so much traffic in this immediate area

not so much traffic in this immediate area

not so much traffic in this immediate area

park at the end of Armenian Street

park at the end of Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

some people grow trees

some people grow trees

on Armenian Street

on Armenian Street

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a rare site - a bicycle path

a rare site – a bicycle path

mosque on Kapital Keeling

mosque on Kapital Keeling

it could be Hotlink - Maxis phone company's pre-paid

it could be Hotlink – Maxis phone company’s pre-paid

relaxing at a coffee shop - there are so many these days

relaxing at a coffee shop – there are so many these days

relaxing at a coffee shop

relaxing at a coffee shop – yum, marshmallows

clocktower

clocktower

Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 10 – the coast near Straits Quays

Do this walk earlier in the morning, as by 9.30AM to 10AM it will be quite hot.  This really goes for about any walk in Penang, though.

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Park,  and walk from the orange marker to the blue marker at the bottom

 

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Tesco in the background

 

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park and start walking from Straits Green

 

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I walked to Straits Green

 

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but watch where you walk – uncovered drains

 

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Straits Green car park

 

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a toilet block is there

 

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apparently they don’t want me to bring my goat

 

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walk through the car park and into the park and turn to the right to find the path

 

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here’s the path

 

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looking to the left you can see the sea

 

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there is a beach

 

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to continue just walk through here

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looking back to the beach from the path

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the new island they are making

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gate to Straits Quays

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gate to Straits Quays

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Straits Quays

I would suggest detouring through Straits Quays to take advantage of the air conditiong, the toilet if you wish, and also a drink or coffee.

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inside Straits Quays

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now past Straits Quays and continuing on

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just turned right off the path for a minute to see the contruction of more houses

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you pass houses with pools

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George Town in the background

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view of another street on the right

 

 

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and then you reach the end – where the blue marker on the map is

And that’s it – you walk back again.  To save time, once you get to Straits Quays it may be a little quicker to walk to the carpark via the road.  But not much different.

Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 9 – Gurney Drive to Suffolk House

I  started in the middle of Gurney Drive, at Bali Hai.  This walk took about 45 minutes with a short rest around half way, but there are a few diversions on the way to see if you wish.  My pedometer app said it was 4,800 steps.  Basically stay on the “footpath” on the left of the road.

walking-route

walking-route

The route is:

Gurney Drive,

Jalan Concordia, then cross

Jalan Kelawai to

Lorong Bangkok (or go one block to the left and take Lorong Burma to the right to see the Burma and Thai temples), then turn right at the end onto

Burma Road, then left into

Jalan Cantonment – you can take the next road left, Jalan Pasar,  to see the Pulau Tikus Market, then return to Jalan Cantonment.  Later there is the Hor Kai Kong Temple on the right side of the road.  At the end cross

Jalan  Macalister straight  into Jalan Sepoy Lines. Watch the traffic! Here you can take a rest on a bench and watch the sports field or gaze at the mountains. Then go straight across a busy road into

Jalan Scotland, then take the first left into

Jalan Piggot, and follow this winding road through a rural feeling neighbourhood to turn right into

Jalan York, then immediately left into

Halaman York.  where you take the second street on your left, which is

Medan York (this is a crescent, so the first street on your left is also Medan York) Walk until you see a large car park on your right, just past the condos, and turn right into the car park, going straight for a minute or two  until you reach a park. Turn right into

the park and walk along the path until you see a bridge across the river on the left.  Cross the bridge and Suffolk House will be on your left.

Gurney Drive

Gurney Drive

Bali Hai on Gurney Drive

Bali Hai on Gurney Drive – but we walk in the other direction

Turn from Gurney Drive into Jalan Concordia

Turn from Gurney Drive into Jalan Concordia

a little shrine

a little shrine

a temple on Jalan Concordia

a temple on Jalan Concordia

You can go straight across Jalan Kelawai into Lorong Bangkok, but you can see the Thai temple here. Or you can visit the temples from the next street to the left

You can go straight across Jalan Kelawai into Lorong Bangkok, but you can see the Thai temple here. Or you can visit the temples from the next street to the left

nice houses on Lorong Bangkok

nice houses on Lorong Bangkok

 

At the end of the street are popular places to eat

At the end of the street are popular places to eat

Intersection of Jalan Burma and Jalan Cantonment

Intersection of Jalan Burma and Jalan Cantonment. Turn left here

Jalan Cantonment

Jalan Cantonment

durian stand

durian stand

on the left is Pulau Tikus Market

on the left in Jalan Pasar is Pulau Tikus Market

Jalan Cantonment

Jalan Cantonment

The temple

The Hor Kai Kong temple

big houses on this street

big houses on this street

what

be careful crossing here as there is a lot of traffic

phew, made it across

phew, made it across

you can rest on a bench here

you can rest on a bench here

the view across the sports fields to the hills

the view across the sports fields to the hills

the busiest road crossing

the busiest road crossing – ask your guardian angel for a clear road when you arrive here. I did, and as you can see it was uncharacteristically clear for enough time to safely cross

Scotland Road is busy, but you are only walking besdie it on the footpath for a couple of minutes

Scotland Road is busy, but you are only walking beside it on the footpath for a couple of minutes

then turn here into quiet Jalan Piggot

then turn here into quiet Jalan Piggot

now it's quiet

now it’s quiet and shady

keep going across the bridge

keep going across the bridge

river

river – well, it hasn’t rained much for months now

still quiet

still quiet

approaching Jalan York

approaching Jalan York

another view of the hills

another view of the hills

cut right through this carpark

cut right through this carpark

now you're in the park

now you’re in the park

see that bridge? - we cross it

see that bridge? – we cross it

and there is Suffolk House

and there is Suffolk House

Suffolk House is open 10AM to 6PM, with an entrance fee of RM20 redeemable for food and drink inside. You can pay at the guardhouse. Entrance for children under 12 or students in uniform is free.

And here is a video of the walk:

video of walk

An evening stroll along Gurney Drive, Penang

Jpeg

The fence is just past Jalan Pemenang, near Mr Pot

So I decided to go for a stroll along Gurney Drive. I wanted to know how far the fence has got, seeing as they started four weeks ago now.  The fence is now up to Mr Pot – just past Jalan Pemenang.  Yesterday it was finished to just before the same street, so it didn’t proceed that far in a day.

There is a set of pedestrian traffic lights, and as the road was busy when I was there, I had to use the lights.  The first two or three cars went through the lights after it was well and truly red.   Then it seemed safe for me to cross, ever watching out for motorbikes which characteristically ignore red lights.  As soon as I was half way across, a couple of cars went through the red light again.  One really has to be careful. It may be safer to cross without using pedestrian lights as you then have no expectations.

A few minutes later I saw four local police riding past on tiny motorbikes. They all stop at 7-11 and go in. Well, it seemed funny to me.

Walking the other direction I see a couple of guys sitting on a bench in the dark smoking a full-sized shisha. They first time I’d seen that.

And later I saw a trishaw with tourists making its way along Gurney Drive – with no lights.  And it was going the wrong way on the one-way section.  I would have thought the tourists would have been smarter than to do that, even if the driver wasn’t.  Apparently not.

I went home making no further observations.

Walking in Penang for the non-suicidal – Walk 8 – the beaches near Gurney Drive

If the tide is not too high you can walk along a few quiet beaches on the way to George Town.  But don’t expect pristine beaches with golden sand and palm trees waving in the soft breeze as you paddle in the azure water.  Expect instead some rubbish, the odd dead fish, a few rocks to carefully negotiate, and opaque sea water you really don’t want to enter.

However, you may see some nice scenes with fishing boats, a nice sunrise over the sea if you are up early,  you can walk barefoot along the sand so long as you watch where you step, and it is quiet and peaceful with very few if any people around. It can be quite pleasant.

Basically, you start at the George Town end of Gurney Drive and simply clamber down to the beach and walk along.  You pass an entrance to the Northam Hawker Centre, climb up and cross a couple of storm drains along the way – there are steps or a bridge, and eventually you can go no further, so you walk up to Northam Road, or retrace your steps.

The photos were taken around sunrise on a dull, overcast morning, and so are not very bright.

the end of Gurney Drive

the end of Gurney Drive

get  down to the beach from here - I hold on to the railing on the right as I go down, and then it's quite easy

get down to the beach from here – I hold on to the railing on the right as I go down, and then it’s quite easy

the first beach - here you can sometimes get nice photos of fishing boats with the sunrise

the first beach – here you can sometimes get nice photos of fishing boats with the sunrise

further along the same beach are some steps up to the Hawker Centre

further along the same beach are some steps up to the Hawker Centre

first thing in the morning the hawker centre is closed - but if you want you can walk through it to the road

first thing in the morning the hawker centre is closed – but if you want you can walk through it to the road

you cross the storm drain here - there are steps up

you cross the storm drain here – there are steps up – nice view of washed up rubbish

but after the drain you have to negotiate the rocks

but after the drain you have to negotiate the rocks

this next stretch of beach is the nicest - it was clean the day I was there and had no boats and no one around

this next stretch of beach is the nicest – it was clean the day I was there and had no boats and no one around

the moon behind the palm trees

the moon behind the palm trees

continuing along

continuing along

near the end you have to walk through some rocks you can see ahead

near the end you have to walk through some rocks you can see ahead

you need to go to the right a little to find a bridge across the storm drain

you need to go to the right a little to find a bridge across the storm drain

little bridge ahead

little bridge ahead

bridge

bridge

the last stretch of beach

the last stretch of beach

you can't continue after this

you can’t continue along the coast after this

only about one quarter the way along you need to head to the right - keep to the right of the blue boat and there is an entrance to the street

only about one-quarter the way along you need to head to the right – keep to the right of the blue boat (left of the restaurant) and there is an entrance to the street

this is what you see as you head up from the beach

this is what you see as you head up from the beach

you pass the restaurant on the right

you pass the Ocean Green Restaurant on the right

continue up the street

continue up the street

and then this is the view if you turn left onto Northam Road towards George Town.

and then this is the view if you turn left onto Northam Road towards George Town

Keeping on this side of the road you will hit a proper footpath after a few minutes.  I guess it’s about 20 minutes walk to George Town from here.