walking in Penang

Penang walk at lowest sea level

This morning was Penang’s lowest ever sea level that I’d seen. I was able to walk all the way from the end of Gurney Drive almost to the Penang Club – just along the beach. The first time ever for me.

Penang's lowest ever sea level

Of course the land reclamation changes the flow of the sea currents, and the sand in front of the Penang Club has been washed away. Before the Gurney Wharf Project land reclamation I used to walk along the beach in front of the Penang Club. Even so, back then, still what I saw today was Penang’s lowest ever sea level. I never saw the opportunity to walk all the way to Gurney Drive along the beach. Naturally I am not there all the time. But I am quite often.

 

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