The West Coast of Malaysia


Global Mark : 13.20

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Market Relax Fiesta 


3 3 5 3 3 3 2 2 12.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
5 100% 80% (4) 100% 12 to 17 14.40

Description : A town by "the most beautiful public garden in Malaysia"

Comments : Surrounded by greenery, including an old Hill Station, the "town of everlasting peace" indeed offer some good retreat opportunities. But to find those, you will have to leave the developed town center.

What to do ? Leave the shops & traffic behind by walking 1km to the east / Walk the small path around the lake / Cross small bridges / Spot monitor lizards / See other wild animals at the big zoo / Watch locals play grass hockey / Visit the oldest museum in the country / Back in town, check out a few Chinese & Indian Temples / Shop around / Taste Satay at the large night market / Get a Land Rover ride (R2) to Maxwell Hill and enjoy the view & walks around / Walk down the hill (2-3 hours) Note : I did not go to the Hill myself. Anyone to relate the experience ?

What you may not like ? The traffic around the Garden / The color of the water with some floating rubbish / Also spotting rubbish on the well maintained grass / The not so charming town / The sight of animals in cage / 

How long ? A few hours for a taste of serenity by the lake garden. At least one day if wishing to go up Maxwell Hill

Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online & save money !

- In town : Plenty of Chinese Hotels, some of them working as scary brothels. 

  • Queen Hotel, the nearest from the bus station, opposite the Department Store "The Store" / Room w. shower 25 / Acceptable rooms opening on balcony but nothing to write home about...
  • Swiss Hotel (2620133), further on the street at No431 Lebuh Chulia, near the central market / Sgl or Dbl w. lavatory 22 or 25, w. shower 30 / Relatively clean & large bright rooms.
  • Sin Kong Hotel (822780), 39 & 41 Jalan Barrack, opp. the Post Office, 4th major street to the North, the nearest from the Garden / Room w. lavatory 18 / Go there for the cheapest acceptably clean room in town / What you may not like : not getting a full wall nor the switch inside the room
  • Hong Kong Hotel (8073824), 79 Jalan Barrack, further west / "Small", "medium" or "big" rooms w. shower 23, 26 or 32 / Go there for the cheapest acceptably clean rooms w. shower and the not that small "small" room / What you may not like : the old furniture 

- By the Lake Garden :

  • Casuarina Hotel (8041339), formerly knows as New Rest House / 1.5 km from town center at 1, Jalan Sultan Mansor Shah / The management has put carpet on the floor and improved the limited furniture in order to raise the prices from 35 to 69 for a not so fresh Dbl room w. AC and HW shower. Nice location and big rooms but not so good value for money... 

Where to eat ? Plenty of street restaurants between the Swiss Hotel and "The Store" plus a large night market. You shall not starve !

 << Discover the Lake Garden

Bus Schedules ? 

From Taiping :

To  Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Kamunting 0.6 ordi 20mn 6 to 21:30 a lot 15mn
Kuala Kangsar 2.05-2.25 fan/ac 45m 6:00 to 21:30 a lot 15-30mn
Lumut 4.5 ac 2 7,9:20,12,14:30,17 5 na

Notes : To Kuala Kangsar, AC Bus every hour from 7 to 18:00. 

From Kamuntun :

To  Price Class D Time Nb Freq.
Butterworth 4 ac 75mn 7 to 20:30 a lot 30mn
Penang 6 ac 1.5 6:30,9,13:30,16,18,18:30,19 a few na
Kota Bharu 15-18 ac 7 10:30,22 2 na
Ipoh 4.3 ac 1.5 6:30 to 18:30 a lot 30mn
KL 13 ac 4 7:30 to 23:15 a lot hour
Singapore 35 ac 8 '9:30,21:30,21:45,22 4 na

Notes : To Kota Bharu, bus from Kuala Kangsar / To KL, lots of companies

The trip to Penang via Kamunting & Butterworth : SS / L&R / R0.6 + R4 + R0.6 / 20mn + 75mn + 20mn / Buses + Ferry
The Bus station in Taiping is handling only a few destinations. For express buses, one must go to Kamunting first, a 20mn-7km ride on Bus No8. 
There, a dozen of companies exhibit prices and time schedules. I did not bother comparing the products and took the first bus to Butterworth. I could have gone to Penang directly but it was R2 more expensive, would have left 30mn later and would have taken 30mn longer. Three good arguments for the boat.
The ride was perfect for a nap as the highway scenery was mostly boring. We arrived in no time at the big unpleasant bus station with its dozen of companies. If you wish to reach Kota Bharu on a super vip bus (24 seats, R24), this is the place to buy the tickets as those do not leave from Penang. Other exotic destinations are also on offer...
The last part of the trip was the most original and scenic : the huge ferry to Penang ! The pier is only 5mn walk away from the station (go on the first floor and follow the crowd) and it never rest : 24 hours service every 20-30mn for R0.6 (free from Penang to Butterworth). The GH are then 10mn walk away...

See also the trip from Kuala Kangsar