top of page

Please support us by allowing Google Ads on our website. Thanks! 

  • Writer's pictureRick

West Malaysia Day 16: Journey from Ipoh to Penang

I had too much caffeine and was unable to get into sleep until 3 plus. I needed to reduce my intake of traditional kopi, which had much higher caffeine level than hand-brewed coffee.

I left the hotel 10 minutes before 9am and came to Lim Ko Pi (啉咖啡) just after it opened its door. The cafe, which sounded like “drink coffee” in Hokkien, was setup to preserved a piece of Ipoh’s heritage — primarily its food culture. The cafe had three value breakfast sets on weekdays and I picked the set with traditional toasts, soft-boil eggs and "hot coffee 98". Feeling that it might be too little for me, I added on an egg custard.

The interesting things were I had to spread the toasts myself — that was how it used to be — and the custard was eaten in a bowl with the syrup underneath the custard. Or was I supposed to flip the bowl and empty the content on the plate? 🤔

It was close to 10am after finishing my breakfast. I ran through what I needed to do before leaving Ipoh in my head and pondered whether to have lunch before the train ride. Instead of looking for another place to have lunch two hours later, I might as well had it at Lim Ko Pi and skip lunch later.

I picked up the menu and ordered a chee cheong fun (猪肠粉) with minced meat, mushrooms, white sesame seeds, fried shallots in a mild-savoury broth. The chee cheong fun was eaten like noodle.

It was a different experience dining at Lim Ko Pi. I should have visited this cafe years ago.

I took a stroll around the old town after brunch, passed by YG Homemade Biscuit stall again and bought three of their kaya puffs (an original, a pandan and a butter again) for eating onboard the train later. I could not buy any of their traditional puffs to take home since I did not have a return plan yet.

Seeing that Restoran Two Six (26茶室) was also opened, I took note that they were selling dim sums, prawn mee, curry mee, etc.

In the short 20 minutes’ walk, I worked out a sweat even under a cloudy sky. I headed back to Brick Box Hotel, took a shower and pack my things.

After check-out, I had about 2 hours to go before taking the train to Penang. Instead of going to the train station and wait which was my original plan, I looked for an air-conditioned cafe nearby where I could waste some time out of the noon heat.

I came to Marketplace Waffle Bar & Cafe just round a corner — not far from the hotel and the train station. It was quiet so I went in. Not wanting to have too much coffee, I ordered an iced passion fruit green tea and added on a carrot cake. The carrot cake had a "carrot" on it and was a very nice cake with savoury cream.

With 30 minutes left to go, I exited the cafe, walked to Ipoh Train Station, and reached the station with 20 minutes to spare.

There was no need to queue for train ticket since I had used the KTMB app to purchase it and gotten a direct-access QR code. Entry to the platform was opened 10 minutes before the train arrived and I went through. It was a breeze.

The ETS train arrived at 1:36pm, commenced boarding and departed at 1:42pm. It was slightly less than 2 hours to Butterworth Station in Penang, but not on Penang Island (Pulau Pinang) yet.

At 3:23pm, the train arrived at Butterworth, its final station. It took me nearly 20 minutes to exit the old train station as all passengers had to scan their tickets at two gantries. Then, it was just following the signs or other passengers in front to Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal for crossing the channel to Penang Island.

After several passageways, I came to the ticketing counter at the ferry terminal. The ferry ticket had increased to RM2 per adult and no cash payment accepted. All passengers had either to use Touch n’ Go at the gantry or buy tickets using credit / debit cards or asked someone to buy on behalf.

At 10 minutes to 4pm, I boarded the new ferry and it sailed off on the dot.

The ferry reached Pangkalan Raka Tun Uda Ferry Terminal in around 12 minutes. All passengers had boarded at one end of the ferry and exited at the other end, so the ferry would not have to turn around. At the pier, I could see a couple of the old ferries, but no chance to photograph the new one. Weld Quay Jetty Bus Terminal was right beside the jetty.

It seemed so close to walk to Grand Swiss Hotel but took me 15 minutes to reach there under a hot sun. I was once again thoroughly drenched in my own sweat. I would use the public bus or Grab car next time.

Checking in to Grand Swiss Hotel was swift. Room was barely acceptable but the floor and walls were wooden — an old house structure. The washroom floor was still wet because there was no ventilation in it. On closer inspection, the floor seemed to be cleaned but anything above my head was not — there were dust-balls hanging from the air-conditioner and ceiling. Sigh… two days only.

7pm, I left the hotel to look for food. At the entrance to the hotel, there were 5 beautiful murals on both walls along the alley.

There was a Kimberly Street Food (Night Market) on Google Maps that was not far from the hotel and I decided to check it out. The night market was at a road junction where there were quite a number of dessert shops. The food stalls were on the road in front of the shops. After purchasing food from the stalls, eating-in at any “borrowed” tables, provided by the dessert shops or other stalls, would require buying something from the “lender” as a service. This was a common practice in Penang.

A road-side stall, called Super Star Chicken Feet Koay Teow Soup (天皇鸡脚粿条汤), had a long queue. I took a look at what they were selling and decided to try it. After queueing for around 10 minutes, and tempted by the beautifully braised chicken legs, I ordered a set of the meaty leg, a braised egg and a bowl of kway teow soup full of ingredients. And it was only RM14.

After the meal, I bought an iced dessert from the “lender” stall to wash down the food. And a short walk to check out the quiet Armenian Street before retreating back to the hotel.


bottom of page