Penang Spotlight: Penang Ferry

I’m in the middle of studying for A.I. test this coming Thursday, and it’s been more boring than I thought, so after half an hour I usually get distracted either to sit on the computer or lay down in bed reading yet another novel or totally doze off. Yeah yeah I so much love multitasking :)) and I am very good at it!!! *proud* Okay okay multitasking, procrastinating, whichever you feel like calling (v_v;), but anyway, out of nowhere I feel obligated to make another post for Penang Spotlight, and now let me introduce you to our old school Penang Ferry!

No offense, but seriously, they are really old I just couldn’t believe that they never upgrade, probably ever since Penang ferry began its service in the 1920s to ship people from Butterworth Pier in the mainland to Port Swettenham, downtown Georgetown in Penang island back and forth. The ferry service used to be the only way of communicating before the Penang Bridge was built in 1987 (a post about Penang Bridge coming up later on, maybe next month :P). And before 1920’s, I have no idea what people had used to cross the straits.

It makes sense that the ferry route takes the nearest distance between Penang island and Malaysia Peninsula mainland. Each ferry ride takes 15 minute to reach the other side. Good for recreation or sightseeing.

Now take a closer look.. can you see those tiny ferries?? :)

Despite the ancient look, the ferry service remains a crucial means for crossing the straits, given that Penang bridge isn’t that convenient as you may guess. Like traffic jams that can trap you bumper-to-bumper, or if you want to cross between nothern part to northern part, or when you’re a pedestrian/with bicycle, or when no public transport really crosses the bridge at all! Like, from my place or even Butterworth in the mainland, there’s no bus to cross by bridge, can you believe that?? Therefore you have to take the ferry. Unless you take USM shuttle bus from Engineering campus in Nibong Tebal to the main campus in Gelugor, then again it only serves during weekdays (two trips a day back and forth, morning and evening). THAT answers why I never really went to Penang island in previous semester before I got the Kelisa back to me! Anyways. I’m meaning to talk about ferry now. Back to ferry again, there are currently 8 ferries in service, they’re named after islands in Malaysia like Pulau Payar, Pulau Angsa, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Rimau, etc. Rates are as follows:

Pedestrian: Adult RM1.20, Children (between 5 to 12 years old) RM0.60
Vehicles: Bicycle: RM1.40, Motorcycle): RM2.00, Trishaw: RM3.00, Car: RM6.50, Small Lorry:RM13.20

The rates are only charged if you’re heading to Penang island. Going back to the mainland anyhow, is free of charge :) There are also monthly passes, student passes and free disable people passes for your convenience.

Pedestrian in upper deck.

Vehcles in lower deck.

On a side note to my Postcrosser friends who read this, I have a couple of Penang ferry postcards for grab. Let me know if you fancy one for your collection! :)

USM Engineering Campus – Part 1

Oh yes Penang is one of Malaysia’s famous touristic places and has one of the biggest cities. The capital Georgetown is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site along with Malacca. It IS a very beautiful and historic place.


But you aren’t likely to feel you’re in Penang with all its fun when you actually find yourself living in the farthest spot from the city and nearest the border of Perak :(


Unless I didn’t choose to go for Engineering course and be placed in the Engineering campus in Nibong Tebal, I would instead have been delighted to be living in the island and center of the city in the main campus. Agh.

And some more, Nibong Tebal is purely a jungle than a town! No public transports come inside the campus, and the nearest town is Parit Buntar (yes, in Perak state actually). You have to call a taxi to bring you to bus station in Parit Buntar. Then again there’s no direct bus to Penang island crossing the bridge. You have to take one hour trip to Butterworth and take a ferry to Georgetown. Yes, FERRY!!!!!!!! It sounds fun only if you just take ferry, not those very long journey that simply makes you feel as if you’re traveling to another state. I was in the main campus last week to do the medical checkup since our campus here doesn’t do X-ray thing, and USM provides shuttle bus to go there actually, but only 2 trips per day, 8.30 am from Eng campus and come back at 11am from main campus, and 3pm from Eng campus and come back 5pm from main campus. Thing is, I MISSED the morning bus!! T_____T And since there’s no other free day to go, and I had my classmate Fiona with me, we decided to turn it into an adventure and took taxi, bus, and ferry to go there. It took damn hours to really reach there instead of 1 hour by shuttle bus (use bridge, like many other cars do, and I still can’t understand why no public bus goes there by bridge). But we managed to catch the return bus at 5pm, fortunately. One day of traveling to Penang, and you say we’re living in Penang? BTW Nibong Tebal to Georgetown are at leats 35km apart.

OK, nevermind that. I just have to get used to the fact I’ll be living in the jungle for at least one year. It’s not too bad, actually. Think nature, no noise and air pollution. Coz here in this campus everyone is riding a bicycle. I have never seen lots of bike users like this in any other place in Malaysia before. It’s like a new discovery :)

One of the many bikes

One of the many garages in the hostel area (we call it Desasiswa here, = Student Village).


My bike!!!!! :D :D Who would have thought that I ended up riding bicycle again lol. Oh yes, Coffeebeanie, it's red color ;) How come did you guess PINK?? :o

bicycle path

Path for bicycle only to go to school buildings. I can't remember if I have seen such environment and biking society in other places in Malaysia before. For a moment, I thought I was in Holland instead of Nibong Tebal :))

bicycle path

Palm trees, lakes.. (though seen in picture is rather a flooded field after a rainy day). Hmmm yes as you can see we really live in a jungle.

lembaran blok 1

Desasiswa Lembaran Blok 1

My hostel building. My room is at the top level, no lift, hence another means of exercise apart of the bike. I live a healthy life now!! :P I have 3 roomates here, well USM hostel here is not as “posh” as UIA hostel I was living in past years, but trust me, it isn’t too bad either. I guess I’ll survive here for one year. Or actually, my course seems to last for 1.5 years. Agh.