It was time for an explore. We had been loving our little bit of settling-in time during the first week of our housesit but now it was time to explore the quiet side of Penang Island further.
Penang is an island of two parts. There is the built up side that is centred on Georgetown and runs all the way down to the airport in the south. Then there is the western side. This is a much more rural side which is cut off from the rest by lush rainforest covered mountains. Here nutmeg farms, goat farms, fishing villages and durian trees define the landscape.
Durian is a strange fruit, on one hand, it is delicious to eat. We had some particularly fine homemade durian ice-cream when we were in Ipoh. On the other hand, at nearly every hotel that we we have stayed in over the last few months, it was lumped into a category with guns and prostitutes, as something that we really should not take to our room!
Today we are off to explore the western side of the island. So we rev up our colourful car “red” and set off up the windy road that climbs up past the dam, into the rainforest. As we descend down the other side, we come out into a remarkably flat coastal plain. We turn down side roads and end up in little fishing villages where the only option is to turn around and go back. Then we decide that maybe it would be a good idea to get the mobile phone out and use Maps to give us, at least some idea of where we are. I had seen a beach down a dead end road on Google Maps earlier and I wanted to see if we could find it.
After a couple more twists and turns, and a surprisingly good road around the headland, we arrive at Pantai Pasir Panjang. This is our reward for exploring. It is instantly our favourite Penang beach and we start to plan our next trip with the dogs, a picnic and our swimming togs. As we walk back along the beach, we even find a cowry. For us that is a sure sign that we have found a special place.