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Spore (Changi Airport T1) -> Penang International Airport -> Island Plaza (Luxfort 118) -> Batu Ferringhi Night Market

This trip is a little rush to begin with. We only decided on going Malaysia after seeing the incredibly, ridiculously priced air fares and couldn't resist the temptation. We bought our air tickets in september and started finalising our accomodation in end October/November since we know that we will be going during the peak school holiday season.

We chose to fly to Penang because:
1. The journey time is shorter than taking the conventional route - train/bus
2. The fares are priced ridiculously low. Maybe even lower than taking bus, considering the comfortable level

As such, we purchased our flight tickets with Jetstar during their Friday Frenzy sale.

The Friday Fare Frenzy is only available for a limited time - 11am-6pm. In another words, the fastest fingers win. Why do I say so? Cos as you know fares will be going at discounted price, and the better seats and timings are often snap up during the first few hours of the sale. It's best if you can planned the dates and destination that you wish to travel and so when deal like these comes by you just add to cart instantly!

We purchased it at around 5+pm as we were not aware of this Friday Frenzy sale till then, and by then there's limited seats and timings available. We chose 'multi city' since at that point of time, Jetstar is promoting their flights to Penang from Singapore and from KL to Singapore. KL to Singapore is free and they give us 20kg check in baggage free too as part of the promotion. We are only paying the airport tax and fuel surcharge for the flight back to SG. While for the flight to Penang, our basic fare costs us $14/pax. 

A few weeks/months later, we went back to the Jetstar portal and the air fares are so much higher, almost x2 of what we paid. 

So, get your budget air tickets during their ( may it be airasia, jetstar, tiger or even Scoot) sale and it will give you massive cost savings that you can utilise on other aspects!

Changi Airport Terminal 3
For this festive season, Changi airport Group is having a little 'spongebob' promotion. Whereby for every $60 you spent in the public area or $100 that you spent in the transit area, you will be able to redeem any Spongebob character at $3!

Image courtesy of Changixmas2013 - Changi Airport Group
By right, we should only be allowed to redeem 'squidward tentacles' since its the plush toy of the week however the customer service girls allow us to choose. So of course, we chose Spongebob best friend - patrick starfish!! It's too adorable haha!

Patrick Starfish @ $3!
Beautiful moving art piece at T1! It is the world's largest kinetic art sculpture!

Be sure to catch sight of it even if you are due for check in at the other terminals!

Alright, enough of the rambling, our flight is 3.15pm. Thank goodness there's no delay or sudden dismay from Jetstar. We reached the airport, Terminal 1 early to grab lunch and to check in. As its a short vacation, we did not check in any baggage, all our baggages are hand carried up to the aircraft, so we save on check in baggage cost too! We brought 2 cabin sized luggage and backpacks/handbags. But do note, its either a backpack or 1 handbag+luggage together. They may charge extra if you carry backpack+1luggage.

Changi Airport Terminal 1
Prior to that we already did online check in for all our flights. Its so much more convenient! You can save the hassle of queuing up and just head to the departure hall directly as you would have received your printable boarding pass ( with QR code/barcode) on it. This is part of 'Jetstar Straight to Gate' feature. I am not too sure if this feature is unique to Jetstar or other budget carriers too.

long queue at Jetstar counter - counter 2
The plane was pretty punctual. And we are up in the aircraft by 3pm.

Our first flight experience with Jetstar!

Interior of Jetstar cabin

we saw scoot in the background!
Traffic congestion! Look at the queue behind us!
Our plane has to queue to fly. It was quite congested with planes landing and planes(cargo/passenger) taking off, we had to wait for a couple of 3 or 4 planes before we can take off. And of course, we did not depart at 3.15pm. There's slight delay however we managed to reach in time. I guess travelling by plane to penang from Singapore is really that fast huh?

And we are up in the skies, among the fluffy clouds ~
The journey took around 1 hr 20 mins.

Penang to Sin: Jetstar 3k 675 (Airbus A320)
Our plan for the day is to check in at our accomodation, Luxfort 118 and head out to Batu Ferringhi Night Market to shop and have dinner. Earlier on we wanted to take the Rapid Penang Bus to our accomodation however we reckon it will take 1hr-1.5hr and we clearly do not have time for it. So we pre-arranged with the owner of the Luxfort 118 homestay, Jason for land transfer. He quoted us a reasonable price of RM50 (approx SGD 20). If we had ordered airport limousine service, it might have been much more expensive!

We were honoured to see a paper with " Welcome Anna Lim" amidst the many paper/boards at the arrival hall. You see, normally only high flyers or businessmen get these treatment. So our driver for the day is Mr Norman, whom waited for us patiently at the arrival hall. With no further delay, we hop on to his company's van. 

Image courtesy of the Internet
Yup, the vehicle is Malaysia's Van Persiaran which can comfortably fit 6 people and their luggages.

As far a we know Mr Norman is able to speak in English, Chinese, Hokkien, Malay. He has been quite hospitable in showing and telling us what are the famous landmarks and their stories while on our way to our accomodation @ Tanjung Bungah from the airport. However, he is still studying for his tour guide license, hence I wouldn't say he is exactly very experienced in the area of tour service. Nevertheless, we appreciate his effort in trying to answer our many questions about Penang.

Due to traffic congestion on the road, our car ride took around 1 hour. Otherwise it should take only around 40 mins.

Luxfort 118 is situated at Island Plaza in Tanjung Bungah.

Artist Impression of Island Plaza, courtesy of Island Plaza Facebook
So, Luxfort 118 apartment style of accomodation is on top of island plaza, starting from the 5th storey. In terms of convenience, it is very convenient for your essential needs since Cold Storage is just right below and its open daily till 10pm.

However, do note that Island Plaza is not as vibrant as when it was just opened in early 2012. It is now VERY empty with most of its units vacant. Basically the active tenants are the coffee cafes at level 1 - The coffee bean and coffee journey, a Japanese Restaurant (Edo Ichi Japanese Cuisine) that rave good reviews and the supermarket - Cold storage.

A little brief background about Luxfort 118:

The apartments own by the owner, Jason, are Soho style units. It is part of the condominium built on Island Plaza called - One One Eight. All family suites has sea view. You may like to view this post to know more about One One Eight, the condominium.

We told Jason earlier that we will be reaching late, so that he can make the necessary arrangement since his the reception area is supposed to be opened till 5pm only. Thus, he waited for us at the Luxfort 118 reception area. My family was the last to reach that day. 

Main reception area of one one eight. Image courtesy of Luxfort118

Our van alighted outside the main reception area, and just nice Jason was around. The lift as shown in the pic above goes up to the apartments. However to settle the administrative matters, we have to proceed to another reception area (which is a right turn - the side of the non-smoking sign) for Luxfort 118 service suites.

Reception area of Luxfort 118 Service Suites - Image courtesy of Luxfort118
 Jason handed us the room key and explained about his standard house rules. As we paid for our stay through Agoda, we just need to show him the print out from Agoda. Thus I would say check in is quite hassle free. Jason told us that if we were to check out earlier (before 9.30am), we can just deposit the room key in the drop box, otherwise we can just pass it to him or the receptionist at the counter will do.

Brochures of Penang given by Jason
Jason has been a great help by going beyond what he needs to provide - accomodation. He readily tell and show us where the 2 bus stops at the main entrance of Island Plaza goes to and give us brochures to guide us along. He went up to our room with us, to ensure that all the basic facilities in the room is working and ensure that we are comfortable.

Our room key!
We are given the unit at the 7th floor. Our service suite comprises of 1 living room/kitchen and a bedroom. What you see on , is really what you get! We are really satisfied with our accomodation!
Family suite: 4 mineral water bottles, 4 tea sachets, creamer/sugar, 4 Nescafe coffee sachets all provided
If you need any replenishment during your stay, you can go down to unit 05-02. That's like their admin office.

what you see when you enter the unit
Living room cum kitchen and dining area

heater is provided and plates, bowls, cups, cutleries, knife - practically whatever you need in a house is provided for.
The dryer and washer refers to the washing machine
a fridge and handy microwave where we used it for our day 2 breakfast and day 3 lunch.
Spick and span is the most exact phrase to describe the apartment.

Toilet and shower area
4 hand towels, 4 bath towels, Shampoo with conditioner, body wash, hand wash, toothbrush and toothpaste are provided. If you used finish your paper towel roll or toilet paper roll, you can replenish it by taking the spare stocks from the top of the cupboard on top of the microwave.

Bedroom - family suite ( 2 queen size)
TV with astro channels to satisfy your entertainment cravings
One improvement that can be made was perhaps an instruction manual on how to operate the tv with astro channels. We were always given a black screen whenever we on, and we do not have any idea on how to navigate through. End up we spend close to 30mins figuring out how to operate it, each time we on the TV.

Large wardrobe to hang your clothes - hangers, iron, ironing board provided.
Wifi!! Password will be given when you check in.
Jason: " We want you to treat this place as home"

So, we left Luxfort 118 at around 6.45pm and board the rapid penang bus to Batu Ferringhi Night Market. One good thing about security at the apartment, is that only users with the pass will be able to use the lift as you need to tap at the sensor before pressing any buttons. 

So, as what Jason told us earlier, the bus stop at the side of the Island plaza goes to Georgetown, airport and Komtar. While to go to Batu Ferringhi, we have to cross the road to the opposite bus stop. As we did research beforehand, we know that we are supposed to board 101 to Batu Ferringhi Night Market. However the directions that we found online - google map, blogs, werent exactly clear as to which stop we should alight. It's only then we realised that Batu Ferringhi Night Market span across several bus stops.

We were lucky and we didnt have to wait long for Rapid Penang bus 101. There's a board at the bus stop to inform you the price you have to pay for whichever station you are alighting at. It range from RM 1.40 to RM 2 to RM 3.4

We were unsure of where we should alight, therefore we asked the driver and he told us RM 2/bus ticket.

Bus fare ticket
We did not go Tanjung Bungah Night Market as its night market is only open on Tuesday and we arrived at Wednesday. Before we head to board the bus, we asked Jason about how to go Batu Ferringhi Night Market and he suggested that we stop at Rasa Sayang however a security guard at Island Plaza actually advised us to stop at Golden Sands Resort. He said that if we were to stop at Rasa Sayang, we would need to walk quite far. We aren't too sure who to believe since we are first timers here, so we decided to alight based on our gut feeling.

Halfway through the journey, we saw 2 Caucasians boarding the bus even when there's clearly no bus stop in sight. This is a no no in Singapore! We guess they might be heading to Batu Ferringhi Night Market since that place is frequent by Caucasians.

Soon, after a long stretch of 5-10 mins non stop driving, we finally see sight of some shops. We eventually alight at a stop where the 2 Caucasians alighted too. There were many shops (pasar malam) and a plaza there.

And its the stop opposite the posh looking Golden Sands Resort.

More pasar malam towards the direction of where our bus is heading to.

Where we alighted is near a petrol station (Petrona) and this plaza called Eden Parade.

Eden Parade.
We decided to take the path between Eden Parade and the Petrol station as we saw a few food places.

There's mainly Malay dishes, and as we are nearing the end and decided to just settle for one of the Malay store, we saw a very brightly lighted area at the end. We decided to walk a little further up and thank goodness we walk further up as we found good food there. It is a hidden gem. Too well hidden.
Golden River Restaurant
We came across this restaurant online on blogs and tripadvisors. It is ranked #9 on Tripadvisors out of the F&B restaurants in Batu Ferringhi. Luckily we came on a Wednesday, as they are closed on Tuesday. They serve ala carte zi char style of chinese food.

We reached at around 7.30pm and it was so crowded with chinese and Caucasians. Most of the Caucasians are binging on Tiger beers. I guess beers are cheap over there.

We weren't too sure what's good at Golden River Restaurant, as such we asked for its waiter to recommend their chef speciality dishes. We ordered a total of 4 dishes + 1 soup. We waited for around 20minutes for our first dish to be served.

Lotus Root Soup
The portion was quite small. But its not bad :) Rich in ingredients!

Spicy Kangkong
Thumbs up! They are VERY generous with their dried shrimps. As such their kang kong is very flavourful and rich in taste as compared to local ones where they tend to scrimp on adding dried shrimps. And did I say, the portion is quite big too and its price is very very affordable! The Kang Kong isn't too "old' either. The stems are all chewable!

steamed garouper
The waiter recommended us this when we asked for fish. He said that the Garouper just arrived and is very fresh. We were given the choice to fry or steam the garouper. Indeed, this garouper is very fresh and the broth is very rich in taste. The broth includes tofu and tomatoes.

A must eat for Singaporeans where restaurant standard of fish are always very expensive.

Homemade Chef Speciality Tofu
The tofu is surprisingly soft. It comes in a small serving. It isnt too bad however we find this dish quite ordinary.

Spicy Lemongrass Chicken
The lemongrass taste made the chicken taste uniquely good. If you are a fan of chicken, you might want to try this dish as it gives a unique twist to the ordinary way of cooking chicken.

We were actually afraid that the total price including 4 bowls of rice will exceed RM 100, given that we order one whole fish. So, drumroll.... for the ridiculously low price!

The grand total is RM 84 (SGD $33.10) and thats for 4 pax, and we ordered one whole steam fish!! If this place is in Singapore, I can expect the queue to be very long. Although the price are very low however one commendable point of this restaurant is that they do not scrimp on the quality of the ingredients they used. They still serve fresh fish, generous servings of dried shrimps and fresh chicken instead of frozen chicken.

We strongly recommend Golden River Restaurant to everyone who visits Penang. Do note that it is closed on Tuesday!

Directions: just walk straight towards the end along the road between Eden Parade and Petronas refueling station

After our full sumptuous dinner, we wanted to explore more of Batu Ferringhi Night Market, however as it was close to 9pm and we have intentions of going to Cold Storage. As such we waited for the bus 101 to board back to Island Plaza. The bus stop is directly in front of Golden Sands Resort.

We waited for around 10 minutes and the bus came. I guess we are really lucky since we have prepared ourselves for the worse as the bus frequency is normally 20-30 minutes.

The whole journey took around 20 minutes.

our loots from Cold storage!
Receipt for our purchase
The Ciabatta bread isn't exactly to our liking and sadly the gingerbread man could be made better with a stronger and fragrant cinnamon smell.


Kenn Green said...

It's a wonderful trip.

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