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Taking the elderly to Penang in April, suggestions?

Melbourne, Australia
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37 posts
71 reviews
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Taking the elderly to Penang in April, suggestions?

Hi everyone,

need some suggestions here. I am taking the elderly in the family to Penang for 4 days in April. Staying at Gurney Resort and Residence. Elderly are in there early 80's. Is it easy to drag them around in public transport? I know about the taxis you have to negotiate. I hate that hassle.

Where are good places for street stall food and some sightseeing suggestions suitable for elderly that don't walk very well (with walking sticks)


Perth, Australia
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for Penang, Kuala Lumpur
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28 reviews
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1. Re: Taking the elderly to Penang in April, suggestions?

Hi roast_pigeon,

"Easy" is a relative term, how will they go...

- getting up and down steps in the buses? While the bus can be lowered/tilted to assist people with a disability to get on and off, if the seats at the front end of the bus are all full then there are two or three steps to get into the rear section of the bus;

- on very crowded buses where they may have to stand. While we've noted people in Penang to be relatively good when it comes to standing for the elderly (specially compared to here where it seems noone stands) there are only three priority seats on most buses and there are often more than three elderly people on the buses. We recall one time there was an older person sitting in the priority seat, who then gave up the seat to an even older person, who then gave their seat up to an older again person!

- waiting at bus stops in mid 30 degree and humid temperatures or walking a distance to bus stops in said weather. The location of your hotel is really only serviced by the 103 bus (which only runs roughly every 45 minutes), with the next closest bus route/stop being a 550m walk from your hotel on Jalan Burma for access to a number of alternative routes. If your travelling companions "don't walk very well (with walking sticks)" then we would imagine the 550m walk is out of the question.

We're not sure if you're locked in to your hotel choice, however if you are particularly keen to be able to use public transport, there are far better hotel locations where public transport is an ease (such as, for example, Traders Hotel which is literally adjacent the Komtar Bus Terminus).

Regarding the hassle of haggling with taxis, taxi fares in Malaysia are far far cheaper than Australia. If you consider what you would pay for the same distance in Australia, you would feel less of a need to haggle.

Another option you could consider is to hire a car with driver. We and many others on this forum have used the services of Ocean Jupiter ( http://www.oceanjupiter.com/ ) on a number of occasions. They charge RM25 (approximately A$8.50) per hour for a car or RM40 (approx A$14) per hour for a van with a minimum hire of 4 hours.

To your query regarding sightseeing options for those who don't walk well, a car with driver would definitely suit as you could be shuttled from sight to sight. George Town is great for those who just like to wander, but if one has difficulties walking it could be very uncomfortable. There aren't really any sights that you could spend a significant time at without walking (ie. Kek Lok Si Temple outside of George Town is amazing and you can easily spend hours there, but you would be walking around the different levels of the temple, including up and down stairs). Other sights (particularly in the George Town Heritage Zone) are worthy of a shorter time to visit, however there are lots of sights very closeby to each other, though not really close enough by for someone who struggles to walk.

There aren't really any hawker centres within comfortable walking distance of your hotel (taking into account your travelling party, noting we would consider the first three listed below as being walking distance from your hotel, but we walk a lot... if that makes sense), however if you grab a taxi you could easily feast at any of a number of great hawker centres in and outside of George Town:

- Red Garden Hawkers on Lebuh Leith

- Lorong Baru (New Lane) Hawkers on Lorong Baru

- Gurney Drive Hawkers (at the opposite end of Gurney Drive/Persiaran Gurney to where you are staying)

- Long Beach Hawkers on Jalan Batu Ferringhi at Batu Ferringhi (if you can walk the 550m to the bus stops on Jalan Burma, the 101 bus will get you to and from Long Beach)

We're sure others can add even more. There is no shortage of good food in Penang including street food, restaurant food, hawker centres, cafes, coffee shops, etc...

For an incredibly comprehensive guide to all things Penang, do check out this site: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/

Hope this helps, and isn't too discouraging (we completely love Penang and all her sights, however also wanted to give you realistic expectations and advice). Just do remember, taxis are comparatively cheap (and air conditioned). Hire car with driver even better as you know up front what you are going to pay, and can even contact before leaving Australia to make your plans.

Lise & Sabrina

Edited: 12:11 am, February 02, 2013
2. Re: Taking the elderly to Penang in April, suggestions?

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